As ever with the horror genre, 2017 is filled with reboots, remakes and sequels, with everything from Alien and Flatliners to Leatherface and Insidious making a return. But there are also a fair few original films entering the fray, some based on classic novels making their big-screen debut, others fresh ideas by first-time writers and directors. So, the following are 10 scary movies to get your blood pumping in 2017…
Release Date: US & UK September 8
More than 30 years after Stephen King’s horror novel first arrived on shelves, It is finally hitting the big screen. Well, some of It anyways. The 1986 tome told the tale of a group of kids – and later, their adult counterparts – doing battle with a mysterious and malevolent being that exploits the darkest fears of its victims. This film version will only feature the children’s storyline however, though expect the grown-ups to play their part in a sequel should It be a success. Mama helmer Andrés Muschietti directs, while Bill Skarsgård steps into the sizeable shoes of Pennywise the Dancing Clown.
Release Date: US & UK July 28
More Stephen King, this time in the shape of an adaptation of his epic Dark Tower series. Though early word on the project – which is being overseen by Danish writer-director Nikolaj Arcel – suggests that the film will be something of a sequel to the books, it’s one that nevertheless features many of the same characters. Idris Elba is playing Roland Deschain, the cowboy-knight on a quest to save ‘Mid-World’, while Matthew McConaughey is ‘Man in Black’ Walter Padick, an evil sorcerer who has his own nefarious reasons for wanting to reach the titular tower.
Release Date: January 20 Having rediscovered his mojo with 2015’s weird and wonderful The Visit, M. Night Shyamalan tackles similarly strange territory with Split. James McAvoy delivers a grandstanding performance as a man suffering from ‘dissociative identity disorder’ which in this case manifests itself as 23 different personalities. He kidnaps three teenage girls at the start of proceedings, which coincides with a mysterious and dangerous 24th personality bubbling to the surface, with devastating consequences for all. It’s a blast from start-to-finish, with Shyamalan clearly having fun behind the camera, and McAvoy dominating the screen in front of it. Oh, and as ever with this filmmaker, there are surprises in store, so expect the unexpected.
Release Date: US March 10, UK TBA
Raw caused something of a sensation at 2016’s films festivals, and it’s easy to see why, with Julia Ducournau’s writing and directing debut a powerful, shocking, and surprisingly tender movie about cannibalism. Garance Marillier plays Justine, a vegetarian whose first term at vet school doesn’t exactly go according to plan. There’s the hazing, the bullying, and the bloody initiations. She develops a violent rash, then starts to crave raw meat. From here-on-in, the film is a mesmerizing assault on the senses as Justine transforms into a twisted horror heroine for the ages. It’s uncompromising material, and definitely not for those of a nervous disposition, but it’s also an unforgettable journey; one that marks out Ducournau and Marillier as major new talents.
5. Get Out
Release Date: US February 24, UK March 17
There are lots of similarities between comedy and horror, from the set-up and pay-off to the tension that arises from building to a gag, be it funny, or bloody. Which means that you can make some serious movie magic when you combine the two. Comedian Jordan Peele’s first foray into the genre looks like it will be more scary than funny, telling the tale of a black man visiting his white girlfriend’s parents’ country estate where bad things seem to be happening to the African-Americans who live there. Expect a serious dose of satire, and if the trailer is anything to go by, a serious dose of weird.
6. Patient Zero
Release Date: US February 17, UK TBA
In Patient Zero, TV’s Doctor Who (Matt Smith) and TV’s Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) do battle with a race of super-humans that have been infected by a mutated form of rabies. Smith plays a survivor who has the ability to talk to those infected, while Dormer is a CDC virologist desperately searching for a cure. The script for this one was the subject of a huge bidding war, so here’s hoping the resulting film brings something new to the zombie sub-genre.
Release Date: US March 17, UK TBA
The Belko Experiment is a meeting of brilliant horror minds, the film being written by James Gunn (Slither, Dawn of the Dead) and directed by Greg McLean (Wolf Creek, Rogue). And the high-concept story is an intriguing one, focusing on a group of American office workers being locked in a building in South America and forced to play a game of kill or be killed.
8. Death House
Release Date: TBA
Horror legends Kane Hodder, Tony Todd, Barbara Crampton, Dee Wallace and Bill Moseley star in what’s being called the horror Expendables. Leatherface himself – the late great Gunnar Hansen – wrote the script, which finds a gang of violent inmates taking over the prison of the title, and discovering something quite horrible in the lowest depths of the facility.
9. The Bye Bye Man
Release Date: US & UK January 13
“If you say his name, or even think it, he’ll come for you.” This forthcoming high-concept horror concerns a mysterious boogeyman that is supposedly the evil behind mankind’s most unspeakable acts. The story revolves around three college friends moving into an old house where they discover the truth about the Bye Bye Man before becoming entangled in his curse. Monster performer extraordinaire Doug Jones plays the title character, and if his villain resonates with audiences, expect it to be the first in a series of Bye Bye flicks.
10. The Limehouse Golem
Release Date: TBA
An adaptation of Peter Ackroyd’s 1994 novel Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem, this historical horror is set in Victorian London and revolves around a series of murders so grisly that the locals believe them to be the work of the mythical creature of the title. Jane Goldman (The Woman in Black) writes, while Bill Nighy plays the Scotland Yard detective on the hunt for the golem.
11. A Cure for Wellness
Release Date: US February 17, UK March 24
This psychological chiller stars Dane DeHaan as an ambitious executive sent to a ‘wellness centre’ in the Swiss Alps to retrieve his boss, who seems to have lost his mind. Once there, he discovers that the spa’s purification process involves a cleansing of the mind that renders those there more like prisoners than patients. A Cure for Wellness is director Gore Verbinski’s first horror film since his well-received remake of The Ring, while Lucius Malfoy himself – Jason Isaacs – looks to be on villainous form as the facility’s mysterious director.
12. Hounds of Love
Release Date: TBA
This deeply disturbing serial killer thriller is set in Perth, Australia in 1987, and revolves around a couple who kidnap, abuse and murder schoolgirls. A startling debut from writer-director Ben Young, the film focuses on the horrors of their actions, but also works as a twisted character study as the couple in question – played with dark malevolence by Emma Booth and Stephen Curry – psychologically torture each other in much the same way they toy with their victims. Which makes for a wholly original take on the genre, albeit one that’s harrowing from beginning-to-end.