It feels like only yesterday that I was doing the post for July horror movies. Fast forward a month, and not only have I finally recovered from a whirlwind vacation in China, but a ton of August horror movies were added to the release schedule! It seems like the 2017 horror release schedule saved a lot for later.
Yes, the end of summer is upon us, and that means long and hot days where the air conditioning provides blessed relief from the inferno outside. What better way than to stay indoors and watch scary movies? Some of these look amazing, like The Dark Tower, Annabelle: Creation, Dave Made a Maze, and Death Note. Others will please certain genre fans who crave blood and guts, like Cut Shoot Kill and Red Christmas.
I think there’s something for everyone here, so get yourself to the nearest theater, buy an ice-cold beverage of your choice, and enjoy the show.
- The Dark Tower (Wide Release)
“Roland Deschain, the last Gunslinger, is locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim, also known as the Man in Black. The Gunslinger must prevent the Man in Black from toppling the Dark Tower, the key that holds the universe together. With the fate of worlds at stake, two men collide in the ultimate battle between good and evil.”
Based on these trailers, this movie looks awesome. And that’s if you go in without knowing anything about The Dark Tower book series. Action? Creepy stuff? Stephen King™ branded creepy stuff? Gunfights? Idris Elba (swoon) and Matthew McConaughey (swoon again) wearing dope coats and fighting for the fate of the universe? Sign me up!
And if you do know about The Dark Tower series, you know that Stephen King considers the series his magnum opus. You know how fantastical and imaginative and horrific the story is. You know what a compelling and flawed character Roland is. You know The Man in Black is a dark, formidable villain who likes to pop into other Stephen King novels. This trailer looks fantastic, keeping certain details but taking appropriate artistic license in places (I hope). If they put even a little bit of effort into this movie, it should be a faithful, exciting adaptation of the books.
- Lycan (Limited)
“Six college kids who are assigned a group project to rediscover a moment in history decide to head into the backwoods of Georgia to investigate the legend of Emily Burt, aka the Talbot County werewolf.”
I can’t say much about this movie other than it looks like any other low-budget, college-kids-get-picked-off-in-the-woods horror movie, only with werewolves. And I like werewolves! This looks kind of forgettable. Someone else watch it and let me know how it is.
- Armed Response (Limited)
“Trained operatives find themselves trapped inside an isolated military compound after its artificial intelligence is suddenly shut down. There, they begin to experience strange and horrific phenomena.”
You know when a trailer seems too long? Like when there’s too much exposition, bad dialogue, and action that seems tired and forced? That’s this trailer. Normally, I’d be stoked about seeing Wesley Snipes in as a badass in another horror flick, but Armed Response seems so…blah. Not even Anne Heche and some random wrestler from WWE can convince me that’s a good movie.
- Cut Shoot Kill (Limited)
“Serena Brooks, an ambitious young actress, signs on as the star of a horror film with a crew of backwoods filmmakers. When the cast starts disappearing, Serena has to channel her character to survive.”
Oh, a low-budget horror movie about some backwoods filmmakers who recruit a snooty actress into a real-life snuff film? Groundbreaking.
No lie, it doesn’t look like the best movie, but I’m interested that it might be more than a cheap gorefest. There is a lot of material to mine from this premise, such as the way actors are treated on set, to an exploration of gender dynamics on screen, to the blurred lines between art and life.
I don’t trust Cut Shoot Kill to do any of that though. But if you like intense slashers, I think you’ll like this movie.
- Annabelle: Creation
“Former toy maker Sam Mullins and his wife Esther are happy to welcome a nun and six orphaned girls into their California farmhouse. Years earlier, the couple lost their 7-year-old daughter Annabelle in a tragic car accident. Terror soon strikes when one of the girls finds a seemingly innocent doll that seems to have a life of its own.”
Full disclosure: I thought this movie would suck. I was fully prepared to throw this into the pile of relentlessly produced horror sequels no once asked for. But the trailer sets things up rather nicely—grieving parents with a terrible secret, hopeful orphans, one little orphan girl struggling with her disability. All of this could make for an emotional, impactful story. I’m optimistic that, if Annabelle: Creation has a solid cast, good characterization, and lots of atmosphere, it will follow in the footsteps of well-made horror like The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2.
- Open Water 3: Cage Dive (Limited)
“Three friends from California head to the rugged Australian coast for a cage-dive encounter with great white sharks. When a massive wave suddenly destroys their boat, they find themselves floating in the ocean with a swarm of hungry man-eaters.”
I don’t know why that rendition of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” is killing me. I’m not sure what is more hilarious, the dramatically bare and stripped-down music, the sing-song but ~poignant~ vocals, or how utterly mismatched it is to this movie. At any rate, this is one of my favorite hilarious examples of the recent trend where horror movies pick a seemingly random song, cover it in melodramatic fashion, and insert it into a trailer.
But back to the trailer.
For a movie with “Cage Dive” in the title, there isn’t a whole lot of the shark cage in this trailer. There is a whole lot of terrified people in the water, interspersed with cuts of the sharks chomping down on the leg buffet. In short, I’m not seeing anything new or exciting that capitalizes on the success of the first Open Water. Maybe that’s why it’s not getting a wide release.
- Bedeviled (Limited)
“Terror strikes when five teens download a malevolent app that taps into their worst fears to torment them.”
Alright, I’ll bite on this premise. Maybe this movie is about the pervasiveness of technology in modern life, specifically the way technology can be controlled and manipulated with countless smartphone apps. That’s a little scary, right? When anyone who has your phone and your password can potentially disarm the alarm on your house, or log into your bank account, or gain access to sensitive personal information. It makes sense that someone would tell a story about that technological dependence through a horror story.
That’s all OK…but, like, how does it control your oven? Can I download the app so I can preheat my oven? Because sometimes my Alexa is very frustrating to use and I can’t sync her to all of my appliances. JK!
So, while I’m willing to give this movie a chance based on premise, I have to say that the rest of it doesn’t seem promising. This dialogue is tuurrrrrible, the acting looks weak, and what scares are included in the trailer seem uninspired. Maybe we can all wait to order this on Amazon, unless that’s what it wants us to do!
- Dave Made a Maze (Limited)
“When Dave builds a fort in his living room, he gets trapped inside by booby traps and creatures. With no way out, his girlfriend puts together a rescue team to rescue him.”
My God, this seems truly original. A low-budget, quirky horror-comedy combining elements of Greek mythology, House of Leaves, and Be Kind Rewind? I’m kind of into it, if for no other reason than I’ve never seen anything quite like it. No word on how scary or gory it will be, though the streamer and confetti blood seen in the trailer is a nicely whimsical touch.
- The Monster Project (Limited)
“A recovering drug addict takes a job with a documentary crew who plans to interview three subjects who claim to be real life monsters.”
I know this is serious horror and all, but if there’s any movie on this list I would want to be a horror-comedy, it’s The Monster Project. It just seems so goofy and hilariously straightforward that a bunch of fame-hungry filmmakers tried a casting stunt and actual monsters showed up. Why on earth would anyone ever put out a casting call for monsters, and in a major city? Did they not think of all the weirdos and burgeoning serial killers in a metropolis? That premise belongs in a comedy.
As it stands, this is a low-budget, found-footage movie where a bunch of monsters from across the genre lunge and snarl at the camera. Because we haven’t had enough of those. From the trailer, that’s all this looks like.
- Death Note (Netflix)
“In Seattle, a young man comes to possess a supernatural notebook, the Death Note, that grants him the power to kill any person simply by writing down their name on the pages. He then decides to use the notebook to kill criminals and change the world, but an enigmatic detective attempts to track him down and end his reign of terror.”
I haven’t read the globally successful and almost universally adored manga Death Note, but I think it’s a fascinating story. Given the political turmoil in the world today, the story of a person having godlike power to kill those he deems “criminals” will resonate with a lot of people.
I haven’t watched the Japanese film adaptations of the manga, which I need to before I watch Death Note. I am optimistic that it will be a good movie, though several people have valid arguments about the white-washing of the film’s cast and moving the action from Japan to the U.S. If you want to read a good article summing up those concerns, Screen Rant had a pretty insightful explanation.
That being said, I still plan on watching this, but not until I’ve watched the Japanese version first. I can’t miss an opportunity to watch Willem Dafoe as a Japanese Death God.
- Ghost House (Limited)
“Lost in the Thai countryside, a young American couple find themselves haunted by an evil spirit. Desperate for a solution, they spiral deeper into a surreal, supernatural world that leads them into a frenzied, terrifying confrontation with pure evil.”
Am I supposed to feel sorry for that girl? Because I don’t! How many times will a dumb foreigner go to another country and mess with a sacred site or the grave of a vengeful spirit?
I’ve seen this movie so. many. times. And this trailer makes me think of Mama and Drag Me to Hell, both of which I’d much rather watch than this film.
- Red Christmas (Limited)
“Dee Wallace headlines as Diane, a matriarch presiding over the gathering of her squabbling grown children on Christmas Day. Tensions give way to terror when a deformed stranger appears at the door with vengeance on his mind. Diane must protect her family as limbs are severed and secrets are brought into the light.”
Horror Icon DEE WALLACE is in this? Star of The Howling, The Hills Have Eyes, and Cujo? I’ve missed her!
In case you didn’t get your holiday-horror fix from both versions of Christmas slasher Black Christmas, check out Red Christmas! Like the 2006 version, it has sloppy, inexplicable, outlandish kills; like the original 1974 version, it has an abortion plotline but dialed waaaay up. According to Birth.Movies.Death, this film is a hot mess from the writing to editing to its own central message. Dee Wallace seems to be the only bright spot in the whole movie, and doesn’t she deserve better than that? She was the mom in ET: The Extraterrestrial!
I’ll probably skip this one.