From the perspective of a lifelong horror fan, the past several years have been lackluster with the release of several less-than-mediocre films serving as mere placeholders for the casual viewer. 2016 revitalized the genre, introducing audiences to everything from a sequel to fan-favorite The Conjuring (check out our review of The Conjuring 2 HERE), to the new Blair Witch installment (check out our review of Blair Witch HERE), and shocking audiences with the award-winning 10 Cloverfield Lane (and check out our review of 10 Cloverfield Lane HERE). 2017 has just begun, but this year’s scary movie lineup is set to prove that horror is ready for more than just a comeback- it’s ready for a facelift and some detox. So let’s get to it… your 2017 HORROR MOVIES PREVIEW!
The Return of Jigsaw (SAW: LEGACY)
In the fall of 2010, audiences bid farewell to Jigsaw and his never-ending psychological warfare against the criminally incompetent. This fall, Jigsaw is back in Saw: Legacy, which will be the series’ eighth installment. Filmmakers Michael and Peter Spierig, the duo responsible for underwhelming audiences with Daybreakers, are set to direct. Composer Charlie Clouser returns (naturally), and calls the film a ‘reimagination.’ We’ll give it a shot- after all, Tobin Bell returns as the clownish serial killer, and the film reclaims Halloween weekend for its debut. Let’s see if it lives up to its $874 million dollar predecessors.
Is this 2017 or 2003? (RINGS and AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING)
Horror has taken a turn toward millennial trends this year, setting aside some of the more expected releases in exchange for continuations of cinematic successes. Aside from Saw: Legacy, audiences will also return to the cusp of hell with Rings, where the mere thought of trying to locate a VCR in today’s world is scary enough with the return of The Ring franchise. Amityville: The Awakening promises to provide more than a shirtless Ryan Reynolds, which is the best we can say about its older sibling, 2005’s The Amityville Horror. Here’s hoping that 2017 welcomes these two with open arms.
The Legend Returns (THE DARK TOWER and IT)
Stephen King is set to have a stellar year with not one, but two, highly-anticipated film adaptations hitting theaters later this year. The Dark Tower is up first this July, with Hollywood heavyweights Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey taking on the challenge of bringing one of King’s most grueling novels to life. But it doesn’t stop there- the powers that be have also remade IT, despite pleas from Tim Curry fanatics across the globe. If the horrendous Rocky Horror Picture Show remake taught us anything, it’s that Curry’s mere screen presence initiates cult success and shouldn’t be touched with a ten-foot pole. Hemlock Grove heartthrob Bill Skarsgård steps into the title role, surrounded by talented newcomers that have yet to appear in a trailer, but first glimpse says the cast of Stranger Things may have been a better choice. We’ll give both films the benefit of the doubt- but there’s no denying that King’s talent has translated well onto screen before. Who knows, these two films may both be pleasant surprises… but don’t hold your breath.
Get Over It Already (LEATHERFACE, FRIDAY THE 13TH and CULT OF CHUCKY)
Here we go again- another flesh-on-blade Texas Chainsaw Massacre installment strategically paired with the reemergence of machete-wielding Jason in, you guessed it, another Friday the 13th. These films deserve a chance to rest, and 2017 just isn’t letting go. This year’s Leatherface shows us the origins of the named killer, while Friday the 13th promises a ‘hard-R rating’ and an ‘unrelenting Jason.’ Chucky is also returning in 2017 with Child’s Play 7: Cult of Chucky, which the return of Jennifer Tilly makes somewhat exciting. It’s not really a reimagination in this case, but Curse of Chucky left a bad taste in our mouths. Whatever the case may be, we just hope that the films don’t put the legends to shame as many other reimaginations have done (we’re looking at you Nightmare on Elm Street).
Here Come the Monsters (THE MUMMY)
Universal has been tossing around the idea of bringing its legendary ‘monsters’ back to life for several years, and 2017 is the mark of an era. The Mummy returns to the big screen in June, and so far, the film is proving to be a much worthier contender than Brendan Fraser’s 1999 disaster. The film takes a different spin- with the cursed tomb being that of a woman instead of a man- while still paying homage to the origin story that made it famous. While some fans aren’t sure about Tom Cruise, it could be a welcome change as we prepare for the likes of The Wolfman and Dracula, which will be more of a reality with the predicted success of this film.
Sequels, Sequels, Sequels! (ANNABELE 2, JEEPERS CREEPERS 3, and ALIEN: COVENANT)
The sequel game never ends in the horror genre, and 2017 is set to be no exception. Annabelle 2 hits theaters in August, and the James Wan powerhouse Insidious welcomes its fourth installment in October. Off-camera child molester, we mean director, Victor Salva, has finally finished Jeepers Creepers 3, which will hit video shelves at some point during the year. Not sure if it will sell any copies considering the creative entity’s reputation, but it was worth a shot considering the film’s catchy song. The most anticipated sequel of 2017, however, is Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant, which continues where Prometheus left off, complete with Michael Fassbender’s return as the mission’s synthetic survivor David. We’re not sure how Danny McBride will add to the story, but hopefully it will include some of his comedic timing with a surprising dramatic performance. Flatliners is also getting a remake this year, but we have to ask ourselves, is that really necessary?
The Originals (THE BYE BYE MAN, GET OUT, SPLIT, A CURE FOR WELLNESS, CAGE DIVE, KEEP WATCHING)
The Bye Bye Man, despite the ridiculous title, has already kicked off the 2017 horror season this month. Set up as a new generation of serial killer, the film explores the evil behind man’s most heinous acts. It could be interesting, but the title needs significant improvement for marketing purposes. The trailer for Get Out is pretty damn scary, and with Blumhouse behind it, the film could prove to be another 2017 success story- or flop like The Visit did for M. Night Shyamalan just two years ago. Speaking of Shyamalan, Split is also set for a January release. A Cure for Wellness, a mind-blowing thriller about an ambitious up and comer retrieving his company’s CEO from a less-than-transparent ‘wellness center,’ is receiving rave reviews. Cage Dive, on the other hand, takes on the overdone ‘shark’ sub-genre and adds a found footage element that could have been left on the cutting room floor. Keep Watching may be the film to watch this year, appealing to former Disney audiences with the addition of actress Bella Thorne, as well as introducing actor Chandler Riggs of The Walking Dead in a non-apocalyptic setting. The movie follows a family trapped in their own home by two deranged serial killers, while everything is documented by hidden cameras. The cast is righteous, and the story is a brand new take on technology in horror.
Horror has been flailing for years, praying for a hit film to entrance casual moviegoers into reminding the world that adrenaline-pumped cinema is still alive. Though this year’s film slate has a few obvious duds, there’s hope that some of these films will transform the genre and prepare us for another successful run of prolific terror. Did we miss anything? Are you excited about any of the upcoming 2017 horror films? Do you think they’ll all suck? Do you just not care either way? Let us know all about it in the comments section below!
Staff Writer: Nerd Nation Magazine