Friday, January 5, 2018

Phil's Top Ten Horror Films of 2017 - January 5, 2017

Without a doubt, 2017 will go down in cinema history as one of the greatest years for the horror genre! It was a banner year for horror hounds as we were treated with a plethora of outstanding, thought provoking and truly terrifying movies to watch! Now this was really a daunting task, due to the fact that there were some truly incredible and remarkable films that I saw in theaters, Blu-Ray, DVD as well as on VOD and streaming services like Shudder and Netflix. So boils and ghouls, here is my Top Ten Horror Films of 2017!

1) IT: In the Town of Derry, the local kids are disappearing one by one, leaving behind bloody remains. In a place known as 'The Barrens', a group of seven kids are united by their horrifying and strange encounters with an evil clown and their determination to kill It. This was, without a doubt, a truly horrifying film! What makes the film work is the incredible cast that it contains. Stepping in Pennywise's shoes is Swedish born actor Bill Skarsgård (ATOMIC BLONDE, SIMPLE SIMON and TV shows Hemlock Grove and the upcoming Castle Rock). Skarsgård's performance is, without question, amazingly disturbing! His voice, his facial expressions, his mannerism, it's all there wrapped up in a delightful red balloon. IT was my favorite horror film of 2017!! If you haven't seen this movie yet, then you need to watch this now and see this horror masterpiece!!

2) GET OUT: Chris and his girlfriend Rose go upstate to visit her parents for the weekend. At first, Chris reads the family's overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter's interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he never could have imagined. The horror feature length debut from writer/director Jordan Peele, the movie feels like a representation of the current state of America under the Trump administration. With is strong story, intelligent characters and slow-burn scares, the movie surprised audiences everywhere and garnered acclaim and box office dollars, grossing $254.3 million worldwide against its budget of only $4.5 million!

3) BETTER WATCH OUT: This holiday season, you may be home, but you’re not alone... In this fresh and gleefully twisted spin on home-invasion horror, babysitter Ashley (Olivia DeJonge) must defend her young charges Luke (Levi Miller) and his best friend Garrett (Ed Oxenbould ) when intruders break into the house one snowy night – or so she thinks. Filmmaker Chris Peckover directed the film and co-wrote the screenplay with Zack Kahn. Together, these two gentlemen made one of the smartest films ever! The set-up is straight forward, however, by the end of the first act, the film did a complete 180 degrees and the movie became something completely different. I can't remember the last time I was impressed with a movie, where I figured out the plot, only to have it surprise the hell out of me!

4) VICTOR CROWLEY: Andrew Yong has spent over a decade claiming that local legend Victor Crowley was responsible for the 2007 massacre that left over 40 dead. Yong’s allegations have been met with widespread disbelief, but when a twist of fate puts him back at the scene of the tragedy, Crowley is mistakenly resurrected and Yong must face the bloodthirsty ghost from his past. Director Adam Green spent two years making the film in secrecy, which is an unbelievable feat unto itself!! On August 22, 2017, he surprised an unsuspecting audience during the “10th Anniversary” screening of the original HATCHET film that he held at the Arclight Theater in Hollywood. I attended the roadshow screening of the movie at the Osio Theater in Downtown Monterey where I got to meet the film's actress Tiffany Shepis!

5) HAPPY DEATH DAY: Blumhouse (SPLIT, GET OUT, WHIPLASH) produces an original and inventive rewinding thriller in Happy Death Day, in which a college student (Jessica Rothe, LA LA LAND) relives the day of her murder with both its unexceptional details and terrifying end until she discovers her killer’s identity. I recall seeing the trailer and thought that it looked interesting. Basically, it looked like GROUNDHOG DAY meets MEAN GIRLS meets FRIDAY THE 13th all rolled up into one movie. While as generic that may sound, the film itself was a blast to watch! HAPPY DEATH DAY is a clever and entertaining slasher horror thriller that will keep you guessing all the way to the final scenes!! Don't give this movie a pass!

6) THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE: It’s just another night at the morgue for a father (Brian Cox) and son (Emile Hirsch) team of coroners, until an unidentified, highly unusual corpse comes in. Discovered buried in the basement of the home of a brutally murdered family, the young Jane Doe—eerily well preserved and with no visible signs of trauma—is shrouded in mystery. As they work into the night to piece together the cause of her death, the two men begin to uncover the disturbing secrets of her life. Soon, a series of terrifying events make it clear: this Jane Doe may not be dead. André Øvredal's directing is so precise and controlled, his compositions are flawless and he knows exactly to make us feel terrified. Once again, the indie film world has unleashed of the scariest films I have ever seen!

7) ANNABELLE: CREATION: Several years after the tragic death of their little girl, a dollmaker (Anthony LaPaglia) and his wife (Miranda Otto) welcome a nun (Stephanie Sigman) and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, soon becoming the target of the dollmaker´s possessed creation, Annabelle. The first thing I thought while I was watching was this is sooooo much better than the first film! David F. Sandberg's directing was spot-on perfect and really elevates the idea of what a big time studio horror film could look like. It looks absolutely beautiful, his compositions and sweeping camera shots are incredible and he knows when to scare the audience. The movie is a nightmare infused horror thriller that will add another dimension to THE CONJURING Universe! Make sure your check out this frightful flick with your fellow horror hounds tonight!

8) SADAKO VS. KAYAKO: After viewing a legendary cursed videotape, Natsumi discovers she has only two days before she will be killed by the demonic entity known as Sadako. The only way to break the curse: pitting the demon Sadako against Kayako, an accursed spirit possessing a haunted house where everyone who enters disappears. SADAKO VS. KAYAKO brings the characters from RINGU and JU-ON: THE GRUDGE back to the big screen in a wildly fun, tongue-in-cheek thrill ride that finally answers the question: whose curse is stronger? Boy, was this movie a fucking blast to watch!!! Think J-Horror meets FREDDY VS. JASON and that's what we have here!! It's batshit crazy on a Level 10!! It's a balls-to-the-wall, J-Horror fans wet dream come true!! If you want to see something different and unique, then this movie is right up your alley!!

9) THE BARN: It's Halloween 1989, best friends Sam and Josh are trying to enjoy what's left of their final Devil's Night before graduating high school. But trouble arises when the two pals and a group of friends take a detour on their way to a rock concert, finding an old abandoned barn and awakening the evil inside. Now it's up to Sam and Josh to find a way to protect their friends and defeat the creatures that lurk within "The Barn." The film's visuals and ascetics contribute to the feel of nostalgia for this reviewer. It looks and sounds like it was ripped from 1989! I had to pinch myself while watching the film to remind me that it wasn't the 80's again! THE BARN is the most horrifyingly radical, gore-filled, bad ass, retro-slasher film of the year!! There's a reason that the movie has garnered so much acclaim! This is one entertaining horror film that you all should definitely see!!

10) POOL PARTY MASSACRE: When Blair, a high maintenance young socialite invites some friends over to her parents house for an intimate pool party, they are unaware that a serial killer is hiding inside the house. What started out as a relaxing summer day by the pool quickly turns into a nightmare as the unknown killer begins to stalk and murdering the young girls one by one. Writer/director Drew Marvick's film is a loving homage to those awesome 80's slasher films that we grew up on. The women are hot, the kills are gory and it's entertaining and fun to the max!! His set-ups and compositions are excellent, there's awesome character development, the film flows smoothly and has a fantastic third act! I had the pleasure of meeting Marvick back in June at the Sinister Creature Con in Stockton. After he told me about his movie, I knew that I had to have it for my collection. A totally radical slasher movie that will entertain you to death!!

And that, my fellow children of the night, is a wrap! I sincerely hope you enjoyed my Top Ten Horror Film of 2017 and I really hope this encourages you all to check out these incredible fright flicks! Remember, if you get scared from watching these cinematic nightmares, keep repeating yourself: It's only a movie...only a movie...only a movie...only a movie....BOO!!

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the screaming!

1 comment:

  1. darlene fitzgeraldJanuary 6, 2018 at 9:15 PM

    I actually was getting horror chills reading a few of these..LOL. Glad to see you are BACK!!!!!!!!!