And so, 2017 is over and what a year it was. For me, personally, it was an awakening one as my first child was born and it has been fantastic, its been a struggle, granted, trying to juggle being a dad and feeding my excessive horror appetite, but we did it. And hence why my favorite horror films for the past year is a little late, but it’s finally here. We’ve seen a wide variety of releases this year and I’m pretty sure there has been something for everyone, and granted I haven’t seen every release, but these are the ones that truly stood out for me and that’s why they’ve made my list.
So lets begin, and in no particular order, here’s my best picks for 2017…
Capture Kill Release
Ugh found footage movies. At one point I would go out of my way to catch the latest found footage/POV horror flick, but much like the zombie sub-genre it quickly became oversaturated and I lost interest. But, I was sent Capture Kill Release to check out and at first I was hesitant. Was this just going to be another run-of-the-mill shaky-cam flick? Thankfully no, it’s a grisly disturbing tale about a young couple who prepare killing a stranger just simply for the sexual thrill, and it is absolutely brutal at times, especially that bathtub scene. Directors Nick McAnulty and Brian Stewart have expertly crafted a genuinely dark and twisted found footage movie which gave me hope about the sub-genre.
Better Watch Out
Chris Peckover’s Better Watch Out is a twisted little home-invasion horror flick set during the festive season, and it’s a blast. There’s not much to say without spoiling this one, but if you’re after a new Christmas-themed horror movie, Better Watch Out should most definitely be on your wish list. It’s violent, funny, dark, twisted, and just so much fun.
Netflix, what a joy it is, right? I’ve heard a few people complain about the slight price increase, and granted sometimes the library of films could be improved upon, but mostly they deliver a vast array and I think its VERY good money for what we get especially when we get little gems like Mike Flanagan’s feature film adaptation of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game. This sucker had me hooked from start to finish, even the mysterious Moonlight Man added another element to this one, but what completely sold me was that freakin’ brutal hand scene, it takes a lot to make me wince, but that hit me. It was beautifully done and just absolutely excruciating to watch.
Well, this one was a strange one. Adrian Corona’s Dis told the story of the Mandrake root and an ex-soldier who just so happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and we witness some truly bizarre imagery, quite perverse in parts but equally mesmerizing. It is quite experimental so I’m sure it won’t appeal to the masses, but if you’re after something unique especially with the Mandrake, then give this one a watch. It also stars Bill Oberst Jr., and he delivers yet another powerhouse performance.
Films that receive so much praise I somewhat ignore as sometimes the hype can outweigh the film itself, but, damn, was Jordan Peele’s Get Out a razor-sharp directorial debut or what? You’ve probably seen it and I’m sure you either loved it or hated it. As you can tell I loved it and you should believe the hype regardless of what genre you may call it. To me, it was a super entertaining film and it will firmly sit proudly in my collection.
One of the most anticipated movies of the last year was Julia Ducournau’s Raw, and boy did she deliver. When you hear of people actually fainting during its festival run, you know that this is something you have to check out and Ducournau did not hold back, this is a gut-churning film which will keep many of you gorehounds pleased. It’s a coming of age horror film with some disturbing consequences, I urge you to check this one out if you haven’t already done so.
Michael O’Shea’s The Transfiguration appeared out of nowhere for me, and boy did it hit me. The film is quite open in the fact that we don’t really know what it is. Is it a vampire film or a serial killer movie? Perhaps it’s the two combined. Either way, it’s an enthralling piece that’s brooding, sinister and utterly unflinching. It’s tone and aspects of the film are much like George A. Romero’s Martin and even Larry Fessenden’s Habit, but O’Shea has certainly made The Transfiguration very much his own.
I’ve always enjoyed the It mini-series for what it was mainly due to Tim Curry’s performance as Pennywise the Clown, but when I heard of the feature film, I knew I had to check it out. Thankfully, for me, it hit all the marks. Bill Skarsgård made Pennywise his own, and I felt a connection with The Losers’ Club. It was a fun adaptation and there’s not much else to say than what everyone else has already said, just that I can’t wait for the follow-up. Did you dig It?
Another foreign film to make the list is Lucio A. Rojas’ absolutely shockingly brutal film, Trauma, which in parts is on the same level as A Serbian Film. The film features extreme scenes of disturbing brutality and graphic sexual assaults. Behind all the violence and mayhem, Rojas paints his point of view in the portrayal of the military dictatorship and the Human Rights violations which occurred as a result in Chile, and he doesn’t hold any punches. It is a hard watch, especially some of the sexual scenes, but if you’ve seen A Serbian Film, you know the level of what to expect.
What did you guys make of 2017 and what are some of your favorites of the past year?