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Happy Halloween! This year's spine-chilling horror movies that have got everyone talking

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It's that time of year again when you're required to hunker down in your local Cineworld with a nail-biting Halloween horror movie.

So to celebrate the scariest night of the year we're recapping what has been a ghoulishly entertaining year for horror cinema – check out our list and let us know at the end which ones terrified you.

Split

The year got off to a suitably creepy start with M. Night Shyamalan's comeback movie, a gripping thriller that offers James McAvoy a plum role as a psychopath beset with multiple personalities. 

Hinging on McAvoy's brilliantly unpredictable performance with excellent support from The Witch's Anya Taylor-Joy, not to mention that blinding shared universe twist at the end, Split moved Shyamalan back up to the big leagues.

The next chapter of the story, Glass, arrives in 2019.


A Cure for Wellness

It struggled at the box office but there's no denying the visual impact and enthusiasm director Gore Verbinski brings to this lavish sanatorium horror.

Dane DeHaan stars as the naive corporate exec who uncovers more than a few unpleasant secrets at an exclusive Swiss Alpine result, the eerie score by Benjamin Wallfisch and sinister supporting performance from Jason Isaacs (who else?) building to a final crescendo of explosive terror.


Life

When you place Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds on a spaceship with a deadly alien creature, what do you expect the outcome to be?

The end result is only marginally less chaotic than this infamous YouTube video but Life nevertheless sustains some enjoyably paranoid performances and a claustrophobic atmosphere, plus an admirably bleak ending that leaves one thinking long after the credits roll.


Get Out

Horror has always been an excellent tool for picking apart our most uncomfortable fears, and Jordan Peele's deliriously entertaining comedy-chiller wastes no time in digging to the heart of liberal American race relations.

An excellent Daniel Kaluuya stars as a black man who becomes convinced his white girlfriend's family are hiding something, comedian Peele mining the material for all the scares and prickly laughs he can muster. Truly an excellent marriage of filmmaker and material, and possibly the best horror movie of the year.


Prevenge

Having come to widespread attention in Ben Wheatley's killer caravanning movie Sightseers, comedian Alice Lowe turned director for this pitch-black story of a woman who's compelled to kill by her unborn baby. Or is she?

That sense of ambiguity drives this impressive blend of shocking horror and deadpan comedy, as we're forced to question the motives behind the central character's murderous rampage. Amazingly the movie was shot in just two weeks, all the more impressive when one considers both the ambition of the story and its visuals.


Raw

You may not have seen this one, but those who were able to stomach Julia Ducornau's French cannibal satire will have found it an appetising and deeply unsettling treat.

The story takes place at a French veterinary school where a young vegetarian woman's initiation blooms into something far darker after she's forced to sample meat during a hazing ritual. What follows has far more to say than your standard coming of age story, transforming into a grisly and unsettling story of consumption set to a banging electro soundtrack and lush visuals.


Alien: Covenant

Just like Prometheus, Ridley Scott's latest Alien epic divided audiences with its mixture of gory creature feature horror and overt philosophising.

Even so there's always a special thrill at returning to the Alien universe with Scott's screen-filling visuals and Jed Kurzel's score (riffing on Jerry Goldsmith's original) transporting us to the far side of the universe. Plus, the terrific Michael Fassbender is having a blast in the dual android roles of Walter and David.


It Comes At Night

Quietly released amidst a crowded July that saw the likes of War for the Planet of the Apes, Dunkirk and Spider-Man: Homecoming, this relentlessly tense thriller rivals all of them for visceral impact.

It's a movie that cleverly keeps its threat ambiguous, focusing on a family living in the woods who have isolated themselves from what appears to be a deadly chemical outbreak. Ruthlessly building suspense without resorting to jump scares, it transforms the sight of an ordinary red door into something profoundly terrifying.


Annabelle: Creation

That devil doll was back to her old tricks again this summer, only this time we got to see how Annabelle was formed in the first place. (It involves a family, their dead daughter and the intervention of young girls staying at their house who uncover something horrifying.)

Proving once again that few things curdle the blood quite like a porcelain doll sat in a rocking chair, there were more than enough bumps and bangs around this extension of the Conjuring universe to give the audience a good time.


IT

Not just the biggest horror movie of the year but the biggest one of all time (it's already overtaken The Exorcist and The Sixth Sense in box office terms), IT marks a wholeheartedly successful adaptation of Stephen King's doorstop tome.

The key lies in its sense of compassion and warmth: director Andy Muschietti and screenwriter Gary Dauberman crucially place the focus on our pre-adolescent Losers' Club, all of whom are terrifically played by the young cast and who make the battle against the monstrous Pennywise (a gleeful, demonic Bill Skarsgard) all the more powerful.

IT: Chapter II with the adult Losers is on its way in 2019.


Mother!

It might be a bit simplistic to call Darren Aronofsky's latest a straight-up horror because, to be honest, no-one has been able to define exactly what it is.

But then, that's the point. Aronofsky has fashioned one of the most inscrutable, controversial and exhausting movie experiences in years, transforming a simple home invasion movie into one laced with Biblical allusions and lots more.

Many people loved Mother! and just as many people hated it – but there's no denying it got everyone talking.


The Snowman

Norway author Jo Nesbo's bestselling Harry Hole thriller turns those most innocent of objects, snowmen, into totems of terror. His complex murder mystery arrived on the big screen courtesy of Let the Right One In director Tomas Alfredson (replacing Martin Scorsese) and with Michael Fassbender giving it plenty of grizzle as Hole.

The movie may have left the critics cold but there's no denying the majesty of those eerie, snow-blanketed Norwegian landscapes.


The Ritual

Another literary bestseller, this time from Brit Adam Nevill, got a creepy big screen adaptation this October as a group of fractious best mates embark on a hike into a remote Scandinavian forest, only to discover something truly unpleasant is after them.

Deriving tension as much from its central ensemble (the likes of Rafe Spall giving strong turns) as from its overtly horrifying elements, it's an atmospheric chiller that puts the audience in the heart of an unforgiving environment.


Happy Death Day

It's always terrific when a horror movie surprises you and this nifty offering from the Blumhouse stable (the guys behind Get Out, Insidious and others) turns the whole Groundhog Day scenario inside out.

A brilliant Jessica Rothe stars as the stuck-up sorority girl compelled to relive her murder over and over again, in order so that she can improve her life and catch the killer in the process. It's a college satire, comedy and scary slasher movie all in one, and great fun with it.



Jigsaw

Hold onto those limbs! Seven years after the infamous psychopath seemingly said his goodbye in Saw 3D he's back for more twisted games in this grisly reboot, screening in Cineworld this Halloween.

You know what to expect: plenty of wince-inducing carnage, a tricksy backwards-forwards time structure and actor Tobin Bell again proving he's got the most terrifying whisper in the movies.

What have been your favourite horror movies this year? Tweet us your choices @Cineworld. And don't forget to catch classic horror The Shining, back in Cineworld for Halloween – check out the trailer below.