It seems just like yesterday that I was downing an entire bottle of champagne by myself in my apartment while the clock struck midnight on December 31st. The point of that sentence is not to indicate that I live a lonely and pathetic existence, but to state the fact that another year has come and gone and it’s time to talk about the best and worst horror movies of 2017! Fun fact: There were a lot of good horror movies this past year. So I’ll try to narrow those down to my Top 5. You’re free to disagree if you’d like. Let’s get to it!
5. Annabelle: Creation
Probably one of the biggest and smartest surprises of the year for me was Annabelle: Creation. A genuinely scary flick that curb-stomped the shit out of it’s predecessor Annabelle in every possible way. Kudos to to director David F. Sandberg for creating the creepy atmosphere that didn’t overstay its welcome. And how about that goddamn scarecrow?!? Here’s to hoping that the upcoming Conjuring 2 spin-off The Nun takes some pointers from what worked here.
4. Creep 2
This sequel to the highly appreciated gem aptly titled Creep snuck into my Top 5 at the last minute because I literally just watched it last night (thanks, Netflix). Back again to direct is Patrick Brice and back again to help write and also star is Mark Duplass. The thing that I loved about Creep, and now again with Creep 2, is that it takes a tired ‘found footage’ format and makes it interesting, creepy, and fun. There’s more comedy to be found in this sequel (that’s a good thing), and the climax even sets up what could be a third and final entry into the series. And for those who are wondering…..yes, Peachfuzz makes an appearance! As does Mark Duplass’ penis. Thanks?
3. The Devil’s Candy
Originally screened at festivals in 2015, it took over 2 years for The Devil’s Candy to finally get a proper release in 2017. The tone for this one struck a chord in a good way (guitar humor) from the jump for me, and the acting put forth primarily from Pruitt Taylor Vince and Ethan Embry only elevated it to where it could be third on my ‘Best Of’ list. The Devil’s Candy has a dirty feel to it, a polished B-movie that gets help from a kick ass metal soundtrack and nice visuals to boot. Don’t sleep on this one if you have already. Netflix is your friend.
I went and made myself a nice steak sandwich before I wrote this part of the post. And why, you ask? Because the movie Raw is about MEAT! But not just any kind of meat. HUMAN MEAT! Relax, this isn’t just another cannibal movie. This movie has class. And some cannibalism too. But I digress or digest. Writer/Director Julia Ducournau gave this writer the one film of the year that really made me think about what I saw on the screen after I left the theater. Raw is stylistically one of the year’s best, but for me the payoff/twist at the end is what sold me. It didn’t feel cheap and it made everything that I had watched up until that point all the more worth it (even the finger-eating scene). The French did it again! Time for us Americans to step our horror game up.
1. Get Out
Well it looks like us Americans stepped our horror game up! More specifically, writer/director Jordan Peele with his Twilight Zone/Stepford Wives inspired film that blew me away. In fact, I’ve probably watched Get Out about five more times since it started showing on HBO. The social commentary is evident throughout the movie, as is the racial aspect. But Peele’s masterpiece (yes, I said masterpiece) is much more than that. It’s actually a creative horror movie that has a near-perfect ending/climax, which is rare for any genre of a movie. Some might say it’s cheap for me to put Get Out at the top of the list because of it’s critical praise and box office success, but fuck it – it belongs here, and so it shall stay.
But wait, Tony. Where’s the highest grossing horror movie of all time on your list? Why isn’t IT in the Top 5? Well, because honestly I didn’t feel it should be. I know that might be sacrilegious to say, but it would probably land more so around the #7 or #8 spot for me. I did like IT and thought the kids were great. But overall I felt there were some missed opportunities. Now let’s get into the list for more movies that just missed the cut.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: It Comes At Night, Happy Death Day, The Belko Experiment, Split, Gerald’s Game, Cult Of Chucky, The Void, Mayhem
5. The Babysitter
I know, I know. This movie was loved by many, and probably hated by few. I won’t necessarily say that I hated it…..but I was definitely underwhelmed considering the hype it was receiving. I liken it to Better Watch Out (and not just the babysitter theme) because that also left me a little meh, even though people were praising it. To each his own. I guess I can probably agree with everyone though that Samara Weaving is primo. Not the worst of the year, but The Babysitter is definitely one of the most disappointing to me because of the social media hype that surrounded it leading up to my viewing. Did I mention that Samara Weaving is hot though? Ok, good.
Another attempt at a Texas Chainsaw Massacre reboot/re-imaging and another fail. What made this even more disappointing is that I love the directing duo of Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo (Inside will forever be a favorite of mine). But……this story is a mess. I don’t care how Leatherface became Leatherface, and even if you try to throw me a clever “twist” into the storyline…..I still don’t care. The only thing that saved this from being #1 on the ‘Worst Of’ list were the effective practical gore effects that were used, especially in the last section of the movie. Just buzz off and give up on the resurrection our favorite ‘human skin mask wearing killer’ and let him rest in peace, please…….
Let me preface this by saying that I’m not sexist. The horror anthology XX is on the bottom list of 2017, but it’s not because all of the content was directed by women. I was excited for this one, mainly because I love anthology movies and the trailer was superb. But alas, the ol’ bait and switch happened and instead of a successor to Creepshow, I was bored out of my mind and pretty disappointed. There are some gems to be found here (The Box was pretty fun, as was The Birthday Party), but overall it lacked anything consistent and instead just felt like a movie that will sit idly next V/H/S: Viral on my anthology shelf.
A young woman finds herself on the receiving end of a terrifying curse that threatens to…………..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Oh who gives a shit. This movie is trash. The franchise is trash now. You watch a videotape and you die. Blah blah blah. This movie has no reason to exist. Much like……………
1. Jeepers Creepers 3
Now, surprisingly this movie did not make it to #1 on the ‘Worst Of’ list because Victor Salva is a child molesting piece of shit. Nope. It made it here because Mr. Salva stripped away everything that was cool about the Jeepers Creepers concept, including The Creeper himself and turned it into a SyFy Channel movie…..oh wait, it actually did premiere on the SyFy Channel! What luck. But yes, this movie is an abomination and should finally cut off the chance of anymore sequels. Much like Victor Salva’s dick should be cut off should he choose to molest any other underage boys in the future. Truth.
So there you have it, folks. Feel free to agree to disagree with anything here or share your thoughts about any horror flicks from 2017 that you either loved or hated. Now let’s all get ready for 2018 and more specifically……the new Halloween movie coming out on October 19th! On my and Michael Myers’ birthday nonetheless.