We’re less than four months into the year, but it’s already clear 2017 is definitely a banner year for controversial, provocative horror films.
Case in point: Blumhouse’s GET OUT and SPLIT have both passed the $100 million mark in US box-office returns, and GET OUT has garnered the most positive reviews of any film released this year.
But you may have noticed there are also three other independent horror flicks in limited or wide release now which may not have quite the same reach as the aforementioned blockbusters… but they are definitely worth checking out as soon as possible.
I wanted to take a moment to remind you of three very recent, theatrically-released horror films I really love — which you can hopefully still catch at one of your local cinemas right now (depending on your location, of course).
THE BELKO EXPERIMENT
From Blumhouse Tilt comes this bloody, controversial thriller from writer/producer James Gunn (GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY) and director Greg McLean (WOLF CREEK). Tagged as “OFFICE SPACE meets BATTLE ROYALE,” this flick is built on a simple, yet hair-raising premise that turns a typical day at the office into a war zone.
While it does tackle similar themes to BATTLE ROYALE, what really makes this movie stand out from the rest are its uniquely strong characters. Each role, even the minor ones, has a clear goal, purpose, and personality that differentiates them and drives the plot ever forward; none of them seem to be put there just to be killed off randomly and uselessly.
“Kill or Be Killed” is the order of the day, and Gunn & McLean definitely succeed in squeezing out both the conscious and unconscious ramifications of survival in this high-stakes bloodbath, crafting a thrilling and suspenseful ride with just enough crowd-pleasing, brain-bashing, head-exploding moments to delight extreme-horror fans.
Another thing worth praising in this film is the ensemble cast — each actor brings something substantial to their role, humorously and emotionally, and as a result they represent all of us in the real world, while we speculate whether we’d react the same way if we found ourselves in the same situation. That’s what makes this film truly terrifying — as well as a lot of fun. So round up your co-workers and head to the theater for a bloody, rumbling good time with your squad now!
Currently in limited release right now is a French coming-of-age cannibal film that has notoriously sickened festival audiences around the world. RAW is actually not the type of cannibal film that relies heavily on gore, as opposed to titles like CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST or THE GREEN INFERNO — so don’t expect it to be as over-the-top as its reputation suggests.
However, that doesn’t mean the film won’t sicken your stomach to the core, because it definitely does — though in a smart, funny, and mind-blowing way, like nothing you’ve seen in this genre before. RAW lingers in your mind through the masterful direction of Julia Ducournau, along with a creepily compelling performance from Garance Marillier in the lead, while filling its slow-burning gap with dark humor that will have you laughing at its perverseness and churning your stomach. Extremity aside, it never fails to hook you to the screen the whole way through.
So ask yourself: “What am I hungry for?” and go seek out RAW in theaters… you’ll find it’s one of the scariest contenders for this year’s best horror film.
THE DEVIL’S CANDY
Oh, man… this film’s stew of Satanism, heavy metal, and creepy artwork will surely spin your head around. From THE LOVED ONES director Sean Bryrne, DEVIL’S CANDY tells the story of a struggling painter who slowly succumbs to occult forces after his family moves into their dream home.
This film basically goes for slow-burn suspense, and its skillfully stylish direction will creep into your subconscious, slowly dragging you down to hell… just like the characters in the movie. Almost every shot and sound in this film is so wondrously disturbing, so intricately crafted and stylish to watch. It conjures a similar eerie atmosphere to last year’s THE WITCH, with a final act with enough heart-pounding suspense to push you into the abyss.
So don’t forget to sacrifice whatever you have to… because you have a movie date with the Devil himself.