One month down; 11 to go. Does anyone doubt the expression 'time flies'?
January used to be cinematic dumpng ground but now it is terra firma for horror fims. At the start of 2010 Legion and Daybreakers were wide released. In 2011 it was The Rite and Season of the Witch. This year The Devil Inside, Underworld Awakening and to a lesser extent The Grey have had January releases.
WWE's Survivor Series was traditionally held on Thanksgiving Night because Vince McMahon learnt from Jim Crockett: wrestling fans need something to enjoy after the bliss of a family reunion. The same rule applies to football (soccer). Here in the UK the Boxing Day (Dec 26th) fixtures are highly anticipated because one can only take so much of Uncle Jimmy's drunken prison stories.
The Hollywood studios have learnt the same lesson. November is Oscar© bait and December is family fare. That means a whole market is neglected until the new year. January 1st – Halloween is the horror calender. One month down; 9 to go.
The following 10 films qualify by confirmed release dates in the US and UK. Emphasis is on saturation and buzz. Unless stated all films are wide releases.
Chronicle (Feb 1st UK & Feb 3rd US)
It's arguable whether this is horror. The trailer does include tropes but the overall impression is scifi/superhero. The film purports to be found-footage but judging by the trailer its 35mm found-footage. This Fox release is rated PG-13 and whilst that's not a kiss of death buyers should beware.
The Innkeepers (Feb 3rd US Limited & Jun 8th UK)
Ti West is a name to watch in the genre. Unfortunately The Innkeepers isn't a film to watch. This movie is a case of craft over composition. The acting is great, the directing is distinct, the set design convincing. The inn where the story unfolds lives like its own character.
Shame about the story.
West should start directing screenplays written by others. This movie is self indulgence too far.
I'm available by the way. As soon as I get an agent Ti call me.
Playback (Feb 3rd US Video-On-Demand, Mar 9th Ltd)
Christian Slater missed the Brat Pack by a couple of years but his one-two punch of Heathers 1988 and Pump Up the Volume 1990 made him a movie star forever. This is my blog and my opinion counts - even if this film is only VOD. Christian Slater headlining a horror flick is worth a look.
The Dead (Feb 14th US DVD première)
The best horror feature of last year.
Outcast (Feb 21st US DVD première)
This Irish flicker was released in the UK in 2010. It bills itself as a supernatural thriller which it means it wants the audience to take it seriously. It does deserve respect in some scenes and as one would expect from a British cast the acting is on point. Unfortunately this looks and feels like BBC output on a wet Saturday night.
The DVD première is apropos.
ATM (Mar 2nd US VOD, Apr 6th Ltd)
The big boy blogs have been braying about this one since last year. Many of those site have been bought out by The Man. They may have a vested interest.
This movie is camcorder-cinema but it is also high concept. Don Simpson would have recognised ATM. He would have also recognised the thriller-as-horror film (Shuttle 2008, Hush 2009). The trailer succeeds.
The flick deserves a chance.
The Raven (Mar 9th UK & Apr 27th US)
Edgar Allen Poe was an American Romantic who lived and died in 1849 aged 40 as a starving writer. He is literary hero. He is also the writer of The Raven (pub. 1845).
This may not be horror per se but it should have enough elements to satisfy the hardcore.
Over to you Mr Cusack.
Silent House (Mar 9th US)
Judging by the amount of people who read the Thrill Fiction LaCasa Muda 2011 article the Uruguayan film has its fans. Adolf Hitler had his fans too and some of them escaped to South America.
Meanwhile in the liberal paradise that is North America the Yankee imperialist has carbon copied this Spanish language farce. They've removed the subtitles and added an
English American language soundtrack. Oh and an actress called Elizabeth Olsen.
Not even Kim Kardashian could save this.
Intruders (Mar 30th US)
When a Spanish writer-director team make a film in English the result can be The Others 2001 or Darkness 2002. This movie was released in the UK last week and incurred mainstream critical impatience1.
Clive Owen is the man who could have been James Bond. He headlines this film in same sized shoes as Daniel Craig – the man who does play James Bond – did in Dream House 2011.
This is one to watch.
Detention (Apr 6th US Ltd)
Teen horror set in a high school. Any resemblance to The Breakfast Club 1985 is purely contrived. Rated R for Rubbish.
There are other films to be released in the next three months that have been mentioned before in this blog thus do not make this list. The film to see is The Dead. The American DVD could even have the 'making of' documentary on it.
It's a steal at whatever price they charge.
These are the films for this winter. Don't thank Hollywood. Thank me.
Read more Thrill Fiction: The 10 Best Horror Films of 2011
- 1 Sky.com