Now that May is already behind us (really!?), it’s time to look ahead at what June has to offer! What a month this is shaping up to be, kicking things off with Leigh Whannell’s Insidious: Chapter 3 and following up with some indie horror films that took the festival circuit by storm. Get excited! But first, per usual, let’s take a look at what I watched in May:
- Maggie (review): With the horror genre oversaturated in zombie flicks, Maggie was a nice change of pace, shining a light on the slow, grueling process of transforming into the undead.
- Poltergeist (review): Jump scares galore and lack of any emotion in Gil Keenan’s unfortunate remake made this one as bad as we all feared it would be.
- Let Us Prey (review): This pretty wicked tale of good and evil led by the brilliant Liam Cunningham turned out to be a bloody blast injected with tons of violence. Very solid.
- We Are Still Here (review): While this one officially releases this month, I had the chance to see it at the Stanley Film Festival and it was by and large one of the best films I saw there. This haunted house tale offers a little bit of everything all while painting the walls red with blood.
- The Invitation (review): This was just one hell of a film that absolutely nails the slow-burn style of storytelling.
- The Boy (review): A solid film that peels back the psyche of a kid obsessed with death and the destructive path he’s on. While I felt it’s maybe a bit too long, it has a wicked finale and some great acting.
- Goodnight Mommy (review): This is such a fantastically brutal little film that will have your head spinning. Amazing movie!
- The Hallow (review): Dark, thrilling and filled with gnarly creatures of the night, The Hallow was a fast paced slice of horror with some cool scares.
- Deathgasm (review): Heavy metal meets demons in this hyper-violent film about a couple of metal heads tasked with saving the world. Deathgasm is as badass as it gets.
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Caroline Dhavernas, Hugh Dancy, Laurence Fishburne
Explores the early relationship between the renowned psychiatrist and his patient, a young FBI criminal profiler, who is haunted by his ability to empathize with serial killers.
Insidious: Chapter 3 (Theatrical)
Director: Leigh Whannell
Cast: Freddie Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell
A prequel set before the haunting of the Lambert family that reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier reluctantly agrees to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity.
The Nightmare (VOD)
Director: Rodney Ascher
A look at a frightening condition that plagues thousands; sleep paralysis.
We Are Still Here (VOD)
Director: Ted Geoghegan
Cast: Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig, Lisa Marie, Larry Fessenden
In the cold, wintery fields of New England, a lonely old house wakes up every thirty years – and demands a sacrifice.
Der Samurai (VOD)
Director: Till Kleinert
Cast: Michel Diercks, Pit Bukowski, Uwe Preuss
A wolf strives through the woods around an isolated German village. Jakob the young local police officer is onto him, but scents something more in the darkness. What he finds is a man, it seems, wild eyed, of wiry build, in a dress. He carries a katana, a Samurai sword. When the Samurai invites Jakob to follow him on his crusade towards the village, it becomes Jakob’s mission to pursue the lunatic to end this wanton destruction. At the end of the night Jakob has experienced too much, is too far from whom he once was. Something hidden has been unleashed to meet the first rays of daylight.
The Stranger (VOD)
Director: Guillermo Amoedo
Cast: Lorenza Izzo, Cristobal Tapia Montt, Ariel Levy
A mysterious man arrives in a small Canadian town seeking his wife, though his presence plunges the community into a bloodbath.
Anarchy Parlor (VOD)
Director: Devon Downs, Kenny Gage
Cast: Robert LaSardo, Sara Fabel, Claire Garvey
A mysterious nomad known as the “Artist” practices a dark art form passed down through the generations.
Burying the Ex (VOD)
Director: Joe Dante
Cast: Anton Yelchin, Ashley Greene, Alexandra Daddario
A guy’s regrets over moving in with his girlfriend are compounded when she dies and comes back as a zombie.
Director: Romain Basset
Cast: Lilly-Fleur Pointeaux, Catriona MacColl, Murray Head
Since her childhood, Jessica has been haunted by recurrent nightmares whose meaning escapes her. This peculiarity has led her to study the psychophysiology of dreams and to follow a therapy with Sean, her mentor and boyfriend, to try and understand the origin of her nightmares.
Bound to Vengeance (VOD)
Director: José Manuel Cravioto
Cast: Richard Tyson, Amy Okuda, Tina Ivlev
A young girl, chained in the basement of a sexual predator, escapes and turns the tables on her captor.
Director: Jason Banker
Cast: Amy Everson, Kentucker Audley, Ryan Creighton
A woman creates an alter ego in hopes of overcoming the trauma inflicted by men in her life.
The Midnight Swim (VOD)
Director: Sarah Adina Smith
Cast: Lindsay Burdge, Jennifer Lafleur, Aleksa Palladino
Spirit Lake is unusually deep. No diver has ever managed to find the bottom, though many have tried. When Dr. Amelia Brooks disappears during a deep-water dive, her three daughters travel home to settle her affairs. They find themselves unable to let go of their mother and become drawn into the mysteries of the lake.
What you shouldn’t miss:
If you’re not sure which of these films deserves your attention, I’d say the “must-sees” are Insidious: Chapter 3, The Nightmare and We Are Still Here.
- Insidious: Chapter 3 is an easy one simply because it marks the first film in the franchise that will not have James Wan behind the camera. That would typically be a scary thing, but considering Wan’s long time co-writer and partner in crime Leigh Whannell is taking the helm, it’s in the best possible hands.
- The Nightmare is a documentary about sleep paralysis with early buzz saying it’s one of the most terrifying docs ever made. An easy must-see.
- We Are Still Here is an insane addition to the storied haunted house genre that old school horror fans are seriously going to eat up. Don’t skip out on this one!
What you should take a chance on:
If you take a shot in the dark at any of these (other than Anarchy Parlor, I’ve heard it’s terrible), then you’re going to be just fine—again, June has a fantastic line-up. But for argument’s sake, I’d go with Bound to Vengeance, Burying the Ex, The Midnight Swim and Hannibal.
- Bound to Vengeance hasn’t had much attention, but what I’ve heard is that it’s a pretty solid thriller with plenty of violence.
- Anytime Joe Dante returns to the genre it’s hard to ignore. The Gremlins director takes a stab at the zombie genre with Burying the Ex and it looks like a ton of fun.
- The Midnight Swim is a total toss up, but I’m including it here simply because word of mouth has been largely great. We’ll see!
- I don’t follow TV ratings, but from what I understand is that NBC’s Hannibal is one of the best shows on TV right now that no one is watching. While the third season officially kicks off this month, do yourself a favor and catch up, you’ll thank me later.
Which film are you looking forward to the most?
I have to go with Insidious: Chapter 3 simply because I’ve really enjoyed the first two films and I’m excited to see what Whannell brings to the franchise now that he’s steering the ship.
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