It’s not all superhero movies and animated films this year, and not every movie released has to have a kid-friendly rating. In 2016, horror proved to be one of the most resilient genres with The Conjuring 2 and Don’t Breathe making millions while tentpole movies like Independence Day: Resurgence went down in flames at the box office.
In the first three months of 2017, Split and Get Out opened to stellar business (and ecstatic reviews) while Ghost In The Shell and The Great Wall proved to be critical and commercial disappoints, which hopefully points the way forward for the genre for the rest of the year and beyond.
In the coming months, expect to see the return of franchise favourites, rebooted classics and a handful of original movies that deserve your attention. Will they go on to become the year’s biggest genre hits? That’s up to you.
10. Open Water 3: Cage Dive
Most likely gunning for the audience that went to see The Shallows, this Australian feature tells a similar story with a broader cast of characters.
The plot couldn’t be simpler: a group of young friends decide to make an audition tape for an extreme reality TV, and in order to get themselves noticed they come with the most daring stunt imaginable – taking a cage dive into shark infested waters. Does it all go horribly wrong? Well, this is a “found footage” movie.
Made for peanuts and starring nobody you’ve ever heard of, Cage Dive still managed to land a distribution deal from Lionsgate, who intend to give the film a limited release in August.
9. Sharknado 5: Global Swarming
Like Nicolas Cage’s inebriated writer in Leaving Las Vegas, the Sharknado franchise hit rock bottom years ago and kept on going. Now it’s only a matter of time before the inevitable.
That said, there’s still a surprising amount of dumb fun to be wrung out of this series. Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens was a lot like eating a 134 pound burger with bacon, mayo and extra cheese – great while it lasted, but you felt guilty and nauseous afterwards.
Due in August, Sharknado 5: Global Swarming looks set to continue the trend of celebrity cameos, movie references and wilful absurdity as the sharknado goes global, tearing through locations such as Australia, Bulgaria and the UK. Ian Zierling, Tara Reid and Cassie Scerbo all return to do battle with the digital creatures, but how will director Anthony C Ferrante up the ante this time round? Watch this space.
8. Amityville: The Awakening
Directed by Franck Khalfoun, Amityville: The Awakening was supposedly shot in 2014 for release in early 2015, a date that was moved to early 2016 to accommodate reshoots. When the release date of April 1 2016 was scrubbed, supposedly after an unfavourable reaction from a test audience, more reshoots were ordered and the film was set for release on 30 June 2017, which also fell through.
It’s not good when a movie is retooled and recut so many times, especially when it’s the 14th film to carry the Amityville moniker. Along with several title changes (from Amityville Horror: The Lost Tapes to Amityville: The Reawakening to the above), a prolonged post-production period is a sure sign that a movie is going to blow.
The anticipation isn’t that the film will confound its critics but that it will be a franchise terminating megabomb that must be seen to be believed. After Rings, anything is possible.
Don’t let the title fool you into believing that this is a straight remake of Joel Schumacher’s 1990 movie about a group of medical students who experiment with near death experiences. Kiefer Sutherland reprises his role from the original (which also featured Kevin Bacon and Julia Roberts), discovering that another bunch of medical students have picked up where he left off.
The new faces include Nina Dobrev, Ellen Page and Diego Luna while the director is Niels Arden Oplev, who brought us Dead Man Down (2013) and the original The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009), so hopefully the film has a harder edge than the glossy original.
The PG-13 rated The Lazarus Effect (2015) covered similar ground, so the bar isn’t set particularly high but Sony must have faith in the film – they’re opening it in between Kingsman: The Golden Circle and Blade Runner 2049.
6. Annabelle: Creation
“Nothing can prepare you for the next chapter in The Conjuring universe!” claims the trailer, which is a bit rich considering that this is a sequel to a spin-off dubbed “Rosemary’s Barbie” by one critic.
Annabelle: Creation is produced by James Wan, and the pictures he produces but doesn’t direct (Insidious: Chapter 3, Lights Out etc) certainly aren’t going to win any prizes for their skull cracking originality. They are profitable, though (the first Annabelle took $256 million worldwide on a $6.5 million budget) so Wan and his creative team have taken an “if it ain’t broke” attitude to this latest instalment.
The script is by Gary Dauberman (who also penned the original), while the director is David F Sandberg (Lights Out), so if you like your horror safe and generic you know where to go.