Get Out

Favorite Things: Best of 2017

Disclaimer: 2017 was a busy, stressful, and emotional year. Between working full time, going to school full time, trying to maintain this website, and dealing with personal issues, I have neglected my site more than I care to admit. As a result there are several films I saw in 2017 that I unfortunately never had time to write reviews for. Instead of stressing out about it and trying to cram multiple reviews into the last few days of the year, I’ve decided to instead start 2018 with a clean slate. Some of the films in my top 10 list I did not write reviews for, but I will include a number rating for those films and links to the full reviews for others.

Ok, now for the fun stuff. There were many amazing great horror films, shorts, and TV shows in 2017. Here are my top picks for the year!

TOP 10 FILMS OF 2017

10. It Comes at Night

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This film suffered from misleading advertising. Between the name and the trailer, audiences got the impression it was going to be a very different film than what they got. Looking past that, It Comes at Night is still an intense film that puts audiences in the frame of mind of the main characters. All we know is there is an end-of-the-world type virus killing everyone, but no one knows anything more about the virus or what is going on in the rest of the world. The concept, along with a stellar performance from Joel Edgerton (The Gift), makes for a suspenseful film that sticks with you. OVERALL RATING: 7.5/10

9. A Dark Song

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A Dark Song is a polarizing film. The majority of the plot is a slow burn showing the meticulous ritual a mother goes through to get revenge on those who killed her son. The climax then goes in a wildly different direction leading to a fascinating image that some will love and others will hate. Personally, I thought it all worked well together, and the two leads are both fantastic, especially Catherine Walker (Critical) as Sophia. Click here for my full review.

8. IT (2017)

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The latest adaptation may not have had the scares everyone expected, but it was exciting, well written, and had a superb cast of young actors. This film managed to make Pennywise a much more terrifying monster because they actually showed him being violent towards kids, something lacking in the first adaptation (and something many horror films don’t have the guts to do). This film makes me excited to see part two. Click here for my full review.

7. Hell House LLC

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There is one thing that makes me love Hell House LLC so much; it is not only the scariest film I saw in 2017, but it is also the scariest film I can think of in recent memory. Writer/director Stephen Cognetti took the more subtle approach with his scares, and it definitely paid off. This film is a perfect example of found footage done right. Click here for my full review.

6. The Devil’s Candy

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Metal music and the devil go hand-in-hand in The Devil’s Candy. The film is haunting and atmospheric, utilizing music to drive the plot down a dark and twisted path. The great story is accompanied by an even greater performance by none other than Ethan Embry (Empire Records). This could be Embry’s most powerful performance yet. Click here for my full review.

5. Gerald’s Game

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I hadn’t read Stephen King’s book before seeing Gerald’s Game. The plot sounds like something that wouldn’t work in a feature length film, but director Mike Flanagan made a thrilling and suspenseful film with various scenes that won’t leave my mind anytime soon. The film also has one of the strongest female performances of the year from Carla Gugino (San Andreas). OVERALL RATING: 8/10

4. Tragedy Girls

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Tragedy Girls was one of the most fun film experiences I had this year. It is disturbing, hilarious, and sweet all at the same time. Both Alexandra Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse) and Brianna Hildebrand (Deadpool) deliver hilarious performances with great chemistry between the two of them. The film perfectly displayed the lives of teenage girls; these teenage girls just happen to be serial killers. OVERALL RATING: 8.5/10

3. Get Out

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Jordan Peele gave audiences a socially poignant thriller that is equal parts disturbing and funny. Get Out may be one of the most important horror films to come out this year because of the social climate throughout the country. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s just a genuinely great film with an interesting story and lots of little hidden meanings throughout. Click here for my full review.

2. Raw

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For most of the year Raw held the number 1 spot on my list of favorite films in 2017. While it got bumped at the last minute, this film still stands out in my mind. Raw is a French film focusing on a girl going through a sexual awakening while also discovering she has cannibalistic tendencies. The film is intense, unsettling, and even beautiful. Click here for my full review.

1. The Shape of Water

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The Shape of Water is not only my favorite film of 2017, but it just might be my new favorite film of all time. It is visually stunning, well acted, and has a beautiful story that many people will be able to relate to. Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine) gives an Oscar-worthy performance as Elisa. Guillermo del Toro yet again proves that he is a master of his craft with this gorgeous piece of art. Click here for my full review.

Honorable mention: Dave Made a Maze, The Night Watchmen, The Babysitter, Boys in the Trees, Better Watch Out.

TOP SHORT FILMS OF 2017

TOP TV SHOWS OF 2017

  • The Exorcist
  • Stranger Things
  • Bates Motel (series ended in 2017)
  • American Horror Story: Cult
  • Grimm (series ended in 2017)
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Get Out

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A talented young black photographer goes on a trip with his white girlfriend to meet her family. Once they arrive at the luxurious and secluded estate, he notices that the only other black people in the area serve the rich white families. Even more strange is their behavior. After one of the few black residents snaps and screams for the young photographer to get out, it becomes clear that there is something much more sinister going on in this quiet little town.

In recent years there has been a rise in traditionally comedic writers breaking their way into the horror genre. We saw Diablo Cody do it with Jennifer’s Body, Kevin Smith did it with Red State and Tusk, and soon we will see Danny McBride do it for a new Halloween film. Get Out is not only Jordan Peele’s first dive into writing a horror film, but it is also his directorial debut. Along with those who preceded him, Peele does an amazing job of creating a dark and twisted film that is still heavily laced with humor.

Like many horror films that are also humorous, Peele focuses on a social issue and then exaggerates to the point of being satirical. Get Out focuses on a young black man meeting his white girlfriend’s apparently racist family and all of their racist friends. That isn’t a new idea that audiences haven’t seen, but Peele takes it a step further creating something exciting, unique, and darkly funny. I won’t go into too much detail, but Peele does a great job of giving the audience clues throughout the film leading up to the climax and a few great surprises. Another interesting thing to note is that, while this film focuses on white people being racist against black people, it manifests differently than you would expect. Again, I will spare further details because it may spoil a few surprises, but you will understand what I mean once you see the film. The only negative I can really say is that Peele attempts to include a few classic horror movie jump scares. They are clearly meant to startle the audience, but they fall short of actually scaring anyone.

This is a film where every actor, no matter the size of their part, does a tremendous job in their roles. Daniel Kaluuya (Sicario, Kick-Ass 2) is delightful as the lead, Chris. He is charming, funny, and fierce when he needs to be. For those who have read my reviews so far in 2017, you may have noticed two films I reviewed where I complained about British actors playing Americans and how I could hear British their accents break through. It is a major pet peeve of mine. Kaluuya is British, yet not once can you tell by listening to him speak. That alone gives him points for me. One surprise performance comes from Allison Williams (Girls, Peter Pan) as the girlfriend, Rose. In the past I have not been a fan of her acting, but Williams won me over in Get Out, especially in the second half of the film when things take a turn for the worst. There is one smaller role that really grabs my attention over and over again during the film. Betty Gabriel (The Purge: Election Year, Good Girls Revolt) blew me away as the housekeeper, Georgina. Gabriel’s performance is somehow unsettling and hilarious all at once. While these three stand out to me, there is truly not one actor in the film that I can think of who isn’t fantastic.

While the content of this film is not so subtle, the effects are. Virtually all of the practical effects are utilized during the climax of the film. The filmmakers make a wise decision in these scenes by not fully showing any kind of gore. There are clearly well done practical effects, but to keep the focus off the more unsightly things, the filmmakers never show them in full focus. Much of the events that necessitate practical effects occur just off camera or at an angle where you can clearly see what is going on without getting the full visual. While I enjoy a healthy amount of gore as much as the next horror fan, this method works for Get Out because it forces you to pay more attention to the events taking place rather than the amount of blood and guts. The only other special effects in the film create what is known as the “sunken space.” It gives the audience a compelling visual of what hypnotism looks like from within the mind of one who is being hypnotized.

The horror of Get Out is not only the events that take place, but also the racism that fuels these events. Jordan Peele skillfully takes on a serious social issue in a unique light that results in a thrilling film dripping with dark humor. I’m sure it’s no accident that Get Out is being released during Black History Month, especially in the current political climate. This film is dark, twisted, hilarious, exciting, mysterious, and incredibly well acted. People from a vast array of backgrounds and ages can enjoy Get Out because it has a little something for everyone. I have a feeling that Get Out will make my top ten of 2017 list at the end of the year.

OVERALL RATING: 9/10