2017 was an important year in horror films. In addition to the usual blockbusters, it was also a year that saw horror and genre films land Best Picture nominations at the Academy Awards. Get Out may not have won the top honor, but it did win for Best Original Screenplay. Another genre film, The Shape of Water, did win Best Picture, and while it was a beautiful film, it's not necessarily a horror film (though it does have a monster). Fantasy-romance, yes; horror, no.
There were also some great small-release, indie horror films out there. Stuff that you might pass by when flipping through Netflix or Hulu, but things you should really stop and check out. Below are our Top 10 horror films of 2017. Hopefully you will find a few gems in here!
The 1990 TV adaptation of Stephen King's It is considered a classic, but if you go back and watch it... it's not that good. Tim Curry as Pennywise is the standout of the film, but he's only in like eight minutes. The 2017 theatrical remake brings in Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise - and he does not disappoint as the replacement for the film's best component. Set in 1988, a group of kids band together in the face of bullies and rotten parents. Dubbing themselves the Loser's Club, Bill (the leader of the bunch) begins to think his little brother, Georgie (who was murdered the year prior) isn't really dead. As he and his friends investigate, they discover the town's terrifying history, one that includes Pennywise the Dancing (and murderous) Clown.
Not only was this one of the best horror films of 2017, it was one of the best films of the year - period. Horror films have always done an excellent job at addressing important social issues (everything from Romero's zombie films to Carpenter's They Live to Zarchi's I Spit on Your Grave) and Get Out is no exception. When Rose, an upper-class white girl, takes her black boyfriend Chris home to meet her parents, he's understandably nervous. Her parents try to show they are "woke" in an embarrassing way, but it turns out that their motives even more insidious than Chris could imagine.
Director Darren Aronofsky's art house horror was a love-it-or-hate-it film - there was no in-between. It is a deep, "dream-like" film without a simple, straight-forward narrative while religious allegories abound. A young woman and her poet husband live a seemingly idyllic life in a house in the middle of nowhere. After many attempts, she finally becomes pregnant. This prompts change in their idyllic life, as it is interrupted by mysterious strangers who barge in, followed by a mob of poetry fans whose adulation turns violent.
Quietly released onto Netflix, The Babysitter is a straight-up satanic slasher movie. A young boy has a crush on his super-cool babysitter (aptly played by Samara Weaving) - until he discovers that she and her friends are part of a satanic cult and the murders begin. The resulting mayhem is silly, bloody fun.
47 Meters Down
47 Meters Down isn't necesarily a great movie, but it's definitely a fun movie. No deeper meaning, no social commentary. Just blood and action. Sometimes that's all you want. Two sisters go on vacation in Mexico. While there, they meet a young man who takes them on a dodgy shark diving trip. Of course, everything goes wrong: the dive cage sinks to the bottom of the ocean, the girls run out of oxygen, one sister gets trapped beneath the cage, and - obviously - they're both attacked by sharks. Nature horror at its finest.
Another fantastic film starring Samara Weaving (if she isn't a huge star after 2017, the world has lost its mind), Mayhem also stars The Walking Dead breakout Steven Yeun, and is the perfect "workplace horror" film for anyone in the rat race. A zombie-like virus turns its victims hyper-violent, but after 12 hours the virus fades and it's like nothing ever happened. Yeun is an office drone who gets locked in his mega-corporate office, along with Weaving, during a quarantine. After simply surviving becomes dull, they decide to use this time to wreak revenge against those who wronged them.
Tragedy Girls is a horror-comedy that satirizes the modern obsession with social media. A pair of high schoolers run a true-crime blog called Tragedy Girls and they will do anything to get more followers - even inciting and committing murders across their community in order to be "first on the scene." It is somehow both sweet and smart, all while totally warping the idea of "mean girls."
Set during the War of 1812, Mohawk follows a polyamorous trio consisting of a Mohawk woman, her tribesman, and a British arms dealer as they move away from neutrality to attack an American encampment. Several Americans escape and seek revenge on their attackers. A historical revenge flick that is heavily steeped in violence, racial strife, and Native American mythology, Mohawk pulls from its source material entertainly and with care for indiginous culture (star Kaniehtiio Horn also acted as the cultural consultant on the film).
Another under-the-radar film, Jackals only played a few film festivals before debuting on DVD. A family hires a cult deprogrammer to rescue their son from a dangerous cult. Things get out of control when the cult shows up at the country house and wreaks havoc. Jackals has a feel similar to The Strangers and avoids out-and-out gore, instead opting for subtle chills and looming horror.
Happy Death Day
When a mean sorority girl dies on her birthday, she wakes up and finds herself reliving that day over and over and over again - until she can solve her own murder. Along the way, she grows as a human being and manages to have a little fun along the way. It's the horror version of Groundhog Day and just as entertaining.