Upon watching 137 horror flicks and reviewing 65 that came out in 2017, it all came down to this: the top 10 horror films of the years, plus 5 honourable mentions.
This year flew by, providing us – horror lovers – with many titles we won’t forget any time soon. In fact, 2017 has been one of the best years for horror cinema in recent times, in terms of both indie flicks and mainstream blockbusters (among which the highest-grossing and the best reviewed horror flicks of all-time)!
In fact, I was truly tempted to write a TOP 17 or TOP 18, due to the vast amount of good motion pictures within our beloved genre… however, such a title wouldn’t sound catchy at all, would it?
In all seriousness, I want to make clear that this list is a product of my personal opinions and tastes, therefore grades and overall quality don’t count: this is my list, based on my viewing experiences and personal considerations. Simply put, unlike my regular reviews, here I didn’t try to be objective and unbiased. For example, I considered worth including those movies that got me thinking, that provided me with a cinematic experience, that were highly entertaining and rewatchable, that featured original elements.
Before we dive right in my TOP 10, I’d like to list a few honourable mentions – bear in mind I didn’t take into consideration Del Toro’s Shape of Water nor Mayhem, because the first one I haven’t seen yet and the second one I don’t consider a horror movie… although I highly suggest you to check it out!
Here my five honourable mentions: Resurreccion (Resurrection, Argentina) a subtle drama/possession movie; Split, the best Shyamalan’s flick since The Village (2004)… which isn’t saying much, I know; It Comes at Night, a very frustrating mystery that I couldn’t help but being captivated by for many reasons; The Dark Tapes, which in my opinion is the best American horror anthology in the last 15-20 years; The Girl with All the Gifts (England), a ground-breaking coming-of-age zombie movie that I strongly recommend and would have made my TOP 10… if it wasn’t for the fact that, this year, I loved 10 films even more than this one. Starting with…
10. Let Her Out (Canada) – Body horror at its finest, Let Her Out manages to be creepy and disturbing at the same time, despite a few inconsistencies every here and there. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a good film – in fact, my grade for it is a mediocre 6/10 – but I truly dug it nonetheless.
9. IT – Oh man, I’m so glad the all-time highest-grossing horror film didn’t turn out to be a money-grabbing factory product! Andy Muschietti’s adaptation of this shocking Stephen King’s novel did everything right: great story, fantastic pace and awesome casting choices. The characters in It are simply fabulous and Bill Skarsgård’s performance as Pennywise is mesmerising. This film didn’t achieve a higher spot on my list only because I didn’t feel any sense of urgency and, in my opinion, it wasn’t even remotely frightening or unsettling. Still, a great and entertaining ride.
8. The Evil Within – 15 years in the making for Andrew Gitty’s film – with the director passing away before the release of its own creature – which can be described as a nightmarish journey into a disturbed mind. Filled with dream-like sequences and creepy imagery, The Evil Within is something unseen before: although it has flaws and it shows the issues it went through during the making process, this film is a must-watch for non-mainstream audiences.
7. A Cure for Wellness – Let me be clear: the ending of Gore Verbinski’s film is downright stupid and convoluted. Up until then, however, A Cure for Wellness is a perfectly solid mystery, backed up by great performances by the lead actors, an unsettling atmosphere and, mostly, stunning visuals. Seriously, this movie has the best cinematography I’ve seen the whole year (alongside Blade Runner 2049 and Dunkirk), it’s visually gorgeous and I play it in Blu-Ray every time I can, enjoying it as a pure form of visual art.
6. Killing Ground (Australia) – I had no anticipation whatsoever for this Aussie unconventional ‘rape and revenge’ tale. Thus, Killing Ground blew my mind when I first watched it, due to its clever usage of timeline and characters. Even though the ending is quite polarising, I thought it perfectly fitted the film. Australia pulled it off once again!
5. Get Out – In regards to endings, the one of Get Out is extremely fulfilling. The entire Peele’s directorial debut is, in fact, a great ride that combines horror, comedy and subtle social commentary. Not to be overlooked are also the technical features of this movie. It’s not by chance that Get Out became the best reviewed horror flick of all time!
4. The Eyes of My Mother (USA/Portugal) – Directorial debut of Nicolas Pesce, this black&white, artsy fairy tale is the only 2017 horror film I couldn’t find any flaw with, thus the only one I would give a 10/10 to. Creepy atmosphere, slow but intense pace and a few unconventional scares make for a marvellous film that will easily gain a cult following. I loved The Eyes of My Mother… but I loved three other horror films even more.
3. Gerald’s Game – This film proved two things: Mike Flanagan is among the best horror directors working today and 2017 was a great year for Stephen King’s adaptations. Gerald’s Game is extremely unsettling throughout, all the while managing to present a few effective jump-scares and do it in an unconventional way. Flanagan’s Netflix movie is also emotionally impactful and symbolically powerful. I loved every single second of it and watched it already three times!
2. Mother! – It’s been quite a busy year for moms in the horror realm! Darren Aronofsky’s masterpiece will easily become a classic of the genre in 10/20 years time: if you want to know more about this epic religious horror drama, click on the title and read my collaboration/review to understand why this cinematic experience made my TOP 3.
And my favourite horror film of 2017 is…
1. The Blackcoat’s Daughter – The reason why I loved this film so much can be found in its symbolism and meaning, as well as in the subtle, both unsettling and emotional execution. Is this a perfect movie? In my opinion, it’s not (I’d give it a 7.5/10), but it worked perfectly for me. The viewing experience was awesome and it was even more enthralling to read into the film of Oz Perkins (son of Anthony Perkins, aka Norman Bates). Great all-around performances, fantastic atmosphere, best soundtrack of the year and a masterful script: The Blackcoat’s Daughter has it all for me and, thus, it’s easily my favourite horror film of the year.
What about you, guys? What’s your TOP 10 BEST horror movies of 2017? Let me know and we will see each other in 2018, hoping next year will be on par. Cheers!