In any given year, there are literally hundreds and hundreds of straight-to-DVD horror movies released, with only a small handful of films actually worth seeing. The genre’s tropes have grown old and audiences are generally less afraid of things that go bump at night. That said, in recent years, films from James Wan’s Conjuring franchise and smart indie horrors like Get Out have managed to breathe new life into the genre. Here we look at the best that 2017 has had to offer so far…
Released:: March 15
Cast: Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf, Rabah Nait Oufella
Director: Julia Ducournau
The repulsive and shocking Raw caused quite a stir at TIFF last year when word got out that a few moviegoers fainted during a screening of the cannibal film. Those expecting something along the lines of Cannibal Holocaust, however, will be disappointed. Instead, Raw is a strange coming-of-age story. As far as horror movies go, it might not cause you to lose too much sleep but it will definitely force you to look away during some of the more violent scenes.
06. The Girl With The Gifts
Released:: February 24
Cast: Sennia Nanua, Gemma Arterton, Glenn Close, Paddy Considine
Director: Colm McCarthy
With the zombie genre cemented by The Walking Dead and 28 Days Later, there isn’t a lot of unscavenged territory left to explore. The Girl with All the Gifts attempts to bring freshness to the decaying subject matter. However, those who’ve played Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us will find themselves in a familiar world. There are a number of missed opportunities in the film, but nothing that can’t be overlooked. For some, the film will be saved from mediocrity by Nanua. For others, The Girl with All the Gifts will feel fresh and emotive. What truly sets it apart from other films in the genre is its great performances, even from the young cast. It’s a horror movie that certainly tugs at the heartstrings.
Released: Jan 20
Cast: James McAvoy
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
It’s no secret that M. Night Shyamalan’s career has fallen on hard times. Synonymous with ‘the twist’ ending, it seemed like the Sixth Sense director had written himself into a dark corner – trapped with no hope of return. Until The Visit proved otherwise. In his new psycho-thriller, Split, which features a brilliant performance from James McAvoy as a man with 23 personalities, Night may have finally found a return to glory.
Released: Sept 15
Cast: Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgård
Director: Andy Muschietti
Those who have a fear of clowns, beware! The reboot of Stephen King’s IT, based on King’s 1986 supernatural horror novel, is just as haunting as the book and miniseries it spawned from. Bill Skarsgard’s Pennywise is as equally creepy as Tim Curry’s version of the clown who lures the children of Derry into the sewers. IT reintroduces fun and comedy back into the genre and delivers one of the year’s most fun movies. With $371M worldwide already (earning R5,118,107 across 67 South African cinemas), it seems that IT is looking to be a monster hit for the studios involved.
03. Annabelle: Creation
Released: August 18
Cast: Anthony LaPaglia, Samara Lee, Miranda Otto
Director: David F. Sandberg
The fourth film in the Conjuring franchise, Annabelle: Creation is probably this year’s biggest surprise – that’s mostly because the original film was such a disaster. In this origin story for the creepy porcelain doll, Lights Out‘s David Sandberg manages to improve and fix all the previous film’s wrongs. Although the film features a lot of familiar horror movie tropes, including the creepy orphanage setting, pitch dark corners, ghosts, demons, floating objects, Catholic priests and a helpless protagonist, Annabelle: Creation is genuinely scary and incredibly fun.
02. It Comes At Night
Released: April 29, Overlook Film Fest
Cast: Joel Edgerton, Riley Keough, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo
Director: Trey Edward Shults
It Comes At Night is an intense post-apocalyptic story thriller about trust and mistrust. A man has managed to carve out a peaceful living space for his family, only for their lives to be thrown into chaos by a young family who stumbles upon their hideout. Edgerton gives another masterly minimalist performance and really carries most of the low-budget supernatural film. The fear is palpable. The score is unnerving. And, most of all, the film genuinely evokes terror.
01. Get Out
Released: February 24
Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford
Director: Jordan Peele
With a 99% Rotten Tomatoes score, Jordan Peele’s psychological indie-horror is easily one of the most celebrated films of the year. And rightfully so. Get Out is intelligent, surprising, unpretentious and strong. Not just content with being scary, it’s satirical commentary on racism, slavery, perception and politics. Most of all, it’s really well directed. As far as horror movies go, Get Out is the cream of the crop.