The horror genre is an interesting one. We go out of our way to watch these movies, purely because we know they’ll make us feel uncomfortable and scare the living daylights out of us. It’s an odd one. You can’t quite call it entertainment when the whole point is to scare you, and yet, so many people love it. It’s weird, but still, it’s one of the most popular movie genres in the world, so let’s not analyze it too much. 2017 was a crummy year for a lot of things, but it was great year for horror movies. Annabelle: Creation was a massive improvement on the original, grossing over $300 million worldwide, and It became the highest grossing horror movie, not just of the year, but of all time. There was Darren Aronofsky’s mother!, which was hated by as many people as those who loved it, but at least it made people think and opened their minds to new ideas. And who could forget Get Out? It was a horror movie that used the very real horrors in our world today: the horrors of racism. There were no cheap jump scares or Ouija boards or poltergeists. Just terrifying white people. And it was damned effective. The movie grossed $250 million and swept the Oscar nominations. So, how can 2018 possibly live up to 2017 in terms of horror? How can this year possibly have so many great horror movies? Well, here are 10 horror flicks coming out this year that’ll give the box office hits of 2017 a run for their money.
This is yet another horror movie with simple, yet effective premise that shows a lot of potential. Polaroid was originally being handled by The Weinstein Company for a release in December 2017, but after all that ugly sexual abuse allegations business, it was pulled from the release schedule, handed over to Dimension Films, and it’ll be coming out sometime later this year instead. The movie is directed by Lars Klevberg, based on his Norwegian short film of the same name, and it tells the story of a girl who discovers an old vintage polaroid camera and soon discovers that everyone who is photographed by it meets a graphic end shortly afterwards. The producers are hoping that a franchise will follow this initial movie, in the vein of The Ring. Usually jumping the gun on a sequel and deciding that your movie will lead to a franchise isn’t the best idea. Studios have lost millions of dollars by banking on a movie being successful enough to kickstart a whole new series. But this isn’t like that. This is a low budget, standalone, terrifying horror movie with the aim of possibly expanding on its premise after its release. Let’s hope it’s a good one!
9. Primal Rage
This movie, a sick and twisted and gory horror odyssey, will be a supposedly realistic take on the Bigfoot legend, as a young couple are faced with the mythical beast on a doomed road trip. IMDb describes the premise of the movie as this: “A newly reunited young couple’s drive through the Pacific Northwest turns into a nightmare as they are forced to face nature, unsavory locals, and a monstrous creature, known to the Native Americans as Oh-Mah.” It’s the feature film directorial debut of Patrick Magee, who worked on the special effects for such movies as Spider-Man, Men in Black 3, Alien vs Predator, and Jurassic Park III, so we’re probably looking at some pretty convincing CGI here. In other words, prepare to be terrified of Bigfoot like you never have been before. Rumor has it that Seth Rogen and his regular writing partner Evan Goldberg are working on a crude comedy series for the FX network about the legends surrounding Bigfoot as the mythical creature attempts to fit into society in the real world. It’ll be light and funny and breezy. So, let’s just say that the gritty, graphic, violent Primal Rage will present us with the flipside of that coin.
8. Truth or Dare
Imagine a fairly normal game of truth or dare, completely harmless, just hanging around with some friends, but then a person or a supernatural force starts to brutally punish anyone who chooses “truth” and lies or chooses “dare” and refuses to do it. It’d be pretty scary! Jeff Wadlow, the director of the superhero satire Kick-Ass 2 and the Kevin James action comedy True Memoirs of an International Assassin, is calling the shots on this one, so it should be artistically elevated above your typical horror fare. He’s a guy who knows what he’s doing behind a camera. The movie is being produced by Jason Blum, who’s given us plenty of great horror movies over the past few years, from Get Out to Happy Death Day to Paranormal Activity. The interesting premise of Truth or Dare has been described by /Film as “It Follows meets Final Destination,” and what’s awesome about that description is that It Follows is a great horror film and Final Destination is a great horror film, so a combination of the two is almost guaranteed to be great! With a script from the writer of A&E’s Bates Motel, this will be a dark, sumptuous, exciting ride.
Based on the initial reactions to the trailer and the early reviews from last year’s Sundance Film Festival, horror movie pundits are expecting Hereditary to be the scariest film of the year. It’s been compared to The Witch, which is one of the best reviewed horror flicks of the past few years. The official synopsis written by the filmmakers for the Sundance website describes the movie like this: “The Graham family starts to unravel following the death of their reclusive grandmother. Even after she’s gone, the matriarch still casts a dark shadow over the family, especially her loner teenage granddaughter, Charlie, whom she always had an unusual fascination with. As an overwhelming terror takes over their household, their peaceful existence is ripped apart, forcing their mother to explore a darker realm in order to escape the unfortunate fate they’ve inherited.” It sounds creepy as hell, and from the trailer, it certainly looks that way. Following its rave reception from critics at last year’s premiere, Hereditary already has a rare and perfect 100% score on the film review website Rotten Tomatoes. The movie definitely shows a lot of promise, and with a cast that includes underrated greats such as Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne, it shouldn’t disappoint.
6. The First Purge
The fourth movie in The Purge franchise will be a prequel that goes back to the very first time the government allowed a 12-hour period for everyone to vent their violent aggressions and lower the crime rate. The very first Purge Night took place in 2018 (i.e. this year) and it was confined to a small area for a trial run, but then it very quickly spread beyond those borders. The first teaser poster for the movie alludes to the current political climate, featuring a red hat with the title written on it in the style of one of Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign hats. Franchise creator James DeMonaco has said that he wants to answer the following question: “How did this country get to a place where we were now accepting this kind of atrocity, this terrible thing, each year? I think there’s something interesting in that.” There probably is. The trailer includes a line that could’ve been lifted right from a Trump speech: “What makes America great? The answer is simple, really. Americans make America great.” The movie will be released on July 4. As well as a thrilling horror movie, this will also tread the thin line between patriotism and treason as a political satire. Fun, right?
5. Slaughterhouse Rulez
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost together in a horror comedy – no, your eyes are not deceiving you. They’ll be appearing alongside each other in a movie called Slaughterhouse Rulez, directed by famed musician Crispian Mills, in a cast rounded out by other icons like Michael Sheen and Asa Butterfield. This will be the first ever movie by Stolen Picture, a film and TV production company created by Pegg and Frost. It’s about a boarding school that is threatened by a sinkhole uncovered at a fracking site, and when a bunch of monsters get out, the students and teachers have to fight for their lives. If Slaughterhouse Rulez is anything like Pegg and Frost’s other cinematic collaborations – from Shaun of the Dead to The World’s End – then we’re in for a real treat. Since Edgar Wright, the director and co-writer and Pegg and Frost’s beloved Cornetto movies, is not involved in this one, don’t expect it to be a resounding masterpiece. However, with the modern day Laurel and Hardy involved both in the creative side of the production process as well as appearing in front of the camera, it should be a riot. It might not be able to rival Shaun of the Dead, but it could rival Paul.
4. Slender Man
Finally, the infamous fictional character is being brought to the big screen. The tall, thin man who began as an internet meme and grew to become a horror icon known for stalking, abducting, and traumatizing children is finally being turned into a Hollywood horror movie. Sylvain White is in the director’s chair, having previously handled horror with I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer (the straight to DVD closing chapter of the I Know What You Did Last Summer trilogy). The production of this movie has been controversial with those involved in the 2014 Slender Man stabbing in Wisconsin, particularly the father of one of the perpetrators who is calling for theaters to boycott the film, but isn’t art imitating life and vice versa part of the fun of the horror movie genre? Psycho was loosely based on the case of convicted Wisconsin murderer and grave robber Ed Gein. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was inspired by Texas serial killer Elmer Wayne Henley. It adds a whole new layer to the horror. And if the real life parallels give Slender Man anywhere near a fighting chance at being anywhere near as brilliant as those two classics, surely that’s a good thing. What’s scarier than real life, right?
There’s been a million Halloween movies and a dozen remakes and reboots – what makes this one so different? John Carpenter okayed it, that’s what. The script, co-written by Danny McBride of Eastbound and Down and Vice Principals, was given the stamp of approval by John Carpenter, the director of the original movie and godfather of the franchise. This new movie will be a direct sequel to the original, ignoring all the other sequels that sucked, and sees the great Jamie Lee Curtis return to her role from the original as Laurie. After giving the script the go-ahead, Carpenter joined the production as a creative consultant and executive producer. Despite the typically comedic work of the movie’s writers, McBride and David Gordon Green, who is also directing, this movie will not by a comedy. McBride explained, “This isn’t a comedy at all. I think there was, like, maybe one joke on the page, but the rest is straight horror.” Producer Jason Blum explained the importance of Halloween to the genre and why nailing this reboot is so essential: “Halloween is one of those milestone films that inspired everyone at our company to get into the world of scary movies.” These guys are committed. This movie will scare the bejeezus out of you!
2. The Nun
You know how Annabelle was a prequel to The Conjuring about the evil demon doll from the original movies? Well, this year, we’re getting another prequel in The Conjuring cinematic universe. This prequel goes back even further than Annabelle. It’s the origin story of the demonic nun from The Conjuring 2, played by Bonnie Aarons. The rest of the cast is filled out by the likes of Taissa Farmiga from American Horror Story (no stranger to creeping you out with horrible visuals and sick-minded set pieces) and Demián Bichir from Quentin Tarantino’s brilliant and underrated western epic The Hateful Eight, so we’re in good hands on the cast front. More sequels and prequels might follow – who knows? But don’t worry, even with all these sprawling prequels and sequels and side-quels (if you will), the franchise’s producer Peter Safran still has a plan for where this is all going: “We have a board that we created that has what we hope will ultimately be our series of movies. We have it in chronological order, so we can keep track of where it all happens.” The movie will tell the story of a priest investigating the mysterious suicide of a nun – should be wonderfully creepy!
Dario Argento’s 1977 movie Suspiria is often cited as being the greatest horror movie ever made, so anyone who would take it upon themselves to remake it would really have their work cut out for them. Well, that’s exactly what Luca Guadagnino is doing this year, and he’s not worried about comparisons to Argento’s film, since he’s taking it in a different direction. The story is about the dark secrets being kept by an elitist dance academy and the cast includes a lot of great Hollywood stars, like Dakota Johnson and Chloë Grace Moretz. One of the actors, Mia Goth, says of the remake, “Actually, it’s not really a remake at all, it’s a nod of the hat to Dario Argento’s version of it. But we definitely do take it to a very different place.” The movie’s musical score is being composed by the great Thom Yorke of Radiohead fame, while behind the camera, recreating the rich, beautifully dark visual style of Argento’s original movie, is Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, the sharp-eyed Thai cinematography behind the bizarre but amazing arthouse movie Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. In other words, a lot of wise heads are being put together to make sure this reimagining will be every bit the masterpiece that the 1977 original was.