2017 wasn’t exactly a great year for most of us, but there’s no denying that it was home to some truly great horror films. I’ve listed my top five films of the year below, and yes, I liked The Dark Tower. Got a problem with that?
It Came from the Desert
I caught this one at FrightFest, so see my review to get my full thoughts. Overall, however, if you grew up watching classic B-movie monster films, It Came from the Desert is everything you could possibly ask for and more. Giant ants, motorbike action sequences, and surprisingly deep characterization make this a fantastically fun way to unwind at the end of a stressful day.
Cult of Chucky
I’m amazed that the Child’s Play franchise never seems to run out of steam, no matter how many installments come our way. The confined psychiatric hospital setting was used to great effect as it allowed the franchise to explore the depths of the human psyche in ways that it never has before, and the idea of featuring multiple Chuckies was simply a stroke of genius, because too much Chucky can never be a bad thing.
The Dark Tower
Okay, hear me out on this one. Yes, I know The Dark Tower was panned by critics. Yes, I know it under-performed financially and failed to kickstart a new franchise for Sony Pictures. And yes, I know it was overshadowed by that other Stephen King film adaptation released this year (something to do with an evil clown).
Having said all that, I’m probably the only person in the world who really loved The Dark Tower. I found Nikolaj Arcel’s adaptation of King’s epic series of dark fantasy novels to be a wildly fun and fast-paced action romp with top-notch performances from both Idris Elba as Roland the Gunslinger and Tom Taylor as young Jake from Keystone Earth. And I’m not gonna lie, I even enjoyed watching Matthew McConaughey hamming it up as the obviously evil Man in Black. And at only 87 minutes (not including credits) it never overstayed its welcome. A hugely enjoyable popcorn movie.
Undoubtedly McG’s best film to date, Netflix’s The Babysitter deceives viewers into thinking that they’re in for yet another run of the mill slasher, before turning into something truly unexpected and unique, working brilliantly as both a horror and a comedy.
Had The Babysitter been produced by a major studio and given a wide theatrical release, it would probably have been neutered into a PG-13 piece of garbage, so here’s to Netflix being the new home of mainstream horror.
Kong: Skull Island
We’ve seen the usual King Kong story done a million times before, so kudos to Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures for finally giving us something wonderful and new. We were also long overdue a film set almost entirely on the eponymous island, which apparently is now populated by giant anime monsters instead of dinosaurs. Either way, the sight of Kong reach into a Skullcrawler’s through and rip out its tonsils will always put a smile on my face.
If Kong: Skull Island is anything to go by, the future of the MonsterVerse is looking very bright indeed. 2019’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters and 2020’s Godzilla vs. King Kong both could not come sooner.
Honorable mentions: Get Out, Gerald’s Game, Better Watch Out, and Beyond Skyline.