Gosh, can you believe it’s December, and we’ve got nearly a year’s worth of horror movies behind us? From A Quiet Place to Hereditary to Halloween, we’ve seen horror movies make waves. We’ve also heard from quite a few quieter horror movies, like Unsane, Mandy, and Annihilation. All in all, it’s been a compelling year for horror with a lot of very creative and innovative films, but also a good amount of the same kind of mediocrity we’ve seen before.
And December 2018 is no exception. This month serves up a short but punchy list of horror movies. The recent trend of Christmas horror anthologies (love) continues with All the Creatures Was Stirring. We’re subjected to an ill-timed holiday horror film in Leprechaun Returns. Lars von Trier does his sexual and violent is-he-a-misogynist-and-if-he-is-does-does-he-at-least-feel-bad-about-it act with The House that Jack Built. And Netflix, as dependable as ever, gives us an early Christmas gift in the form of the film adaptation of Josh Malerman’s frightening, taut horror-thriller Bird Box.
Not a bad month all around, considering.
All the Creatures Were Stirring (VOD)
“The joyful spirit of Christmas takes one dark turn after another — from sadistic office parties and last-minute shopping nightmares to vengeful stalkers and immortal demons.”
It seems like the latest trend in Christmas horror is the anthology film, which honestly, I kind of love. It reminds me of the old tradition of telling ghost stories on Christmas Eve, a tradition we should totally bring back. As for this anthology, I’m not quite sure what all the different segments are, but I’m particularly intrigued by the office Christmas party one. That looks like fun! And holy crap, Constance Wu is in this movie? I love her!
Leprechaun Returns (VOD)
“Sorority sisters unwittingly awaken a depraved leprechaun who decides to teach them a lesson in murder.”
LOLOLOLOL Is this real? Yes! It is! I know how much everyone has been waiting for the 8th installment of the Leprechaun series! Get your cheesy holiday-themed horror here, even if it’s the wrong holiday!
The House That Jack Built (VOD)
“In five episodes, failed architect and vicious sociopath Jack recounts his elaborately orchestrated murders — each, as he views them, a towering work of art that defines his life’s work as a serial killer in the Pacific Northwest.”
Well, this film will prove to be a decisive one. I mean, this is Lars von Trier after all, who has a penchant for “confrontational” filmmaking that has earned him both acclaim and criticism. His more recent work has focused on sex, violence, misogyny, depression, and all sorts of existential crises. And from I’ve heard of The House that Jack Built, von Trier is still exploring those general themes.
I’m not sure if I will watch this movie any time soon. The whole serial killer = questionable art trope is far from groundbreaking. Reviews so far range from “a pseudo-American Psycho” that is “an ordeal of gruesomeness and tiresomeness that was every bit as exasperating as [the reviewer] had feared” to “impeccable filmmaking that dances across moral barriers…possibly brilliant.” However, everyone agrees that it’s a horrendously violent movie, where von Trier uses violence to both shock and comment on the killer’s (and von Trier’s) own flaws. Von Trier may not be the monstrous misogynist incel character he’s exploring, but damned if he doesn’t spend 155 minutes inside that character’s head.
It sounds exhausting.
Bird Box (Netflix)
“When a mysterious force decimates the population, only one thing is certain — if you see it, you die. The survivors must now avoid coming face to face with an entity that takes the form of their worst fears. Searching for hope and a new beginning, a woman and her children embark on a dangerous journey through the woods and down a river to find the one place that may offer sanctuary. To make it, they’ll have to cover their eyes from the evil that chases them — and complete the trip blindfolded.”
Oooooh I can’t wait for this movie! I thoroughly enjoyed the novel by Josh Malerman, and I have always thought it would make an excellent horror film. The trailer looks promising, especially with talented actors like Sandra Bullock, Sarah Paulson, John Malkovich, and BD Wong on board. Additionally, Netflix has been doing a great job with horror lately. I’m hopeful that this film will be entertaining, gripping, and frightening.
What horror films are you watching this month? Let me know in the comments!