Dec 30, 2016

13 Horror Movies to See in 2017

Article By: Tony Timpone

While Hollywood suffered some costly flops in 2016 (Ben-Hur, Snowden, The BFG), it was a banner year for horror. The downright scary The Witch, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Lights Out, The Conjuring 2 and Don’t Breathe each displayed box-office legs and kept audiences screaming for more. In December alone, three of the year’s best genre flicks opened: The Eyes of My Mother, The Autopsy of Jane Doe and A Monster Calls (look for all three as they theatrically expand in the weeks ahead).  

Luckily for us, the fright quotient looks just as promising in 2017. Having caught some of these flicks in advance, the keen prognosticators at Chiller can confidently predict 13 forthcoming horror movies destined to get your shriek on in the New Fear. (Titles arranged alphabetically; release dates subject to change.)

1. Alien: Covenant (20th Century Fox; 5/19)

Fans flipped out when Fox recently released the teaser poster, then some gory stills and now the first trailer from this Prometheus sequel (second in a new trilogy), that looks to bridge the gap between the two Ridley Scott sci-fi horror franchises that he began in 1979 with Alien. Prometheus survivors Michael Fassbender (as android David) and Noomi Rapace come back, this time joining such impressive new cast as James Franco, Demián (The Hateful Eight) Bichir and funnyman Danny (Tropic Thunder) McBride. The storyline involves a colonizing spaceship exploring a planet paradise that turns out to be anything but. Make a Covenant now to catch another dose of Xenomorph excitement this spring.

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2. The Belko Experiment (BH Tilt; 3/17)

Director James Gunn will have comic book buffs lining up this spring when he unveils Volume 2 of his Guardians of the Galaxy series, but horror fans are just as thrilled to see the screenwriter behind the Dawn of the Dead remake and Slither revisiting his horror roots with this gory shocker. Directed by Wolf Creek’s Greg McLean and scripted by Gunn, The Belko Experiment traps a group of workplace drones in their corporate building and forces them to slaughter their fellow employees. Think of it as Battle Royale meets The Office…with a whole lot of blood. This just may be the Year of the Gunn.

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3. Colossal (TBA)

In the most unique giant monster movie ever, Oscar winner Anne Hathaway stars as an erratic New York City party girl whose actions somehow become connected with a humongous reptilian creature rampaging in Seoul, South Korea. Hathaway discovers this unfathomable ability when she heads back to her hometown to dry out and reunites with childhood friend Jason Sudeikis. Acclaimed Spanish writer/director Nacho Vigalondo, who wowed us with Timecrimes, comes up with his most audacious (and human) movie yet. Colossal’s monsters may be huge, but its emotions are just as big.

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4. A Cure for Wellness (20th Century Fox; 2/17)

Before he got gobbled up by those overblown Pirates of the Caribbean movies, director Gore Verbinski ignited the Japanese horror remake craze with the respectable The Ring in 2003. This enigmatically titled movie returns him to creepy form. A young corporate executive (Dane DeHaan) winds up with a most unusual assignment. He’s tasked with reclaiming his company’s CEO from a relaxing “wellness center” in the Swiss Alps. But what looks like heaven turns into some kind of hell for the man. The little snippets in the trailer had us hypnotized and intrigued. There’s a heavy Shutter Island and Coma vibe about Wellness, which suits us just fine.

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5. The Dark Tower (Sony; 7/28)

Stephen King’s loyal readers have been holding out for a Dark Tower movie since the first book of the eight-part (so far!) cycle debuted in 1982. Inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien and Sergio Leone in equal measure, the Dark Tower novels follow gunslinger Roland Deschain on his quest toward the titular edifice to save his dying world. His unending journey includes clashes with antagonist Randall Flagg (the demonic baddie of The Stand), pledged to destroy the Dark Tower and consequently the universe itself. Oddly, King says the Sony movie (written and directed by Denmark’s Nikolaj Arcel) serves as a sequel to his novels, with Idris (Luther) Elba tackling The Gunslinger and Matthew McConaughey in for Flagg. A tight lid has been kept on the production, but the studio must be confident about the movie’s chances as they have slotted it in a competitive summer slot, plus a TV spinoff hits the airwaves in 2018. 

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6. The Girl with All the Gifts (Saban Films; TBA)

Following its premieres at various international film festivals, folks have been calling this dystopian horror thriller the best zombie film since 28 Days Later. And like that hit, The Girl with All the Gifts really isn’t a zombie film! A fungal infection (!) has led to a widespread rage-style virus outbreak that has decimated the population and turned people into cannibalistic “hungries.” At a remote British army base, scientists (among them, Glenn Close) conduct dastardly experiments on a group of captive infected children in an effort to find a cure. Little Melanie (the one from the title) may hold the key to humanity’s survival, but she goes on the run. Director Colm McCarthy and screenwriter Mike Carey (adapting his YA novel) infuse this cinematic Gift with a strong dose of social commentary and emotional depth, elevating it well above your typical gut-muncher.

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7. God Particle (Paramount; 10/27)

As usual, a major aura of mystery surrounds this J.J. Abrams production, officially billed as Untitled Cloverfield Anthology Movie, but previously labeled with the physics friendly God Particle moniker. The film arrives as the latest edition in Abrams’ loosely-connected Cloverfield series. The official logline reads: A shocking discovery forces a team of astronauts aboard a space station to fight for survival while their reality has been altered. Spacemen in peril include Daniel (Captain America: Civil War) Brühl and funnyman Chris (Bridesmaids) O’Dowd, with the directorial baton held by Julius Onah. Abrams and company scored with the first two Cloverfield movies, and we expect him to winningly complete a hat trick with this secrecy-swathed project.

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8. It (Warner Bros.; 9/8)

Horror brand name Stephen King continues his 2017 movie assault with this epic movie, previously adapted into a 1990 ABC miniseries. Taking over for the memorable Tim Curry from the TV version, Bill Skarsgård (equally-tall brother of True Blood’s Alexander) plays the evil clown Pennywise, a monster who targets the children of Derry, circa the 1980s (mining the same nostalgia period as Stranger Things). Director Andrés Muschietti enticed his previous Mama ghost Javier Botet to portray the Leper in his sophomore effort. If It’s a hit, a follow-up film will catch up with the tale’s heroes decades later.

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9. Kong: Skull Island (Warner Bros.; 3/10)

The giant gorilla King looks no worse for wear after his big fall from the top of the Empire State Building all those years ago. Actually, this Legendary Pictures production reboots the Kong narrative to the 1970s and sticks to the big ape’s jungle hometown, where a team of Vietnam War-era soldiers and explorers go on a monster hunt. This Kong’s larger (100 feet tall!) than any of his previous US screen incarnations, with a look modeled after the 1933 super simian. The equally larger-than-life John Goodman and Samuel L. Jackson join this Pacific isle jaunt. Skull Island serves as a warm-up for 2020’s titanic tussle, Godzilla vs. Kong.

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10. The Mummy (Universal; 6/9)

Speaking of reboots, the venerable Mummy franchise receives a new spin under the capable directorial guidance of sci-fi vet Alex Kurtzman (writer of the recent Star Trek movies). More serious than the previous Stephen Sommers movies, this Mummy comes in the form of the gorgeous Princess Ahmanet (Algerian actress Sofia Boutella), revived from a centuries-long slumber and seeking to spread her devastating malevolence to modern London. There’s so much action in the trailer to this Tom Cruise vehicle that it plays like another installment in the star’s Mission: Impossible canon (Mummification: Impossible?).  The movie marks the first chapter in Universal’s shared Monsters Universe, with the presence of Russell Crowe as Dr. Henry Jekyll hinting at future mashes to come.

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11. Prevenge (TBA)

The seven-months pregnant Jo Hartley (triple threat Alice Lowe, who wrote, directed and stars) craves more than pickles and ice cream in this shocking and funny festival favorite. With unborn baby guiding her, the distressed woman goes on a killing spree, murdering an assortment of creeps who we don’t mind seeing dispatched in gory fashion. But there’s a twisted logic to the woman’s mad mission, teasingly revealed as the body count continues. Watch for this dark treat on the repertory and fest circuit.

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12. Raw (Focus World; 3/10)

Another one from the ladies, writer/director Julia Ducournau grabs for the jugular in this over-the-top cannibalism sensation from France. Teen Justine (Garance Marillier) comes from a family of dedicated veterinarian vegetarians (!). But when she succumbs to eating meat during a college hazing ritual, the young woman transforms into a human carnivore of the worst kind… You may want to skip dinner before seeing Raw, though you don’t want to miss this Gallic gorefest.

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13. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (Screen Gems; 1/27)

Paul W.S. Anderson has guided this never-ending (until now) zombie series since 2002 and has directed four of the six movies and written all of them, which also headline his lovely wife Mila Jovovich. As Alice, Jovovich once again battles the nefarious Umbrella Corporation and the hideous undead and assorted monsters spawned in its secret laboratories. Final Chapter promises to be an all-bets-are-off blockbuster finish to the Resident Evil saga, reuniting key players from both the movies and long-running Capcom video games.

Did we whet your moviegoing appetite yet? Make your own predictions and selections on our Facebook page or on Twitter using #Friday13.

Tony Timpone produced the special features and audio commentary track on the upcoming Elvira: Mistress of the Dark Blu-ray release from Cinespectral Films.

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