Tab’s Reaction: Horror in 2017

A listener, @RebeccaRenner1, asked us about our thoughts on a recent article from Movie Pilot.  The article, written by Jancy Richardson, is titled “17 Horror Movies Coming in 2017” and centers on the remakes, sequels, and new films slated for release next year.  While I won’t discount movies I haven’t seen entirely, I do have some opinions on this crop of films.

REBOOTS

1. Friday the 13th

As the article states, this is something that has been planned in many incarnations, but has never quite come to fruition.  Friday the 13th was never my favorite slasher franchise, but it absolutely is for some people and for their sakes, I hope they’ve put together a skillfully done and respectful reboot.  Jason fans (and horror fans) deserve it.  Unfortunately, as a rule, these modern reboots of classic slashers tend to be very underwhelming at best and offensively bad at worst.  I think it’s safe to say that it rarely bodes well for a film when it is repeatedly delayed and/or changes forms.  If I had to make a prediction, I’d guess that the newest Friday the 13th remake will follow that trend.

2. Stephen King’s IT

Out of all the reboots and sequels on this list, I think this, in theory, could be the one with the most potential.  While the novel has some excellent material for a truly frightening film, the 90s TV movie does have some serious flaws.  @RebeccaRenner1 thinks that remakes should be reserved for films in which the story and/or the execution could be improved, and I tend to agree with her.  And, there’s a lot that could be improved upon with IT.  That being said, there is one glaring element that would be very difficult to exceed, and that is Tim Curry’s performance as Pennywise the Dancing Clown.  From the article, it seems like they are struggling a bit with casting (not a surprise) and that can make or break a remake of a movie with a very well-defined and well-executed villain.

3. Flatliners

I talked briefly about this one in our Only Lovers Left Alive/A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night episode, but I think the original 1990 Flatliners is an effective film.  It’s well-cast and the dream sequences/hallucinations are the right level of creepy without going over the top.  This is something that doesn’t feel like it needs to be remade, which automatically makes me think that producers are using it as a cash grab, or that they think millennial viewers won’t take the original seriously because it’s too dated.  And it will be too dated for some people – but an effective film is an effective film regardless of when it was released and people who appreciate that won’t care that Hurley has video tapes of his girlfriends instead of digital files.  And didn’t they basically remake Flatliners with The Lazarus Effect? (We all know how that ended up!)

4. Suspiria

We covered this movie in our first episode, and Kate and I specifically mentioned that we couldn’t see this being remade because it it basically breaks all the rules of conventional filmmaking.  I feel like any remake of this film will feel like a hollow imitation of the original, because Suspiria is a film that you experience rather than just watch, even if you hate it – and I know quite a few people that do.  You can’t recreate that experience by telling the story again.  In fact, the best way to give audiences a similar experience is to give them something they haven’t seen before.  (It Follows, Teeth, and The Witch are all great examples of this!)

FRESH BLOOD

5. The Dark Tower

This is probably the one I’m most excited about.  Stephen King is collaborating with the filmmakers on the production and the two main characters were cast beautifully, with Matthew McConaughey as the Man in Black and Idris Elba as the Gunslinger.  I think this movie has a ton of potential.

6. Death House

As the article mentions, Death House is being touted as ” the Expendables of Horror”.  Stunt casting doesn’t usually do much to improve a film, but the novelty will take this movie a long way, particularly with genre fans.

7. Meg

Movies that end up being made after years of stagnating in development hell don’t usually make for a good end product.  Maybe they don’t age well, or maybe it has to do with the fact that they’re often passion projects that are eventually inherited by someone less invested.  Maybe it’s a combination of both, but Meg already has that strike against it.  The bigger issue is, of course, that Jaws is near perfect killer shark movie and every other shark movie is going to be compared to it.

8. Abruptio

I don’t know enough about Abruptio to make any judgements about this one, but even I loved Spike, and I was not a regular “Buffy” watcher.  I’d like to find out more about this one and, I’d be willing to check it out, especially if it ended up on Netflix or Shudder.

9. The Chair

Again, I don’t know enough about this one, but Bill Oberst, Jr is a very creepy dude.  Also, he’s in another movie being released in 2017 called Witchula, which entertains me to no end.  (Is it a witch-Dracula hybrid?! We can only hope.)

10. Sky Sharks

This is aimed at the people who love Sharknado and all the other cheesy Syfy movies. It will no doubt delight them and accomplish exactly what it set out to do, so you go, Sky Sharks! I always say love what you love and don’t care what other people think of it.  If that’s Sky Sharks – awesome!

SEQUELS

11. Saw Legacy

You are asking the wrong person about this one.  This was literally my reaction when I originally saw the first Saw film:

I’m not saying the Saw films are bad, they’re just not for me.  I’m not excited about this one for that reason, but Saw fans might be.

12. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Ditto Resident Evil.  I was a big fan of the games, but the films never resonated with me.  It is always nice to see a badass female lead character, though.

13. World War Z 2

This is the part where I get to be a sanctimonious book reader and tell you that not only did World War Z not have anything to do with the book, but that the book was sooooooooo much better.  If you ever get to see Max Brooks give a talk (which I HIGHLY recommend), he has an awesome bit on what happened with adapting World War Z into a film.  (He also has a great attitude about it, which is really refreshing.)  In his mind, this version of the audio book is the true adaptation. (Something else I HIGHLY recommend.  It’s got great people like Alan Alda, John Turturro, Simon Pegg, and Henry Rollins voicing the characters. Just get all of Max Brooks’s books, actually.  But especially The Harlem Hellfighters. It’s amazing.)

14. Annabelle 2

Look, I think dolls are just as creepy as everyone else does, but I’m not so sure what kind of quality we’ll see from a sequel of a spinoff.  The Annabelle doll seems like something that is most effective in small doses (i.e. its appearance in The Conjuring).  This kind of sequel always seems like an excuse for jump scares to me, so I’m expecting more of the same with diminishing returns.

15. Hellraiser: Judgement

Doug Bradley will always be Pinhead, so this will never quite feel like a true Hellraiser film.  I will say that the actor playing Pinhead for Hellraiser: Judgement looks about 1000 times more menacing than the guy they cast in Hellraiser: Revelations, so I’m not totally writing this one off yet.  I’m hoping that producers learned from the blatant cash grab of Revelations and give fans something worth their time.

16. Insidious 4

See entry for Annabelle 2, especially regarding diminishing returns.

17. Amityville: The Awakening

Jennifer Jason Leigh is a fantastic actress, but, again, having a movie’s release date pushed back doesn’t often bode well.  This one has an actual trailer, and it sort of looks like Insidious Meets The Amityville Horror.  This is where I start to wonder if maybe someone wrote an Insidious spec script and it was added to the Amityville franchise at the last minute.  It’s something I would probably watch on Netflix, if I just wanted something with jump scares that I didn’t have to think too hard about, though.

 

What do you guys think?

Image: “Horror Movies: IT” by Cristiano Siqueira (CrisVector)

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