The 78 Best Horror Films of 2017 (So Far)

By Andrew Buckner

I am proud to present the best horror films of 2017 so far. The article contains 78 full-length titles as well as my favorite genre-related documentary. Also included herein is a section on the top-tier short films in this category. Furthermore, there is also a passage considering my highest-ranking guilty cinematic pleasures from the afore-mentioned time frame. It is my intention to continue to add to the piece until the end of the year. This is with the hopes that by December 31st I will have a complete list of 101 genre works. Please check back and see what gets added and what gets changed.

78. The Atoning
Director: Michael Williams.

77. Ghost Witch
Director: Joseph Lavender.

76. The Gracefield Incident
Director: Matthieu Ratthe.

75. Sacrilege
Director: Paul Catalanatto.

74. Gremlin
Director: Ryan Bellgardt.

73. Phoenix Forgotten
Director: Justin Barber.

72. Don’t Knock Twice
Director: Caradog W. James

71. Psychos
Director: Sandy Chukhadarian.

70. Galaxy of Horrors
Directors: Dennis Cabella, Javier Chillon, Todd Cobery, Andrew Desmond, Benni Diez, Marcello Ercole, Richard Karpala, Justin McConnell, Antonio Padovan, Fabio Prati, Ethan Shaftel, Marinko Spahic.

69. The 13th Friday
Director: Justin Price.

68. Demons
Director: Miles Doleac.

67. Patient
Director: Jason Sheedy.

66. Whispers
Director: Tammi Sutton.

65. Pool Party Massacre
Director: Drew Marvick.

64. Life
Director: Daniel Espinosa

63. The Belko Experiment
Director: Greg McLean

62. Open Water 3: Cage Dive
Director: Gerald Rascionato

61. Bornless Ones
Director: Alexander Babaev.

60. Darkness Rising
Director: Austin Reading.

59. WTF!
Director: Peter Herro.

58. XX
Directors: Roxanne Benjamin, Karyn Kusama, St.Vincent, Jovanka Vuckovic.

57. The Wicked One
Director: Tory Jones.

56. Inner Demon
Director: Ursula Dabrowsky.

55. Hunting Grounds
Director: John Portanova.

54. Ghosts of Darkness
Director: David Ryan Keith.

53. Circus Kane
Director: Christopher Ray.

52. Ghost Note
Director: Troy Hart.

51. 7 Witches
Director: Brady Hall.

50. Pitchfork
Director: Glenn Douglas Packard.

49. Besetment
Director: Brad Douglas.

48. The Covenant
Director: Robert Conway.

47. Getting Schooled
Director: Chuck Norfolk.

46. The Creature Below
Director: Stewart Sparke.

45. Residue
Director: Rusty Nixon.

44. Jackals
Director: Kevin Greutert.

43. Watch Over
Director: F.C. Rabbath.

42. Heidi
Director: Daniel Ray.

41. Demon Hunter
Director: Zoe Kavanagh.

40. Beacon Point
Director: Eric Blue.

39. Annabelle: Creation
Director: David F. Sandberg.

38. Bonejangles
Director: Brett DeJager.

37. Bethany
Director: James Cullen Bressack.

36. The Ice Cream Truck
Director: Megan Freels Johnston.

35. Devil’s Domain
Director: Jared Cohn.

34. The Black Room
Director: Rolfe Kanefsky.

33. Split
Director: M. Night Shyamalan.

32. The Girl with All the Gifts
Director: Colm McCarthy.

31. The Demonic Tapes
Director: Richard Mansfield.

30. Peelers
Director: Seve Schelenez.

29. Clowntergeist
Director: Aaron Mirtes.

28. Get Out
Director: Jordan Peele.

27. Personal Shopper
Director: Olivier Assayas.

26. It Comes At Night
Director: Trey Edward Shults.

25. We Go On
Directors: Jesse Holland, Andy Mitton.

24. The Evil Within
Director: Andy Getty.

23. VooDoo
Director: Tom Costabile.

22. The Dark Tapes
Directors: Vincent J. Guastini, Michael McQuown.

21. Hounds of Love
Director: Ben Young.

20. Cold Moon
Director: Griff Furst.

19. Asylum of Darkness
Director: Jay Woefel.

18. The Blackcoat’s Daughter
Director: Oz Perkins.

17. The Void
Directors: Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski.

16. Prevenge
Director: Alice Lowe.

15. The Domicile
Director: Jared Cohn.

14. It Stains the Sands Red
Director: Colin Minihan.

13. It
Director: Andy Muschietti.

12. We are the Flesh
Director: Emiliano Rocha Minter.

11. Berlin Syndrome
Director: Cate Shortland.

10. The Transfiguration
Director: Michael O’ Shea.

9. The Lure
Director: Agnieska Smoczynska.

8. Alien: Covenant
Director: Ridley Scott.

7. The Devil’s Candy
Director: Sean Byrne.

6. Kuso
Director: Flying Lotus.

5. A Dark Song
Director: Liam Gavin.

4. Mother!
Director: Darren Aronofsky.

3. A Cure for Wellness
Director: Gore Verbinski.

2.Raw
Director: Julia Ducournau.

1.Long Night in a Dead City
Director: Richard Griffin.

 

Favorite Horror Documentary of 2017:

Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Semetary
Directors: John Campopiano, Justin White.

 

Favorite Short Film of 2017

“Alone”
Director: Tofiq Rzayev.

 

Guilty Pleasures:

Evil Bong 666
Director: Charles Band.

Land Shark
Director: Mark Polonia.

Sharknado 5: Global Swarming
Director: Anthony C. Ferrante.

A Word of Dreams’ 15 Favorite Films of 2017 (So Far)

By Andrew Buckner

Since we are nearly halfway through 2017 already, I have decided to put together a list of my favorite films of the year so far. And the awards go to…

15. FAIRFIELD FOLLIES
Director: Laura Pepper
Genre: Comedy

14. GET OUT
Director: Jordan Peele
Genre: Horror

13. A DARK SONG
Director: Liam Gavin
Genre: Horror

12. NIGHT JOB
Director: J. Antonio
Genre: Comedy

11. MOM AND ME
Director: Ken Wardrop
Genre: Documentary

10. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Director: Bill Condon
Genre: Fantasy/ Romance/ Musical/ Family

9. I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO
Director: Raoul Peck
Genre: Documentary

8. ALIEN: COVENANT
Director: Ridley Scott
Genre: Horror/ Science-Fiction

7. THE LURE
Director: Agnieszka Smoczynska
Genre: Horror/ Comedy/ Musical

6.A CURE FOR WELLNESS
Director: Gore Verbinski
Genre: Horror/Drama/Fantasy

5. MY PET DINOSAUR
Director: Matt Drummond
Genre: Family/ Adventure

4. GARDEN OF STARS
Director: Pasquale Plastino, Stephane Riethauser
Genre: Documentary

3.  RAW
Director: Julia Ducournau
Genre: Horror

2. DO YOU DREAM IN COLOR?
Director: Abigail Fuller, Sarah Ivy
Genre: Documentary

1. LONG NIGHT IN A DEAD CITY
Director: Richard Griffin
Genre: Mystery

RUNNERS-UP: LEFTOVERS (Director: Seth Hancock), 7 WITCHES, SPLIT, VOODOO, THE VOID, XX.

*Please note: MOM AND ME and THE LURE premiered in 2015. GARDEN OF STARS played in Italy in 2016. Yet, these pictures were not released in the United States of America until 2017. I am utilizing this latter-stated factor in my inclusion of these movies in this list.

“Long Night in a Dead City” – (Movie Review)

By Andrew Buckner

Rating: ***** out of *****.

Long Night in a Dead City (2017) is among the most accomplished works from the collaborative team of screenwriter Lenny Schwartz and director Richard Griffin. It stands as a testament to the surreal, hypnotic power derived from a largely imagery-driven narrative. This brilliantly paced and filler-less seventy-five-minute masterpiece also garners an endless mystique from this quality. What also helps matters is that it wisely never overindulges in its rhythmic and often cryptic dialogue.

This is immediately noted in the visually stunning opening arrangements. In this section, our hero, Daniel Belmont (in an ever-gripping portrayal by Aidan Laliberte), wakes up bloody and bruised. Gradually pulling himself from the middle of the road, where he either fell asleep or lost consciousness, we follow him with increasing intrigue. This is as he dazedly treads through the surrounding area. But, there is a confused impression about his movements. Such suggests an attempt at filling in gaps in his memory. What he is trying to recall becomes the impetus of this 1979-set affair. From herein, Griffin and Schwartz answer this question with an almost dream-like succession of events. All of which revolve around a film festival and Daniel’s missing brother, Charlie (Anthony Gaudette). There is also an enigmatic cult-like group. Griffin and Schwartz also incorporate into the proceedings a bar where people, all of whom are as immobile as figures in a wax museum, go before committing suicide on the last day of the year.

Such fascinating factors and clever concepts are augmented by the gorgeously constructed modern noir-like atmosphere. Yet, this Scorpio Film Releasing produced affair, originally titled Satan’s Children, refuses to settle into the tidy constraints of any genre. This is as it effortlessly juggles elements of science-fiction, horror, murder mystery and dark romance. But, there is a masterful use of recurring symbolism that fits neatly into the most prominent themes of this The Twilight Zone-like (1959-1964) undertaking. Such is manifest in the utilization of a black watch that is spied early in the endeavor.

Adding to these awe-inspiringly artistic and subtly issued attributes is a palpable love for 1970’s cinema. This is readily perceived in the terrifically designed posters for the fictional features showing at The Cine Satyrica New Year’s Eve Film Festival. It is also enhanced by the various Kubrickian shots of the inside of the theater where the aforesaid jubilee is held. There are also classically erected moments where our lead slowly treads down long, isolated hallways. They also alluringly reflect this aesthetic. Yet, this trait is most discernible in the way the sights Daniel views on-screen prompts him to piece together his fragmented recollections. Such a plot thread also seems to silently speak to the catharsis and relation to what one is seeing in a photoplay in correlation to the singular experiences of the viewer in general. This component also allows for some truly innovative, near Lynchian spectacles. Moreover, John Mosetich carries on this ardent connection. This is with cinematography that is as mesmerizing and colorful as it is reminiscent of an Italian Giallo film.

Continuing to strengthen the exertion is Griffin and Schwartz’s deliberate decision to leave the characters, even our protagonist, an enigma. In less capable hands, this would be a fatal flaw in this otherwise impressive effort. Instead, it heightens the palpable air of intrigue that pulsates throughout the entirety. It also matches the same said tone to illuminating effect. Such also allows us to get inside Daniel’s psyche with plentiful ease. In turn, the opus is more skillful and captivating because of such a choice.

What is all the more tremendous is that we still feel as if we know and can relate to nearly everyone we encounter in Griffin and Schwartz’s elusive voyage. This is a major courtesy of Griffin’s ever-mature, stylish and astounding guidance of the project. It is also a consequence of Schwartz’s rich and intelligent authorship of the account. Such a triumph in this category is also related to the pitch perfect casting of the piece. For example, Sarah Reed is enthralling as the target of Daniel’s affections, Holly. Anna Rizzo is superb in her brief turn as The Bartender. Aaron Andrade is just as memorable as the shadowy individual known as The Driver. Jaquelyn Fabian as Diana, Jack Shipley as Luke and Lars Rieck as Tom are all terrific in their respective roles.

From a technical standpoint, Griffin orchestrates seamless and sharp editing. Sissy O’ Hara’s makeup and Angela Shulman’s art direction are similarly striking. Mark Cutler, Tony Milano and Daniel Hildreth all provide incredible music. Their collective participation suits the downplayed mood of the movie masterfully.

Griffin and Schwartz’s latest concludes with a sequence that turns a familiar tale-telling circumstance on its head. This is that the announcement, and the detached manner it is stated in, seems to nod to emotions and ideas far more complex than what should be brought forth from such a statement. It is one of the myriad moves of ingenuity that pushes the project. Having seen the feature twice now, I can say that upon the initial watch we are drawn in by the gloomy beauty and the puzzle-like nature of the arrangement. On the next sit-through, we note how well the clues placed before Daniel propel him to his destination. Furthermore, audience patrons are drawn in by the depth and dimension of Daniel’s journey the second time around. Such only seems to hint at a plethora of layers yet to be tapped into with ensuing observances. This, along with all the adept touches declared prior, comes together to create a well-rounded, stirring, nightmarish and unforgettable exercise in anecdotal cinema. Long Night in a Dead City is the best picture of the year.