Best 11 Horror Films Of 2017- James Jay Edwards’ Picks

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11. 78/52

James Jay Edwards’ Top Eleven Horror Movies Of 2017

78/52 (2017), courtesy IFC Midnight.

The shower scene in Psycho is possibly the most scrutinized and analyzed scene in movie history (film geeks might make an argument for the Odessa Steps sequence in Battleship Potemkin, but I digress).  Well, 78/52 is a documentary all about that scene and more.  If there’s ever anything that you’ve wondered about the making of Psycho in general or the shower scene in particular, it’s probably in 78/52.  A must-see for Psycho fans, or just for people who like to know how things tick behind the scenes.


10. IT

James Jay Edwards’ Top Eleven Horror Movies Of 2017

IT (2017), courtesy Warner Bros.

You may be tired of reading about IT by now, but there’s a reason why it’s so talked about.  It’s terrific.  Bill Skarsgard is no Tim Curry, but to his credit, he doesn’t try to be.  And the kids are both lovable and relatable, so IT basically turns into Stand by Me with a killer clown.  Of course, Part 2 was the weaker half of the 1990 television mini-series, so we’ll have to see how that plays out.  But Part 1 of the new IT was pretty fantastic (and it has the box office receipts to back it up).


9. Kong: Skull Island

James Jay Edwards’ Top Eleven Horror Movies Of 2017

Kong: Skull Island (2017), courtesy Warner Bros.

Ape-Pocalypse Now!  Yes, Kong: Skull Island is on this list.  This is the most fun Kong has been since 1976.  Sure, Tom Hiddleston and Brie Larson seem like they’re in a completely different movie, but Samuel L. Jackson, John Goodman, and John C. Reilly are in on the joke and they all understand that Kong is King.  And the big guy looks better than ever.  I can’t wait for this rebooted King Kong to take on the rebooted Godzilla.


8. It Comes at Night

James Jay Edwards’ Top Eleven Horror Movies Of 2017

It Comes at Night (2017), courtesy A24.

After last year’s indie breakout fringe movie Krisha, a lot of people thought that director Trey Edward Shults should try his hand at making a bona-fide horror movie.  It Comes at Night is what he came up with.  It’s one of those movies where it feels like nothing is happening, when in reality, everything is.  A new twist on the old cabin in the woods motif.


7. The Blackcoat’s Daughter

James Jay Edwards’ Top Eleven Horror Movies Of 2017

The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015), courtesy A24.

The Blackcoat’s Daughter was actually made in 2015, but it just saw release this year after a long period in distribution limbo.  I’m a little jealous of people who have never seen it, as I wish that I could experience it for the first time again.  Nevertheless, let’s all thank the cinematic super-heroes at A24 for saving this wonderful film from purgatory.


6. Raw

James Jay Edwards’ Top Eleven Horror Movies Of 2017

Raw (2017), courtesy Focus World.

For my money, no movie had nearly as many “holy shit!” moments this year as Raw.  It’s been touted as both a cannibalism exploitation flick and a body horror movie, but it’s really just one of those shockingly beautiful horror films that only come along once in a blue moon.


5. War for the Planet of the Apes

James Jay Edwards' Top 11 Horror Movies Of 2017

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017), courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.

And speaking of Ape-Pocalypse Now!  These new Planet of the Apes movies just keep getting better.  Rise of the Planet of the Apes was great, and War for the Planet of the Apes is even better.  Seamless visual effects and a knockout performance from mo-cap superhero Andy Serkis (can we nominate him for an acting Oscar yet?) anchor this blockbuster spectacle.


4. Split

James Jay Edwards' Top 11 Horror Movies Of 2017

Split (2017), courtesy Universal Pictures.

Whenever people think of M. Night Shyamalan movies, the first thing that comes to mind is “The Twist.”  Of course Split has a twist, and it’s an awesome one that literally changes everything that has come before it, but it’s unlike any other Shyamalan twist (purposely being vague so as to not spoil it for the two or three of you who may not have heard about it yet).  But enough about twists, Split also has the year’s single best performance with James McAvoy’s flawless portrayal of a person with 23 personalities (although he only shows six or seven of them – slacker!).


3. Gerald’s Game

James Jay Edwards' Top 11 Horror Movies Of 2017

Gerald’s Game (2017), courtesy Netflix.

On paper, Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game is an unfilmable novel. Oculus director Mike Flanagan said “hold my beer” and delivered one of the most tense and suspenseful experiences of the year.  Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending upon your point of view), Gerald’s Game dumped right to Netflix, so Carla Gugino’s incredible performance won’t garner any Oscar love.  But look at the bright side: most of you can probably watch Gerald’s Game right now if you want to.  So do it.


2. The Killing of a Sacred Deer

James Jay Edwards' Top 11 Horror Movies of 2017

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017), courtesy A24.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is the kind of movie that will get me in trouble for including, as it’s not the average, run-of-the-mill horror movie.  It’s an ominous, atmospheric, creepy little gem that takes a right turn at the halfway point and goes places the viewer never expects it to go.  Again, not strictly horror, but as much of a horror film as we’re bound to get out of director Yorgos Lanthimos.


1. Get Out

James Jay Edwards' Top 11 Horror Movies of 2017

Get Out (2017), courtesy Universal Pictures.

For my money, Get Out was flat-out the best movie of the year, horror or otherwise.  On the surface, it’s just a creepy sci-fi/horror flick, but once you let it sink in, you realize that writer/director Jordan Peele has tricked you into thinking about the many ills of modern society.  This is why I have high hopes for Peele’s Twilight Zone reboot.


So, what did I miss?  What are your favorite horror movies from 2017?


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James Jay Edwards is a film critic and pop culture junkie in San Diego, California. He is a member of the SDFCS and the OFCS, and holds film degrees from SDSU and ASU. He also loves acronyms.