Horror Movies 2017 – Guide13.01.17 # Horror Movies # 20 Comments
Let’s take a look at the biggest and potentially best horror movies of 2017. The scary list features the usual mix of sequels (‘Rings’), remakes (‘It’), soft reboots (‘Friday the 13th’), 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 on the horizon. Get excited. Let me know your picks, or anything I’ve missed, in the comments.
25th – The Bye Bye Man
Starring: Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount, Cressida Bonas, Doug Jones
Director: Stacy Title
Released: January 13, 2017 (U.S. Dates)
In 1990s Wisconsin, three college friends stumble upon the origins of the Bye Bye Man, a mysterious figure that’s the root cause of evil behind man’s most unspeakable acts. Uttering his name, or having him in your mind, will call him to you. “Don’t say it, Don’t think it.”… Carrie-Anne Moss and Faye Dunaway add credibility to the supporting cast, while cult creature-performer Doug Jones (Abe in ‘Hellboy’) plays the title character. The director made the solid ‘Last Supper’ way back in 1995, but has hardly helmed anything since, except ‘Snoop Doggs Hood of Horror’. The PG-13 horror is adapted from the one page (and not worth adapting) short story ‘The Bridge to Body Island’. It appears to be a frankenstein of ideas from ‘Candyman’ (don’t say his name), Slenderman (tall figure in photo backgrounds) and others, and even has the closing-bathroom-mirror-scare. Meanwhile the rules seem too broad and muddled: He gives visions, possesses, kills, and feeds on fear, and spreads like a virus? Still, the production values look good, and perhaps borrowed ideas will still be decent ones.
24th – Leatherface
Starring: Sam Strike, Lili Taylor, Stephen Dorff, Vanessa Grasse, James Bloor
Directors: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury
Released: TBC 2017
In the 1950s, four psychopathic teenagers escape from a mental hospital, kidnapping a nurse in their escape, and find themselves pursued by a vengeful Texas ranger (Dorff). Which of the four will become Leatherface is a mystery. Lily Taylor (‘The Conjuring’) plays the mom… The Texas Chainsaw franchise is in a mess, with a reboot (2003) followed by a prequel (2006), then another reboot (2013), now another prequel. Why? Well the rights keep being sold on. Tellingly, the character of Leatherface has now had five different names – Bubba, Junior, Thomas, Jedidiah and…this one. The main problem with a Leatherface origin story is that it was done two movies ago. At least this version takes a different approach, removing the ‘group of teens who will become victims’ subplot completely, for a Rob Zombie ‘Devil’s Rejects’ family-road trip/’Halloween’ prequel angle. Zombie’s killer-as-a-youth character study was awful, because the approach requires particularly skilled writing, and these sequelised horror-icon franchises don’t typically attract top screenwriting talent. Nonetheless, making ‘Leatherface’ an R-rated road movie, with a “who-is-it” at the center, means the structure ought to be more interesting than recent efforts. The French directors made the well-received ‘Inside’ in 2007, but have since followed it with two mediocre efforts. Faint hope.
23rd – Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts, Iain Glen
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson
Released: January 27, 2017
Picking up three weeks after the events in ‘Resident Evil: Retribution’, humanity is on its last legs after Alice (Jovovich) is betrayed by Wesker in Washington D.C. As the only survivor of what was meant to be humanity’s final stand against the undead hordes, Alice must join forces with old friends (inc. Ali Larter as Claire Redfield) and return to where the nightmare began – Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse… Ticket sales in the U.S. saw a drop off with ‘Retribution’ but internationally the series remains a money-making machine. Boredom is kicking in though for director and star – Paul W.S. Anderson has stated this will be the last one he directs, while Milla Jovovich won’t play Alice again. Anderson says, “here we’re coming full circle, back to the characters, themes and setting from the very first film.” He promises major revelations about Alice’s identity and background, concealed by her memory loss since the first film, that will “make audiences re-examine everything they have seen in the franchise”. It’s a shame they turned a Romero-inspired horror franchise into a brainless action one. Many of us have been hoping for a reboot since it started, but 15 years of Paul W. S. Anderson later, and we’re probably headed for a spinoff in the same universe. ‘Final Chapter’ should be solid entertainment for long-time fans.
22nd – Annabelle 2
Starring: Stephanie Sigmanm, Talitha Bateman, Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto
Director: David F. Sandberg
Released: August 11, 2017
A dollmaker (LaPaglia) and his wife, whose daughter tragically died twenty years earlier, decide to open their home to a nun (Sigman) and several girls from an orphanage that has been closed. But the dollmaker’s possessed creation Annabelle sets her sights on the children and turns their shelter into a storm of horror… The first ‘Annabelle’ was a spinoff prequel to ‘The Conjuring’ and this too is set before the Warrens acquired the demonic doll for their private collection. ‘Annabelle’ had effective atmosphere, a decent if forgettable story (same writer here), and made the doll creepy as hell. The biggest issue was the lead characters were too vanilla – perfectly functional but not compelling people in their own right. Though no one was demanding a sequel, can this do better? The capable director of ‘Lights Out’ has a good shot, and last year’s ‘Oujia 2’ was better than its predecessor.
21st – Patient Zero
Starring: Matt Smith, Natalie Dormer, Clive Standen, Stanley Tucci
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Released: February 17, 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.
20th – The Mummy
Starring: Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson, Russell Crowe
Director: Alex Kurtzman
Released: June 9, 2017
Thought safely entombed in a crypt deep beneath the unforgiving desert, an ancient queen (Boutella, ‘Kingsman’, ‘Star Trek Beyond’) whose destiny was unjustly taken from her, is awakened in our current day, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia and terrors that defy human comprehension. From the sweeping sands of the Middle East through hidden labyrinths under modern-day London, The Mummy will usher in a new world of gods and monsters… Tom Cruise (‘Top Gun’) is charged with taking her down. Annabelle Wallis (er, ‘Annabelle’) is an archaeologist. Jake Johnson (‘Lets Be Cops’) is a soldier this time. Unlike the Brandon Fraser trilogy, this will be set in present day (and not be as cheesy). Though ‘Dracula Untold’ teased it in its end credits, this is the first coordinated film in Universal’s shared monsters universe. Therefore Russell Crowe has a significant supporting role as Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde. Future films are expected to include Johnny Depp as The Invisible Man, also Wolf Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Van Helsing and Bride of Frankenstein. All will be action-adventure based rather than horror. Long-time blockbuster writer and producer Alex Kurtzman is overseeing the universe and making his blockbuster-directing debut here. Forget Cruise fighting a Mummy, I want to see Crowe going mental as Jekyll & Hyde right now…