Were the horror movies of 2017 better then in 2016? Judgement time has come. 2017 is part of a bigger trend of horror going mainstream – studios invest more money and get more big names connected to horror projects. A good thing if you ask us.
Check out the top horror releases of 2017. Please note that this list is in no particular order.
Update: Also check out 2018 Horror Movies list!
Split (US, 2017)
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
Starring James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy & Haley Lu Richardson
M. Night Shyamalan is back. In 2015, he directed the found footage horror flick ‘The Visit, which was alright. But ‘Split’ is the real thing, finally proving the potential he displayed in his early career. The story is deceptively simple. Three girls are kidnapped by a man with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities, they must try to escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th. James McAvoy is in great form as one of the most creepy schizophrenics you’ve seen on the big screen so far.
It (US, 2017)
Directed by Andy Muschietti
Starring Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard
The new It remake of Stephen King’s classic novel is directed by Andres Muschietti. In a small town in Maine, seven children known as The Losers Club come face to face with life problems, bullies and a monster that takes the shape of a clown called Pennywise. But you all know that of course. Is this remake better than the original movie from 1990? Well, yes and no. Obviously, the 2017 version is better paced, has better child actors, has more effective jump scares and is more adult-proof when it comes to gory images and foul languages. Unfortunately, no matter how hard actor Bill Skarsgard tries, the 2017 Pennywise isn’t half as scary as the original was.
Raw (France, 2017)
Directed by Julia Ducournau
Starring Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf, Rabah Nait Oufella
Raw, which was originally released in France in 2016, isn’t your typical horror movie. Don’t expect cheap jump scares, ominous strings and haunted houses. This great French body horror movie tells the story of Justine, a young girl who’s just about to get started on a vet school. During the hazing ceremony Justine, who is a convinced vegetarian, is forced to eat raw meat. Unwillingly, she does so, but it doesn’t take long before she starts to develop strange cravings for human flesh herself…
Replace (Germany/Canada, 2017)
Directed by Norbert Keil
Starring Rebecca Forsythe, Lucie Aron, Barbara Crampton
After ‘Raw’, ‘Replace’ is another flick that could be qualified as ‘body horror’. The film evolves around a young woman with a rare disease; her skin ages at an enormous speed. Now of course, our young heroine isn’t going to let that happen. As some sort of contemporary Countess Bathory she hunts down beautiful young girls and ‘replaces’ their soft skins. ‘Replace’, which surprisingly enough is a German/Canadian co-production (an co-written by horror cult figure Richard Stanley) is a visual stunner. Stylish and atmospheric.
The Ritual (United Kingdom, 2017)
Directed by David Bruckner
Starring Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier
Try to imagine a mash-up between ‘The Blair Witch Project’ and M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘The Village’ and you’ll end up somewhere near this Netflix Original. After a friend of theirs has been killed during the robbery of a supermarket, four English mates decide to take a nice little hiking trip in the desolate woods of northern Sweden. As is often the case in films like these, they decide to go off-trail (nooo!). Which obviously is a bad idea. Before they know it, they’re being hunted by some sort of ancient Norse animal. ‘The Ritual’ doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel, but is a well-acted and atmospheric mystery film that will definitely keep you entertained for 90 minutes.
The Transfiguration (United States, 2017)
Directed by Michael O’Shea
Starring Eric Ruffin, Chloe Levine, Jelly Bean
For those who enjoyed Swedish vampire coming-of-drama ‘Let the Right One In’. ‘The Transfiguration’ evolves around Milo, a young boy who with a healthy interest for vampires. When he meets a girl who feels just as alienated as he does, they form an awkward bond. Growing up in a poor neighborhood, Milo obsession with vampires is getting worse and worse, up until the point he starts believing he’s an actual vampire. Or is he really? Made with minimal resources, ‘The Transfiguration’ is a meticulously paced art house horror that will stay with you for a while after viewing.
Creep 2 (United States, 2017)
Directed by Patrick Brice
Starring Patrick Brice, Mark Duplass and Desiree Akhavan
Peachfuzz returns to the big screen in this surprisingly good sequel. Mark Duplass reprises his role as the ‘Creep’ and he is clearly having a blast at it. This around, a film student (Desiree Akhavan) decides to visit and interview a man who claims to be a serial killer. What follows, is basically one long interview (yup, it’s a found footage again) with an ending you can probably guess. Another great low-budget mumblegore movie full of weird jokes and disturbing scenes.
It Comes at Night (United States, 2017)
Directed by Trey Edward Shults
Starring Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo
‘It Comes at Night’ is one of those movies where you get to see very little but yet manages to keep you thrilled for its entire runtime. Taking placing after an unspecified pandemic, a family is living in a wooden house somewhere in the woods. They live according strict rules; apparently there’s something out there that forces them to do so. When one day a family shows up, they reluctantly take them in.
Get Out (United States, 2017)
Directed by Jordan Peele
Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford
Obviously this list wouldn’t be complete without 2017 box office smash hit ‘Get Out’. Much has been said about this one, but Jordan Peele’s satirical horror comedy about a black guy visiting his so-called openminded white parents-in-law, is simply one of the most refreshing movies in general we saw in years.
A Dark Song (Ireland, 2017)
Directed by Liam Gavin
Starring Steve Oram, Catherine Walker, Susan Loughnane
Within the realm of horror cinema, shooting movies on a shoestring is quite common. A minimalistic approach is usually born out of necessity, often with poor results. ‘A Dark Song’, which takes mainly place in a single room with just two actors, is quite the exception to the rule. Revolving about a traumatized woman and an occultist trying to make contact with her murdered son, this movie is high on atmosphere and subtle suspense.
The Void (Canada, 2017)
Directed by Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski
Starring Aaron Poole, Kenneth Welsh, Daniel Fathers
Think of everything great John Carpenter directed in the 1970’s/80’s, throw it in a blender and ‘The Void’ would be your blood-red smoothie. Admittedly, this movie about a bunch of people locked in a hospital that is surrounded by some weird cult is kind of a mess. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t wickedly fun and entertaining! If you’re in for some bloody retro gore, this is your thing.
Cold Hell (2017, Germany/Austria)
Directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky
Starring Violetta Schurawlow, Tobias Moretti, Robert Palfrader
A female cab driver from Vienna witnesses the brutal murder of a prostitute. A frantic cat-and-mouse game between a ruthless serial killer and tough lady sets out… If ‘The Void’ was basically one big homage to John Carpenter, this Austrian/German co-production is essentially a love letter to the cinema of Brian de Palma.
Danur: I Can See Ghosts (Indonesia, 2017)
Starring Prilly Latuconsina, Shareefa Daanish, Wesley Andrew
Made with a modest budget of less than 200.000$ this Indonesian horror fairytale was a domestic smash hit in 2017. Evolving around an 8-year old girl who befriends three ghosts, this beautifully inventive movie is unlike anything you’ve seen recently. There’s something deeply Asian about the way supernatural elements are integrated in everyday life in cinema.
Tragedy Girls (United States, 2017)
Directed by Tyler MacIntyre
Starring Brianna Hildebrand, Alexandra Shipp, Jack Quaid
A pitch black horror comedy about two sadistic high schoolers with a healthy lust for blood. A tried and tested recipe one might say. Think of ‘Heathers’ (1988), ‘Heavenly Creatures’ (1994) or more recently, ‘Thoroughbreds’ (2018). ‘Tragedy Girls’. about two teen girls running an online show about real-life blood baths that take matters into own hands for the sake of becoming famous, is just that, but it’s way more fun and gory.
Gerald’s Game (United States, 2017)
Directed by Mike Flanagan
Starring Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Chiara Aurelia
Based on a story by Stephen King, ‘Gerald’s Game’ is without a doubht the movie on this list with the juiciest premise. To revitalize their marriage, a man and woman rent an isolated cottage in the countryside for some good old BDSM. Unfortunately, the man dies suddenly from a heart attack while his wife lies in bed handcuffed. Visited by her inner demons, she has to survive the night. Don’t expect classic Stephen King stuff; ‘Gerald’s Game’ is a great psychological thriller in the truest sense of the word.
mother! (United States, 2017)
Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris
The great thing about Darren Aronofsky’s films, is that they’re usually scary as hell, but never really qualify as ‘horror movies’. I mean, ‘Black Swan’, ‘Pi’ or ‘Requiem for a Dream’ gave me the creeps, but there wasn’t any blood, jump scare or supernatural occult bullshit involved. Ironically enough, ‘Mother’ starts out as a kind of traditional home invasion film, but ends up somewhere no filmmaker has ever been before.
A Cure for Wellness (United States 2017)
Directed by Gore Verbinski
Starring Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth
Marrowbone (Spain, 2017)
Directed by Sergio G. Sánchez
Starring George MacKay, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton