If you’ve spent any time on this website, you know that the PopHorror writers watch and review a LOT of horror movies. Between indie and mainstream, shorts and feature lengths, festivals and sequels, we have seen hundreds of hours of scary celluloid in 2017 alone. While we certainly aren’t complaining about seeing so much horror, we do admit that those big numbers do make it a bit difficult to pick a favorite. After making lists and checking them twice, the PopHorror writers have each come up with their favorite horror movies of 2017. Read on to find out what movies really impressed our reviewers this year and what they loved most about them. Did your favorite flick make the list?
PopHorror’s Sophie’s Choice of 2017
With the barrage of negative critical responses to Darren Aronofsky’s latest film, I feel a need to select Mother! as my favorite 2017 feature. Despite the fact that art has been dissipating from the world of film, Aronofsky boldly goes against the grain with his arthouse style of film. Invoking layers of intellectual thought, artistic interpretation and emotion, which is fading from films of today, Mother! is the continuous work from the mind of the man who substitutes a paintbrush and canvas with a camera and script. Bringing to the screen a highly interpretive piece of creation and destruction as well as what arises from the ashes, Mother! tests the boundaries of today’s intellectual community who thrive on artistic films.
All too often, films of today take you by the hand guiding you through every detail. However, Aronofsky stays true to his stylish craft offering up an interpretive work of art in the face of critics hoping for a traditional conclusive story. With so many artistic layers as well as interpretations, which art is meant to be, Mother! sparks the same amount of conversation as a classic abstract painting. With so many films of today offering simple escapism from reality, Aronofsky continues to offer more of a metaphoric reflection of life. As an admirer of Aronofsky’s films, it is a must for me to select Mother! as my 2017 pick for the year. Despite polarized responses, this film is an incredible work of art meant for those who love deep thinking features full of symbolism. — Brandon Long
Read our review here.
There were some pretty solid horror films that came out in 2017. IT (2017) gave horror a new benchmark for box office legitimacy. Get Out was wonderful, and a critical darling. It Comes At Night was a great micro budget human interest story. Mother! was a misunderstood masterpiece. I think my favorite horror film of 2017, though, was the Netflix original The Babysitter. It came out of nowhere and surprised me with its style and wit. It reminded me of Night of the Creeps. That’s bold praise. I laughed and I cringed… an awesome combination when it comes to memorable horror. 2017 was a great year for Netflix with Gerald’s Game, 1922, and The Babysitter in the lineup. I hope they bring us more top notch original horror in 2018! — Kenn Hoekstra
Read our review here.
My favorite movie of 2017 was Parasites. It followed college friends who were abducted and tormented by the homeless for a long night in LA’s skid row district. It was an entertaining ride and had a standout performance from Sean Samuels. Going into it completely blind I had no idea that I would fall in love with it like I did. It was suspenseful, exhausting, and had an ending that made it a work of art and a social commentary. It’s currently available on the VOD platform and I cannot wait until the physical copy is released so I can add it to my collection. — Preston Holt
Read our review here.
Like some horror hipster, I wanted to go non-mainstream for my favorite horror flick of 2017. Some of you know why. I love the idea of choosing an obscure — maybe even shitty — movie that missed everyone else’s radar, just to flex some indie cred (or whatever). Damn it, though! Andy Muschietti’s IT came along, grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and said, “No! I am the best horror movie of 2017! I’ve got an evil clown! EVIL CLOWN!” Yes, one could say it was over-hyped, and maybe I didn’t need to see it three times in the theater. However, that’s precisely what I did, and I enjoyed it each time! Ultimately, I am not embarrassed to like this record-breaking blockbuster. — Wade Wanio
Read our review here.
Game of Death (G.O.D.)
It was pure chance that I got to review the film Game of Death, an indie splatterpunk film that premiered at Fantasia International Film Fest this year. After watching the trailer, I knew I had to see it. Directed by Sébastien Landry and Laurence “Baz” Morais Lagacé, the film tells the story of a bunch of rich, untroubled millennials (one who looks just like Paul from Funny Games (2007)) who play a seemingly innocuous Simon Says-looking kid’s game that will literally make their heads explode one at a time if they don’t kill someone every so many minutes. The gloriously gory kills are abso-freaking-lutely top notch (created by the guys who worked on Turbo Kid 2015), the storyline is awkward, unique and sometimes totally uncomfortable, the action is non-stop and the humor breaks things up perfectly. There was nothing I didn’t like about Game of Death and I honestly can’t recommend it enough. — Tracy Allen
Read our review here.
Get Out, Split, IT & Gerald’s Game
There were many good movies out this year. The expansion of movies available on streaming channels like Netflix adds so much more dynamic to the genre. Psychological horror terrifies me more than slashers. With that in mind, here are my top three films for the year: #3 is Get Out, #2 is Split and #1 is IT, with an honorable mention going to Gerald’s Game.
Get Out reminded me of a Twilight Zone episode. I loved the concept, the cast and the way the story unfolded. Split… this movie is the shit. I love James McAvoy’s performance and M. Night’s vision on this one. For me, the IT adaption is why I go and see movies. It had it all. Characters I cared about. It made me laugh, tear up and it spooked me. You just never knew how Pennywise would show himself. While the mini-series holds a special place for me, I adore this version and can’t wait to own it in my collection. Netflix’s Gerald’s Game is well done. The performances are amazing. There’s this great scene of someone trying to get out of handcuffs. It certainly made me squirm. — Jennifer Bonges
Read our reviews here – Gerald’s Game, IT, Split, Get Out
A Dark Song
Looking into 2017, A Dark Song is most definitely one of my favorites! It has been praised as one of the best films of the year – and rightfully so. When it comes to the occult and topics in this category… I’m very curious to see how accurate these storylines and concepts are, and if believable. A Dark Song blew me away! The film is about a distraught lady searching for a way to reconnect with her deceased child. In her desperation, she searches out an Occultist and together they delve into the black arts to conjure their Holy Guardian Angel. Things go spiraling downhill when they soon discover that the black arts are not something to be toyed with – and their dabbling soon makes a turn for the worst with deathly consequences.
The directing in A Dark Song is superb and the acting is flawless – with the two main actors keeping you glued to your seat. The set dressing is stunning – with detailed scenes that add to the atmosphere of ritual and drama. If anything, the imagery is a magical act on its own! To top this off, the sound effects give that wonderfully disturbing touch – much needed for that eerie feel. A Dark Song was written and directed by Liam Gavin (Mutant Chronicles 2009) and stars Steve Oram (Sightseers 2012), Catherine Walker (Leap Year 2010) and Susan Loughnane (Love/Hate 2010). — Samantha McCabe
Get My Gun
I struggled with what I should choose as my favorite movie of 2017 as there were so many great ones that came out this year. Clearly, IT and Get Out stands pretty high on most people’s lists, but I don’t want to be like everyone else. IT was indeed amazing… however, Brian Darwas’ Get My Gun blew me the fuck away. It was heart wrenching, brutal, and not easy to watch by any means. But the acting, cinematography, story sucked me in and made me feel like a different person after watching it. I highly recommend watching this one. It will change you, make you think, and hopefully become a favorite of yours as well. — Tori Danielle
Read our review here.
Crackbaby Billionaire, Tantrum 2: Phantom of the Demon, Deathscort Service 2: The Loving Dead and Meat Butcher Baby 2
This year was an amazing one for indie/underground horror. It’s impossible for me to name one or even two films that are my favorites for this year. However, I have chosen 3 movies off the top of my head that made the most impact on me. I’ll begin with John Miller’s Crackbaby Billionaire, a fun sleaze and gore romp like no other. It has the chops and tons of crazy shit to make it an underground cult classic. Tantrum 2: Phantom Of The Demon is James Bells’ latest opus of madness, seeing him improve his craft immensely, resulting in a low budget but epic mind fuck.
Deathscort Service 2: The Loving Dead sees Sleazebox proving you can still make a top notch T&A film with a little plot and comedy sprinkled in. Last but not least, Meat Butcher Baby 2 by Canadian gore guru Yan Kaos is the ultimate in zero budget, do it yourself gore and deserves an honorable mention. There are many more I love this year including Scars Of Xavier, Cold Ground, Trauma, Pazucus: Island Of Vomit And Despair, Bonehill Road, Sacrifice, Torment and 13 Dolls In Darkness. — Richard Taylor
My favorite horror film of 2017 is undoubtedly Get Out. No, I’m not picking Get Out because it was one of the most popular films of the year (though it’s deservedly so). I’ve been a fan of Jordan Peele ever since his Key And Peele days. When it was announced that he was making a horror film, I was so excited he was going to be a part of our world! Honestly, there isn’t anything I dislike about this film. The acting was wonderful, and I loved the storyline and the social commentary. I also absolutely love all of the Easter eggs and fan theories that surround the film and the whole thing just blew my mind. Plus, how can you not want Rod as your best friend after watching this film? Get Out made me extremely excited for what Jordan Peele will bring the horror community in the future! — Karli Ray
Read our review here.
The Ghoul is possibly the most hard-hitting, psychological movie of 2017, standing proudly alongside Mother! and A Dark Song. The film asks a lot of the viewer as questions rise with fragmentary pieces from start to finish. One is swept away into an almost hypnotic metronome of the psyche… swiftly weaving seeping cracks into patterns and idea bubbles, asking important questions such as, “What is the point of our existence?” The Ghoul is certainly not for easily pleased horror/thriller fans, but for the hardcore film nut who just needs that something more in times where horror is really just a load of distorted noise.
The Ghoul acts like a mystery, a journey to the center of a mysterious labyrinth where the infamous minotaur is waiting, ready to devour in one simple whim. Some of the film’s occult tactics are indeed basic – at best, for someone submerged into occult philosophy, The Ghoul is a play on identity and leaves the viewer feeling cheated. In Lynchian terms, this is a good thing. Even if The Ghoul leaves you feeling cheated, you will still walk away pondering, “What if?” The movie is something special for 2017, its metaphoric value never being underestimated. For me personally, the British film industry needs more films like this, and although it does at times feel like a kitchen sink British soap opera, this adds to the film’s quintessential grimy look. The Ghoul pays homage to classics such as Christopher Nolan’s debut film The Following. When looking at the story, some of its mysterious aspects feel a tad like a Raymond Chandler mystery, which is a good thing and something the British film industry has been lacking for a long time.
With such trash being produced lately from England, I feel fans of Northern director Shane Meadows may find some penance in this wonderful, mysterious, bleak film. The Ghoul will never leave the intellectual film fan, and this is why it’s my top film for this year. — Lee McCabe
Split taught me to believe in miracles. Well, one miracle in particular: the resurrection of M. Night Shayamalan. This film was a subversion of every expectation… who would live, who would die, who would make one of the best genre films of the year. The performances from Anna Taylor-Joy and James McAvoy pitch the film from typical drama to an operatic celebration of emotion, intensity, pain, and transformation. This film is an allegorical, explosive reimagining of the horror movie religious cult film. In it, the acolyte, the victim, the sympathetic defector, and the Dark God Himself are all living in the same body.
Thankfully, we are spared Shayamalan’s well-known penchant for twists, with one exception: this M. Night movie is actually good. — Gus Wood
That wraps up the PopHorror writers’ choices for favorite horror movies of 2017. What was your favorite horror movie from the past year? Did it make our list? Let us know in the comments!