Indie horror continues to dominate the movie release slate with last month offering a handful interesting titles, and now there’s even more on the horizon for February. In fact, this month is kind of all over the place (in a good way): we’ll finally see the release of the long-talked about Winchester movie, the return of a couple of horror icons (both new and old) and a some indie films with strong buzz behind them. Should be another great month for horror. But before we get started, here’s what I watched in January:
Mom and Dad (review): An appropriately off-the-wall performance from Nic Cage makes this one mildly watchable, despite being an overall disappointing and poorly paced thriller.
Like Me (review): Colorfully insane and poignantly relevant, Like Me offers plenty of stunning visuals but not much else.
Director: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
Cast: Helen Mirren, Sarah Snook, Jason Clarke
Eccentric firearm heiress believes she is haunted by the souls of people killed by the Winchester repeating rifle.
Bad Apples (VOD)
Director: Bryan Coyne
Cast: Brea Grant, Graham Skipper, Hannah Prichard
On Halloween night, two malevolent children terrorize a young and innocent couple in their home, subjecting them to an evening they will never forget.
Curse of the Witch’s Doll (VOD)
Director: Lawrence Fowler
Cast: Helen Crevel, Philip Ridout, Layla Watts
After a series of inexplicable events, Adeline Gray believes a haunted doll possesses the soul of a vengeful Witch. To have any hope of being reunited with her missing daughter, she knows she must defeat the evil curse of The Witch’s Doll.
Victor Crowley (DVD & VOD)
Director: Adam Green
Cast: Parry Shen, Kane Hodder, Laura Ortiz
Ten years after the events of the original movie, Victor Crowley is mistakenly resurrected and proceeds to kill once more.
House of Demons (VOD)
Director: Patrick Meaney
Cast: Amber Benson, Kaytlin Borgen, Morgan Peter Brown
Four estranged friends reunite and spend the night in a remote country house that was once home to a Manson Family like cult. As the night goes on, the strange rituals in the house’s past open connections between the past, the present and the subconscious, forcing all the characters to confront their deepest secrets and darkest demons, or be destroyed by them.
Director: Brandon Christensen
Cast: Christie Burke, Jesse Moss, Rebecca Olson
Mary, a new mother, gives birth to twins, but only one of them is alive. While taking care of her living child, Adam, she suspects that something, a supernatural entity, has chosen him and will stop at nothing to take him from her.
The Ritual (Netflix)
Director: David Bruckner
Cast: Rafe Spall, Robert James-Collier, Sam Troughton
A group of college friends reunite for a trip to the forest, but encounter a menacing presence in the woods that’s stalking them.
Hellraiser: Judgement (DVD & VOD)
Director: Gary J. Tunnicliffe
Cast: Heather Langenkamp, Paul T. Taylor, Randy Wayne
Detectives Sean and David Carter are on the case to find a gruesome serial killer terrorizing the city. Joining forces with Detective Christine Egerton, they dig deeper into a spiraling maze of horror that may not be of this world.
Dead Shack (VOD via Shudder)
Director: Peter Ricq
Cast: Cameron Andres, Lizzie Boys, Hannah Rochelle Burr
While staying at a run-down cabin in the woods during the weekend, three children must save their parents from the neighbor who intends to feed them to her un-dead family.
Looking Glass (VOD)
Director: Tim Hunter
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Robin Tunney, Marc Blucas
A couple buy a desert motel where they find that strange, mysterious events occur.
The Cured (VOD)
Director: David Freyne
Cast: Ellen Page, Peter Campion, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor
A disease that turns people into zombies has been cured. The once-infected zombies are discriminated against by society and their own families, which causes social issues to arise. This leads to militant government interference.
Director: Alex Garland
Cast: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson
A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don’t apply.
The Lodgers (VOD)
Director: Brian O’Malley
Cast: Charlotte Vega, David Bradley, Moe Dunford
1920, rural Ireland. Anglo Irish twins Rachel and Edward share a strange existence in their crumbling family estate. Each midnight, the mansion is haunted by the sinister presence of “The Lodgers,” which enforce three rules upon the twins: they must be in bed by midnight, they may not permit an outsider past the threshold, and they must stay together. When troubled war veteran Sean returns to the nearby village, he is immediately drawn to the mysterious Rachel, who in turn begins to break the rules set out by The Lodgers. The consequences pull Rachel into a deadly confrontation with her brother and with the curse that haunts them.
What you shouldn’t miss:
So many of this month’s movies look potentially really good, but there’s only one that stands miles above the rest and that’s Annihilation.
- I’m not entirely sure how much this one sits in the horror genre, but considering it’s directed by Ex Machina’s Alex Garland, it’s getting a pass for me. Annihilation looks so good that I can’t imagine anyone who genuinely loves movies doesn’t want to see it.
What you should take a chance on:
Again, there’s a lot of movies coming out this month that look pretty great, so it’s a wash at this point. That being said, a few of them really stood out to me—Still/Born, The Ritual, and The Cured.
- Pregnancy and horror have been getting a long since… forever, so it’s not at all surprising to see genre filmmakers continue to exploit the very real fears of carrying a child. I haven’t heard too much talk about Still/Born but I was surprised by how much I dug the trailer. It might just be worth a look.
- I’m hearing some solid buzz for Netflix’s latest horror offering in The Ritual, and I’m a huge fan of David Bruckner—The Signal is such a great horror movie that no one saw—so I’m definitely looking forward to his latest.
- I’ve said this time and time again, but the great thing about there being so many zombie movies is that every once in a while we get a film that tries to do something a bit different with the genre. And that’s exactly why I’m including The Cured here, which looks pretty damn good.
Which film are you looking forward to the most?
Annihilation, for sure.