Anyone who knows my writing, knows I love horror movies. Hell, we have this, and this, and this, and even this to stand as solid proof. It is a genre that I love for many reasons. I like the adrenaline that good horror movies flood my body with. I like looking at someone else’s crappy life and realizing in comparison, mine is better than I thought. Hell, I like giant monsters and killers trying to end the lives of horny teenagers.
Because it is top tier escapism.
Nothing takes you out of the pains of your own, exhausting life better than horror movies. When you are watching someone run for their lives from a killer clown that eats kids, you tend to forget about your bills and car troubles. It is like getting drunk to forget your problems, only minus all the crappy side-effects. And as a fan of horror, 2017 was easily the best year for horror movies and thrillers EVAR. From intense thrillers dealing with tense racial issues to a straight up retelling of the creation and death of man, 2017 was filled to the brim with horror that redefined the genre, forevermore. The highest grossing R-rated movie this year was It. That moment, Hollywood changed. The next 5 years are now gonna be FILLED with big budget horror movies, which I couldn’t be more excited for, and it wouldn’t be happening if these movies hadn’t set the tone this year. Here are the best horror movies of 2017 and what makes them so awesome (without any spoilers).
Best Horror Movies 2017 Edition
You cannot make a list of 2017 horror films and not mention the one horror movie EVERYONE actually saw in the theater.
It was the movie that cemented 2017 as a game-changer for horror (as it made a shit-ton of money, which will open the door for more big budget horror movies to get made in the forthcoming years). They even gave the director of It the movie version of Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark (kid’s book) for him to adapt next, and, as a geek, I really hope you realize how amazing that news is.
We all know what it was about because was saw IT and IT was awesome, so moving on….
Super Dark Times
This time I am picking a horror flick that uses the term horror a little more loosely (this one is about real evil, stuff that actually happens IRL) and one a movie I know too few of you saw.
Super Dark Times kinda came out silently and no one found it unless they looked, but wouldn’t you know, it is like Stand By Me meets the kids from Columbine. I know that sounds messed up and no, the movie doesn’t involve a school shooting, but you will know what I mean the minute you watch it.
Very unsettling stuff, a perfectly named movie for that reason alone and one that flew under the radar but shouldn’t have.
Here we have my very favorite movie (not just horror movie) of the year. Mother is easily the most ambitious and unnerving movie I have seen in the last decade, and for people who actually grasp the scope of the story the movie is actually telling, they walk away from this movie changed, forever, like I did.
Stupid people walked away real disturbed and confused, and I can respect that, but the ones who realized what Mother really was were jawed by it.
Also, EASILY one of the most disturbing final acts in movie history, up there with the “genital mutilation” scene from Antichrist. But pure art, through and through. Darren Aronofsky’s best work since Requiem For a Dream, and JUST as disturbing (more so, actually).
Split was the other movie this year that left-fielded me. It LOOKED good, and seemed sound, but I genuinely went in with my doubts because M. Night’s game had fallen off a little bit up to this point (outside of The Visit, which I loved) but who knew Split was gonna be a seminal 2017 horror movie, with James McAvoy’s performance being Oscar worthy?
Plus, the simple fact that it FINALLY gave us Unbreakable fan boys the sequel setup we waited forever for made it even better.
And THE BEAST was one of the best bad guys I have seen (in the scary sense) in a very long time. He didn’t need clown makeup or effects, that was all acting, which made it even more amazeballs. Cannot wait to see what further personas show up in the just wrapped Glass, which comes out next year and truly ties this to Unbreakable.
What can I say about Get Out that hasn’t been said already? A profound movie about race relations in America, while also sending a subversive message about how certain races (us white folk) assimilate other races when or if it benefits them.
The movie was funny, scary, utterly brilliant with its subtext, and the casting and direction were both perfect. It also showed the world that Jordan Peele is SO much more than just a funny motherf#cker. He is a director that helped redefine horror this year and make it as big as it now is. Imagine the caliber of movies this guy will be making in ten years time?
Just the symbolism alone in Get Out is so deep, there are whole college courses taught about this film already. Just peep this from the man himself to get how REALLY deep this movie goes:
All the white people drive black cars because, well, you know. Damn, little touches like that propel this movie from good to Godly.
The Shape of Water
I know most people have not seen this movie yet, and to call it “horror” is sort of wrong, but making a list about “gothic love stories” won’t work too well, and it DOES have fishman in it, so it lands here, but do NOT write this off as a horror movie alone, for to do so will undermine the film’s message and power.
As most know, Guillermo Del Toro is a genius when it comes to romance and gothic horror, but he hits his peak (and it’s not Crimson) with The Shape of Water.
Ultimately, a beautiful and tragic love story that transcends any genre. Also, achingly beautiful to look at. A truly rare gem of modern cinema and one that cements this genre as one to be reckoned with.
Being a man who is into some devious, kinky stuff, Gerald’s Game was a kick to the junk (pun intended, as a kick to the junk is what kills Gerald in the book). While some people said the ending ruined it (I disagree, it is a story about survival, and that ending sums that up perfectly), Gerald’s Game on Netflix ended up being a very powerful story about overcoming abuse and facing the things that mentally torment us.
There is a really cool “moonman” subplot I won’t ruin here, either, but this and 1922 were both Netflix originals based on Stephen King material, and both were fantastic in their own right, though this one wins the spot because 1922 might be a little slow for some.
Also, Carla Gugino was mesmerizing considering this was ultimately a one person play we watched unfold in a single setting. Not many could pull that off (get it, because she pulls off her….oh, just watch it, you’ll see).
Speaking of strong women…
Tragedy Girls is another 2017 horror movie I feel like a LOT of people missed, yet it already hit cult status. I don’t want to tell anyone too much about Tragedy Girls, because going in blind, you WILL have fun (yes, some horror movies are still fun, believe it or not) and this film sorta redefines the Final Girl in ways I would not have predicted. It is also a satire of social media obsessed modern culture and how “Likes” matter more than lives.
And the two young leads in the film (Brianna Hildebrand for the win) are both destined to skyrocket, so best to jump in on ground floor.
Now to the other extreme. A movie FAR more unsettling than it is fun…
Hounds of Love
I knew I had to include Hounds of Love on my list of 2017 horror films, mainly because the story was SO unsettling and upsetting, but yet, also palpably real. This movie is not for the weak-hearted, and while they keep most of the awful stuff off-screen, your mind fills in the blanks, and sometimes, that can be even worse.
Hounds of Love is an Australian horror film about a couple who abducts a young girl to assault, but this young girl is no slouch and quickly figures out how to divide the couple, as it may be her only way to survive. It is brutal and savage, but some horror movies NEED to go to those places, and Hounds does it like few others can.
Just know, you will NEVER listen to Knights in White Satin the same way again after seeing this movie.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
I have been singing the praises of director Yorgos Lanthimos since 2013, and with good reason. His movies take all cinema tropes and cast them aside. He follows NO RULES, and the end result is often discomforting, unsettling, and like a parasite, stays with you forever.
I am not telling anyone anything other than that about this movie and also, the performance by the son in The Killing of a Sacred Deer is so disturbing, he is like living birth control for single couples who see the movie (which will honestly, probably be very few of you which makes me sad. LOOK AT THAT CAST!) But this movie is wickedly unique and very unforgettable (in some awful ways).
French horror movies are my favorite, hands down (Inside, Switchblade Romance, Martyrs), so one HAD to land on the list this year, and Raw is very much that movie. This is another flick that I need to be very ambiguous about because it twists and turns in ways you will not predict while watching it if you go at it blind like I did.
A female, coming-of-age movies that deals with that maturation of the gender in ways I have never seen, and as brutal as some scenes are, the cinematography is gorgeous and the performances are without par.
Also, one of the best endings of any movie this year. That final line of dialogue in the movie is jaw dropping (and though I may get heat for this, the best portrayal of the man-woman dynamic I have ever seen symbolically represented on-screen).
Feeders and breeders, the lot of ya! (kidding)
It Comes at Night
After I saw The Gift a few years back, Joel Edgerton became “one to watch” for me, and he upped the ante big time with his acting and direction of the highly underrated It Comes at Night from the beginning of 2017.
Not a horror movie in the traditional sense (don’t let trailer fool you, NO monsters in this one), but more a “society is finished” kind of movie, It Comes At Night packs the same kind of gut-punch Get Out did, but no one saw It Comes At Night.
Good news, you can fix that mistake now.
If I had to pick one MOST OBSCURE entry on the list of 2017 horror films, The Void would be that movie, but if you grew up on 80’s and 90’s horror like I did, and you loved the movie The Thing like I did and you LOVE practical, non CG effects like I do, The Void is a MUST-SEE.
Perhaps the best “want to look and feel like 80’s horror” I have ever seen outside of the actual 80’s, The Void is part Cronenberg body horror, part Lovecraftian tale, and ALL AWESOME. Creepy, weird, and gory as hell, The Void needs to be filled by you watching it.
Happy Death Day
Earlier on the list I mentioned how horror movies can still be fun, and few movies did that as well in 2017 as Happy Death Day. Another horror movie I really thought would be crap that ended up being a very pleasant surprise.
Happy Death Day is just Groundhog Day with murder added (something they themselves even call-out in the film itself, which made me like it more), but it harkened back to when 80’s slashers were actually kind of goofy and fun.
Not the biggest fan of how they chose to explain it away at the end, but the ride still very much made it worth it, and it was nice to have some funny horror amid all the nastiness of some of the other films listed here.
Creep might just be my favorite “found footage” horror movie of all time outside of [Rec]. Am already a huge Mark Duplass fan (writes, directs, stars as titular Creep) and the first movie actually left off for a perfect sequel, which Creep 2 is about as close as a sequel gets to being perfect and actually ACCENTUATING the first story, which is what all good sequels should do.
This is the part where I TOTES assume you somehow haven’t seen the original Creep, which means I am saying nothing more except watch them and tell me I’m wrong. Another aptly named film, see Creep and Creep 2 and be aware that how you see crappy, werewolf masks will be changed, forever. Creep and Creep 2 just prove you don’t need a big budget or effects for scary horror. You just need humans and a great story.
Also, Peachfuzz for the win.
You cannot make a list about horror movies in 2017 and not mention Kuso by Flying Lotus. What is Kuso, you ask? Some could call it a post-apocalyptic anthology tale. Some would call it the most offensive thing they have ever seen. Some call it high art (as in it is true art if you are ‘high’ enough when you watch it), but it is just so original and it just f***s your mind so hard, I feel like the WORLD needs to watch Kuso then sit down together and process what we all just saw.
My main suggestion is digesting certain things BEFORE watching the movie, as some substances enhance the viewing greatly, if you catch my not-so-subtle drift. Also, beware. You cannot unsee some of the images in Kuso, which is why it is here.
It sucks for me to end a “great horror movie” list with a movie I know no one has really seen outside of my other “writer” friends, but Mayhem was supposed to drop in 2017, and the flick just kept getting delayed and delayed and now it is expected next year, but it is technically a 2017 movie, and maybe by ending the “horror movies 2017” list with it, it will be fresh in your mind when it comes out in 2018.
All I have to say is Glenn from Walking Dead is in it and you should be sold (assuming you were as distraught by his death on that show as I was), but if you need a little more, “workplace anarchy” is all I will say. I will leave it at that (and who HASN’T wanted to kill all their coworkers at one time or another, real talk?)
Don’t worry, I work alone. From home.
This is a great sign for horror movie fans like me, because producers and executives see the numbers horror brought in during the 2017 fiscal year, and that means those same producers will be pushing for more top-shelf, big-budget horror in the forthcoming years. And if horror stays at the height it reached in 2017, this leaves me, as both a horror fan and a movie fan in general, very excited to see where it goes next.