Last year, just as 2013 was rolling in, I made a list of the most anticipated horror movies of 2013. Some of them turned out to be a hit like Stoker, The Conjuring, Byzantium and Evil Dead while others were quite the disappointment as we saw both Carrie and Oldboy falling short of expectations. Now, I’ll be turning my attention to what horror has to offer in 2014.
Below is a list of not only my most anticipated horror films of 2014, but a lot of what you’ll be seeing around these parts over the next year. There are going to be plenty of amazing horror films to grace the screen next year, the problem is that we haven’t even heard of a lot of them yet. That being said, here is a list of some of the bigger films that the genre has to offer in 2014 as well as a couple of unknown films that are worth keeping a close eye on. Read on!
# 13 – Horns
Those of you with an amazing memory might remember that Horns actually had a place on 2013’s “Most Anticipated” list, but other than a few festival appearances, this one has yet to see a release date. I’ll watch anything with Alexandre Aja’s name attached to it so this one will remain on my “Most Anticipated” list until we finally get to see it. Daniel Radcliffe under the direction of Aja should be one hell of a site to see, especially with diabolical powers at his command.
It follows Ig Perrish, the number one suspect for the violent rape and murder of his girlfriend, Merrin. Hungover from a night of hard drinking, Ig awakens one morning to find horns starting to grow from his own head and soon realizes their power drives people to confess their sins and give in to their most selfish and unspeakable impulses – an effective tool in his quest to discover the true circumstances of his late girlfriend’s tragedy and for exacting revenge on her killer. This rock and roll infused dark fantasy explores why bad things happen to good people and what the loss of true love can do to a man.
Release date TBD.
# 12 – The Sacrament
Ti West has been one of the more exciting up and coming horror directors since he hit the scene with his slow-burn chiller The House of the Devil. Now he has teamed up with horror maestro Eli Roth on what could be his best film to date in The Sacrament which stars genre favorite AJ Bowen. This one hit the festival circuit this year and had quite a run as it was quickly followed by a bunch of positive buzz.
It follows two reporters for VICE Media who journey to a remote Central American compound along with a photographer (Kentucker Audley) hoping to reunite with his sister (Amy Seimetz), who has dropped off the map after struggling with drug addiction. They find an isolated community of true believers devoted to a shadowy but charismatic figure called “Father.” Skeptical at first, the journalists begin to come around to the group’s utopian claims, until things rapidly take a very dark turn.
The Sacrament will release on VOD on May 1, 2014.
# 11 – XX
The anthology horror film has made a comeback over the years with films like Trick ‘R Treat, V/H/S and The ABC’s of Death all finding a lot of success. What makes XX stand out from what we’ve been seeing from the genre lately is the fact that it’s going to be led entirely by female talent. Meaning, each segment will be directed by a female that will feature a female lead as well. It’s a very interesting concept and should be a hell of a a lot of fun because the horror genre has some very talented ladies in it! Sounds cool, right? Now wait until you hear the line-up!
The directors on board the momentous indie movie include Jennifer Lynch (Boxing Helena), Mary Harron (American Psycho), Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body) , sisters Jen and Sylvia Soska (American Mary) and Jovanka Vuckovic (The Captured Bird). No word on who will star in each segment but I would expect to see some big names headlining. Also, no plot details have been released just yet.
Release date TBD.
# 10 – See No Evil 2
I’m just as surprised to see this one on the list as many of you probably are, but there’s a pretty good reason. I’m not a big fan of the first film, I thought it was an overall forgettable slasher flick with some decent kills and the last thing I cared about was seeing a sequel to it. Insert the directing duo behind American Mary—the Soska Twins—and it instantly grabbed my attention. The best part? It’s going to star American Mary‘s Katharine Isabelle and Hatchet‘s Danielle Harris, making this one instantly worth giving a look. There’s a lot of talented ladies involved in this one and I have no doubts that it’s going to deliver the nasty goods.
See No Evil 2 revives the nightmare of the first film when Jacob Goodnight rises from the dead in the city morgue after his killing spree at the Blackwell hotel. In this ominous, underground locker for the dead, a group of medical students fight to survive as this deranged psychopath once again starts to pick them apart one by one.
Release date TBD.
# 9 – Killers
It’s hard to not be excited for a new Mo Brothers project as their upcoming feature, Killers, promises to bring their brand of brutal filmmaking to the next level. If you’ve got a weak stomach, it might be best to look the other way once this film starts rolling. The Mo Brothers are the talented duo who brought us this year’s brilliantly twisted Safe Haven which was by far and large the best segment in V/H/S 2.
Mr. Nomura is an eerily handsome, sharply dressed, sociopathic serial killer who preys on the women of Tokyo. In Jakarta, a world-weary journalist named Bayu finds himself unexpectedly falling into vigilantism after brutally killing two sadistic robbers. When each posts videos of their violent sprees online, the pair find one another on the Internet and begin a toxic and competitive duel. While Bayu clings to the hope that he can resume a normal life, Nomura continues to spill blood without remorse. Killing, advises Nomura, is something everyone ought to consider.
Release date TBD.
# 8 – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
It’s amazing how much life Rise of the Planet of the Apes injected into the franchise when it made its return back in 2011, and it’s hard to believe that so many people would be anticipating its sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. With Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Let Me In) taking over the helm I knew this one was going to be something special as he would no doubt infuse his brand of horror into the rejuvenated franchise. After finally getting to see the film’s first trailer there’s no doubt that Dawn has taken over a very dark tone that will be perfectly coupled with an army of apes hellbent on destroying the human race. If you haven’t seen Rise yet, this would be the perfect time to fix it.
A growing nation of genetically evolved apes led by Caesar is threatened by a band of human survivors of the devastating virus unleashed a decade earlier. They reach a fragile peace, but it proves short-lived, as both sides are brought to the brink of a war that will determine who will emerge as Earth’s dominant species.
Look for it in theaters on July 11, 2014.
# 7 – Godzilla
This is without a doubt the biggest horror film to be hitting theaters in 2014 as we’ll finally see the epic return of cinemas greatest monster, Godzilla! When it was announced that Gareth Edwards had been given the nod to bring the big green bastard back to the big screen it was hard to argue with the choice. Edwards had only one major directing credit to his name before taking on Godzilla, but his indie effort in Monsters showed exactly what he could bring to the table with another creature feature. It will be interesting to see how he handles such a massive budget, and after seeing the film’s first trailer I’d say he did just fine.
An epic rebirth to Toho’s iconic Godzilla, this spectacular adventure, from Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures, pits the world’s most famous monster hero against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.
Godzilla crashes into theaters on May 16, 2014.
# 6 – The Quiet Ones
It’s nice to see Hammer’s name attached to a lot of solid horror projects, and their latest chiller The Quiet Ones looks to be another great addition to the genre. John Pogue directs this supernatural thriller which is loosely based on the “true” story of a bunch of scientists who set out to create a ghost, which they said was successful. True or not, this is one hell of a set up for a horror flick and with the brilliant Jared Harris as the lead I certainly have high hopes for this one.
It tells the story of an unorthodox professor who uses controversial methods and leads his best students off the grid to take part in a dangerous experiment: to create a poltergeist. Based on the theory that paranormal activity is caused by human negative energy, the rogue scientists perform a series of tests on a young patient, pushing her to the edge of sanity. As frightening occurrences begin to take place with shocking and gruesome consequences, the group quickly realizes they have triggered a force more terrifying than they ever could have imagined.
The Quiet Ones is headed for an April 25, 2014 release.
# 5 – Oculus
Mike Flanagan’s tale of the supernatural, Oculus, has been getting nothing but positive buzz since it hit the festival circuit, and it’s one film that I’m really looking forward to because even though we get a lot of horror movies in this sub genre, the goods ones are always worth holding onto. Flanagan is starting to rise as a horror director as he is following up his indie effort in Absentia with Oculus and then the upcoming Somnia, which is a film that deals with nightmares manifesting into reality. With two badass sounding horror flicks on their way, Flanagan has a solid chance of becoming a staple in the genre.
Oculus is a spine-chilling supernatural tale of two damaged siblings (Gillan and Thwaites) who, as children, witnessed their parents’ harrowing descent into madness and murder. At long last, brother and sister reunite as adults to expose and destroy the paranormal entity they believe is responsible: the Lasser Glass — a legendary mirror their family once owned.
Oculus will hit theaters April 18, 2014.
# 4 – Grand Piano
It’s hard to not get excited about a new horror project starring Elijah Wood these days as he has quickly become one of the better actors to take on the genre. Director Eugenio Mira may not be a name you recognize right now, but that will no doubt all change in 2014 as he brings his Hitchcockian-thriller Grand Piano to life with what looks like one of the most thrilling movies of the year. I love the simplicity of the film as it turns a night of playing piano into a nerve-shattering concert from hell.
Tom Selznick, the most talented pianist of his generation, stopped performing in public because of his stage fright. Years after a catastrophic performance, he reappears in public in a long-awaited concert in Chicago. In a packed theater, in front of the expectant audience, Tom finds a message written on the score: “Play one wrong note and you die.” Without leaving the piano, Tom must discover the anonymous sniper’s motives and look for help without anyone realizing…
Grand Piano will play in theaters on March 7th.
# 3 – Hellions
Here’s a film that hasn’t been talked about a whole lot around the horror community, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth paying attention to. Hellions marks the genre return of Bruce McDonald who made a name for himself in horror for his brilliant indie zombie-esque thriller Pontypool. There isn’t a whole lot known about his upcoming feature, but it does combine two of the best things in existence; Halloween and horror!
The film centers around a pregnant teenager must survive a Halloween night from Hell when three malevolent trick-or-treaters come knocking.
Release date TBD.
# 2 – Only Lovers Left Alive
Vampires are making a comeback in a big way as we’ve seen some solid outings over the last couple of years in Let the Right One In, Thirst and the recent Byzantium. Now, Jim Jarmusch will tackle the iconic genre with Only Lovers Left Alive in what looks like a true telling of the oldest of monsters. Vampires have graced the screen since the era of silent films, so it’s no wonder horror fans hold the genre so damn close. And when a good one rolls around it’s truly a thing to remember. The cast alone warrants this one to have a place on this list as it stars Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt and Anton Yelchin. Enough said!
Set against the romantic desolation of Detroit and Tangier, an underground musician, deeply depressed by the direction of human activities, reunites with his resilient and enigmatic lover. Their love story has already endured several centuries at least, but their debauched idyll is soon disrupted by her wild and uncontrollable younger sister. Can these wise but fragile outsiders continue to survive as the modern world collapses around them?
Only Lovers Left Alive bites into theaters on April 11, 2014.
# 1 – Deliver Us from Evil
Here’s a horror flick that has a ton of promise behind it as it will mark Scott Derrickson’s follow up film since his major hit that was Sinister. Derrickson certainly has an eye for this genre and he isn’t afraid to shock audiences which is exactly why his next feature, Deliver Us from Evil, is making the list. It has a pretty crazy little set up that brings together all the things we love about this genre as it sees Eric Bana take on demons, exorcisms, the supernatural and much more.
Deliver Us from Evil is the story of a New York cop who meets a renegade priest when he is pulled into a case which the priest convinces him, against the officer’s religious beliefs, is demonic related. Together they work to solve the case and combat the paranormal forces working against them.
This one is eyeing a July 2, 2014 release.
Obviously, there are still quiet a few horror films on 2014’s horizon that I’m looking forward to, but this is a list of the films that have been slated with a release at some point in 2014 that I’m anticipating the most. Now that we have a bunch of movies to start looking forward to, it’s time to wait and hope they deliver the goods. What horror films are you looking forward to in 2014?