Halloween is around the corner, so let’s talk horror movies! Here are some frightening films you need to see, and then a few to keep an eye out for as the year comes to a close.
“Get Out,” written and directed by Jordan Peele —
This directorial debut from Peele has stayed at 99 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and made a pretty penny at the box office. I was so obsessed with this trailer that I remember showing it to random people just to see their reaction. When I finally got to see the film, I was blown away because it’s creepy as hell, funny and different. It’s a film that sparks a conversation but doesn’t jam a point down your throat.
Available on Amazon, YouTube, Google Play.
“Annabelle: Creation,” written by Gary Dauberman, directed by David Sandberg —
Haunted dolls will forever be one of my favorite sub-genres. This sequel out-shined the first “Annabelle” with some clever jump scares and solid performances. It’s the fourth installment in the “Conjuring” Universe, and I’m looking forward to “Annabelle 3” and “Shazam!” which is next on the docket for Sandberg.
Still in theaters, and has earned $280.3 million and counting.
“Raw,” written and directed by Julia Ducournau —
This is the directorial debut of French filmmaker Julia Ducournau. “Raw” is a beautiful and enlightening take on cannibalism, and definitely not the film to see if you’re feeling queasy. It made a splash out of Cannes 2016 and got a limited release in early 2017 to rave reviews.
Available on YouTube, Amazon and Google Play.
“The Love Witch,” written and directed by Anna Biller —
I saw the premiere of this at the Etheria Film Festival and was blown away by the commitment to the craft in the film. The film delivers a mesmerizing performance from Samantha Robinson as our Love Witch, swoon worthy costumes, production design and… MURDER! Anna Biller is a creator to watch.
Available on YouTube, Amazon and Vudu.
“It,” directed by Andy Muschietti and written by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman —
The biggest opening of the year was for a horror film! “It” is breaking all kinds of box office records. The film has grossed over $200 million two weeks after its release and is holding a steady pace. Andy Muschietti directs a nostalgic film with solid performances by the ensemble of Derry teens. The film runs long and infused more CG than it needed, but it’s one that has rewatch value and the sequel is already in motion. I saw it for the first time in a packed theater in a small town in Nevada riddled with teenagers, who shielded their eyes and huddled up with their friends every time Pennywise was on screen. The film started with a bigger budget than most horror films made in the studio system these days. Luckily it over performed, which is great news for horror films.
Still in theaters.
“The Ritual,” written by Joe Barton and directed by David Bruckner —
Netflix acquired the film out of the TIFF Midnight Section for a whopping $4.75 million price tag, and we all can’t wait to see what all the fuss is about. Bruckner has directed segments in a few anthologies (V/H/S, The Signal, Southbound) etc., which makes seeing a whole feature directed by him more exciting.
Currently doing the festival circuit.
“Happy Death Day,” written by Scott Lobdell and directed by Christopher B. Landon —
A horror version of “Groundhog Day” is a no brainer idea, and all of the teasers and trailers show this film being the fun, poppy, pre-Halloween (“Friday the 13th” to be exact) horror release we all want and need.
Release date: Oct. 13, 2017 (USA).
“Jigsaw,” written by Pete Goldfinger and Josh Stolberg, directed by Michael Spierig —
I still remember the first time I ever saw the trailer for “Saw.” While I’m not the hugest fan of gore, I’m curious to play a game with “Jigsaw” once again. “Saw” is a franchise that a lot of my non-horror-loving friends dig, there’s something about it that lures you in. The kills will no doubt be insane, and this will most likely have a good draw due to its release being the Friday before Halloween.
Release date: Oct. 27, 2017.
“Polaroid,” written and directed by Lars Klevberg —
This will mark one of the only recent original horror releases for Dimension and could spawn a franchise. The film hails from the producers of “The Ring” and “The Grudge,” and the feature is based on the award-winning short of the same name by Lars Klevberg. “Saw” started as a short, as did “Lights Out,” which is also getting a sequel, so we have our fingers crossed for “Polaroid.”
Release date: Dec. 1, 2017
“Shape of Water,” written by Vanessa Taylor and Guillermo del Toro, directed by del Toro —
The film is a beautiful and horrific fairy tale from the mind that gave us “Pan’s Labyrinth.” Seemingly inspired by “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” stories of monsters will never go out of style. Fox Searchlight is sure to make an awards push.
Release date: Dec. 8, 2017.