Horror in 2017 was a mixed bag: when it was good, it was good; when it was bad, it was bad. The following movies aren’t in any order until we get to the top three, which are solidly the top films I’ve seen this year. For the most part, the movies were released to a wide (American) audience in 2017, but I do have a couple earlier films that I watched for the first time this year and they blew me away, so I’m counting those, as well.
The Lure (2017)
The Lure is a weird film, and that’s why I love it. It uses mermaids in an interesting way; I love the dark cinematography coupled with the musical interludes. It just worked for me. The relationship between the sisters is great, and when the movie decided to be bloody, it was well done. I’d recommend this film, but check out the trailer beforehand––if the trailer doesn’t speak to you, I don’t think the film as a whole will.
Creep 2 (2017)
I liked Creep, but it didn’t blow me away. The acting is good, and I like the concept, but it didn’t astound me. So, it’s kind of a surprise to me that I liked Creep 2 as much as I did. I thought the execution in this film was great––I loved the fact that Duplass’ character (Aaron, in this film) was able to admit his serial killer tendencies right away. It added a certain je ne sais quoi to the film that I enjoyed. I also liked Akhaven’s performance as Sara a lot––their relationship struck me more than the relationship between Duplass (Josef) and Brice (Aaron).
The Babysitter (2017)
The Babysitter is a Netflix original that dropped in October––and it’s a lot of fun. I don’t have much to say about this movie, because it’s not a groundbreaking or original horror film, but it is a lot of fun. The acting, for the most part, is good, and the atmosphere is so deliciously 80s. The kills are entertaining, as well. If you’re looking for a fun, absurd horror film, check this one out.
Prevenge is a dark comedy about a woman who believes her unborn child is guiding her to commit murder. It’s an absurd concept executed well by Lowe, who basically did everything from writing to directing to starring (while actually eight months pregnant). It’s another fun movie to watch if you’re in the mood for a horror comedy––the only thing that kind of ‘put me off’ was the baby’s voice. It was odd, and took me out of the movie a bit. Other than that, solid film.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
I watched The Autopsy of Jane Doe in January––it certainly set the bar for me for horror in 2017. I love this film. I think the atmosphere and the tension is great. The acting is solid. The storyline isn’t unique, but it’s executed well. It just works for me. And, I love horror movies that are set in the coroner’s, so the environment is a plus for me. It can be difficult to pull off a movie in such confined spaces and keep the tension throughout the film, and I thought this movie did just that. I’d highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it yet!
Raw is the latest French horror, though I wouldn’t attach it to French New Wave horror (a lá Martyrs, High Tension, Inside, etc). I was expecting a movie along the lines of the previously mentioned, and that is not what I got with Raw, so I initially left the theatres I bit disappointed. However, I gave it a rewatch in October and because I knew what to expect, I enjoyed the film a lot more. Certainly don’t go into this movie with any of the “it’s so gross it made people vomit!” marketing that went around, because, honestly, it’s a pretty tame French horror film that involves cannibals. This is more of a movie about the relationship between two sisters and trying to grapple with an identity that is far, far from the norm.
The Devil’s Candy (2017)
The Devil’s Candy is such a joy to watch if you’re a fan of the horror genre who has sat through numerous shitty mainstream films. It’s indie horror at its finest. The acting is superb (Ethan Emery is fantastic in this film), and though the plot is simple, it’s done extremely well. I love the grunge and vibe of this movie a lot, and the relationship between Jesse (Emery) and his daughter is wonderful. And Pruitt Taylor Vince nails his role as Ray Smilie. Just watch this movie if you haven’t––it’s a breath of fresh air in the horror genre.
Get Out (2017)
Obviously, Get Out is going to be on this list. I’m assuming everyone has seen this, but if you haven’t, watch it immediately. I’m so excited to see what Peele does next, because this is a fantastic film. It juggles horror, social commentary, thriller, and humor so well, and the acting is excellent. There was a lot of hype around this movie when it was released, but the film holds up viewing after viewing. It’s a keeper.
Boys in the Trees (2016)
Boys in the Trees is close to my top horror of the year. It’s a quiet film that snuck up on me. I wasn’t expecting to love it, but love it I do. I don’t want to give too much away, because I think it’s important to go into this knowing nothing. I will say, it’s pretty surrealist, and it revolves around friendship, loss, fear, and growing up. It’s a beautiful film: The cinematography, the acting, the plot…everything is wonderful. It’s not your typical horror film, but it does solidly fit into the genre, which you’ll understand if you’ve seen it. It’s a film I think about all of the time, even though I haven’t rewatched it since I first saw it in October. I just love it, unapologetically.
The Love Witch (2017)
The Love Witch is such a delight. It’s unapologetically feminist, it’s about witches, it feels as if it’s actually a film set and produced in the 70s…honestly, it’s me in a film. Like Lowe (Prevenge), Anna Biller did everything for this film: she starred in it, directed it, wrote it, made its costumes and its set…she did everything. It’s not a film that everyone will love, but it’s easily one of the best films I saw in 2017. Elaine is a beautiful, complicated character, and I love her. Like with The Lure, you’ll know if you’ll like this film once you see the trailer.
Shape of Water (2017)*
Shape of Water is the one movie that I’m not entirely sure belongs on a horror list, but it IS based off of Creature from the Black Lagoon so I’m including it. It’s more fantasy than horror, but this is my blog, so here we are. I love this film. I’ve seen it twice thus far, and I plan on watching it over and over again as soon as the blu-ray comes out. It’s a visually stunning film (I mean, it’s del Toro, so obviously), the characters are fantastic, the music is perfection…it’s beautiful. The film centers around identity and belonging and it’s just perfect. If you love del Toro (specifically Devil’s Backbone & Pan’s Labyrinth del Toro), you will love this film. Watch it. Be amazed.
Obviously, It is my favorite horror film (and probably film) of the year. If you’ve read my review, you know how I feel about this fim. I won’t wax and wane here (that’s what the review is for), but I bloody loved this adaptation. The acting is fantastic, the cinematography is fantastic, the sound is fantastic. It’s just a winner. It took the best parts of the book and brought them to live fabulously, and it left out the weird parts that probably shouldn’t have been included in the first place––you know what I mean if you’ve read the book. I cannot wait for the second part to come out. Is it 2019 yet?
Well, that’s it: my favorite horror films of 2017. What horror did you watch last year? What did you love? I might do a worst horror of 2017, because I love ranting, and there were some terrible movies released last year.
Until next time, stay scary.