My top picks of 2017 span many subgenres and additional classifications. Rarely do I get to watch such a diverse collection of genre-specific films that are as phenomenal as the ones listed below. Here’s to another year of shockingly relevant and anxiety-inducing films!
13. Love & Saucers (The Documentary)
If you would have told me that a documentary about an elderly man in Hoboken who claims to have had multiple sexual encounters with extraterrestrials would make my year-end list, I would have laughed in your face. Yet here we are. Director Brad Abrahams manages to tell David Huggins’ story without infusing his own agenda into the narrative or poking fun at the subject’s hard-to-believe stories. Whether you believe David or not is up to you, but the cinematic display of his life is certainly worthwhile.
12. Rupture (The Sci-Fi Indie)
Give me indie sci-fi all day, everyday. Rupture is like an easier-to-digest version of Martyrs. Holding back on the gore but laying into the science experiment abduction scenario, protagonist Noomi Rapace leads viewers into the depths of futuristic genetic mutations.
11. mother! (The One I Didn’t Expect to Like)
So, I talked a big game about not wanting to see this because I think Jennifer Lawrence is completely void of acting talent and Darren Aronofsky sometimes needs to remove his head from his own rear, but I dug this. I went in expecting Rosemary’s Baby and left with Rachel Carson vibes. This would have benefited from an entire casting overhaul but the God-slash-environmentalism metaphors were beautiful enough to save it for me.
10. Happy Death Day (The PG-13 One)
PG-13 horror hasn’t looked this good in a while. Protagonist Tree’s (Jessica Rothe) personal revelations are as heart-warming as the killer is elusive. A delightful little plot twist to round out this whodunnit makes Happy Death Day a fun popcorn-and-a-soda flick.
9. Dave Made a Maze (The One That’s More Thriller than Horror)
Perhaps a stretch to call this film horror, Dave Made A Maze is a thrilling adventure with the best kill scenes I’ve seen in years. The set design (oh my GOD) and unique story make up for the sometimes “meh” dialogue. One word description: innovative.
8. It Comes at Night (The One I Missed at the Overlook
Two pieces of advice here: 1) never trust anyone and; 2) dog lovers beware.
7. The Bad Batch (The One I Caught at the Overlook)
While I would be elated to remove the trippy drug sequence from the middle of this film, the Bad Batch brings a compelling utopian story to the genre. The set design is over-the-top amazing, the practical effects were so good I thought they were CG, and JIM CARREY.
6. Creep 2 (The Sequel)
Just the right combination of uncomfortably laughing at Duplass’s character’s idiosyncrasies and yelling at Akhavan’s character to GTFO. The movie will revived my enjoyment of found footage and gave me hope for sequels. No spoilers here, so catch this on Netflix and patiently await the rumored third installment with me.
5. It (The Remake)
One of the rare Stephen King adaptations that is actually enjoyable to watch! While Pennywise was indeed creepy, this film did not scare me at any point–and that was okay. Remaking It to make it more consumable (I don’t have time to watch a miniseries, let’s be real) appealed to my millennial short-attention-span sensibilities. The timing of this release, coinciding with America’s Stranger Things obsession, could not have been better.
4. XX (The Anthology)
There wasn’t a weak link in this collection of shorts, all directed by women (as the title suggests). Whether you’re looking for vague open-endedness, dark comedic relief, a murderous creature in the middle of nowhere, or the devil incarnate, there’s something for every viewer here. Bonus points for the stop-motion interludes!
3. Tilt (The Social Commentary Indie)
This unassuming indie flick starts Joseph Cross, now known to true crime fans as Benjamin Barnwright of Mindhunter. This is the kind of movie in which I get so absorbed that I forget that I am in fact watching a movie. Commentary on war profiteering, capitalism, and government propaganda paired with the all-too-believable mental unraveling of the protagonist elicit an odd sense of conflicting empathy from the viewer.
2. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (The Most Anticipated)
Who better to reinvent the Greek mythological wheel than a Greek filmmaker? The fruitful partnership of director Yorgos Lanthimos and Colin Farrell shows it has staying power, after the success of The Lobster in 2015. Every cast member gives it their all and the cinematography is masterful. The film shows that pride is dangerous and morality is subjective, but is sure to give the viewer more to unearth after each additional viewing.
1. Get Out (The Blockbuster)
Jordan Peele remarkably paid homage to some of his favorites within the genre while updating plot points to appeal to current events. Daniel Kaluuya brought this story to life flawlessly, accented by astounding performances by Betty Gabriel and Lakeith Stanfield. This will clearly be the top horror movie with social commentary this decade.