With 2017’s charred remains now in the rear-view, let’s take one final chance to reflect on the year’s best-of-the-best horror films (a single opinion, of course). It’s my favorite year-end tradition when it comes to recaps, because I get to look back on all the best genre content with fondness while hopefully turning readers onto films they might have somehow missed. These are the distinguished titles that left me stunned, psyched-out and wholly fulfilled as a horror lover. Filmmakers, you were too good to me this year – now let me try and return the favor.
Before we jump into the actual ranking, allow me take a minute to point out how many first-time directorial efforts deemed placement on this list. Out of my total thirteen main selections, six are feature debuts – two of which from female powerhouses. Maybe this was a fluke, or maybe this is what happens when talented filmmakers are left to their own ambitions and devices when telling the exact stories that beat though their hearts. You’ll see what I mean when each is revealed – I don’t want to spoil any surprises just yet.
So, without further ado, let’s get to what you’re here for – 2017’s best horror flicks. First by starting with a quick scroll through my 20-14 “honorable mentions” that still deserve to be highlighted (and this list could easily be doubled).
20) Better Watch Out: Chris Peckover’s Christmas-themed invasion thriller features a memorable “twist” and an unforgettably insane performance from Levi Miller.
19) Beyond Skyline: Liam O’Donnell’s Skyline sequel will make you immediately forget about Skyline because “Frank Grillo and Iko Uwais fighting aliens” has that effect on a franchise. (Oh look, a feature debut.)
18) We Are The Flesh: Emiliano Rocha Minter’s enthusiastic prance through a garden of sin, which can be described as Mexico’s mother! except We Are The Flesh came first and did it with far more madness at stake. (You guessed it, a feature debut.)
17) Raw: Julia Ducournau’s cannibalistic coming-of-age fever dream that’s as beautiful as it is nauseating. (UH HUH, FEATURE DEBUT *aside from a TV movie she co-directed.*)
16) Cult Of Chucky: Don Mancini, I thank you for flipping the Child’s Play mythology on its head and genuinely evolving an iconic franchise instead of just cashing in another throwaway sequel like others have done.
15) The Belko Experiment: Greg McLean and James Gunn team up for a little worksploitation horror that blows up heads in a darkly comedic, battle royale fashion (which, yes, I found hilarious in a very cynical kind of way).
14) Killing Ground: Damien Power’s Australian camping nightmare plays with dual timeline narratives and a sadistic plot that’s relentless when it comes to punishing audiences with hard-to-swallow character abuse. (Another feature debut, as well.)