The Best Horror Movies of 2017 That You Probably Missed

In the wake of Get Out and Stephen King's It, here are all the best horror movies you probably haven't seen this year but should, and where to find 'em.

the devils candy


the devils candy

2017 has been a great year for horror. That’s saying a lot in a decade that has proven to be one of the best in the genre’s history. Released in February, Get Out is a definite Oscar contender, and last month’s It just surpassed a 44-year-old record set by The Exorcist to become the top highest-grossing horror movie of all time.

As a genre fan, it's thrilling that a handful of honest-to-God horror movies have made it into the mainstream conversation. With that said, there's still an incredible crop of under-the-radar horror films that were released this year to get excited about. Here are all the best horror movies you probably haven't seen this year but should, and where to find 'em.


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Director(s): Roxanne Benjamin, Karyn Kusama, Annie Clark, Jovanka Vuckovic

Starring: Natalie Brown, Melanie Lynskey, Breeda Wool, Christina Clark, Jonathan Watton, Peter DaCunha

Where to Watch: XX is streaming now on Netflix

Billed as a cool exercise as much as it was as an actual movie, XX is an anthology horror with four shorts written and directed exclusively by women. The standout segment here is Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, who makes her directorial debut with Birthday Party. It's audacious, tense, fun, and, unsurprisingly, features some excellent sound design. Elsewhere, The Invitation director Karyn Kusama helms an expedited version of what could be described as "Rosemary's Baby: The Teen Years." XX is a classy, entertaining horror film top-to-bottom, even if it doesn't really add up to more than the sum of its parts in the end.


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Director: Daniel Espinosa

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds

Where to Watch: You can rent Life on Amazon for five bucks—a bargain.

With an A-list cast and inflated marketing budget, Life wasn't necessarily an overlooked indie feature by any means, but it was shortchanged both critically and financially for what it was: a ballsy, well-acted R-rated monster movie with an all-timer twist ending. It's remarkable that Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, and Ryan Reynolds all feature in this violent, weird film, and they're not sleepwalking through the thing for a paycheck, either. It might not be reinventing the wheel when it comes to interstellar horror (or creature design), but all the way through, Life feels like a movie that has no business existing as it does. That's reason enough to watch.

A Dark Song

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Director: Liam Gavin

Starring: Mark Huberman, Susan Loughnane, Steve Oram

Where to Watch: A Dark Song is streaming on Netflix right now.

Irish horror's seen a couple of gems in the past few years. The Canal breathed some life into the ever-stagnant "dude with a dead wife" genre, and The Hallow is a twisted, gritty little fairy tale that features the added bonus of Michael Smiley having the time of his goddamned life. A Dark Song has a similar dark intensity. Atmosphere is everything in Liam Gavin's film, where a grieving mother and an occult professional move into a mysterious rural mansion to do... some sort of rite. The less you know the better. Weird rules and rituals abound, and the third act devolves into a special kind of sinister chaos that doesn't feel unearned or messy, which is, unfortunately, rare for these kinds of films.

The Devil's Candy

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Director: Sean Byrne

Starring: Ethan Embry, Shiri Appleby, Pruitt Taylor Vince,

Where to Watch: Go stream The Devil's Candy on Netflix right now.

Australian auteur Sean Byrne's 2009 film The Loved Ones was one of the best indie horrors in recent memories. It's a wonder why it took The Devil's Candy  so long to get made, and then released. Initially screened in 2015, the film took another two years for the general public to get to see it. God knows why; it's great. The Devil's Candy is a knowing, sometimes subversive love letter to both ’70s horror and heavy metal's ties to the genre. We're lucky to have good movies that are this strange and small, and even luckier to have someone like Byrne making 'em.

Wish Upon

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Director: John R. Leonetti

Starring: Joey King, Ryan Phillippe, Ki Hong Lee

Where to Watch: You can stream Wish Upon on Amazon/VOD

Oh, what, you're too good for a predictable studio horror movie about a Chinese wish box? Get outta here: Wish Upon is an unapologetic, trashy fun time. Newly-anointed scream queen Joey King leads the line as Clare, a high schooler who finds a mysterious ancient box that, yes, grants wishes, and, you guessed it, also kills people! Ryan Phillippe co-stars as Clare's dad, who plays the saxophone in no fewer than three key scenes in the movie, and Stranger Things' Barb shows up for a glorified cameo. It's dumb and it's great. A genuine standout here, though, is Sydney Park, who absolutely nails her supporting role. She's funny, she's confident, she's going to be big.

The Endless

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Director(s): Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead

Starring: Callie Hernandez, Tate Ellington, James Jordan

Where to Watch: The Endless will be released in early 2018

This one feels like a bit of a cheat, since it technically won't be publicly released until next year, but listen: I loved this movie and I'm gonna need you to get excited about it right now. Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead are damn fine horror filmmakers. Need proof? Just watch 2012's Resolution, a Cabin In The Woods-style examination of horror tropes for people who thought Cabin In The Woods was a little too straightforward. The Endless follows two brothers, Benson and Moorhead themselves, who return to the mysterious cult they fled 10 years prior, with satisfyingly spooky results. This is a masterful, emotional, scary movie that'll do well with just about everyone, but will be of particular interest to people who have followed the pair previously, for reasons I won't spoil here.


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Director: Joachim Trier

Starring: Eili Harboe, Kaya Wilkins, Henrik Rafaelsen

Where to Watch: Thelma hits theaters November 10, 2017

Though not billed as a horror film outright, director Joachim Trier has built an all-timer with Thelma, an understated sci-fi screamer stuffed with existential dread and fucked up, fever dream imagery that’s as deceptively beautiful as it is unsettling. With notes of Carrie and The Witch, Thelma still never feels derivative – it’s an understated film that casts a wholly unique sort of spell, one that isn’t likely to dissolve even after the film has tumbled towards its stunning final moments. Superhero origin story, religious horror film and subtle sci-fi drama in one, those who go out of their way to see Thelma will likely find themselves watching one of the best movies of the year; or at least, one of the most unique ones. – Aubrey Page

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