2016 was a great year for horror but we’re hoping for even better things from 2017. Here’s a list from all of us—Liz, Gwen, Dawn—of what we’re eagerly awaiting.
Release date: February 3, 2017
Rings seems to have had a somewhat tortured development, and its release date was abruptly pushed back from October 2016 (when movie posters appeared at our local theater!) to early 2017. We’re still hopeful, though. Directed by F. Javier Gutiérrez (Before the Fall, 2008), Rings looks like it will stay true to the original mythology, upping the ante by drawing in digital networked technology, which makes it much easier for Samara to disseminate her message! Certainly the idea that her message can be spread to multiple people at once (not one VHS video viewer at a time) is very promising—as in the scene on the airplane we’re tantalizingly shown in the trailer.
A Cure for Wellness
Release date: February 17, 2017
A Cure for Wellness is Gore Verbinski’s first return to horror since 2002’s The Ring—and it looks pretty intriguing. It’s an American-German co-production set in a mysterious spa in the Swiss Alps. What people are there for—what their sickness is and what their “cure” might be—are all part of the mystery.
Release date: February 24, 2017
Given the historical treatment of race in American horror films, we’re more than a little excited to see Jordan Peele’s take on the topic. With an all-star cast including Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Erika Alexander and Bradley Whitford, the film charts an interracial couple’s visit to a suburban town in which all of its black residents have mysteriously disappeared. This seems to be an exciting take on The Stepford Wives, doing for race what the early 70s film did for gender.
Raw (French title, Grave)
Release date: March 10, 2017
For fans of extreme French horror, Raw looks to offer a provocative update on body horror. When confirmed vegetarian Justine (Garance Marillier) is forced to consume meat during a college hazing ritual, she sets down a path of cannibalism. While brimming with gore (apparently some viewers have needed medical attention during screenings!), Raw has also been described as a powerful examination of a female coming of age and I’m curious to see if it evokes Ginger Snaps. An added plus: Raw is written and directed by a woman, Julia Ducournau.
The Belko Experiment
Release date: March 17, 2017
From Australian Greg McLean, director of Wolf Creek (2005) and Rogue (2007), this looks like a horror film that also raises some provocative questions about how far people will go to survive. In a mundane office building, workers are sealed in and commanded to kill three of their co-workers. If they do not, some unknown person or entity will execute six. What do they do? A star cast here, including John Gallagher, Jr., and, for fans of The Walking Dead, Michael Rooker.
Release date: March 24, 2017
If you like your horror of the cat and mouse variety with a heaping helping of social commentary, Keep Watching is one to keep on your radar. Starring the luminescent Bella Thorne, the story centers on a family that is held captive in their home and are forced to play a series of increasingly disturbing games. The intruders are intriguingly named Terror, Creator, and Mysterious (played by the awesome Leigh Whannell).
Release Date: TBD
The lone babysitter trope meets home invasion horror in the film Liz is most eagerly anticipating in 2017. We don’t know much about Chris Peckover’s film, which, upon the advice of those who saw advanced screenings, is the best way to experience Safe Neighborhood. The fact that it stars Candyman’s Virginia Madsen is just icing on the cake. Safe Neighborhood (along with Keep Watching) seems to confirm the fact that some of the most exciting work in horror is happening in the home invasion sub-genre.
The Girl With All the Gifts
Release date: TBA
Based on M. R. Carey’s bestselling 2014 novel of the same name, Colm McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic film is currently playing film festivals in the US and a general release date does not appear to have been set yet. We’re looking forward to this distinctive take on the zombie film, which centers on a young girl, Melanie (Sennia Nanua) who is, it turns out, herself a “zombie,” being studied by a group of the surviving uninfected. The novel is told largely from Melanie’s perspective, who does not realize exactly how different, or deadly, she is. The film raises the question whether Melanie is a monster, or humankind’s last hope—or both. This British film promises to be as ground-breaking as Danny Boyle’s 2002 28 Days Later.
Hopefully there are as many great indie horror films in 2017 as there were in 2016. For now, we’re keeping our eye on the Irish film Crone Wood, directed by Mark Sheridan and produced by Black Lodge Films. There’s a trailer, but no official release date for the US as yet. It looks like a highly promising found-footage / folk horror film with some genuinely creepy moments, even in the trailer! We’ll keep you posted.
Lastly, we’re looking forward to HBO’s documentary Beware the Slenderman, due to be broadcast on January 17, about the tragic and terrifying case of the two girls who believed in the mythic Slenderman, attempting to murder another girl in order to appease him.
Premiere date: Tuesday, January 27 CW
While not explicitly horror per se, Riverdale does center on a dark mystery that makes this updated Archie comic feel more Twin Peaks than Gotham.
Premiere date: TBD NBC
Coming from the creator of True Blood, this show focuses on small town living in which vampires and witches abound. This looks to be an especially good pick for those viewers bummed to see Grimm coming to an end.
Premiere date: TBD, Netflix
Netflix has confirmed that season two will be back in 2017 with nine episodes, though no date is forthcoming yet. We just hope Eleven and Dustin will be back (and it looks like they will!)
Premiere date: Sunday, February 12 AMC
Okay, sure, the first part of this season was lackluster to say the least. But we’re still hopeful that the series can rebound by giving up less Negan and more Carol.
Premiere: TBD, BBC & Netflix
Some of you may be surprised by the last TV show we’re eagerly awaiting—but no one who has actually read Richard Adams’ 1972 novel Watership Down (or seen the 1978 film) will be. Far from a “cute bunny story,” this is a realistic, blood-soaked, tragic narrative that certainly has to be among the stories that initiated some of our generation (kids of the 70s and 80s) into horror. We’re beyond excited, then, that there’s a new four-hour miniseries based on the novel (the most expensive mini-series ever made for the small screen) coming from the BBC and Netflix. Executive producer, Rory Aitken, has us a little worried: “While we won’t shy away from the darkness in the book, visually it won’t be as brutal and scarring.” But we’re hopeful the new mini-series will do justice to the story.
CONS AND FESTIVALS
If you’re looking for a low-key con that feels like a throwback to the days before $100+ price tags ruled the circuit, this is a good one to visit. Plus, you are guaranteed that the guests will be wildly-and interestingly-varied!
If you’re a horror fan interested in the artistry behind the genre, I can’t recommend Monsterpalooza enough! You’ll find celebrities and vendors aplenty but the real starts of this convention are the makeup artists behind some of the most indelible creatures committed to film.
Dates: September 21-24
If you’re anywhere near Atlanta, GA in late September, make sure to check out the Women in Horror Film Festival. And if you’re a creator, submissions are open!