MONSTERZERO NJ’S BEST HORROR FLICKS of 2017!

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It’s time to look back at the past year and see what horrors left an impression. M. Night Shyamalan made a return to form, Jordan Peele made an impressive feature debut and Chucky proved he is still a horror icon to reckon with! Without further ado, here are my favorite/best horrors of 2017.

(NOTE: There are a few titles here initially released in 2016 at festivals or limited theatrical release, but I did not catch up to them till VOD or home media in 2017 and felt it unfair not to include them! Blackcoat’s Daughter, for instance, was made in 2015 and did not see release until this year! -MZNJ)

(To get to our reviews of these titles use the search engine at the top of the page!)

 

-MonsterZero NJ

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HALLOWEEN HOTTIES: HALLOWEEN HOTTIE OF 2017…JESSICA ROTHE!

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S HALLOWEEN HOTTIE OF 2017…JESSICA ROTHE!

It’s Halloween🎃!…and as it has become tradition, it’s time to announce MonsterZero NJ’s Halloween Hottie of the Year!…
…and our Halloween Hottie of 2017 is the beautiful and very talented Jessica Rothe, who earns this title with her sassy performance in the hit slasher Happy Death Day. Rothe plays smart-ass sorority girl Theresa Gelbman, who is having the worst birthday possible. Someone is trying to kill her…and does, over and over again. Theresa is caught in a Groundhog Day style loop where she keeps waking up on the same morning, repeating the day leading up to her death. The only way this spirited girl can break the chain is by finding out who wants to kill her and stopping them. As Theresa sets out to solve and prevent her own murder, she transforms from snotty mean girl to feisty final girl and we are along for the ride! The Denver, Colorado born actress handles the role like a boss and gives us a smart, sexy heroine to root for, whose sarcastic sense of humor is as kick-ass as she is!

(Click on the highlighted links or on the movie poster to read a review of the hit horror flick that stars  Halloween Hottie of 2017, Jessica Rothe!)

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Jessica Rothe as feisty final girl, Theresa Gelbman!

Jessica’s versatility is on display here as Happy Death Day is a suspense thriller not without some very funny moments and intense action. We’d love to see her back in final girl duties, but she proves that she could probably play in any genre and play it well! So, who knows where we’ll see this charming actress next.

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HALLOWEEN HOTTIE OF 2017 RUNNER UP, ANYA TAYLOR-JOY!

This year was so close that it’s more like a co-winner than a runner up. Anya Taylor-Joy first got our attention in the acclaimed The Witch last year and then again this year in M. Night Shyamalan’s intense and creepy hit thriller Split. In this chilling tale, Anya plays Casey, a young woman who is kidnapped with two other girls by Kevin Wendell Crumb (a brilliant James McAvoy), a man with twenty-three separate personalities who is about to be unleash a horrifying twenty-fourth. Casey must use her own inner pain to strengthen her and find a way to escape her increasingly dangerous captor. Taylor-Joy shows once again that she is star in the making and a very versatile actress.

This year was a tough choice. Both these ladies were great in their roles and really brought it as final girls. If Rothe edged out the win, it was only because of the sheer energy, attitude and sassy sex appeal she brought to her role. Taylor-Joy’s brooding goth girl was excellently portrayed as well and both actresses will surely be delivering more strong work in films to come!

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And don’t forget to check out our previous Halloween Hotties including Dana DeLorenzo, Addison TimlinMelanie PapaliaBriana EviganKatrina BowdenAlexandra DaddarioKatie FeatherstonKatharine IsabelleAmber Heard and Danielle Harris! (just click on their names to go to their pages or simply go to our Halloween Hotties main page!)

-MonsterZero NJ

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HALLOWEEN HOTTIES: 3 ACTRESSES TO SCREAM ABOUT!

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This newest installment of Halloween Hotties features three relatively new faces in horror that recently have made quite an impression in the genre. These three actresses made for memorable final girls/characters in their respective horrors/thrillers and we can only hope they will grace the horror genre again and soon!

(Click on the highlighted links to read a review of the films that our Halloween Hotties have appeared in)

Anya Taylor-Joy

ANYA TAYLOR-JOY!

Anya has taken the horror world by storm, appearing in two highly acclaimed horror films within the space of a year and an entertaining Sci-fi thriller in the middle. The actress was born in Miami, but has lived in Argentina and London and has also modeled and been a ballet dancer. Her varied background may be the reason she can play such different roles and almost be unrecognizable from one to the other. Whether it be a coming of age puritan teen in The Witch, a genetic experiment in Morgan, or an emotionally troubled teen kidnaped by someone with far bigger head problems in Split, Anya is proving a welcome presence in the horror genre and an actress to keep an eye on! Rumor now suggests she may join the cast of The New Mutants, the new X-Men film in the works…and we hope so!

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Anya first got our attention as The Witch’s tempted teen Thomasin!

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CAITLIN STASEY!

Between movies and TV, this Aussie beauty has been quite busy and we couldn’t be happier that some of that busy has been in our favorite type of flicks! Stasey, already a veteran of TV and films, made her first waves in the horror genre in Lucky McKee’s 2013 horror comedy All Cheerleaders Die as lead Maddy. She next appeared in the unintentionally funny graphic novel adaptation I, Frankenstein, as a sexy gargoyle, no less. She then starred as kidnap victim, Chloe in the 2015 horror/thriller All I Need, which is only now being released and just last year in the horror comedy Fear, Inc. While we wait for this Australian stunner to appear in her next genre role, she can currently be seen in the sexy TV historical drama Reign. A busy girl we’d like to see even more of!

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Caitlin would like to tell you how much she loves being in horror movies, but…(from All I Need)

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HALEY LU RICHARDSON!

This talented twenty-something from Pheonix, Arizona is an actress and a dancer and has proven to be quite versatile. She first caught our attention in the violent post apocalyptic epic The Last Survivors as the tough and tenacious Kendal, who takes on an entire gang to save the lives of those close to her. She also starred in the thriller Follow, was Krista, best friend to troubled teen Nadine, in the heartfelt and hilarious The Edge Of Seventeen (OK, not horror, but a really good flick!) and battled 23 different James McAvoys in the intense chiller Split! Obviously we’d watch Haley in any of her upcoming projects, but hope she returns to our favorite genre soon!

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Haley’s Claire finds outwitting 23 different personalities may not be that easy in Split!

-MonsterZero NJ

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And don’t forget to check out our previous Halloween Hotties focusing on, Maika MonroeAddison TimlinMelanie PapaliaBriana EviganKatrina BowdenAlexandra DaddarioKatie FeatherstonKatharine IsabelleAmber Heard and Danielle Harris! (just click on their names to go to their pages or head over to the Halloween Hotties listings!)

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: SPLIT (2016)

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SPLIT (2016)

(Remember, clicking the highlighted links brings you to other reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)

With The Visit, M. Night Shyamalan had started to show a bit of a return to form after a string of disappointments lasting over a decade of his career. Now with Split, he seems to have hit his stride again with this intense and disturbing thriller.

The film tells the story of Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), a man diagnosed with over 23 different personalties. His therapist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley) is using Kevin to prove her theory that the belief in a personality can effect the physiology of the subject while under the influence of that personality. But unknown to Fletcher, Kevin’s alter egos have kidnaped 3 young girls, Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy from The Witch and Morgan), Claire (Haley Lu Richardson from The Last Survivors and The Edge Of Seventeen) and Marcia (Jessica Sula). His alternates say they are to be used as sacrifice for a new personality…called The Beast. Can these three young girls escape before The Beast is unleashed?

Written and directed by Shyamalan, this is an intense and suspenseful thriller that is his best work in well over a decade. It has some interesting ideas, such as strong personality disorders developing physical changes within certain personalities, for example, Dr. Fletcher’s citing of a blind woman who gained sight under the influence of one of her alternate personalities. This does not bode well when Kevin’s alternates like Patricia, Barry and Dennis keep heralding something called The Beast. We also like the three captive girls and their refusal to give up trying to escape and it certainly makes us fear what’s in store for them. Shyamalan plays this out in the confined space of Kevin’s lair, only briefly going outside to Fletcher’s office during Kevin’s sessions. This keeps things isolated and claustrophobic which adds to the overall atmosphere. Of course the last act delivers the goods and without giving any details, it is a very intense and effective ride as ‘guess who’ finally arrives. As usual with his best work, Shyamalan also gives us some solid surprises and fans of his films will be thrilled as to how this one closes out. I’d go more in depth, but this is a film that is best seen knowing as little as possible.

James McAvoy is simply brilliant as the multi-personality Kevin and a number of his alternates. He plays each one as a separate person and gives each alternate a full personality, complete with facial expressions and their own body language. If there is any minor complaint, it’s that we only see about four or five of the personalities and McAvoy’s performance begs us to want to see more of the supposed 23. The girls are all good. Taylor-Joy plays the loner and social outcast and she is not only likable, but strong, resilient and may have some things in common with her captor. Richardson’s Claire is also resilient and is the one who is the most vocal and steadfast about escaping their captivity. She and Casey butt heads sometimes as to how to proceed in their efforts, as Claire sees Casey’s waiting for the right moment as more of an excuse to not try. Sula’s Marcia is the quietest and most timid of the three basically doing what she is told and seems to be the most frightened. Rounding out is a very solid Betty Buckley as Dr. Fletcher, a woman who is too fascinated by her subject to see how dangerous he really is. A very good cast who make this film work so well, especially lead McAvoy and his stunning performance.

This was definitely the Shyamalan of old with some truly suspenseful moments, an unusual, but well written story and some legitimate scares and intensity. He is aided by the perfectly cast James McAvoy who gives many of the film’s chills and a solid supporting cast in those playing his three hostages and therapist. The film has a fantastically nerve-wracking last act and a final scene that will have fans on their feet. Welcome back, M. Night!

-MonsterZero NJ

3 and 1/2 alternate personalities.

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