Movies & TV / Columns

A Bloody Good Time: 2017 Horror Movie Preview

December 29, 2016 | Posted by Joseph Lee


Opening Logo courtesy of Benjamin J. Colón (Soul Exodus)

Before we begin, episode fifteen of The Bloody Good Podcast has Mike and I talking about the first three Hellraiser movies. It’s the last one of 2016, so give it a listen, please.

Speaking of 2016, next week will be my huge end of the year recap of my picks for the best films of the year. But as always, before I do that I like to preview the upcoming year of 2017. We’ve got several sequels, some of them inexplicable, and not as many remakes as usual. It looks like a mixed bag as there’s nothing I’m really excited for in the way I was excited for The Conjuring 2 and The Witch this year. Let’s look at the movies you should keep an eye out for, for better or worse, in 2017.

The Big Releases

Underworld: Blood Wars

Starring: Kate Beckinsale, Theo James, Tobias Menzies, Lara Pulver, Peter Andersson, Clementine Nicholson, Bradley James, Charles Dance

Director: Anna Foerster

Release Date: January 6

I’ve actually enjoyed all of the Underworld movies so far and I’ll be hitting the theater to check this out. With that said, I don’t know if I really care about Underworld anymore. The last movie, Awakening is fine, but I honestly don’t remember a lot about it. The mythology feels muddled at this point, particularly with the prequel breaking up the series before a proper conclusion could be filmed. They had to use a stand-in and archive footage for important character Michael Corvin in the last minute because Scott Speedman left the franchise.

I remember when this series was just a cool series where vampires and werewolves fought each other. Now it’s got so many different aspects that even for fans like me, it’s a bit of a chore to try and remember who is who and who did what. I would have to go back and rewatch four movies to catch up and I don’t know if I’m willing to do that. I guess it’s just franchise fatigue. The trailer does look cool though, I’ll give them credit for that. Plus, Kate Beckinsale is somehow ageless and still able to play Selene fourteen years after she started. I’ll be checking this out, although it may be time to wrap this story up.

Get Out

Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Lil Rel Howery, Keith Stanfield, Marcus Henderson

Director: Jordan Peele

Release Date: February 24

Okay, so this was written and directed by comedian Jordan Peele of Key and Peele fame, yet it’s not a comedy. He insists it’s satire but everything I’ve seen indicates it’s straight horror. It looks like an African-American take on The Stepford Wives, which could actually be pretty good. I just question how a man known entirely for comedy is going to be able to handle the serious racial themes here without it coming off as exploitive.

I can see the movie causing an uproar in certain parts of the internet, but I’m intrigued to see where this story goes. It borrows from other films but appears to be telling its own story and there appears to be a lot of good performances. Some may say that the level of fear depends on if you’re black or not, but I tend to think that the fear of losing control of your own mind is universal. Either way, this is an interesting looking movie and it’s definitely one to keep an eye on.

The Belko Experiment

Starring: John Gallagher Jr, Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona, John C. McGinley, Melonie Diaz, Josh Brener, Michael Rooker

Director: Greg McLean

Release Date: March 11

I have mixed feelings about this one. On one hand, it’s directed by Greg McLean and I’ve never liked a single one of his movies. Yes, that includes Wolf Creek, which I maintain is vastly overhyped. His last movie was The Darkness, a tired waste of time that was universally hated. However, it’s the writer that has me interested. James Gunn provided the script for this, and the last time James Gunn had anything to do with the genre he gave us Slither way back in 2006.

The premise is also very interesting. Someone locks down this office building and tells the staff that they’ll have to kill their co-workers if they want to stay alive. They have implants that will cause their heads to explode if they don’t. If that sounds familiar to you, then you’ve seen Battle Royale. However, it’s a fun concept and with Gunn providing the script I can really see it working here. Throw in a lot of blood and you have the closest thing the US will likely every get to a remake of Battle Royale.

Also, it’s still really weird to me to see the Orion Pictures logo before a modern film.

Alien: Covenant

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride, Demian Bichir

Director: Ridley Scott

Release Date: May 19

Am I the only one who felt a little underwhelmed by the trailer for this? Don’t get me wrong, I’m very excited for a new Alien, but this feels a little too much like Alien and not enough like the last prequel. And yeah, I know I’m in the minority, but I really enjoyed Prometheus. I want to see that story continued instead of ignoring it almost entirely in favor of something closer to Ridley Scott’s original movie. If I wanted to watch the original Alien, I have it on blu-ray. I don’t need to see a movie that tries to be that movie with a different cast. Michael Fassbender will play David’s head and Noomi Rapace will be back, although I fear both are going to be limited to cameos.

My love of Prometheus aside, it’s still a new Alien movie directed by Ridley Scott, and I really enjoy that franchise. The Xenomorph remains a cool design and even though the monster has been in some bad movies, I find myself revisiting them more often than not. Hopefully Alien: Covenant is the next chapter this series needs to keep going, even if that trailer does have me feeling like they’re not doing a lot of new stuff.

The Mummy

Starring: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle, Wallis, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance, Russell Crowe

Director: Alex Kurtzman

Release Date: June 9

Hoo boy. I recently gave my thoughts about this movie on the podcast and they weren’t kind. I’m completely against the way they’re doing this Universal Monsters franchise, particularly because they seem intent on making them superheroes instead of monsters. There seems to be a very straightforward attempt at taking away the horror out of properties that started as Gothic horror films.

Now, I’m not against movies with their own takes on the material, as the classic tales have been done to death. I’m also not against The Mummy as an action film, because mummies in general aren’t scary and the last reboot was an action film. However this looks like every other Tom Cruise action movie in the last decade. It’s so generic. You could replace the Mummy (a sexy corpse, for some reason) with an alien and it wouldn’t change a thing. Instead of trying to copy Marvel, why don’t you just copy the format the Universal Monsters franchise had when it was originally a shared universe? It worked then.

Annabelle 2

Starring: Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Bateman, Lulu Wilson, Philippa Coulthard, Grace Fulton, Lou Lou Safran, Samara Lee, Taylor Buck, Anthony LaPaglia, Miranda Otto

Director: David F. Sandberg

Release Date: August 11

This is another movie that I would normally be ready to dismiss but there is one big reason why I won’t. This sequel will be directed by David F. Sandberg, who gave us the surprisingly great Lights Out this year. So while the original Annabelle was a pointless waste of time, the sequel has someone directing that I assume got his job based on the strength of what he was doing with Lights Out.

I am a little confused by the retconning of Annabelle’s origin the first time around, but I’m not totally against ignoring that movie ever existed. The doll looks creepy enough and outside of Chucky, we haven’t had a really good killer doll movie in a while. There’s a reason people were bothered by her in the first place during her small role in The Conjuring. Maybe if this movie can recapture that, it won’t be as obvious a cash-in as the first one was.

IT

Starring: Bill Skarsgard, Javier Botet, Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Chosen Jacobs, Wyatt Oleff

Director: Andres Muschietti

Release Date: September 8

Consider this the film I’m most excited for in 2017. Not just of horror, but of any genre. Stephen King’s IT is still my favorite book that he’s written. It’s scary as hell and the bond between the Loser’s Club is something that will get you feeling nostalgic for your own childhood. The miniseries was fine, but the only reason anyone remembers it is Tim Curry. Take that out, and it’s a bare bones adaptation at best. There were a lot of horrific moments in the book that were never translated because they couldn’t be shown on network TV in the 90s.

An R-rated movie is a different beast altogether. While I didn’t really enjoy Mama, Andres Muschietti seems to love the source material and everything I’ve seen so far has captured the look I imagine when I read the book. As far as a scary-looking Pennywise, Tim Curry’s looked scary too. He had that unnaturally large forehead and something looked off about him every time he appeared. A scary-looking clown doesn’t bother me, because it’s all about context. Even the Derry kids in the book felt uneasy when they saw him, except little ones like Georgie who didn’t know any better.

I feel like nine months is too long to wait. I want to see this now. At least give me a trailer to tide me over. I want to see if Bill Skarsgard can nail it like I hope he can.

Insidious: Chapter 4

Starring: Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson

Director: Adam Robitel

Release Date: October 20

Insidious has been providing diminishing returns as a franchise since it first got a sequel, but it has yet to produce a truly terrible film, in my opinion. I like the prequels because they shifted the focus to Lin Shaye’s Elise, who is a great character that I enjoy watching. Let’s just ignore the fact that the movie is called “Chapter 4” and should really be chapter two. That’s just the OCD in me talking.

I’m not entirely sure what direction this film is going to take, but I hope we’re done with Parker Crane. There are so many messed up ghosts that were seen in The Further that limiting the focus ot the Bride in Black is what I think hurt the third movie. Let Lin Shaye finally tackle new threats and let us see how she became a reliable source for haunted families.

God Particle

Starring: Daniel Bruhl, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris O’Dowd, Gugu Mgbatha-Raw, Zhang Ziyi, David Oyelowo

Director: Julius Onah

Release Date: October 27

The Cloverfield ‘franchise’ is weird. So far it’s only two mostly unrelated movies. Honestly, the parts of 10 Cloverfield Lane that were connected to the first film only brought down what was, at that point, a chilling and tense thriller. I’m not sure if that movie will make next week’s list or not but John Goodman was good enough that it might. We’ll see.

This movie also has an interesting premise, at least from what I know. A group of astronauts have their reality altered while on a space station. Reality distortion in space? Sounds like someone watched Event Horizon. There are more details than that, as something they did seems to have made the Earth disappear. How does this all relate to Cloverfield? Who knows. Maybe they create the monster.

Saw: Legacy

Starring: Tobin Bell (maybe?)

Director: Michael and Peter Spierig

Release Date: October 27

I don’t think there’s a single person out there who truly thought Saw: The Final Chapter was the last movie. Nevermind the fact that movies with “The Final Chapter” are almost never “The Final Chapter”, but it was clear that Lionsgate was getting spanked by Paranormal Activity and wanted to put the franchise on hold for a while. Honestly, I think it’s time for a new SAW. We haven’t had a movie like this in a while, as most horror films want to be about ghosts, demons or zombies. I’m a little sick of those.

There is absolutely no information about this, at least as far as the cast or story goes. Tobin Bell would seem like a lock, but John Kramer died in Saw III. Costas Mandylor could come back, but Hoffman was left for dead in The Final Chapter. Cary Elwes seemed bored when he came back for that film, so I can’t imagine they’d bring back Dr. Gordon. I’m still excited for this, however, because I’ve been a long time fan of the franchise. I’m also thrilled because it’s directed by The Spierig Brothers, who gave us the awesome Daybreakers and the somewhat underrated Predestination.

The Others:

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter: Normally I’d say this is a big release, but I don’t care about these movies anymore. I also don’t believe it’s actually the last movie. They’ll either reboot it in five years or they’ll throw money at Milla Jovovich to come back.

Rings: I wrote about this last year, but that was before I saw the generic trailer. Now I’m not really looking forward to it, when I had hope that it could reinvent the wheel and do something different with the concept.

Patient Zero: Another film I wrote about last year, but it got pushed back to February. It has a decent cast and an interesting premise, but getting dumped in February has me hesitant.

Amityville: The Awakening: Yet another film I wrote about last year. It’s from the director of the excellent Maniac remake but it’s still an Amityville movie and it’s rare for that series to have good entries. At least Kurtwood Smith continues to get work. They actually had the guts to give this a summer release against a Despicable Me movie, so I have to give them credit for that.

Friday the 13th: I’ll believe it when I see it.

Split: James McAvoy plays a guy with an absurd number of personalities in a movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan. I liked The Visit, so I’m more willing to give this a chance, even with its silly premise.

Flatliners: Believe it or not, I’ve never actually seen the original film. There are bizarre gaps in my horror viewing and this is one of them. The premise sounds like a good time, so I’m sure I’ll give it a shot before the remake arrives.

A Cure for Wellness: Another delayed 2016 film, this one comes from Gore Verbinski. The trailer looked nuts, so this might be a surprise hit. He did give us The Ring, so maybe we’ve got something here. The 146-minute run time, if Wikipedia is right, is a little off-putting though.

Kong: Skull Island: I probably should have included this above, but I don’t have a lot to say about it. It’s a Kong movie and it looks great. It’s just not really horror, even less so than the original King Kong was.

The Bye Bye Man: I’m not supposed to say it or think it. It opens in January and looks like the typical movie for that month. Skip it.

Hellraiser: Judgment: I want to be wrong about this movie, but it looks like yet another attempt for Dimension to keep the rights so they can give us the PG-13 remake no one is asking for. Either remake it or don’t guys, but stop giving us these terrible sequels.

Sadako vs Kayako: This already came out in Japan, but it will be available in the US next month on Shudder. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the ending is absolutely ridiculous.

We Are The Flesh: This Spanish-language film has already hit the festival circuit and is getting some very positve praise. Arrow Video is going to release it on blu-ray. If it’s as good as I’ve heard, then this is definitely one you’re going to want to see.

Before I Wake: Is this just going to be the year of movies that weren’t good enough for 2016? This comes from Mike Flanagan. I like everything else he’s made, but the trailers for this suggest that this will be the first one I hate.

Leatherface: I would have given this film a bigger profile if I was 100% sure it was arriving in 2017. I believe it was supposed to come out this year too, but there’s been no footage or release date confirmed. It could be a great one, since the directors are the guys who gave us Inside.

Inside: Speaking of which, they remade Inside. I saw the tame, completely missing the point remake of Martyrs. I want to believe this won’t be the same but I doubt it.

Children of the Corn: Runaway: Expect it to be ignored at your local video store sometime in 2017. Is there anyone that cares about this series anymore?

Ending Notes:

That’s it for me. Leave some comments here, on my Twitter or my Facebook.


Closing Logo courtesy of Kyle Morton (get your own custom artwork and commissions at his Etsy account)

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