As the resident horror trash, I’ve taken it upon myself to tell YOU what I thought was the best horror of 2017. Now, there will be one glaring omission from this list: IT: Chapter One. This is because I was too afraid to see it by myself and my co-host and life partner Matt said, “I don’t f*** with clowns.” So here we are, the best of 2017 minus IT.
10. Gerald’s Game (Available on Netflix)
This wasn’t as terrifying as it was uncomfortable. Taking place in mostly one room and with one actress, this Netflix original was able to make me sick to my stomach with the uncomfortable ways it highlighted the protagonist’s trauma and abuse. Not to mention the Moon Man making for a creepy figure I’m still kind of scared to find at the foot of my bed. I won’t ever watch it again, but it definitely deserves a watch, with a strong trigger warning for those who have survived interpersonal violence.
9. XX (Available on Netflix)
Horror is almost always about women and so much if it isn’t written or directed by female creators. In XX, we get a horror anthology that prioritizes the voices of women in horror and delivers us some scares, a laugh or two, and an uncomfortable commentary on being a mother (which is my favorite of the four). Directed by Jovanka Vuckovic (directorial debut), Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent, directorial debut), Roxanne Benjamin (Southbound, The Guest), and one of my favorite directors, Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body, The Invitation), XX is much needed and a must watch for any genre fan.
8. Little Evil (Available on Netflix)
From the director of Tucker and Dale Vs Evil, this horror comedy takes a shot at possession horror much in the same way TDvsE did with slashers. Staring Ben Wyatt—er I mean Adam Scott as the step-dad of the anti-Christ and a creepy kid who’s name isn’t important but will make you not want children any where near you, Little Evil is a great meta-horror that shows us why possession movies aren’t always scary, why they’re cheesy, and just reminds you love them all the same.
7. The Devil’s Candy (Available on Netflix)
It took a second viewing to really catch everything, but the way in which the narrative is layered makes every time you see The Devil’s Candy a new experience. It’s a winding story of a family that moves to a dream house, a daughter who is given a guitar by a stranger, a hallucinating father, and what that stranger brings to their door. With demonic voices layered over heavy metal music, the character performances and setting get you invested, and the family’s struggle keeps you there.
6. Raw (Available on Netflix)
This French film about a vegetarian veterinary student who discovers what meat tastes like was probably the first time a horror movie made me look away from the screen in a long time. The body horror is superbly done and the twist is unexpected. I won’t write more because this is one movie you need watch without information beyond the trailer.
5. The Babysitter (Available on Netflix)
When camp is done wrong it’s oh-so-wrong, but when it’s done right, you end up with one of the best horror comedies we’ve has in a long time. This Netflix Original leans all the way into horror b-movie gore and kills and the jokes land on a bed of camp that is unmatched. Who knew a boy witnessing a good ol’fashion satanic sacrifice could be so much fun. Not to mention the comedic acting is to die for.
4. It Comes at Night (Available on VOD)
A house, the woods, a family, a dog, that’s all you should know going into this movie. It’s minimalistic in it’s premise and effects, you hear more than it shows, and yet, it is able to make you care for the characters and become completely afraid of the dark. It’s beautifully shot, lit, and the architecture of the house brings the anxiety to life. This is a hit or miss though, it seems for some fans, but if you go in with no expectations of the terror they’re facing then I promise you’ll walk away scared and a big mess of emotion.
3. Creep 2 (Available on Netflix)
If you can’t tell by now, I love being uncomfortable when watching horror — that’s what makes it good to me. As the sequel to Creep, what I consider one of the best found-footage films ever made, we get the creepy Mark Duplass (The League, The Mindy Show) back at his old games opposite a female vlogger, played by Desiree Akhavan. Duplass shows off his uncanny ability to make you squirm in your seat with his evil as well his awkwardness and Akhavan gives a protagonist we can relate to and root for while Duplass leave unsure of everything happening in the story. Watching Creep (the first one) is a necesity to fully appreciate the arc but if you don’t have an extra hour and a half the movie does a good job with enough exposition to tell where you are but not too much to seem tedious.
2. The Blackcoat’s Daughter (Available on VOD)
Picking out my top “2” was difficult, I would have a three-way tie if I could but that wouldn’t make for a good list. In this movie Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men) and Emma Roberts (American Horror Story, Scream Queens) make it very apparent young women can carry a film and tear apart your nerves. Starting with 2 school girls left alone at thier boarding schools over winter break and winding into the narrative of a young hitchhike, the twists and turns and eerie score keep you guessing and following until the final reveal. I’m extremely surprised that Shipka wasn’t at least given a nod for her beautiful acting here, but as a genre film, we know the Oscars will ignore it, and that’s a shame.
1b. The Shape of Water (In theaters now)
I didn’t know this was horror, I think it is because of some of the violence and because of the The Asset. Initially I had left it off, but as my one of my favorite movies of the year, I had to include it. It is pure Guillermo del Toro. Unfiltered, untamed, and beautiful Guillermo del Toro. We follow the story of Elisa, a mute member of the cleaning staff of a government facility and what happens when she meets the strangely sexy Asset. This is a fairy-tale for adults, and a fairy-tale for the ages. A love story, a drama, and a breathtaking work that solidifies del Toro as a master of storytelling and of creature design.
1a. Get Out (Available on HBO Now)
A horror master-piece from Jordan Peele is not a sentence I ever thought I would say, given his stellar comedic writing. But from the first 5 minutes to the last shot, this movie gets into your skin and stays there. It turns a mirror on the danger often lurking under the surface of liberal whites toward people of color, and how society’s injsutices often leads us to a sunken place of immobility, fear, and danger. The writing ir beautiful, the cinematography is masterful, and the twist, oh, the twist is from out of left-field. If you haven’t seen by now, you’ve been missing one of the best movies of 2017 and certainly the best horror film of the last year. It does what horror is meant to do, be the mirror of our fears and bring the viewer into an empathetic seat where the feel the danger, the fear, and the unease our protagonist feels. Here’s to hoping some people learned lessons.