Most Anticipated Films of 2017 (NO SEQUELS!)

As promised, we will look now at the most anticipated films of 2017 that are NOT sequels, reboots, franchises, etcetera, etcetera. It is admittedly harder to know what non-franchise films will rise to the surface this far in advance. Some of these films are still big budget affair, and this is because of this point that it is hard to know what indie films will be coming in 2017. Also, it feels more likely that this list will feature some clunkers, films that look good in theory or in a trailer that end up being misfires.

Either way, let’s take a look. As before, the list is unranked and organized in terms of scheduled release date.




Here’s why I have this on my list. I have only heard good things about this M. Night Shyamalan film. Many critics have already seen the film, and it is reassuring to hear that the studio is not holding back on critic screenings, as that is a sign that the film is not that good.

Shyamalan is a notoriously hated director. Understandable. With The Visit, many claimed that the man was back. I saw it, it was just fine. Without his name behind it it would have been a forgotten found footage film.

With Split, we get something intriguing. The trailer is interesting, but not particularly amazing. Anya Taylor-Joy cast as the lead is a good sign. James McAvoy, on the other hand, might be unintentionally comical. Shyamalan does not have a high bar to cross given his past, so I’m sure people will enjoy the film just fine. I am not overly hopeful.


The Girl With All the Gifts


The Girl With All the Gifts is intriguing. The zombie genre can only provide a handful of things. With this, we are presented with a seemingly novel twist on the genre, in which children are partial zombies who are being used to create a vaccine against the zombie plague. It is an interesting idea that could be done really well.

Director Colm McCarthy comes from a television background, but the trailer for this film feels very theatrical. The shots outside of this bleak compound look beautiful.

Gemma Arterton and Glenn Close appear to be carrying the film on an acting front, although perhaps the young actress playing the eponymous girl may provide a nice performance as well. The trailer cuts this film in a specific way, and one cannot completely trust a trailer. Critics are giving it mostly high praise (the film has already been released in the United Kingdom and in some North American film festivals), so we will have to see.


Get Out


Jordan Peele is half of the comedy duo Key & Peele. It is surprising then that his upcoming directorial debut is a horror film entitled Get Out. And, from the trailer alone, it looks incredibly tense.

The film revolves around a man who travels with his girlfriend to meet her parents. Only, things are very off in the small town, particularly when it comes to race. An undercurrent of racism is only the start, the rest is a strange amalgamation of hypnotism and missing persons cases. The trailer shows a half-made puzzle, so it is hard to know everything that is going on with the premise. But it certainly looks intriguing.

Get Out raises many questions. Most prominent in my mind is whether Jordan Peele can work outside of comedy. The trailer makes the film out to be completely devoid of comedy, so we shall see. There are plenty of Key & Peele sketches that show the pair’s affinity for genre film, so perhaps Peele is wanting to branch out into other film territory than what we have seen previously in Keanu.

The  film also features Keith Stanfield, who I found to be amazing in Short Term 12, and Daniel Kaluuya, who is the protagonist of one of my favorite Black Mirror episodes. So I am 100% on board.




People are calling it “the teen cannibal movie that made grown men faint.” Oh that old gimmick! Regardless of press, Raw looks like an artistic horror film that isn’t afraid to gets its hands dirty, so to speak. The story revolves around a vegetarian girl who develops a strange thirst for raw meat. It is a French language film from first time director Julia Ducournau.

I don’t know how Raw (alternately titled Grave) will be released in the U.S. VOD and a soft theatrical release is my assumption. But I have a feeling it will be worth the watch for horror fans.


The Belko Experiment


The Belko Experiment is the definition of division in my mind. Writer: James Gunn (Super, Guardians of the Galaxy, Slither). Absolutely, 100%, I am excited. Director: Greg McLean (The Darkness). Oh no, maybe not.

To be fair, Greg McLean also directed the Wolf Creek series of films, which have a cult fan base. I have not seen Wolf Creek, so I cannot make comment. But this is the creative force behind the film. If Gunn had directed the film as well as written it, I think this would be a much bigger movie on my list. Of course, Gunn is too busy in the Marvel Universe to direct a tiny genre piece.

In terms of casting, the likes of Michael Rooker, John C. McGinley, and John Gallagher Jr. are promising. But then you watch the trailer and odd things pop up, like bad comic relief and a world outside this locked down facility that looks like a bad blue screen image.

Without James Gunn’s name slapped on this project, I would not put it on this list. But their are names behind this that makes it plausible that the film will be all right. Great? No. But it might be all right.


The Circle


The director of The Circle, a sci-fi thriller starring Tom Hanks and Emma Watson, is an interesting choice for this film. James Ponsoldt is known for his human dramas. The End of the Tour, The Spectacular Now, and Smashed all share that trait of being an introspective look at humanity. While all fine films, The Circle does not feel like the same type of film. It looks more like a psychological thriller wrapped in science fiction tropes.

Still, The Circle is a somewhat high profile release. The trailer splits my vote, where I strongly believe the film might not be good. The script feels very heavy-handed in the trailer, like it is about to beat us over the head over what feel like superficial themes about a surveillance state. That or I just really hate that song.




The divisiveness of Christopher Nolan doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. I think he is a fine director. None of his movies are masterpieces, and I don’t think any of them should be viewed that way. His movies, by and large, are entertaining.

And Dunkirk looks like a beautifully shot film. Who knows if the story is going to be anything investing, but I have higher hopes for this film. Hoyte Van Hoytema, the director of photography, has worked with Nolan before on Interstellar, another well-shot film. If nothing else, it is a diversion from Nolan’s previous works, and it will be interesting to see how he handles war sequences.


As always, thanks for reading!

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What are your most anticipated films of 2017 that are not sequels or reboots? I’m sure there are some I am not even aware of, so let me know in the comments!

—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)


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