This month is going straight for the throat as August starts strong and ends on the highest of highs with a handful of great looking films, including one of the summer’s most anticipated releases—Sinister 2! The rest of the month offers a diverse group of films ranging from foreign indies, festival hits, and Alejandro Amenábar’s return to horror (yes!). But before we get started, here’s a quick recap of what I watched in July:
- The Vatican Tapes (review): It’s unfortunately the worst horror film I’ve seen this year, as it follows a predictable path from beginning to end. Still, after all these years we’re seeing the same ol’ boring take on the exorcism sub-genre. Boo!
- Stung (review): A B-movie delight, Stung featured some fantastic practical effects with a sharp script that kept the narrative moving quickly. With a solid blend of horror and humor, this turned out to be a great little film with plenty of the red stuff.
Dark Places (VOD)
Director: Gilles Paquet-Brenner
Cast: Charlize Theron, Sterling Jerins, Nicholas Hoult
Libby Day was only seven years old when her family was brutally murdered in their rural Kansas farmhouse. Twenty-five years later, she agrees to revisit the crime and uncovers the wrenching truths that led up to that tragic night.
Director: Michael Polish
Cast: Kate Bosworth, Wes Bentley, Olivia Rose Keegan
The film tells the story of a man who wakes up in bed suffering from memory loss after being in an accident, only to begin to suspect that his wife may not be his real wife and that a web of lies and deceit deepen inside the house where he soon finds himself a prisoner.
Final Girl (VOD)
Director: Tyler Shields
Cast: Abigail Breslin, Wes Bentley, Logan Huffman
A man teaches a young woman how to become a complete weapon. 13 years later, at 18 she will approach a group of sadistic teens who killed blonde women for unknown reasons. The hunting season begins.
Tom at the Farm (VOD)
Director: Xavier Dolan
Cast: Xavier Dolan, Pierre-Yves Cardinal, Lise Roy
A grieving man meets his lover’s family, who were not aware of their son’s sexual orientation.
Cop Car (VOD)
Director: Jon Watts
Cast: Kevin Bacon, Shea Whigham, Camryn Manheim
When two good-natured but rebellious young boys stumble across an abandoned cop car hidden in a secluded glade they decide to take it for a quick joyride. Their bad decision unleashes the ire of the county sheriff and leads to brutal consequences.
Return to Sender (VOD)
Director: Fouad Mikati
Cast: Rosamund Pike, Shiloh Fernandez, Nick Nolte
A nurse living in small town goes on a blind date with a man who is not the person he says he is.
Director: Jonas Govaerts
Cast: Maurice Luijten, Evelien Bosmans, Titus De Voogdt
Over-imaginative 12 year-old Sam heads off to the woods to summer scout camp with his pack convinced he will encounter a monster…and he does.
The Boy (VOD)
Director: Craig William Macneill
Cast: David Morse, Rainn Wilson, Jared Breeze
An intimate portrait of a 9-year-old sociopath’s growing fascination with death.
Sinister 2 (Theatrical)
Director: Ciarán Foy
Cast: Shannyn Sossamon, James Ransone, Nicholas King
A young mother and her twin sons move into a rural house that’s marked for death.
Fear the Walking Dead (AMC)
Cast: Rubén Blades, Mercedes Mason, Cliff Curtis
What did the world look like as it was transforming into the horrifying apocalypse depicted in “The Walking Dead”? This spin-off set in Los Angeles, following new characters as they face the beginning of the end of the world, will answer that question.
Queen of Earth (VOD)
Director: Alex Ross Perry
Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Patrick Fugit, Katherine Waterston
Catherine, a woman careening towards emotional collapse after a one-two punch of heartbreaking events. Seeking peace and solitude, she heads to the secluded lakehouse of her best friend, Virginia (Inherent Vice’s Katherine Waterston). But their quiet country retreat becomes a journey into steadily mounting hysteria as past and present collide and the love-hate relationship between the two women threatens to tear them apart.
Director: Alejandro Amenábar
Cast: Emma Watson, Ethan Hawke, Aaron Ashmore
A father is accused of a crime he has no memory of committing.
Turbo Kid (VOD)
Director: François Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yoann-Karl Whissell
Cast: Munro Chambers, Laurence Leboeuf, Michael Ironside
It’s 1997. In a ruined post-apocalyptic world, the orphaned Kid survives on his own through drought-ridden nuclear winter, traversing the Wasteland on his BMX, scavenging for scraps to trade for a scant supply of water. When his perpetually chipper, pink-haired new best friend Apple is kidnapped by a minion of evil overlord Zeus, the Kid summons the courage of his comic book hero and prepares to deliver turbocharged justice to Zeus, his buzzsaw-handed sidekick Skeletron, and their vicious masked army.
When Animals Dream (Theatrical & VOD)
Director: Jonas Alexander Arnby
Cast: Sonia Suhl, Lars Mikkelsen, Sonja Richter
16-year old Marie lives on a small island with her seriously ill mother and her father, who takes care of the family. But suddenly mysterious deaths happen and Marie can feel something strange happening to her body.
Z for Zachariah (Theatrical)
Director: Craig Zobel
Cast: Margot Robbie, Chris Pine, Chiwetel Ejiofor
In the wake of a disaster that wipes out most of civilization, two men and a young woman find themselves in an emotionally charged love triangle as the last known survivors.
Director: Mickey Keating
Cast: Lauren Ashley Carter, Larry Fessenden, Dean Cates
A family intervention goes horrifically awry within the snowy confines of an isolated lake house.
What you shouldn’t miss:
The last couple of months have been pretty slow as far as quality horror goes, so it’s nice to get a month as stacked as August (this might be our best month yet). While most of these films you could consider a “must-see”, there is a few that stand above the rest. Those films are Cop Car, Regression, Sinister 2 and Turbo Kid—here’s why:
- Although Cop Car isn’t exactly horror, it’s thrilling premise and high praise make this one an easy must see. Not only that, but it’s directed by Jon Watts, the guy who made the long delayed Clown, which has yet to see a release here in the States. This will give us our first good look at what Watts can do behind the camera, so get excited!
- Alejandro Amenábar returns to the genre with his wicked looking psychological thriller Regression, starring both Ethan Hawke and Emma Watson. Need I say more?
- While sequels are typically iffy territory, I think newcomer Ciarán Foy is going to surprise a lot of people. If you dug the first film, Sinister 2 is a must.
- The post-apocalyptic Turbo Kid looks like a kick ass blast from the past, and with the early buzz being overwhelmingly positive, this was an easy choice.
What you should take a chance on:
You know it’s a good month when you can take a shot in the dark and and hit something good. But based on word of mouth, Cub, Tom at the Farm and When Animals Dream sound like they could be the surprise hits of the year.
- Cub is a film I’ve been talking about here on the site for a very long time, so the anticipation is killing me. After a successful festival run, this pint-sized slasher looks like a ton of fun, so definitely give it a shot.
- Tom at the Farm is one of the more unique looking films on the list, and I’m including here simply because of its strong early reviews. It could go either way, but if you’re looking to be adventurous, try this one.
- Another film that made some big waves in the festival circuit is Jonas Alexander Arnby’s When Animals Dream, which looks like a brooding and dark monster movie.
Which film are you looking forward to the most?
It’s a tough one this month, but I think it’s a tie between Regression and Turbo Kid.
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