Five horror movies to wrap up 2017 with
With any luck, 2017 will not be remembered as a footnote in the annals of horror history. This is the year of “Get Out,” make no mistake about it. How that impacts the genre going forward, well, that’s anyone’s guess. Yes, Jordan Peele changed things by releasing a film inherently political (and exceptionally good), but its production followed a strikingly similar pattern to many others under the Blumhouse umbrella.
So, it’s not time to celebrate a change in an industry that does more patting on the back than jumping into the trenches. Still, “Get Out” is the best in a year with some strong entries into the horror catalogue. If that’s the only horror movie you saw this year, you missed out. Below are five of the best the genre offered up during the calendar year — other than the best. You won’t be sorry.
Oh, you heard about this one? Right, let’s get all the little indie flicks out of the way early. Directed by Andy Muschietti, “It” is purposely an 80s Steven Spielberg film with teeth. A lot of teeth. As much a powerful coming of age drama as it is a horror film, “It” has a lot to say about growing up with absent parents — something the protagonists become all too familiar with. This is a good one.
Hear me out: McG directed a good movie. I know, I can’t believe it either. This poppy, bubble gum movie pits a 12 year old against an evil cult led by his babysitter, played perfectly by Samara Weaving. Let's not get caught up in the details here: why does a 12 year old need a babysitter, you ask? I dunno — because the story demands it. Live a little. This is a lot of fun, and with plenty of practical effects at play… it gets messy.
Happy Death Day
This is another Blumhouse project with a great female lead. Jessica Rothe leads this “Groundhog Day” + horror mashup where a woman relives her final day over and over again while trying to solve her own murder. Sounds like it’ll get old pretty quickly, right? It doesn’t because of Rothe’s phenomenal performance. The horror industry’s pivot to fun has been a godsend in recent years. This is a film that has it in spades.
People are going to stumble on this movie in 10 years and wonder how it got made. Frankly, I watched it a month ago and wondered the same thing. Adam Scott is a pretty popular dude. Evangeline Lilly — I mean — she was in Lord of the Rings! This is a very fine movie, with the possibility of being something more than that. It ends up being a very weird version of “The Omen.” You gotta see it for yourself, if for no other reason than “Adam Scott as a stepdad” is hilarious.
I gotta be honest: This was not on my “must-see 2017 horror” list, and yet here we are. Better than it should have been, yet still not quite spectacular by any means. Listen, we’re talking about a movie with possession tropes, doll tropes and scared kid tropes. There are some subversions at play, of course, but you know what you’re paying for when you rent this film. That it’s a very good version of these tropes is admirable, but there’s a ceiling on “Annabelle: Creation” that can’t be busted.