After impressing us last year with the chilling short film De-Mente, Lorenzo Ayuso passes the directorial torch to Azahara Gomez (De-Mente‘s visual effects maestro) and takes a co-writing credit on Extatico, a slickly produced and profoundly unsettling short that continues to strengthen both of their reputations.
It’s taken a while to see the light of day, but before he helmed Ouija: Origin of Evil, Mike Flanagan wrote and directed supernatural chiller Before I Wake. Lacking the sting of his other work, it’s a frustrating film that ultimately can’t utilise its intriguing premise to its full potential.
Office Space collides with The Purge and Battle Royale in The Belko Experiment, a fitfully engaging workplace horror from Guardians of the Galaxy‘s James Gunn.
Supernatural horror tropes come thick and fast in Don’t Knock Twice, a disappointingly shopworn demonic yarn from director Caradog W. James.
A truck drives down a desolate country road, when the figure of a dishevelled woman lumbers into view. The torment she’s been through is unclear. The driver stops as the woman collapses, defeated. It’s one of only a handful of scenes in Nicolas Pesce’s The Eyes of My Mother that doesn’t take place on the property of main character Francisca, and it’s a fittingly bleak opening to what is a beautifully austere, deeply unsettling piece of work.
Without question one of the year’s most talked about genre releases, The Love Witch, a years-long labour of love from writer, director, producer and costume and set designer Anna Biller, is fully deserving of the hype it has been steadily amassing since it first began turning heads on the festival circuit last year. Unflinching and totally convincing in its commitment to its atmosphere and retro visual flair, this is a hugely entertaining piece of work that is both an effective homage to sixties and seventies horror and a smartly observed riff on long-standing genre gender politics.
Best known for his work as one half of cult comedy duo Key and Peele, Jordan Peele makes an unexpected gear-shift into horror for his directorial debut. As it turns out, the outcome is better than anyone could have expected: Get Out is a slickly executed, expertly paced and remarkably well written thriller that succeeds all at once at being chillingly relevant, deeply scary and hugely entertaining.
A Cure For Wellness is an achievement in one way, at least: made on a budget of $40 million, it’s genuinely remarkable to see a film with such a notable lack of mainstream commercial appeal being made on such a grand scale in 2017.
Whatever else there is to say about it, Julia Ducournau’s Raw is a beast unto itself. Fusing elements of the New French Extremity movement with a more pronounced indie-drama sensibility, the result is a visceral, gritty and surprisingly tender offering that stakes a convincing early claim for the best genre film of 2017.
James McAvoy gives a career-best performance in Split, but the film can’t get out of his shadow.