Thus far, 2017 has already seen a good number of surprising and entertaining horror movies, but only now are we moving into the part of the year where the genre truly thrives. The Halloween season has been providing energy to cinematic scares for decades now, and this year is no exception, with an impressive line-up of terrifying-looking films set to make their way into local theaters over the next few months.
Of all of the horror titles set to come out, however, which are the ones that we are particularly most excited for? That's exactly what we're here to discuss today, and the good news is that there is a solid number of them on the way. So sit back, relax, and get ready for eight films that are going to scare the pants off you in the back half of 2017 and beyond!
IT (September 8)
The year 2017 hasn't been an amazing one for Stephen King fans, what with the disappointing release of The Dark Tower and all -- but the good news is that it looks like things are about to make a serious turnaround on that front. After many years of waiting and too many starts and stops, director Andres Muschietti's vision of IT is finally getting ready to head to theaters, and it not only looks like it could be truly phenomenal, but it has all the makings of becoming one of the biggest horror event titles in recent memory.
From a pop culture perspective, the new take on IT looks like it is picking up and running with the same ball that made Stranger Things such a big hit last year, and it's just impressive how wonderfully balanced the movie looks. The trailers already have us wanting to hang out and ride bikes with the lovable Losers club, but far more important is the fact that Bill Skarsgard's Pennywise looks straight-up terrifying -- and that's saying a lot given the high bar set by Tim Curry. This one is going to be a massive hit, and hopefully one that we will want to see over and over again.
mother! (September 15)
Most cinefiles probably wouldn't categorize Darren Aronofsky as a "horror director," but any that would deny his ability to make piss run down your leg is a fool. He doesn't play much in the realm of blood and gore, but Pi, Requiem For A Dream, and Black Swan are unequivocal mind-fucks that are designed to remain in your nightmares for days. Naturally, this makes us over-the-moon excited for mother!, which very clearly is a return for the filmmaker to that kind of storytelling.
The hypnotic and enigmatic trailers make it hard to get a full grasp on the plot driving things in mother!, but the marketing has made some very broad promises about escalating tensions and both Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem look wonderfully manic in their own special ways. This one is also coming up very soon, set to hit theaters September 15th -- but we'll get an early preview of the buzz thanks to its premieres at both the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals next month.
Flatliners (September 29)
I'll be blunt: in this day and age, reboots are stupid. As demonstrated by many, many different franchises to this point, it's a lot better to pick up and continue an established continuity than to just try and demolish it and pretend that it doesn't exist. Thankfully, this is the approach that has been taken for director Niels Arden Oplev's upcoming Flatliners, and on beyond that it's a nice return to a concept that did legitimately work back in the 1990s.
Much like the Joel Schumacher-directed original (which teamed Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin and Oliver Platt) this new take on the near-death experience thriller also sports a legitimately impressive cast, including Ellen Page, Kiersey Clemons, Diego Luna, Nina Dobrev and James Norton. Plus, it will be exciting to see how the original Flatliners idea works with better digital effects, and how Sutherland's original character, Nelson, factors into the story.
Happy Death Day (October 13)
This has been a rather incredible year for the folks over at Blumhouse so far. January wound up being a massive success for the studio thanks to M. Night Shyamalan's disturbing, mysterious Split; and then there's the fact that there are few hits in 2017 that compare to Jordan Peele's genius horror satire Get Out. With Christopher Landon's Happy Death Day, we're anticipating a third home run for the independent studio.
The movie is equipped with a remarkably simple premise - it's basically a take on Groundhog Day made as a slasher film - but it looks like it could be a lot of fun, and the trailer sells the laughs just as hard as it does the scares (which it pretty much needs to given the high-concept idea driving the car). There's hope that it could play at one of the fall festivals leading up to its release, but we look forward to it coming out on October 13th either way (another one just in time for Halloween!)
The Snowman (October 20)
With Martin Scorsese originally attached to helm, Jo Nesbo's book The Snowman has been tossed around Hollywood since 2011 -- and it's not hard to see the attraction to filmmakers. The story groups a freaky location, a disturbing serial killer, and some talented detectives, and that's been a recipe for success in the industry for decades. It looks very much like director Tomas Alfredson has made the most of the material, and that we will be in for another wonderfully scary treat this fall.
Having previously made both Let The Right One In and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Tomas Alfredson certainly knows his way around a tight, creepy mystery, and it looks like he has some fantastic material to work with here. The cast is phenomenal, led by Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Val Kilmer, J.K. Simmons and more, and trailers have sold it as equal parts beautiful and terrifying. We can't wait.
Jigsaw (October 27)
Sadly, the Saw franchise became tired long before it actually wrapped itself up in 2010 with Saw 3D: The Final Chapter -- but let's just say that absence makes the heart grow fonder. The first few movies in the series demonstrated some legitimately thrilling and creative horror ideas, and we're hoping that we can relive some of that in Jigsaw. With resurrecting sequels like these there is always the question of whether or not it's a film spurned on by a good idea or merely just cash grab, but we're hoping for the former.
A significant part of what gives us hope is the involvement of The Spierig Brothers, who are spearheading Jigsaw as their third American feature. While 2009's Daybreakers wasn't terribly impressive, they did an absolutely fantastic job with their 2014 time travel thriller Predestination (an adaptation of Robert Heinlein's "All You Zombies"). If they can bring the same smart, taut storytelling to the complexity of the Saw series, the new movie could start a whole new age for the franchise.
The Shape of Water (December 8)
When it comes to monster movies, Guillermo del Toro has established himself as a master, but his latest, The Shape of Water, looks unlike anything we've ever seen from him before. Sure, it's definitely a creature feature -- starring an odd beast that looks like the child of Abe Sapien and The Creature From The Black Lagoon -- but what appears to be truly driving the narrative is the love that exists between the "monster" and Sally Hawkins' Elisa.
Guillermo del Toro has established skills when it comes to bringing fairy tales to life, and he has a beautiful vision at work here of Cold War-era America -- a period that his work hasn't explored before. The filmmaker has brought together a wonderful cast around Hawkins, including Doug Jones, Michael Shannon, Michael Stuhlbarg, Octavia Spencer and Richard Jenkins, and while we still have a while to wait for this one (December 8th), our year end lists definitely won't be completed without seeing it.
Insidious: Chapter 4 (January 5, 2018)
The fourth film in the Insidious series won't actually be hitting a theater near you until after the new year, but given that it falls within a six month window we're letting it sneak on to this list. While not quite as successful as James Wan's other modern horror series, The Conjuring, these movies have been consistently scaring us for seven year now, and we're left anticipating what Chapter 4 has to offer.
There are a few question marks surrounding this entry, as it is the first in series not to be directed by one of the original creators, James Wan and Leigh Whannell, but the latter did write the script and is reprising his role as Specs alongside Angus Sampson's Tucker. As she should be, Lin Shaye's Elise Rainier is back in the spotlight here, and while we don't know what kind of haunting mystery she will be encountering this time around, we have high hopes that it will be up to the standard of the character's growing legacy.