Although we’re starting to wind down towards the end of the year, there’s still plenty of great looking horror films yet to come. Kicking things off in November is a handful of promising features, including the highly anticipated third film from Richard Bates Jr., a festival surprise in The Love Witch and Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s stunning Evolution. But before we get started, here’s what I watched in October (not all of these films were reviewed on the site):
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (review): Boring and aimless, Osgood Perkins’ sophomore effort never quite finds its footing.
Ouija: Origin of Evil (review): For every good thing this film did, it followed it up with something unintentionally goofy and most of that is due to its bland monster—the possessed little girl.
Under the Shadow (review): A unique story wrapped in familiar scares, Babak Anvari’s is a solid debut with some strong performances.
Lights Out: They should have instead named it Jump Scare: The Movie. Rather than focusing on building characters or any real tension, the film tried way too hard to be scary by cramming its monster down our throats with a dozen too many jump scares in the first half of the film. There’s a power in the unknown, something this film sorely missed.
The Greasy Strangler: Endlessly absurd cinematic schlock that might just be one of the most entertaining films of the year… somehow.
The Burning (’81): A classic camp slasher with some fantastic gore, dumb characters and surprisingly massive body count.
The Legend of Hell House (’73): An underrated gem of a haunted house movie with a few creepy scenes and a fantastic twist.
Trash Fire (Theaters & VOD)
Director: Richard Bates Jr.
Cast: Adrian Grenier, Angela Trimbur, Fionnula Flanagan
When Owen is forced to confront the past he’s been running from his whole adult life, he and his girlfriend, Isabel, become entangled in a horrifying web of lies, deceit and murder.
The Shelter (Theaters & VOD)
Director: John Fallon
Cast: Michael Paré, Lauren Alexandra, Rachel G. Whittle
A homeless man named Thomas finds shelter for the night within a lavish abandoned two-story house. He eventually discovers that he is not alone and the premises won’t let him leave.
Shut In (Theaters)
Director: Farren Blackburn
Cast: Naomi Watts, Charlie Heaton, Jacob Tremblay
A heart-pounding thriller about a widowed child psychologist who lives in an isolated existence in rural New England. Caught in a deadly winter storm, she must find a way to rescue a young boy before he disappears forever.
The Love Witch (Theaters)
Director: Anna Biller
Cast: Samantha Robinson, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Laura Waddell
A modern-day witch uses spells and magic to get men to fall in love with her, in a tribute to 1960s pulp novels and Technicolor melodramas.
Evolution (Theaters & VOD)
Director: Lucile Hadzihalilovic
Cast: Max Brebant, Roxane Duran, Julie-Marie Parmentier
The only residents of young Nicholas’s seaside town are women and boys. When he sees a dead body in the ocean one day, he begins to question his existence and surroundings. Why must he, and all the other boys, be hospitalised?
What you shouldn’t miss:
What would we do without talented indie filmmakers continuing to push bold and unique films into the genre? Both of the must-see features this month come from a couple of directors that fit that description perfectly with Trash Fire and Evolution promising something fresh and unique.
- Richard Bates Jr. continues to dish out some of the most interesting films the genre has to offer, proving with both Excision and Suburban Gothic that he’s as talented as they come. His latest, Trash Fire, looks like another winner and absolutely should not be missed.
- And then we have Evolution, which dropped an absolutely stunning trailer last month that had genre fans buzzing. There’s not much to really say about this one because the trailer, which might just be one of the best of the year, sells the film so well.
What you should take a chance on:
One of these films I’ve heard nothing about and the other has been getting some high praise, which makes them perfect for taking a chance on this month. They are Shut In and The Love Witch.
- I truly have no idea what to expect from Shut In—it kind of just came out of nowhere, which is usually a bad sign. That said, the trailer was surprisingly solid and Naomi Watts is usually a safe bet. We’ll see!
- I’ve heard nothing but great things about Anna Biller’s The Love Witch, a film that has been generating a lot of buzz for its brilliant tribute to the Technicolor melodrama of the 1960s. It looks wonderfully wicked and a lot of fun, so definitely keep an eye out for this one.
Which film are you looking forward to the most?
I’m excited to see what RBJ has done with his third film, so for that I’m going with Trash Fire.