Other than Split proving to be a massive success at the box office, January was a pretty slow month for the genre. But that’s why February is particularly exciting, because there’s a wonderful mix of indie darlings and big budget horror on the way. Kicking things off is the bizarre and wholly unique mermaid-horror The Lure, Oz Perkins’ The Blackcoat’s Daughter is finally seeing the light of day, Gore Verbinski makes his return to horror with A Cure for Wellness, and so much more.
The Lure (Theaters)
Director: Agnieszka Smoczynska
Cast: Marta Mazurek, Michalina Olszanska, Kinga Preis
In Warsaw, a pair of mermaid sisters are adopted into a cabaret. While one seeks love with humans the other hungers to dine on the human population of the city.
Don’t Knock Twice (VOD)
Director: Caradog W. James
Cast: Katee Sackhoff, Lucy Boynton, Javier Botet
A mother desperate to reconnect with her troubled daughter becomes embroiled in the urban legend of a demonic witch.
Director: Robert Legato
Cast: Eliza Dushku, Robert Patrick, Chace Crawford
Four friends break into an abandoned insane asylum in search of a death certificate which will grant one of them a large inheritance. However, finding it soon becomes the least of their worries in a place haunted by dark memories.
Director: F. Javier Gutiérrez
Cast: Vincent D’Onofrio, Laura Wiggins, Aimee Teegarden
A young woman finds herself on the receiving end of a terrifying curse that threatens to take her life in 7 days.
Bornless Ones (VOD)
Director: Alexander Babaev
Cast: Margaret Judson, Devin Goodsell, Michael Johnston
With the help of her friends, Emily moves to a remote home to take better care of her brother, Zack who is diagnosed with cerebral palsy. But what they don’t know is that the house kept a terrifying secret that will haunt them one by one.
Havenhurst (Theaters & VOD)
Director: Andrew C. Erin
Cast: Danielle Harris, Julie Benz, Fionnula Flanagan
A troubled young woman takes up residence in a gothic apartment building where she must confront a terrifying evil.
The Blackcoat’s Daughter (DirecTV; Theaters March 31)
Director: Oz Perkins
Cast: Emma Roberts, Lucy Boynton, Lauren Holly
Two terrified girls must battle a mysterious evil force when they get left behind at their boarding school over winter break in this chilling and suspenseful horror film.
XX (Theaters & VOD)
Directors: Roxanne Benjamin, Sofìa Carrillo, Karyn Kusama, St. Vincent, Jovanka Vuckovic
Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Sheila Vand, Natalie Brown
XX is a new all-female helmed horror anthology featuring four dark tales written and directed by fiercely talented women: Annie Clark rocks her directorial debut with THE BIRTHDAY PARTY; Karyn Kusama exorcises HER ONLY LIVING SON; Roxanne Benjamin screams DON’T FALL; and Jovanka Vuckovic dares to open THE BOX. Award-winning animator Sofia Carrillo wraps together four suspenseful stories of terror.
A Cure for Wellness (Theaters)
Director: Gore Verbinski
Cast: Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth
An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps but soon suspects that the spa’s miraculous treatments are not what they seem.
Bates Motel (A&E)
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Nestor Carbonell
Centers on a mother and son who come to a new town so that they can start over and set up a new business, but a lot of mysterious incidents happen, including the unanswered and horrible acts of the son.
The Girl With All the Gifts (Theaters & VOD)
Director: Colm McCarthy
Cast: Gemma Arterton, Glenn Close, Sennia Nanua
A scientist and a teacher living in a dystopian future embark on a journey of survival with a special young girl named Melanie.
Get Out (Theaters)
Director: Jordan Peele
Cast: Allison Williams, Lakeith Stanfield, Catherine Keener
A young African-American man visits his Caucasian girlfriend’s mysterious family estate.
What you shouldn’t miss:
This is an incredibly strong month for horror with a handful of films that you could consider must-sees. My picks, however, gotta be A Cure for Wellness, The Girl With All the Gifts, and The Blackcoat’s Daughter.
- Gore Verbinski hasn’t made a horror film since 2002’s The Ring—one of the genre’s stronger remakes—so it’s particularly exciting to see him back in the darker side of filmmaking with A Cure for Wellness, which looks absolutely stunning.
- We see a dozen or so zombie movies each and every year, but not all of them think outside the box when it comes to storytelling. That’s why Colm McCarthy’s The Girl With All the Gifts looks especially solid, because it takes the storied zombie genre and does something with it we’ve never seen before. Couple that with the buzz it received during its festival run and this one is absolutely a must-see.
- I’ve lost track of how many times Oz Perkins’ The Blackcoat’s Daughter showed up on The Month in Horror Releases—this movie, which first premiered at festivals a couple of years ago has seen one delay after another. But now it appears that they’re finally ready to unleash one of the most buzzed about horror movies over the last few years onto audiences. Hell yes.
What you should take a chance on:
There’s almost too much to choose from this month (not complaining) so you could go with almost any of these films and come out okay. That said, I’d go with The Lure, Get Out, and XX.
- The Lure is about man-eating mermaids… and it’s a musical—I’ll admit, that does sound completely insane and no doubt one of the strangest set ups we’ll likely see in a horror movie this year, but perhaps even stranger is the fact that the movie is actually really good (according to early buzz). Gotta see it.
- Jordan Peele, one of the funniest dudes alive, makes his directorial debut with Get Out. The psychological thriller just saw its premiere out of Sundance and the early word is that Peele has a huge hit on his hands.
- And finally, the female-driven horror anthology XX, which has been a long time coming, will finally see a release later this month and it looks absolutely batty. Definitely keep an eye out for this one.
Which film are you looking forward to the most?
I’m going with The Blackcoat’s Daughter, only because the long delay has me dying to see what all the hype is about.