It’s that time of year between Christmas (and the Hermanos of Horror Christmas Special podcast- which may or may not see the light of day thanks to a little tech issue) and New Year when you look back over the year. 2017 has been a pretty eclectic year for cinema (this will forever be the year that gave us The Emoji Movie*) with some polarising films (Blade Runner 2049, The Last Jedi) and some incredibly disturbing and controversial issues behind the screen being brought to light.
2017 has been a really interesting year for horror in cinema, highlighted by two ground breaking films (which I’ll talk about later).
So as we draw closer to 2018 I thought I’d look back over the films I’ve seen and pick out my 2017 Top Five (new releases…ish)
5. Death of Stalin
Armando Iannucci, behind The Thick of It, In the Loop and Veep, brought this black comedy to our screens and with it one of the most sinister performances I have seen on film from Simon Russell-Beale (whose bag I accidentally stood on in a bar earlier this year…my 2017 has been action packed!) as Lavrentiy Beria. I’ve read some articles which refer to Death of Stalin as playing Russian Roulette with the Truth, but for all that I felt it was a film that didn’t shy away from the horror of the Stalin (and post-Stalin regime).
4. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
One of my favourite films when I was in my first year at uni was an off-beat, indie film with Joseph Gordon-Levitt (after 3rd Rock from the Sun and before Inception) called Brick. A film noir set in an American High School (also featuring Emilie de Ravin from Lost)- even writing this has made me want to go back and watch Brick again- and this film was my introduction to the director Rian Johnson who wrote and helmed The Last Jedi. The Hermanos have held similar opinions on the last two Star Wars films (Force Awakens- really good, Rogue One- really dull, but ended well), but The Last Jedi is something we strongly disagree on. Nick hated The Last Jedi and normally when there’s a film we disagree on I can see his side of it…I can’t with this. I loved The Last Jedi, it was funny, moving and I can’t wait to see it again. The only negative points I would raise are that it felt like it could have done with being trimmed a little (2 hours 20 is a long running time) and the military plot is a little convoluted, but I absolutely loved seeing Mark Hamill back as Luke Skywalker and it was a great send off for Carrie Fisher who passed away this year.
3. T2: Trainspotting
When I sat down in the cinema back in 2015 to watch Force Awakens I felt really nervous. This was the first episode in a new trilogy- would it work? Could JJ Abrahms pull it off? Was this going to be another trilogy of Jar Jar Binks, Prime Minister’s Questions about tax and trade embargoes, and bad CGI? The nerves I felt before the start of that film were nothing compared to how I felt settling into my seat to witness the return of Renton, Begbie, Sick Boy and Spud. As with Force Awakens, my nerves were unnecessary. T2 was a wonderful film with a playful use of memory- watching Spud watching his younger self and Renton on the run was beautiful- and the song in the royalist bar had me crying with laughter.
2. Get Out
This could easily have been my number one film of 2017. Jordan Peele’s Ira Levin-esque directorial debut is incredible. It’s chilling, intelligent, funny and affecting. Get Out is one of those films you can’t stop thinking about- I haven’t seen it since watching at the cinema (I need to, it’s a film that demands a second viewing) and I still think about it. On top of all this Get Out was a commercially successful horror film.
2017 has been a good year for horror and, for my money, the best of the lot was It. I am a huge fan of Stephen King and It is one of my favourite books and I have been following the various updates of attempts to get the behemoth of a story to the big screen. That It was as good as it was; from the acting and direction, to the music and look of the film, made me so happy. It is a brilliant film and while it’s not out-and-out horror (more horror meets The Gooines) I think it is more than worthy of being my film of 2017.
*Featuring the voice talent of Patrick Stewart as the poo emoji…yes, that’s right, the same Patrick Stewart who was a chilling white supremacist in 2016’s Green Room- my favourite film of last year.