Horror movies Summer 2018 are always timely. With their ability to cross genres, make statements, and polarize all viewers, fans of the macabre will always come back for more. Which is why we wanted to get you excited about 2018’s upcoming nightmare machines. With 2018 already in high gear, it’s time to start thinking about the future. And what better way to do that than to sneak a peek the horror forecast for the year?
“Slender Man,” August 24
Slender Man tells the story of a tall, thin, horrifying figure with unnaturally long arms and a featureless face, who is reputed to be responsible for the haunting and disappearance of countless children and teens. To be sure, “Slender Man” doesn’t look like an especially good movie. Depending how you feel about making a movie based on an internet meme–turned–urban legend that inspired two 12-year-old girls to stab a classmate 19 times (she survived), it might even be considered an exploitative one. The long-time-coming feature film about Slenderman — a fictional child-snatching boogeyman who rose to prominence via intenet-age urban legend site creepypasta — looks to be as generic as it gets. With The Ring-like black-and-white footage, a muted color palette, and, like, random tentacles coming out of people’s mouths — the official Slender Man trailer makes it look like every other too-loud bargain-bin supernatural horror flick from the last decade or so.
“The First Purge,” July 4
To call “The Purge” our finest ongoing horror franchise may seem an insult to such venerated enterprises as “Annabelle” and “Insidious,” but it’s true. The rare series to improve upon its first chapter, this dystopian vision of a near-future in which all crime is legal for 12 hours a year has wisely leaned into the fact that its premise no longer seems that outlandish. (Can you honestly say with 100% certainty that Donald Trump wouldn’t think this is a good idea?) After writing and directing the first three entries, James DeMonaco is allowing newcomer Gerard McMurray to helm “The First Purge,” a prequel in which the state-sanctioned bloodshed takes place in one secluded community as proof of concept before being implemented nationwide. What better way to spend the Fourth of July?
“Hereditary,” June 8
A24 have been at the forefront of some of the best indie horror releases in past years thanks to “The Witch” and “It Comes at Night,” and “Hereditary” looks to continue that tradition. After taking Sundance by storm earlier this year, “Hereditary” seems poised to conquer the summer horror box office, and rival “A Quiet Place” as one of the year’s best horror movies. When Ellen, the matriarch of the Graham family, passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited. Making his feature debut, writer-director Ari Aster unleashes a nightmare vision of a domestic breakdown that exhibits the craft and precision of a nascent auteur, transforming a familial tragedy into something ominous and deeply disquieting, and pushing the horror movie into chilling new terrain with its shattering portrait of heritage gone to hell. Filled with chilling images (seriously, that man on fire!), a powerhouse performance by Collette, and one eerie little girl, “Hereditary” is sure to terrifying audiences, and be an unforgettable experience at the movies this summer.
Stranded in rural Australia in the aftermath of a violent pandemic, an infected father desperately searches for a new home for his infant child and a means to protect her from his own changing nature. Netflix’s latest zombie offering is a clever twist on “Train to Busan” set in the Australian Outback. Martin Freeman stars as Andy, an infected father who must protect his daughter from the dangers lurking in the Outback, and from the danger that is threatening to take him over. In a desperate bid to outrun a violent pandemic, Andy and Kay have holed up on a houseboat with their one-year-old daughter, Rosie. Their protected river existence is shattered by a violent attack, which sees Kay tragically die and Andy infected. Left with only 48 hours before he transforms into one of the creatures they have fought so long to evade, Andy sets out on a precarious journey to find a new guardian for his child. A flourishing Aboriginal tribe are Rosie’s best chance of survival – but with their merciless attitude toward the afflicted, they also pose a grave threat. A young Indigenous girl becomes Andy’s only chance of safe passage into this sacred community. But unfortunately the girl has no desire to return to her people – she is on a quest to cure her own infected father by returning his stolen soul. Each in their own way is seeking salvation, but they will need to work together if they hope to achieve it. As everything around him begins to change, Andy bands together with a young Aboriginal girl, who has suffered her own losses, and who is the key to survival for Andy and his daughter. Packed with social commentary on environmentalism and Australia’s own fraught history with its Aboriginal community, “Cargo” is a refreshing twist on a familiar genre trope, filled with big scares and tearful moments.