The first six months of 2017 have been an exciting few for horror movies—horror has bent genre lines, created new classics, and made audiences jump across the nation. Steel yourself for creepy crawlies, jumps, and increasing paranoia with the best horror films of 2017 to date.
1. Get Out
Get Out is a social commentary horror movie whose likes haven’t been seen in years. Jordan Peele combines his deep knowledge of horror with his seemingly innate understanding of tension until the viewer is ready to jump out of their seat, then cuts it with perfectly timed humor. This is not to say that Get Out is a comedy. It is certainly funny, especially thanks to Lil Rel Howery’s perfect timing as main character’s Chris’s best friend/TSA Agent. But the humor is used to make this film even scarier than it should be—while giving the audience a chance to catch their breath. If you somehow haven’t seen Get Out yet, it’s now available for rental on all of the usual platforms.
2. The Blackcoat's Daughter
Mad Men’s Kiernan Shipka brings her bona fide acting chops to this tale of evil, set in a boarding school for girls. Directed by Osgood Perkins (son of Anthony Perkins, aka Norman Bates), this chilly and atmospheric horror builds its way up to killer shocks and twists. Two narrative threads weave together to create a finale that will shock you.
3. The Girl With All the Gifts
Director Colm McCarthy takes serves up a fresh take on the zombie apocalypse, adapting it from the popular novel of the same name. A number of zombie youths have been taken into a lab to find out if they can be rehabilitated into human society. Young actress Sennia Nanua plays a charming and polite young zombie who is rescued from eventual dissection by Gemma Arterton, who plays the zombies’ teacher. A gore-filled road trip ensues that will please any zombie fan’s need for blood and brains.
Raw is easily the most disturbing entry on this list. Don’t watch with snacks or a full stomach. Justine is a 16-year-old entering college. Like all of her family, she is a vegetarian and on her way to become a veterinarian. Once she has left her family behind, she discovers the joys of eating flesh—and yes, that means human flesh. Raw is a terrifying and gore-filled coming of age tale that will resonant with and horrify every viewer.
5. The Belko Experiment
James Gunn (yes, of the Marvel movies) asks what would happen if the employees of an international company were locked inside their office and forced to kill each other. The Belko Experiment can’t quite decide how philosophical it wants to be, but the ride sure is a fun one.
6. Alien: Covenant
Ridley Scott gets back to the roots of Alien and its sci-fi horror scares. Alien: Covenant bridges some of the gap between 2012’s bloated Prometheus and the 1979 classic, Alien. Michael Fassbender reprises his role from Prometheus as Walter, while adding a second role as David, another android. Fassbender and Katherine Waterston, playing a Ripley-like protagonist, were praised widely for their portrayals.
7. It Comes At Night
A divisive choice, but still worthy of this list, It Comes At Night is a quiet take on the pandemic disaster movie. Joel Edgerton plays a family patriarch intent on protecting his wife and son from the disease raging through the world—and from any intruders who wish to penetrate their boarded-up family compound.
After years of poorly received movies, M. Night Shamalyan seems to have gotten back on top of his game. Split features James McAvoy as a supervillian with 23 distinct personalities. He kidnaps three teenage girls to sacrifice to the 23rd personality, a superhuman monster. McAvoy’s performance as all the separate personalities is visceral and terrifying, and Anya Taylor-Joy, star of The Witch, is a compelling protagonist.
What happens when your unborn child wants you to wreak havoc on the world? Writer, director, and star Alice Lowe plays Ruth, a woman driven to murder by the small whispers coming from her womb. Prevenge could have easily become a facile exploration of how pregnancy affects the body and mind of a woman. Instead, it’s a send up of the horror genre and expectations of women—and it’s gory to boot. This black comedy will have you laughing and gasping at the lengths Ruth is willing to go to on her child’s behalf.
Alright, Colossal isn’t quite a horror movie, per say. It’s a monster-social commentary-comedy-drama-horror movie. But it’s good enough at all of those different genres to merit a mention on this list. Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis play childhood friends whose history could literally destroy the world. You get the fun of big monster destructo-movies with a side of the knowledge that the people who know you best can quickly become the most terrifying thing in your life.
11. The Devil's Candy
Jesse Hellman (Ethan Embry) is a metal-loving painter and father. When he moves out to the country with his wife and daughter, Jesse finds himself compelled to paint portraits of the victims of the serial killer that previously lived in their new home. Soon, Jesse begins to worry that he cannot protect his daughter from the killer, still on the loose. UnREAL’s Shiri Appelby plays Jesse’s wife.
12. A Dark Song
Shot in only 20 days in Dublin, A Dark Song follows a mother willing to do anything to bring her son back to life. Catherine Walker plays bereaved mother Sophia, who asks Joseph Soloman (Steve Oram) to help her with a lengthy ritual to contact the dead. This ritual will last months and cost both participants more than they anticipated.
A well made space horror, Life stars Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Rebecca Ferguson as astronauts who introduce a killer alien to their spacecraft. Although the trailer made Life look like a truly by the numbers horror flick, there are at least a couple of twists that you won’t see coming.
Featured still from "Raw" via Focus Features