TOP 10 spookiest scenes in 2017 horror films (so far)

Hey guys, happy Friday the 13th!

Last year, to make a Friday the 13th special, I wrote a reflection upon the Jason Voorhees movies formula. I don’t really like that post anymore, thus I decided to swap tone this time around.

As a result, I came up with a list of the top 10 most frightening scenes that we’ve seen in 2017 horror movies. Unfortunately, I’m not easily scared by films, but these sequences were kind of impactful. Just to let you know, I didn’t take into consideration the ‘unsettling’ or ‘disturbing’ moments, otherwise I should have had to make a top-50 list…

10 She’s staring at you!Get Out. Chris, the lead character, is investigating on some creepy mystery revolving around his fiancé’s parents. As the good photographer he is, Chris picks up the camera to check on the family black maid when… boom! He frames her scarily staring back at him with empty eyes. This is a very impactful jump-scare that benefitted from the unsettling atmosphere created throughout the movie.

9 Jump-scare under the stairAnnabelle: Creation. Even though I’m not too keen on this sequel, when the cute Linda wonders around the creepy mansion the movie is set in, a loud noise in the dark makes the audience jump on their seats. The secret behind this well-executed jump-scare lies in its timing: Sandberg, the director, anticipated the moment and, therefore, the effect came unexpected and effective.

Dark Tapes8 Demon first apparition The Dark Tapes. This surprisingly good horror anthology finds a highly enthralling way to link four stories together: a fifth tale in which something is going downhill pretty fast for a bunch of paranormal investigators. The tension, built before the first segment started, turns the apparition of a hideous demon into a true nightmare when the storyline of the investigators is picked up again.

7 Rule #1: basements are not safe Cut Shoot Kill. This meta-slasher works perfectly as a psychological thriller, with no need for graphic sequences. That’s why, when the female lead ventures her way through a creepy basement, the discovery of a mutilated and tortured crew member (who, by the way, is still alive) gets under your skin and makes you startle quite a bit.

Killing-Ground- 36 She’s still alive! Killing Ground. Lately, Aussie movies are knocking it out of the park and this hunting game chiller is no exception. As a young couple camping by a lake discovers the remaining of a butchered family, the boyfriend nearly gets a stroke (and we did as well!) when he finds out a woman is still alive (barely…).

5 Rape attempt A Cure for Wellness. I love this movie, despite its last 20 minutes or so being completely and utterly absurd. However, towards the end Verbinski’s film betrays its tone and makes room for a rather scary scene that nobody saw coming, instead of keeping up with the mysterious and unsettling vibe developed throughout. I could have done without this sudden change of tone, but said sequence remains quite effective.

4 Pennywise and GeorgieIT. The opening scene sets the tone for you. Although this highly anticipated King’s adaptation isn’t properly scary, when the audience is introduced to Pennywise, the clown’s subtle creepiness makes us prepare for the worst, but his violent and gruesome assault to the little Georgie is something not easy to be forgotten.

EyesofMyMother_Trailer2.jpg3 Killer close-upThe Eyes of my Mother. Nicolas Pesce’s debut is a chiller that sticks with you for a long time. Awesome movie, if you ask me. One that doesn’t rely on tiresome horror tropes or conventional storytelling: however, when shit hits the fan, a nightmares-inducing close-up makes the viewer scream and, most importantly, the audience will constantly be thinking about the killer’s insane facial expression. Great stuff!

2 Krypt Creeper Gerald’s Game. Everything about the latest Mike Flanagan’s film is unsettling as hell. However, a specific character is, arguably, pure nightmare material: its abrupt, clear apparition on camera gives the audience a jump-scare for the ages, within a movie that otherwise refuses to rely on any horror cliché.

Evil-Within-6201 This would scare the devil The Evil Within. Unconventional to its core, this film utilises both horror tropes and original ways to frighten the audience. In a fully climactic grand finale, the movie ends with a bloodcurdling sequence in which one of they main characters attends a freak show. Out of the blue, a terrifying womanly creature appears on stage: the practical effects used to give it life are so well done that’s hard not to think it’s real. Which is why The Evil Within takes the cake as the film featuring the spookiest scene in 2017… so far!

Cheers!

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The Classics of Horror #8 – The Exorcist (1973)

I knew when I started my blog that, sooner or later, I would have gotten the chance to review this genre masterpiece. And now I feel like I’m not ready to do it.

What can you say about an exceptional product that has been disected over and over throughout the years by the best critics in history? How do you approach the “scariest movie ever made” and make it justice? What smart comment can you add to what has been said millions of times before?

Reviewing The Exorcist is simply an impossible task.

However, I’ll try my best to pinpoint some of the incredible features that made this film so great and influential.

Based on William Peter Blatty’s novel of the same name, the first game-winning decision by Warner Brothers in the making of the film was to hire the author himself as screenwriter and put William Friedkin at the helm.

The involvement of the author of the novel guarantees a substantial loyalty to the source material and its themes, whereas Friedkin’s direction adds the gritty realism and shocking value required for a movie like that.

We all know the plot of The Exorcist: a little girl, Regan MacNeil (Linda Blair), in Georgetown is possessed by an insidious demon. Her mother Chris (Ellen Burstyn), a famous actress, takes Regan to several doctors, experts and psychiatrists, whose attempts to cure the girl are utterly useless.

Close-up of a bruised Ellen Burstyn as Chris MacNeil sitting in chair.Despite being a devout atheist, Chris then clutches for the last straw and summons a priest to help her: Father Karras (Jason Miller), who himself is dealing with grief and anger due to his mother’s death, is however unable to provide the proper support, so that he uses expert exorcist Father Merrin to perform the exorcism and backs him up throughout the process.

Running for about two hours, The Exorcist never has a single dull moment. The build up to the climactic battle between good and evil, God and Devil, the two priests and Pazuzu is as compelling as the ritual itself.

The Exorcist 1The story, unheard back then in a first-class drama, is compelling because there are no disposable characters. Every single cast member is on point in their performance: the doctors are not just oblivious paper-thin figures; instead they cleverly try every way to improve Regan’s conditions, convinced they derive from some form of disease or mental illness that could be treated medically.

The accuracy with which Friedkin approaches the medical exams and attempts is mesmerising. From the machinery to the hospital procedures, every single scene involving a scientific feature is spotless.

The audience is, therefore, compelled to the story because it looks extremely realistic (even though the subject matter might seem absurd to the sceptics) and emotionally attached to the characters.

Ellen Burstyn’s performance, in particular, is truly Oscar-worthy: the viewer feels for her as a mother, mostly because her acting is top-notch and her love for Regan overcomes her fear and desperation even in the darkest (and scariest) moments.

Linda Blair, as Regan MacNeil, is also perfectly cast. Starting off as a sweet, innocent girl, she soon turns into one of the most iconic and scariest characters in cinema history.

The Exorcist 3The practicality of the effects, combined with Blair’s acting skills, make for gut-wrenching possession scenes. Although a couple of them were clearly sped up in the editing room, The Exorcist holds up better than 95% of the movies that came out in the 2000s.

This film is genuinely frightening on many levels: from the actual scenes depicted in the movie to the implications hidden in every dialogue.

Featuring no exposition whatsoever, The Exorcist is ahead of its time and, thus, an immortal motion picture that unlikely will lose impact in the years to come.

Since it’s an actual scary film that doesn’t need jump-scares to startle the audience, this movie is not an easy watch. For example, my parents (who are in their 50s) still can’t manage to sit through it in its entirety.

The Exorcist 4In particular, the sequences in which Regan stabs her intimate zone with a holy cross or those where she unnaturally twists her neck are genuinely off-putting and disturbing, no matter how old you are or how many horror movies you’ve seen.

Yet, the constant aura of angst and uneasiness is carried throughout the film because of the immaculate cinematography created by Owen Roizman and the soundtrack by Michael Oldfield, easily the best horror score in cinema history.

Besides a minute lack of explanation about the death of a doctor (probably killed by Regan under the control of Pazuzu), The Exorcist is a solid film that has it all. Do you really need me to recommend it?