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Top 25 Best Horror Movies Of 2017

New: Top 10 Best Horror Movies 2017Let’s countdown the best horror movies of 2017. The scary list features the usual mix of sequels (‘Jigsaw’), remakes (‘It’), adaptations (‘Gerald’s Game’), prequel-sequels (‘Alien: Covenant’) and original fare (‘Get Out’). Based on what I’ve seen and critical response these are the top 25 best horror movies 2017 has offered up.

Let me know your picks, or anything I’ve missed, in the comments.

25th – Prevenge
Starring: Alice Lowe, Jo Hartley, Kayvan Novak, Gemma Whelan
Director: Alice Lowe
Released: March 24, 2017 (U.S. Dates)
Best Horror Movies 2017

 -Seen It-  A heavily pregnant widow (Lowe) turns serial killer, targeting those responsible for her husband’s climbing accident and anyone else deserving, from male chauvinists to discriminating employers, guided by what she believes is the voice of her unborn child… Written, directed and starring Alice Lowe (‘Sightseers’) who was actually seven months pregnant during the 11 day (!) shoot. Lowe conceived the premise just weeks earlier, worried she’d be unemployable. The slow first half sees her converse with, and stab to death, comically chauvinist middle aged men and a prejudice job interviewer. The critic-pleasing social confrontations feel forced, and paired with cinematography that’s of the cheap and cheerful ‘just point it at them you don’t need a tripod’ variety – it’s a bit of a drag. However the humour clicks better the longer it goes on, becoming less social-preachy / anti-male, and the widow character develops more nuance. It finds atmosphere in the final act, and a Halloween costume that’s striking enough for any horror doll collection. Compared to similar black-comedic social-message psycho ‘American Psycho’, there’s a significant gap in craftsmanship. But the premise is a strong one, the performance ties up well by the end, and it will stick in the mind.

24th – The Devil’s Candy
Starring: Ethan Embry, Shiri Appleby, Kiara Glasco, Pruitt Taylor Vince
Director: Sean Byrne
Released: March 17, 2017
top horror movies 2017

Heavy-metal horror opus. In rural Texas a struggling headbanging painter (Embry, ‘Cheap Thrills’, ‘Late Phases’) moves his young family to their first home, where satanic forces attempt to take hold of him, producing his best work, but putting everyone in danger. Meanwhile a former resident turned child-murderer (Pruitt Taylor Vince) is released from his institution and sets about kidnapping and killing, offering his victim’s young souls as candy for the Devil… From the Australian director of the acclaimed 2009 prom-horror ‘The Loved Ones’, this has performed strongly on the festival circuit thanks to its engaging characters, rich atmospheric cinematography and fondness for the absurd in the terrifying. However it’s reportedly tamer and less striking than his debut film.

23rd – Found Footage 3D
Starring: Carter Roy, Alena von Stroheim, Chris O’Brien
Director: Steven DeGennaro
Released: TBC 2017
Scary Movies 2017

 -Seen It-  A behind-the-scenes camera follows a group of filmmakers making the first 3D found footage horror movie, on location in a haunted cabin. But the negative energy between the bickering lead couple starts to awaken the evil presence. Soon they realise they are in the sort of found footage film they were setting out to make… Taking a self-aware meta approach, this does for the found footage sub-genre what ‘Scream’ did for slashers and ‘Cabin in the Woods’ did for cabin horror. Found footage can have particularly grating characters but here they’re good fun to hang out with, the human drama is nicely done and the knowing, playful dialogue explores the likes of: how found footage is found, Blair Witch’s boombox in the woods, and the awkward need to explain in the 1st and 3rd act why anyone is still filming. It lets itself down a little by pointing out troupes (eg below-par cgi) only to later do the exact same thing, which is perhaps the point but it feels like it needed an extra layer of subversion toward the end.

22nd – A Cure For Wellness
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Mia Goth, Jason Isaacs
Director: Gore Verbinski
Released: February 17, 2017
New Horror Movies 2017

 -Seen It-  An arrogant young employee of a large financial services firm (DeHaan, ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2’) travels to the Swiss Alps to collect his boss from an isolated “wellness spa” in an ancient castle. Discovering his boss has virtually vanished, he is forced to lengthen his stay and begins to learn that the miraculous treatments are more sinister than they seem. Connected somehow is the aristocratic facility director (Isaacs, ‘Harry Potter’), and his dark designs on a young patient (Goth, ‘The Survivalist’)… Director Verbinski previously helmed the U.S. remake of ‘The Ring’, and the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ trilogy. Regular collaborator Hans Zimmer provides the score, his first for a horror since ‘The Ring’ in 2002, and with the writer of ‘Revolutionary Road’ penning the screenplay, and superb visuals/production design, this has class running through it. Indeed it flows like a good mystery novel until the last 45 minutes (of an overlong 2.5 hours) when character actions turn more irrational and there’s a series of fairly nonsensical plot revelations, leading to a big reveal that’s frustratingly dumb (the finale is literally like something out of ‘Pirates’), especially given how much effort they put into the rest of the film. Still there remains enough artistry and intrigue overall to partially recommend.

21st – Killing Ground
Starring: Harriet Dyer, Tiarnie Coupland, Aaron Pedersen, Aaron Glenane
Director: Damien Power
Released: July 21, 2017
Top 10 best horror films of 2017

A couple on a camping trip go through a terrifying ordeal at the hands of two psychopathic locals after stumbling across an abandoned tent and traumatised toddler… Australian micro-budget in the vein of ‘Wolf Creek’, with brutally-realistic, sadistic violence. These cat-and-mouse horror-thrillers are normally very linear, but ‘Killing Ground’ employs a jarring time-scrambling narrative that covers different victims’ stories along with the killers’, and the uncertainty, critics say, adds to its unsettled tension.

20th – The Girl With All The Gifts
Starring: Sennia Nanua, Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine, Glenn Close
Director: Colm McCarthy
Released: February 24, 2017
best horror movies 2017

 -Seen It-  In a British military base a sweet-sounding girl with genius-level IQ lives in a cell and is shackled by soldiers (Considine) before daily classes with a soft-hearted teacher (Arterton). Behind the border fences is a mass of zombies. One doctor (Close) is gradually dissecting the other half-zombie children in an effort to cure the fungal disease, but before she can get her knife into the special girl, the base is overrun. The group flee into London in hopes of a rescue, and on the perilous journey the hybrid girl must come to terms with who she is… Adapted from the 2014 novel by its author, this comes from the veteran TV director of ‘Peaky Blinders’. ‘Gifts’ is a mash-up of previous genre ideas that’s reasonably effective but not as sharp as any of its influences. Primarily it’s ’28 Weeks Later’, matching the look, enemies (running zombies, here called ‘hungries’) and setting (kid who’s key-to-the-cure heads into London with military escort after camp collapses, where hybrid subject was being tested), and with the ‘Children of Men’ notion that a child is the only hope of humanity’s survival. Later the fungal-zombies sprout seed pods and it incorporates bits of ‘Day of the Triffids’ and ‘The Last of Us’. As with mash-up movies, the less you’ve seen the originals, the fresher this will all seem. The lead girl presents an intriguing character study and it’s interesting to see Glenn Close in the genre. Arterton starts strong but there’s no arc for her. The wild zombie-kids are too ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ stage production, and the ending left me hating the selfishness of the character(s) involved. Still if you fancy a re-run of the movies mentioned it’s entertaining.

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