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Top 25 Best Horror Movies Of 2017

19th – Jigsaw
Starring: Matt Passmore, Callum Keith Rennie, Laura Vandervoort, Tobin Bell
Directors: Peter Spierig, Michael Spierig
Released: October 27, 2017
best horror movies 2017

 -Seen It-  Bodies start turning up around the city, as we watch a set of confess-or-die torture games gets underway in a countryside warehouse. Two detectives start to suspect a female coroner with a Jigsaw obsession. Are they dealing with a copycat, or is Jigsaw himself still alive?… Seven years after the franchise seemingly wrapped up comes this soft reboot from two pedigree filmmakers. Indeed this is a good Saw film for 70 minutes, the setup is intriguing and it delivers on what you’d expect – but then it finally has to show its hand. The problem is the previous films have written this series into a corner. Here it needed a full reset. Instead the desire to include Tobin Bell (in a capacity I won’t spoil here) just doesn’t make physical sense and the elaborateness/motivation of the killer doesn’t convince. The Spierig Brothers (‘Daybreakers’, ‘Predestination’) are great genre filmmakers, but with no story room, fresh concept or personal stamp they must have made this for the money. The series should have ended after the 4th, but if you’ve watched this far then ‘Jigsaw’ will deliver more of what you’ve been enjoying.

18th – The Void
Starring: Aaron Poole, Ellen Wong, Kathleen Munroe, Stephanie Belding
Directors: Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski
Released: April 7, 2017 (UK: March 31, 2017)
Top Horror Films 2017

 -Seen It-  When a cop (Poole) happens upon a blood-soaked figure limping down a deserted stretch of road, he rushes the young man to a nearby hospital staffed by a skeleton crew. Soon hooded cult members have surrounded it, and patients and personnel are transforming into something inhuman. He’ll have to lead the survivors on a hellish voyage into the subterranean depths of the hospital to try and end this nightmare… The writer-director duo did fx on the likes of ‘Pacific Rim’ and TV’s ‘Hannibal’ and turned to Indiegogo to fund ‘The Void’s’ all-practical creatures. The result is an effectively made Carpenter-inspired Lovecraftian siege horror (think ‘Prince of Darkness’ meets Fulci), complete with solid performances and unsettling atmospherics. It almost makes the case for a return to practical monster fx, though the creature designs ought to have shrugged off past influences (‘The Thing’, ‘The Fly’, ‘Hellraiser’ etc) to present something more memorably unique.

17th – Death Note
Starring: Nat Wolff, Margaret Qualley, Keith Stanfield, Willem Dafoe
Director: Adam Wingard
Released: August 25, 2017
good horror movies 2017

 -Seen It-  Supernatural horror-thriller based on the popular manga series. Light Turner (Wolff, ‘Paper Towns’), a bright student, stumbles across a mystical notebook that has the power to kill any person whose name he writes in it – overseen by its malevolent creator Ryuk (Dafoe), a demonic god of death. Light decides to launch a secret vigilante crusade to rid the streets of criminals, allying with his attractive classmate Mia (Qualley, ‘The Nice Guys’). Soon he finds himself pursued by a skilled detective (Stanfield, ‘Get Out’) known only by the alias L, who’s determined to end his reign of terror and who fears the intoxication Light has with his new godlike serial killing ability… Director Adam Wingard made the excellent ‘The Guest’ and ‘You’re Next’, and certainly doesn’t shy from a fan-wrath challenge having also helmed 2016 sequel/reboot ‘Blair Witch’. The budget for this Netflix-produced movie is reportedly a high $40-50 million. It’s well directed, with solid cinematography, score and feels like a proper theatrical movie rather than a Netflix original. Hollywood has struggled to successfully adapt Japanese mangas given how culturally specific, lengthy and visually intense they are and, as with ‘Dragonball Evolution’ and ‘Ghost in the Shell’, there have been accusations of whitewashing, before the inevitable cries of story dilution. Here the 12-volume manga comic / 37-episode TV series is being squeezed into 2 hours. But some of the questionable changes were not time-dictated. Light’s constant companion in the original was Ryuk, who was often as sad a figure as he was sinister, but the addition of a girlfriend character here sidelines that interesting relationship, making Ryuk simply a cackling villain. Meanwhile Light’s morally corrupt actions in the manga meant audience sympathy often shifted back and forth to L, an intreguing dynamic. But here the questionable death decisions are made by someone else, leaving Light a good guy throughout. The introduction of L doesn’t translate well, now he’s an over-the-top quirky American rather than Japanese elusive, but the performance settles as time goes on. Long time fans invested in the lore will bemoan changes like these, with justification, but those new to it, or more casual, will find something to enjoy. Judged on its own merits this is still a solid, well-made horror based on an interesting premise.

16th – The Belko Experiment
Starring: John Gallagher, Jr., Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona, John C. McGinley, Michael Rooker
Director: Greg McLean
Released: March 17, 2017
Best Horror 2017 Movies

In a dark social experiment, a group of eighty Americans are locked in their high-rise corporate office in Colombia and ordered by a voice from the intercom to play a deadly game – kill three coworkers each, or the company will kill six… It’s ‘Battle Royale’ with a slight tweak to the rules and participants. But ‘Belko’ should prove a more satisfying and adult version than ‘Hunger Games’. From the director of the solid ‘Wolf Creek’ movies and flop ‘The Darkness’, it’s written and co-produced by James Gunn. His career high with ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ has got this long-gestating project off the ground. Gunn is a terrific writer of the farcically-underpinned, having been born out the Troma school, with much of his stuff achieving a cult status (see ‘Slither’). Expect ‘Belko’ to open soft but find that same audience later, especially when some of its more out-there gory scenes hit YouTube.

15th – Alien: Covenant
Starring: Katherine Waterston, Michael Fassbender, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride
Director: Ridley Scott
Released: May 19, 2017
best horror film 2017

 -Seen It-  Couples on the colony ship Covenant (inc Waterston, Crudup, McBride) track a mysterious signal to the home planet of The Engineers, ancient pre-humans. There they encounter megalomaniac android David (Fassbender) from the doomed Prometheus, also his deadly alien prototypes, and learn the fate of his companion Shaw… Ridley Scott’s second swing at a prequel has good atmosphere, some beautiful vistas, and decent performances from the likes of Danny McBride. None of it is fresh however, it’s almost a ‘Prometheus’ remake – instead of following David and Shaw, which would have been more original, it’s yet another ship, another crew, another distress call, landing on another planet to be infected and picked off. Given Ridley has a reputation as a great “world builder”, the engineer homeworld is extremely underdeveloped. An Alien prequel shouldn’t be answering who created the aliens (or human beings), the fear of the first two films came from it being a random encounter with a deep space creature. Instead it ought to be showing their natural habitat and expanding the otherwordly biology. Making them the creation of a rogue android just demystifies them and doesn’t feel legit (not to mention the pretentious silliness of David kissing himself, playing the flute, and prompting a baby alien to do jazz hands). But while the ideas behind ‘Covenant’ let it down, the money is there on screen and it’s still entertaining in a brain-off way. The protomorph sequences are the highlight. They’re effectively creepy and both the back-bursting scene and the gory grasslands scene are pretty memorable. There are some great touches too, like how Walter “folds” when he is attacked. ‘Covenant’ exists really as a curiosity, and missed opportunity.

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Best Horror Films 2017

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23 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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  • Davin said

    Thanks for a cool list!

    I really appreciate it.

    When I try Google to find a good list of Horror movies, it comes up with sites that are actually horror movie / review / news sites (UHM et al); I would expect they would post a nice list of movies reviewed by them. Though most of the time they leave me guessing, which movies were good by year.

    Thanks for keeping it clear.

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