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Horror Movies 2017 – Guide

New: Top 10 Best Horror Movies 2017Let’s take a look at the biggest and potentially best horror movies of 2017. The scary list features the usual mix of sequels (‘Jigsaw’), remakes (‘It’), soft reboots (‘Flatliners’), prequel-sequels (‘Alien: Covenant’) and original fare (‘Get Out’). So based on anticipation, and the facts as they stand, these are the top 25 best horror movies 2017 has so far, or on the horizon. Get excited. Let me know your picks, or anything I’ve missed, in the comments.

25th – Patient Zero
Starring: Matt Smith, Natalie Dormer, Clive Standen, Stanley Tucci
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Released: TBC 2017 (U.S. Dates)
Best Horror Movies 2017

A global pandemic of a super strain of rabies has turned the majority of humankind into highly intelligent, streamlined killers known as “The Infected” (think the rage virus from ’28 Days Later’, with more communication and parkour). One victim (Smith, ‘Dr.Who’), who is asymptomatic and can communicate with the infected, leads the last survivors on a hunt for Patient Zero, a needle in a haystack, to find an antidote to save humanity and his infected wife. Joining him and heading the scientific research efforts is a CDC virologist (Dormer, ‘Game of Thrones’), while a stern, alcoholic Colonel (Standen, TV’s ‘Camelot’) is in charge of military protection, or “babysitting” as he sees it… It all sounds very generic, but this comes from the veteran Austrian director known for horror ‘Anatomy’, thriller ‘Deadfall’, and the Oscar-winning ‘The Counterfeiters’. This is a chance for Smith to prove himself as a leading man on the big screen.

24th – Prevenge
Starring: Alice Lowe, Jo Hartley, Kayvan Novak, Gemma Whelan
Director: Alice Lowe
Released: March 24, 2017
top 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.

23rd – The Devil’s Candy
Starring: Ethan Embry, Shiri Appleby, Kiara Glasco, Pruitt Taylor Vince
Director: Sean Byrne
Released: March 17, 2017
Scary 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.

22nd – Found Footage 3D
Starring: Carter Roy, Alena von Stroheim, Chris O’Brien
Director: Steven DeGennaro
Released: TBC 2017
New Horror 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.

21st – A Cure For Wellness
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Mia Goth, Jason Isaacs
Director: Gore Verbinski
Released: February 17, 2017
Top 10 best horror films of 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.

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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22 Comments »

  • Nuno Correia said

    Ah yes, here we go!
    A great and interesting mix, as always – good job!
    I had many of these in sight, along with a few you may have missed (namely ‘Amityville: The Awakening’) and others that are still awaiting a 2017 release date, such as ‘Jeepers Creepers 3’, ‘Death House’, ‘Mom and Dad’, ’47 Meters Down’, ‘The Dark Tapes’ and the highly unlikely ‘World War Z 2’.
    Thanks for the heads up on a slew that flew under my radar – ‘The Void’ and ‘Life’ seem especially interesting…
    Here’s to a (hopefully) great and varied year in horror!

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    • Sheridan Passell said
      Sheridan Passell

      Thanks a lot for reading. Yes when all is said and done I think it’ll be a really solid year for horror. ‘Amityville: The Awakening’ settled in 26th place so didn’t quite squeak on. I also don’t see any way ‘World War Z 2’ comes out this year. Admittedly ‘Death House’, ‘Mom and Dad’, ‘The Dark Tapes’ were not on the reserve list, so thanks for the heads up. ‘Mom and Dad’ with Cage and the director of ‘Crank’ sure should make for some insanity. Let readers and myself know of any future discoveries as things evolve…

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    • Victor cserer said

      Wasn’t girl with all the gifts 2016? Good movie. Think 28 days later meets planet of the apes.

      Great list…no gunslinger? Watched covenant preview. Looks like it’s diving back into the alien franchise. Hope scott ties the two together.

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      • Sheridan Passell said
        Sheridan Passell

        Good points. The list is going by US release dates so Girl With All The Gifts is counted as 2017, even though we in the UK have seen it (I still need to remove it from last year’s list…). The Dark Tower crosses multiple genres, but is mostly action-adventure-fantasy, so is going on the action list, for now. I wish I had a bit more faith in Ridley Scott’s storytelling after Prometheus, but if Shyamalan can turn it around anyone can.

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        • Victor cserer said

          Agreed. I come to your site regularly as you are pretty good at updating your list as you run into good horror. One of the few sites I go to when I need a good horror flick to watch. Keel up the good work my friend!

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  • gd smith said

    You never know with horror. The best movies in the genre tend to come out of nowhere.

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  • gd smith said

    Despite some doubts I’m looking forward to Alien Covenant. I liked Prometheus because it took in more of the often overlooked influence of H.P Lovecraft on O’Bannon’s original concept. The main problem I can see with this one is that it leans too much on fan service when that’s precisely what has diluted the movies in first place. Not interested in Suspiria at all. To me the whole point of the original is the style. The story barely exists beyond a set up which is not dissimilar to Harry Potter (three sisters/houses, rooms that seem to appear from nowhere, and so on), Remaking it is like rewriting a novel. No mater how good the talent involved is they are not Henry James. I’m not saying this to be snobby. There are plenty of classic things I find a bit of a chore or don’t like, but when that happens I recognize that the issue is my taste not the classic thing.

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    • Victor cserer said

      Remaking susperia? I don’t even know how (or why) you would. Not knocking the film, I liked it. I just can’t imagine a remake. How about a Demons remake? Don’t think argento directed (Bava maybe?), but produced. Definitely my most fav flick he was involved with.

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      • Sheridan Passell said
        Sheridan Passell

        Yeah Demons remake would be fun. Long time since there was a decent horror set in a cinema.

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  • gd smith said

    >> SPLIT SPOILER << I have it on good authority that fans of Unbreakable might like Split.

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  • Nuno Correia said

    Breaking news:

    ‘World War Z 2’ fate confirmed: not anytime soon – and definitely not this year.

    Also, the ‘Friday the 13th’ reboot seems to have been shelved… permanently!

    Can’t say I had high hopes for any of those two.

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    • Sheridan Passell said
      Sheridan Passell

      Yeah, disappointing, especially as Friday 13th was quite far along. The new PC game shows there’s a great retro-feeling Friday waiting to be made. World War Z 2 could be good if they stick closer to the novel and keep Pitt as lead. Both are big moneymakers in prospect so I don’t know what they’re playing at…

      Thanks for the update Nuno.

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  • Sheridan Passell said
    Sheridan Passell

    Updated with a review of The Void, plus previews of Devil’s Candy and It Comes At Night. Rings has been removed for being bad.

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    • Nuno Correia said

      ‘The Void’ seems even more interesting now, and ‘It Comes at Night’ also looks quite interesting, even though it somehow sends off flashes of ’10 Cloverfield Lane’.
      Was ‘Rings’ really that bad? Haven’t seen it yet.
      Also, did you end up doing any change to the 2016 Horror Guide lineup?

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      • Sheridan Passell said
        Sheridan Passell

        Because It Comes At Night is so mysterious, it’s hard to determine if it definitely will be horror, or more like 10 Cloverfield Lane. I think it has a creepier, more unsettling edge to it, compared to ‘Lane which was more Hitchcockian suspense.

        The Void feels like a film from 25 years ago and if you like its influences is definitely worth a watch, though I wouldn’t call it a classic.

        Rings has an IMDB rating of 4.5 and Rotten Tomatoes of 7%, which are both terrible. Making a sequel to The Ring has proved an impossible task for filmmakers, including the director of Ringu. It seems to be a concept that only works within a single film. Bye Bye Man will be the next to go bye bye.

        I’ve been slowly working my way through last year’s late releases, but not updated the list yet. I was hoping Beyond The Gates would chart, but now I’ve seen it, it was my biggest disappointment. I’m expecting The Autopsy Of Jane Doe and I Am Not A Serial Killer to get added. Potentially Ouija 2, Eyes Of My Mother and Evolution.

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        • Nuno Correia said

          There’s also ‘Sadako v Kayako’ (the Japanese version of Freddy vs Jason), which also didn’t seem to garner new cheers for either Ringu or Ju-on…

          On a side note, why don’t you keep the “bad” movies in a separate part the list (like “honorable mentions” or “not good enough to make the list”), like you used to do in previous editions, instead of removing them altogether? Still would give readers a chance to know about them and whether they are worth seeing or not; if they are not mentioned at all, people may think you forgot them and will see them unaware that they may be about to waste a few more hours of their lives.

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          • Sheridan Passell said
            Sheridan Passell

            I may add the ‘not good enough’ back, however I just found too many readers were complaining about the one film in there that they liked, often with venom, and so it became a less positive experience overall. Also with only so many hours in the week I’ve been actively avoiding watching the more notoriously bad ones.

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  • Nuno Correia said

    Regarding the selection of films to watch given the little time available to watch them, I can totally relate. That’s why I’m still in 2008 and haven’t yet caught up with the more recent ones 😉
    I used to watch a lot more, but nowadays I tend to skip those with lower overall ratings.

    As for the complaints, there will always be some. As long as you make it clear that it’s a list based on personal tastes and explain why those movies were left out (and that you haved indeed seen them), you’re pretty much entitled to your opinion no matter what. People will always complain about their favorite movie being left out (more so than those happy to see their favorites in, who usually keep silent). As long as you stay true to your opinion and don’t take comments personal (which usually ends in losing one’s composure), it should be less negative.

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    • Sheridan Passell said
      Sheridan Passell

      You’re going to have to be less comprehensive, you’re almost a decade behind, the Prom Night remake does not need to be watched!

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      • Nuno Correia said

        Considering that I started with 1920 and covered up almost everything up to mid-2008 in about 5 years, it may not take too long to catch up. But yes, the last decade has seen a boom in horror movies of variable quality and I really must only stick with the essentials. The ‘Prom Night’ remake is actually one of next ones in line and I was actually considering skipping it, since I didn’t even like the original. Now I’m certain. Thanks for the heads up!

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  • brooklyn. said

    I love ❤ horror movies I’m a HUGE fan of them when I get home I sit right on the couch straight Away And watching. All the latest horror movies and my favourite is Cult of Chucky if u haven’t seen it go watch it now its awesome!

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  • Sheridan Passell said
    Sheridan Passell

    ADDED
    Previews – Tragedy Girls, My Friend Dahmer, The Limehouse Golem, Jigsaw (Saw 8), Killing Ground, Better Watch Out, Darren Aranofsky’s Mother!
    Reviews – Prevenge, Life, Cure For Wellness, Get Out
    Removed – The Mummy, Resident Evil Final Chapter, Insidious 4 (out next year), Cloverfield: God Particle (ditto), and The Bye Bye Man went bye bye

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