Many have been keen to declare 2017 the year that saved horror, and there's certainly ample grounds to support that claim.
First, Jordan Peele stunned everyone with Get Out. Garnering rave reviews and a very handsome $253 million return on its $5 million budget, Peele proved that a horror movie could deal with serious political issues in a compelling and thought-provoking manner, without alienating a mass audience.
Then along came Andy Muschietti's first volume of Stephen King's It. Opening to widespread critical acclaim and massive commercial success, at the time of writing its box office takings are just shy of $683 million, making it officially the highest grossing horror movie ever. And while we're talking box office, the $305 million reception of Annabelle: Creation pushed The Conjuring cinematic universe over the $1 billion mark; a rare achievement for a horror franchise.
From a mainstream perspective, then, horror has never looked healthier; something horror fans should be very glad of. Even so, look beyond the multiplexes and we may question whether the genre was in any actual need of saving.
Recent years have seen a great many films which took horror to new and exciting places, introducing some amazing talents in the process; but, unfortunately, a great many such films tend to go unnoticed by the general public.
10. A Dark Song
The occult has always been a key theme for horror, but few films have ever attempted to present genuine occult practices in so realistic a fashion as this 2016 movie from writer-director Liam Gavin.
Catherine Walker stars as Sophia, a troubled woman who takes out a year-long lease on a remote Welsh mansion. There, she hires gruff occultist Solomon (Steve Oram) to guide her through an ancient rite which, if successful, allows the practitioner to commune with their guardian angel and make any request. However, it's a long and complex process which requires these two strangers to remain in the house for months on end, with dire consequences if they abandon the ritual.
A Dark Song may test the patience of some viewers, as it's a slow-burn affair, far less sensationalised and FX-based than similar occult-themed thrillers. However, viewers will find their patience rewarded by an intriguing, well-acted exploration of questions of faith, will and morality, with some sinister twists.