8 Of The Best Indie Horror Films of 2017 (So Far)
By: Kevin Michael Boyle
With October being the official Halloween month, it’s a little disappointing that the horror movie output is a little lacking this year. There are the typical cash-ins like the intriguing but inessential Jigsaw, a bewildering remake of Flatliners, and, well, IT will be showing for a while longer. Still, 2017 has been a great year for horror films, with the best work in the genre coming from, as is usually the case, the indie circuit. So here are the best indie horror films of 2017 to make your October all the more terrifying.
Split is a minor miracle. The second, and far superior film (after The Visit) in the M Night Shyamalan comeback tour, Split was a surprise box office hit, which becomes less of a surprise when you realise that James McAvoy absolutely destroys this movie. This psychological horror, while a little insensitive in the mental health side of things, is a pulsating watch and worth it for McAvoy alone.
If Split as a minor miracle then Get Out was the real deal. Jordan Peele’s satirical horror tackled themes of racial prejudice, identity, and institutional racism in a film that is just as influence by Ira Levin as Spike Lee. The success of Get Out proves that Peele can now write his own ticket in the industry, and proves that audiences want to be challenged as well as horrified.
The Girl with All the Gifts
The Girl with All the Gifts is the best zombie film since Day of the Dead. This small British indie horror, with the bizarrely brilliant appearance of Glen Close, is equal parts survival horror, and Greek fable. The idea of second generation child zombies, is a nice twist on the values we pass on to younger generations. It’s also got one of the most stunning tracking shots you’ll see this year.
The Blackcoat’s Daughter
While his second film, I Am the Pretty Girl that Lives in the House, was given a cool reception, Osgood Perkins debut film, that finally got a release this year, is a brutal statement of intent from the fledgling filmmaker. Starring grown up Sally Draper Kiernan Shipka, and Emma Roberts, The Blackcoat’s Daughter is all about atmosphere. Shipka is spellbinding as a girl left in a nearly deserted girls school over the holidays, and may be the target of a malevolent force. It’s a slow, languid film which basks in the eerie tone and Hannibalesque visuals, but it’s also shockingly violent with enough dread to haunt you for days after.
Vampire films, at least the drippy Twilight versions have thankfully turned to dust. Which means the classic monster is being redefined once again in indie cinema, most notably with The Transfiguration. Much like Let the Right One In, this film deals with vampirism as a stand-in for puberty, except the question of whether these tendencies come from the supernatural, or a young boy’s obsession with these kinds of movies, is the cause of such behaviour.
Julia Ducournau’s Raw is disgusting, abhorrent, and one of the best movies of the year. In order to enjoy the movies distinctive pleasures, it’s better to know as little as possible about what is to come. Just bring a puke bag if you need it, there are no judgements here. It may also cause you to seriously consider becoming a vegetarian.
It Comes at Night
It Comes at Night is not what you think it’s going to be. Instead of the tense, scare filled, survival horror you were expecting from the trailer, the film is much more contemplative than that. There are scares but more of the existential kind, with much of the horror coming from the act of making the hard decisions, rather than the consequences. Add to this, the fact that it looks beautiful, and boasts one of Joel Egerton’s weirder performances (which are always his best ones), and It Comes at Night shouldn’t disappoint.
Kristen Stewart is a great actress. I know, it’s hard to believe after Twilight, scary even, but Bella was a crap character that not even the royal Streep herself could have brought anything to it. Personal Shopper is what happens when you give Stewart an actual character to play, you know, someone with an emotional journey. Personal Shopper could be classed in many different genres, but there’s ghosts, and Stewart plays a medium, and it should be seen by more people. So there.
Subscribe to VersusMedia Magazine to get access to timely annotations, critical essays, and features by film professionals and critics from around the world.