No matter which way you slice it, 2017 has been a phenomenal year for horror movies. There’s always bound to be a big box office horror hit or two in any given year, but largely thanks to the unprecedented success of Andy Muschietti‘s IT, 2017 trampled previous records to become the biggest year for horror in movie history. Numbers aside, horror films have thrived with critics in 2017, and the critical darling of them all, Jordan Peele‘s lauded Get Out, is poised to make it all the way to the Oscars — an incredibly rare feat for any horror film, not to mention one that hit theaters way back in February. And that’s just the big name stuff. VOD, Netflix, all other manner of non-traditional release platforms offered up an even greater number of outstanding films for the genre enthusiast.
As you might guess, in a year so rich with horror content, and good stuff at that, it was super challenging to cut this list down to fifteen entries and a lot of great films ended up on the cutting room floor, and there’s a few in particular I’d like to single out.
There’s Tragedy Girls, the stylish and self-aware tale of teen friendship (and murder); The Lure, the Polish mermaid musical that veers more toward fantasy than horror despite the occasional violent flourish; Prevenge, Alice Lowe‘s twisted slasher comedy about grief and motherhood; 1922, another fantastic Stephen King adaptation from the year of King; Super Dark Times, a fantastic horror-tinged spin on the coming-of-age drama that fuses murder, frienship, and teenage lusty longings; The XX, an anthology of mostly excellent short films from female horror directors; 47 Meters Down, a simple but effective shark survival horror; The Void, which never surpasses its fantastic creature effects to become something more; Annabelle: Creation, which never surpasses its thrilling house of horror jump scares to become something more; and of course, Alien: Covenant, Ridley Scott‘s divisive, sloppy, and brilliant bit of existential terrors and sci-fi camp. If I had 10 more spots on this list, these would be the films that got ’em.
Before we get to the actual list, let’s get this out of the way: I’m just not a mother! person. I already went to bible school and I didn’t like it the first time either. Your mileage may vary.
In keeping with last year’s list, I’ve skipped the ranking. It just seems silly with so many disparate but wonderful kinds of horror on display. How do you compare Happy Death Day with The Killing of a Sacred Deer? How do you compare The Killing of a Sacred Deer with anything, really? With that in mind, check out my picks for the 15 best horror movies of 2017 below and be sure to sound off in the comments with your favorites.