I haven’t finished ranking the best horror movies of 2014 yet, and I’ve already got a full roster of films I’m excited to check out in 2015. It’s looking to be a year dominated by reboots and sequels with a handful of intriguing originals from major players. Yes, my list is unforgivably lacking in Indies, but it’s practically impossible to tell which up-and-comers will shine on the festival circuit and which ones will ultimately land distribution deals. So while you might not see any truly independent titles here, I’m definitely looking forward to genre offerings produced outside of mainstream Hollywood.
Most of the films on this list are slated for theatrical releases in 2015. Whether or not they will live up to my expectations, well, that remains to be seen.
[REC] 4: Apocalypse
Release Date: January 2, 2015 (VOD)
Jaume Balagueró, Manu Díez
Manuela Velasco, Javier Botet, Paco Manzanedo |
Official Synopsis: Angela Vidal, the young television reporter who entered the building with the fireman, manages to make it out alive. But what the soldiers don’t know is that she carries the seed of the strange infection. She is to be taken to a provisional quarantine facility, a high-security installation where she will have to stay in isolation for several days. An old oil tanker, miles off shore and surrounded by water on all sides, has been especially equipped for the quarantine.
The [REC] films represent the strongest horror franchise to ever emerge from Spain, unique for its successful melding of Possession and Virus-Horror tropes. Even though the first two films are impeccable examples of Found-Footage, the filmmaking duo of Paco Plaza and Jaume Balaguero abandoned this POV style in Part 3 and will maintain a more traditional presentation in Apocalypse as well. While [REC] 3: Genesis, was a stand-alone, Part 4 will reunite viewers with Angela Vidal (Manuela Velasco), the main character of the first 2 films.
Insidious: Chapter 3
Release Date: June 5, 2015
Director: Leigh Whannell
Writer: Leigh Whannell (screenplay)
Stars: Dermot Mulroney, Lin Shaye, Stefanie Scott |
Official Synopsis: A prequel set before the haunting of the Lambert family that reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier reluctantly agrees to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity.
While I suspect the Insidious franchise has peaked, the first one was great and Chapter 2 was a solid sequel, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Going prequel for Part 3 worked great for the Paranormal Activity franchise, so hopefully Insidious will have the same luck. Saw co-creator and writer of most of James Wan’s films Leigh Whannell will sit in the director’s chair for the very first time.
Release Date: July 24, 2015
Director: Gil Kenan
Writer: David Lindsay-Abaire (screenplay)
Stars: Sam Rockwell, Jared Harris, Rosemarie DeWitt |
Official Synopsis: Legendary filmmaker Sam Raimi and director Gil Kenan reimagine and contemporize the classic tale about a family whose suburban home is invaded by angry spirits. When the terrifying apparitions escalate their attacks and take the youngest daughter, the family must come together to rescue her.
I’ve heard the upcoming Poltergeist film described as a “remake”, a “reboot”, a “reimagining”, and “a revisionist take”, so its exact connection to the beloved franchise from the 1980’s is nebulous. It’s easy to be pessimistic of this film’s success; so much of Poltergeist’s legacy has to do with the era it was produced in and the nostalgia it inspires. But when I’m tempted to write it off, I remember how unexpectedly flabbergasted I was with the brilliant Evil Dead reboot in 2012, and I just can’t help but hope for something awesome.
Friday the 13th
Release Date: November 13, 2015
Director: David Bruckner (in negotiation)
Considering the fact that presumed director David Bruckner (The Signal, V/H/S) is still technically in negotiations with producer Platinum Dunes, and a script has yet to materialize, very little can be known at this point about the upcoming reboot of Friday the 13th. Plenty of rumors: That it will be presented as Found Footage, that it will take place in the 1980’s, that it’s going to be filmed in 3-D, and (most unlikely) that Jason won’t even appear in the film—but nothing can be confirmed. No word on how or if it will connect with the divisive 2009 reboot. Even though we haven’t got squat, the fact that it’s Friday the 13th is enough to keep me shivering in anticipation.
Phantasm V: Ravager
Release Date: TBD
Director: David Hartman
Writers: Don Coscarelli, David Hartman
Stars: Reggie Bannister, A. Michael Baldwin, Kathy Lester |
Official Synopsis: Ravager features Reggie Bannister (a veteran of all five films) in his decades’ long pursuit of the malevolent Tall Man, and it finally forces him to confront the mysteries at the heart of the Phantasm saga. The entire original cast is back including Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, Kat Lester and Angus Scrimm, along with some great new characters.
Don Coscarelli, you’re a sly fox! After dodging questions about the possibility of a Phantasm reboot for years, it turn out you’d been filming a brand new sequel in secret! News that the Fifth Chapter in the franchise, Ravager, will be released sometime in 2015 elated “Phans” across the globe. Coscarelli may have passed the directorial torch to David Hratman, but the two men wrote the screenplay together and remained collaborators throughout the filming process. Check out the screenshot above; obviously this one takes things to a whole new level, I mean—look at the size of that sphere!
Release Date: September 11, 2015
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer: M. Night Shyamalan (screenplay)
Stars: Kathryn Hahn, Ed Oxenbould, Erica Lynne Marszalek |
Official Synopsis: The Visit focuses on a brother and sister who are sent to their grandparents’ remote Pennsylvania farm for a week-long trip. Once the children discover that the elderly couple is involved in something deeply disturbing, they see their chances of getting back home are growing smaller every day.
I’m not so much excited about seeing The Visit as I am morbidly curious. When The Sixth Sense dropped in 1999, writer/director M. Night Shyamalan was golden; regarded as a filmmaker of unusual promise, he seemed a likely pioneer of horror in the 21st Century. But except for a few moderate successes in the years following The Sixth Sense, Shyamalan’s career has been an absolute train wreck. Films flops like Lady in the Water and The Happening destroyed his credibility as a horror practitioner, and the fact that he helm the laughable Will Smith vanity project After Earth seemed to signal his creative death. So will The Visit mark another turning point for the embattled filmmaker, a return to his previous glory? The fact that it’s being described as both a horror and a comedy is intriguing, but considering Shyamalan isn’t known for his comic stylings, I’m doubtful.
Release Date: TBD (projected 2015)
Director: Rob Zombie
Writer: Rob Zombie
Stars: Sheri Moon Zombie, Bari Suzuki |
Official Synopsis: Five people are kidnapped on the days leading up to Halloween and held hostage in a place called Murder World. While trapped, they must play a violent game called 31 where the mission is to survive 12 hours against a gang of evil clowns.
Rob Zombie is one of those polarizing filmmakers that folks seem to either love or hate. And while I’m not interested in marrying the dude, I’ll admit I’ve always been a fan. Of his current project, 31, Zombie recently told Bloody Disgusting: “I would say, out of all my films, this is going to be the most brutal. It’s pretty intense, it’s pretty humorless, and it’s pretty all-out.” Good news for fans of House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil’s Reject, as it appears Zombie is returning to his roots—and away from the art-house techniques he recently employed in Lords of Salem. 31 will also be a retro film, taking place in the 1970’s
Release Date: October 16, 2015
DIRECTED BY Guillermo del Toro
WRITTEN BY Matthew Robbins Lucinda Coxon Guillermo del Toro
STARRING: Mia Wasikowska, Charlie Hunnam, Jessica Chastain, Jim Beaver, Tom Hiddleston, Leslie Hope
Official Synopsis: The haunting Gothic horror story, directed by the master of dark fairytales Guillermo del Toro, will be released by Universal Pictures on October 16, 2015.
Since this film is, technically, still in development, IMDB is stingy on the details, but it sounds like a return to form for Guillermo de Toro who left horror fans perplex recently with his giant robot vs monsters saga: Pacific Rim. Of Crimson Peak, del Toro told Bloody Disgusting: “This is mainly a hardcore horror Gothic romance film so with the romance you’ll also have elements of the supernatural, elements of a thriller, and the ghosts… they’re really scary, but the humans in this film are far scarier than the ghosts… Let’s put it this way… things do not end well for the humans in the movie.”
Day of the Dead
DIRECTED BY Mark Tonderai
WRITTEN BY Mark Tonderai Lars Jacobson
Official Synopsis: In this new version, years after the zombie plague has wiped out most of Earth’s population, a group of scientists and survivors attempt to find a cure, and instead open Pandora’s box.
Remember that hideous remake of George Romero’s Day of the Dead starring Mena Suvari, Nick Cannon, and Ving Rhames that went straight to DVD in 2008? If you’re like me, you probably wish you could forget it. Well now you can! Here’s hoping they stay true to the original this time, instead of giving us ridiculous zombies that can somehow crawl on ceilings. Filming was supposed to have begun last summer, but further details on this project are difficult to come by.
The Green Inferno
Release Date: (TBD)
Official Synopsis: A group of student activists travel from New York City to the Amazon to save the rainforest. However, once they arrive in this vast green landscape, they soon discover that they are not alone – and that no good deed goes unpunished.
WTF? The Green Inferno was on my list of the 10 Most Anticipated Horror Movies of 2014 a year ago. The Green Inferno marks Eli Roth’s triumphant return to the director’s chair for the first time since Hostel: Part II in 2007. The Green inferno was scheduled for a theatrical release on September 5, 2014—but for reasons that leave me severely heated, that never happened. Still no word on when, or if, this film will ever get the theatrical it was promised or go straight to DVD. Either way, I can’t wait to get my hands on this homage to Italian cannibal films of the 70’s and 80’s.
Other horror movies that are on my radar for 2015 include: The Woman in Black 2 Angel of Death, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, Dark which takes place during the New York Blackout of 2003, Regression which deals with repressed memories related to Satanic Ritual Abuse, Sinister Part 2, The Vatican Tapes which is obviously another possession film, and Scouts vs Zombies which just sounds like a bucket of fun.
What horror movies are you most looking forward to in 2015? Let me know in the comments section!
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Wow! 31 sounds really awesome. Can’t wait for that one