Much has been written about the triumph of the horror genre in 2017. In terms of box office sales, it was one of the most successful for horror in decades. In terms of quality, well, you know how much I adored Get Out. While my way of celebrating the year that was, was to write a 2017 summary, The New York Times went one step further, as it does every year.
The NY Times produces The Great Performers issue each new year. Ten of the best actors are selected to star in ten circa-minute long films of the same theme. Past themes have included L.A. Noir, Take Flight, and 9 Kisses. This year, ten short horror films were directed by Floria Sigismondi.
You might not know her name, but I can guarantee you know Floria’s work. She wrote and directed The Runaways (2010), has worked on episodes of cult shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale (2017-), American Gods (2017-), Hemlock Grove (2013-2015) and Marvel’s Daredevil (2016-). Floria has directed some of the best music videos for Rihanna, Alice Glass, The Cure, The White Stripes, Muse, Billy Talent, Fiona Apple, Leonard Cohen, Bjork, Marilyn Manson, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, The Tea Party, and David Bowie. To say she’s qualified to direct The Great Performers is an understatement.
However, I’m not here to simply praise a piece of media and move on. I’m here to dissect, review and score. So, without further ado, here are the ten short films, ranked from ‘my reflection in the morning is worse’ to ‘reddit.com/r/eyebleach.’
- Timothée Chalamet as The Cannibal
Maybe it’s that gross little mo thing growing on his top lip that makes the whole thing come undone. Maybe it’s that my standard for cannibal is at Bryan Fuller and Mads Mikkelsens’ Hannibal. Maybe it’s that Timothée just ain’t pulling this off. The film is more awkwardly cliché than anything else.
Timbo’s 2017 notable work: Call Me By Your Name, Lady Bird
- Cynthia Nixon as The Ghost Bride
I love the music; the synths are giving me life. The mise en scène is also excellent. However, apart from that, this is just giving me ‘year 11 goth girl’s drama assignment’ realness… Especially the, ah, dialogue?
Nixnix’s 2017 notable work: The Only Living Boy in New York, A Quiet Passion
- Daniela Vega as The Vampire
The Vampire made me sad more than scared. The wrapped-up Christmas tree really added to that weird sense of isolation. There is a longing in Daniela’s face that is utterly breathtaking. A different kind of horror film, I guess.
Dani’s 2017 notable work: A Fantastic Woman
- Tiffany Haddish is The Macabre Dancer
This one has the most original concept and it is definitely unsettling. It’s probably a good representation of modern horror for that reason. It’s creepy and makes you question. Also, shoutout to whoever worked the wind machine. You’re the real MVP.
Tiff’s 2017 notable work: Girls Trip, Jay-Z: Moonlight, also she was great on SNL imo
- Brooklynn Prince is The Demon Child
“Sweetie…” Oh, fucking Jesus Christ. The editing. Those twinkling fucking fingers. The concept of ‘children’ in general. Nah, fam. The only time I will ever say something could have used a jump scare though.
Bo-Peep’s 2017 notable work: The Florida Project
- Nicole Kidman is The Possessed
Honestly, put Nicole in a ‘housewife losing her shit because of X reason’ role and you know she’s gonna fucking shine bright like a diamond. She rides the line of mania well. The deranged housewife context of this is really what fucks me up a bit, I think.
NiKi’s 2017 notable work: Big Little Lies, The Beguiled, The Killing of a Sacred Deer
- Daniel Kaluuya is The Psycho Killer
Another good one for soundtrack. What makes this spooky is how casually Danny boy is chillin’ after clearly ~doing a murder~ and poorly covering it up. I like the ending too.
Danny boy’s 2017 notable work: Get Out (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
- Saoirse Ronan is The Mannequin
Ahahahahahaha. Fuck off. God, those fucking sound effects?! It’s just the perfect role for Saoirse. Kill it with fire.
Lovely Bones’ 2017 notable work: Lady Bird
- Jake Gyllenhaal is The Damned
I know this is a little messed up, but Jake Gyllenhaal really does make crazy look good. The reason this one is terrifying for me is because the most scary things are the ones that are real possibilities. That manic obsessive breakdown is… well, it’s not a completely foreign experience for me. 10/10 makes me feel uncomfortable, and that breeds fear.
Maggie’s brother’s 2017 notable work: Stronger, Okja, Life
- Andy Serkis is The Demented Clown
It’s been a great year for the horror clown. Andy’s demented little baby-shaking freak is by far more chilling than Pennywise though. I’m almost completely sure Andy Serkis isn’t human. He is able to embody animals and non-humans so fucking well that he hits the Uncanny Valley with ease, sending the audience into a state of petrified shock. And, God, fuck this video.
Smeagol’s 2017 notable work: War for the Planet of the Apes, Star Wars: The Last Jedi
To summarise, I’m going to be lazy and give you this. Mostly because I’m not gonna delude myself into thinking I can write better than The New York fucking Times, yo.
“Like the superhero genre, horror is somewhat allegorical, a way of giving shape to abstractions. Monsters, demons, ghosts, psycho killers, that homicidal clown all pop out of the Pandora’s box of the collective unconscious, as our tormentors and our proxies. For all the supernaturalism attached to horror, the real source of the terror is usually us — or folks more or less like us. Ghosts and zombies are nothing more than former people (a point made with metaphysical wit in David Lowery’s mopey art house film “A Ghost Story”). Regular living humans turn out to be capable of diabolical cruelty (the point of “Get Out”) and coldblooded self-preservation (the revelation of “It Comes at Night”).”
To read The Great Performers full article, click here.