The New Year is nearly upon us, and it’s hard to imagine how 2017 could top the perfection in horror that was 2016.  It was a tough battle to determine which films were the best, because there was an overwhelming wealth of selection. It turns out, though, 2017 is already shaping up to have an insane amount of potential.  I initially set out to write up a highlight reel of what we have to look forward to; films like Annabelle 2, the new IT adaptation, Leatherface, and Alien: Convenant. But when I noticed just how much is coming out, well, I realized that there’s just too much to cover at once. So those films I mentioned? They’re coming.

For now, I’m going to break this down by quarter, so it’s much easier to keep the worthy titles on your radar and not forgotten. Without further ado, here’s the titles to look out for in theater and VOD during the first quarter in 2017, broken down by month:

Fitting that the very first major release in 2017 falls on a Friday the 13th. This is a film that’s been pushed back on the schedule a few times, and it looks as though it was to trim it down from an R-rating to an PG-13. The latest trailers do make this out to be a teen horror centered around a new urban legend, so temper your expectations accordingly. At the very least, the titular character is played by fantastic character actor Doug Jones, so at least we know he’ll be able to bring the creepy.

A ghost story set in the actual house of the unsolved murders in 1912? Sounds great! Though, the main setup involving three wannabe teenaged-ghost hunters seems fairly standard, the trailer’s clips involving the house’s backstory looks absolutely insane. Here’s to hoping a very violent and bloody ghost story overshadows any possible mundane teen story. (Trailer)

From the writer/director of Timecrimes, Nacho Vigalondo, comes a new twist to the giant monster story. Starring Anne Hathaway, Dan Stevens, and Jason Sudeikis, we can expect a well-acted, deeply human story that defies typical genre categorization. It also seems to be a more widely accessible giant monster flick, if you’re not the type to generally be into kaiju films. One of our own caught this at TIFF and loved it. Color me interested. (Review)
Edit: This theatrical release date is now April 7, 2017, under new distribution company Neon.

Worth the ticket price of admission for James McAvoy’s performance alone, in which he plays a man with 23 distinct personalities. A couple of these personalities conspire to kidnap three girls in preparation for the very ominous emergence of the 24th personality. For fans of M. Night Shyamalan’s earlier works, do NOT miss this one. Trust me. Split also stars Anya Taylor-Joy and Haley Lu Richardson. (Review)

If you’re looking for something on par with A Serbian Film, then this is for you. Two siblings wander into a building amidst an apocalyptic, ruined city, and find a man who will make them an offer to survive the outside world. Not for anyone with delicate sensibilities, this film plays like a visceral, pornographic portrait of hell. It’s so over the top insane, that local theaters are requiring signed waivers prior to admission (at least in Houston they are). That’s if they even choose to screen this. If not, no worries, it will be released on DVD on February 14. Happy Valentine’s Day, weirdos.

An extreme title match between two J-horror giants, this movie revs up the schlock. Serious die-hards of Ju-on or The Ring may take issue with changes to the core mythology, but the film finds clever ways to bring an outdated curse into the present day setting. This plays out like the Japanese version of Freddy vs. Jason, complete with the wacky tone. Vengeful spirits Sadako and Kayako take their knock out battle straight to Shudder, where it will play exclusively. (Review)

Continue to February’s release schedule