2017 was a revelatory year for the horror movie. The edges of the genre became more blurred than ever generating much-heated debate, some serious box-office and even surprise nods from the Academy. But where are the paper boats waiting to lure us into this year’s horror movie sewer?
Here is the lowdown on five exciting films that will help define the slowly emerging new golden age of screen horror.
Director: Ari Aster Supernatural Horror (USA) Release Date: June 2018
After the demise of her reclusive Mother, Annie Graham and her family begin a stomach-lurching free-fall into the bowls of dysfunctional terror.
Director Ari Aster was responsible for the notoriously reprehensible The Strange Thing About the Johnsons, a deeply shocking calling card that acts as a stark warning beacon for what will surely be one of the most talked about horrors of 2018.
Hereditary exploded after its debut at Sundance with a sonic boom reminiscent of last year’s exquisite Raw. It has been snapped up by the classiest distributor around in A24, who have an unrivalled eye when it comes to quality and potential (Under the Skin, Ex-Machina, Green Room, Moonlight, Lady Bird).
This acutely unsettling chiller looks set to bridge the thorny gap between arty slow-burn horrors like The VVitch and It Comes At Night and more traditional jump-scare fare like Insidious.
Avoid trailers and go in as cold as possible to maximise the goosebumps and you may well be rewarded with the most flammable consignment of nightmare fuel in decades.
THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT
Director: Lars von Trier Serial killer Drama (Denmark) Release Date: Nov 2018
Jack perceives murder as a cathedral-like art form and we are lucky enough to join him over a twelve year period as he strives to construct his greatest masterwork.
Director Lars von Trier has already burst the banks of general acceptability in almost any genre you care to mention. This marks his first raid on horror turf since the wince fest that was Antichrist so god only knows what monstrosities his impish imagination will unleash this time around. One thing you can be sure of is that there will be genitals…lots of genitals.
Controversy aside, the director is embarking on a fascinating trajectory in his career with his continuing exploits in digressionism. This style of narrative fluidity is a distinctly robust conduit for a point of view serial killer development saga. As such, The House That Jack Built promises to be crammed full of baroque cinematic dysthymia and venal philosophy……. not to mention a metric fuck-ton of squirmy violence.
If the famously literal von Trier nails the nested relative clause structure of the titular rhyme this horror movie could be nothing short of a multi-layered masterpiece.
Director: Coralie Fargeat Revenge Thriller (France) Release Date: May 2018
Jen joins her super-rich married lover on a salacious trip to a remote Moroccan desert.But when his hunting buddies rock up events take a disturbingly topical turn and she becomes ravenous for the sweet taste of brutal retribution.
In the current climate, a rape-revenge thriller may seem a tad ill-advised and indeed the film was nearly yanked from its festival debut. However, Revenge channels a fresh feminist perspective that recalibrates the exploitative components to mould them into cathartic social commentary.
Fans of New French Extremism, such as Inside, Martyrs, Frontiere(s) and Haute tension should begin salivating now because things in this gorgeously lensed flick get very, very nasty indeed. So much so, that the epic levels of savagery frequently left the prop department bereft of FX blood.
A QUIET PLACE
Director: John Krasinski Horror Thriller (USA) Release Date: 6th April 2018
A family must exist in meticulously self-governed silence if they are to avoid the attention of malevolent entities that can hone in on the slightest ripple of noise.
Director John Krasinski drew inspiration from casting a deaf actress in the role of the hearing impaired daughter and stars alongside real-world partner Emily Blunt, so expect genuine authenticity and character chemistry to augment the minimal dialogue and escalating suspense. At its core, the film is intended to serve as a metaphor for parenthood and aims to bring soul and imagination to high concept horror.
The fact it has been chosen to open the prestigious SXSW Film Festival, rather than furnish its Midnighters sidebar, shows the confidence the programmers have in A Quiet Place and puts Krasinski in the same recent company as Malick and Linklater.
Director: Panos Cosmatos Surrealist Horror Action (USA) Release Date: 2018
The year is 1983 and lumberjack Red Miller, played by the near-mythical Nicolas Cage, lives in idyllic contentment at the foot of the Shadow Mountains with love of his life Mandy Bloom. Cue the sinister arrival of a twisted cult gang and the invoking of a chapter of demonic cenobite death bikers.
Director Panos Cosmatos is no stranger to weirding out audiences as anyone who experienced his bizarre Sci-Fi head fuck Beyond the Black Rainbow will testify. Here he uses overt slivers of popular genre culture to meld a face melting work of found object art.
Rubberneckers that come for the “Cage rage” may well get more than they bargained for as he delivers a nuanced yet ridiculously committed performance. One bonkers scene, in particular, is pure cult status gold that is inevitably destined to become a social media staple.
So there you have it. Be sure to hunt down these movies during 2018 and you should be provided with plenty of sustenance to satisfy your horror cravings.