Well, we’re in the full film festival swing of things, which means that there is an exciting new crop of horror movies up for distribution rights! But this also means that, as far as a wide-release calendar goes, there isn’t much to see this April.
In fact, while this month’s slate of horror movies is refreshingly inventive, it’s going to be difficult for anyone to see these outside of major movie markets like New York and Los Angeles. I’m particularly sad about scrounging for a screening of sci-fi existential body horror flick The Void, praying for a showing of the macabre and witchy A Dark Song, and wishing for a chance to see Voice from the Stone, despite my misgivings.
However, many of these movies will be available on VOD shortly after their limited runs, so you won’t have to wait so long!
- The Void (Limited)
“When police officer Carter (Aaron Poole) discovers a blood-soaked man limping down a deserted road, he rushes him to a local hospital with a barebones, night shift staff. As cloaked, cult-like figures surround the building, the patients and staff inside start to turn ravenously insane. Trying to protect the survivors, Carter leads them into the depths of the hospital where they discover a gateway to immense evil.”
OOOOOhhh this is like The Thing (with a little be of Alien) meets H.P. Lovecraft, all of which I love dearly. And from the trailer, it looks like The Void combines body horror, monster horror, survival horror, and existential horror together into one enticing movie that hits on multiple scary levels.
It’s garnering mixed reviews, though the general consensus is that 1) The Void use great practical effects, 2) The Void is disgusting, and 3) The Void reminds every one of The Thing. I’m not sure if that and the promise of existential dread is enough to overcome its faults (mainly the acting and blah writing), but it certainly seems like a movie worth a watch.
- The Transfiguration (Limited)
“Troubled teen Milo (Eric Ruffin) hides behind his fascination with vampire lore. When he meets the equally alienated Sophie (Chloe Levine), the two form a bond that begins to challenge Milo’s dark obsession, blurring his fantasy into reality.”
Finally this film gets a release! It was on the film festival circuit last year and showed with a bunch of buzzworthy horror films at the Cannes Film Festival last year.
This film seems like more of a character study then a straight up horror film. It explores Milo’s obsession with all things vampire and casts it both as an escape from his depressing life and something that he is genuinely and horribly drawn to. And while much of the film’s aim is to understand (or at least contemplate) Milo’s vampirism, the film seems to deliver tension and blood-soaked set pieces. All reviews have said that this is a slow-burn, but a horror movie none-the-less.
I’m a little surprised that I haven’t seen very many reviews compare this film to Martin, a George A. Romero horror film about a young man who may or may not be a real vampire, but certainly believes he is. Not that The Transfiguration is a rip-off of Martin—I don’t think it is, but I haven’t seen it yet. I’m just very curious to see what this movie does with fandom and hero worship, even the dark, murderous kind, in this day and age, where children are so connected to the world but also so isolated from meaningful human contact.
- Bethany (Limited)
“A woman moves back into her childhood home only to have the abusive and traumatic memories of her mother come back to haunt her.”
Ok, so this movie looks super low-budget and cheesy, but I had to profile it because 1) I like the premise and 2) Shannen Doherty is in this as the protagonist’s awful, demanding deceased mother. So is Tom Green as the psychologist, which, like, lol wut?
Personally, I love a classic haunted house premise where a person must confront deep-seated family issues in the form of a vengeful and destructive ghost. For that reason alone, I kind of want to see this. I’m intrigued by the various hauntings and hallucinations we see in the trailer, though the dark hair in the shower bit is old, please stop, think of something new.
Also, what could be more horrifying than having Shannen Doherty, Ranking Mean Girl and TV Ice Queen, as your perfectionist and emotionally abusive mother? I think that could be a really good bit of casting.
But will it be enough to make this an enjoyable horror movie? I don’t know.
- Phoenix Forgotten (Wide)
“On March 13, 1997, several mysterious lights appeared over Phoenix. Three teens went into the desert shortly after the incident, hoping to document the strange events occurring in their town. They disappeared that night and were never seen again. Now, on the 20th anniversary of their disappearance, unseen footage has finally been discovered, chronicling the final hours of their fateful expedition.”
Ehhhh, this looks lame. Sorry, but I have to be honest. I saw this movie twenty years ago and it was called The Blair Witch Project.
I’ll be honest again—found footage needs to take a break. Please. Pretty please. Found footage can accomplish a lot that is uniquely suited for the horror genre but it can also be terribly misused and abused. How can found footage be scary if the camera is bouncing around so much that I can’t see a damn thing?
Not that the story is bad from the start. The Phoenix Lights is still a huge unsolved UFO sighting. It was the most famous widely viewed UFO sighting in history, and this X-Files fan loves UFO sightings. But does this movie have to be found footage? What will it add other than unfavorable comparisons to The Blair Witch Project?
- Voice from the Stone (Limited)
“Verena (Emilia Clarke) is a determined young nurse hired to help a mute young heir (Edward Dring) within an isolated castle in Tuscany. The more she observes the boy, the more Verena becomes convinced he has fallen under the spell of a powerful and otherworldly persona trapped in the villa’s stone walls, one that seems to be rapidly entwining with her own.”
I’m partial to an atmospheric gothic tale with a creepy kid and ghost mom. I love watching Emilia Clarke from Game of Thrones. And there are some genuine moments of apprehension and suspense in the trailer? So why my hesitation?
Well, I keep getting burnt by these beautifully shot, expertly costumed supernatural gothic “horror” films where there isn’t any real horror. Vague creepiness is nice, but I’d like for there to be some actual scares, right?
I’m not quite convinced this movie does enough on that front. I hope it does.
- Rupture (Limited)
“A single mother is abducted by a mysterious organization that injects chemicals into her and subjects her to fear-inducing experiences in order to force her to “rupture” and achieve the advanced stage of evolution that they have.”
This film looks cool and intense and scary, but it did not do very well last year when it was released in the UK. Despite an interesting premise, apparently, the writing is…lacking. Characters make stupid choices, key details are contrived, and plot holes abound. And The Hollywood Reporter pointed out that the CGI effects weren’t even that great, rendering the “rupture” underwhelming.
I’m going to wait on this one. Let me know if it’s worth it.
- A Dark Song (Limited)
“A young woman and a damaged occultist risk their souls to perform a ritual.”
YAAAAS I can’t wait to see this movie! It made my List of Most Anticipated Horror Movies of 2017, after all. I love witchy, black magic stuff in all its taboo glory and mystery. The consequences of magic are scary, but the power one could unleash is too tempting to pass up. And in A Dark Song, the movie focuses on all these themes in addition to depicting the actual creepy ritual itself, which is apparently a months-long endeavor.
Reviewers at Fantastic Fest 2016 were impressed by A Dark Song. Coming Soon’s reviewer said that he was thinking about the movie “for days afterwards, especially the ending, which is one of those rare instances when a horror film teases and then delivers on those teases.” And Brian Collins over at BirthMoviesDeath said “I’m quite sure I’ve never seen a film go so far out of its way to de-romanticize the idea of invoking dark magic.
I’m stoked! I hope it lives up to the hype.
- The Black Room— (Los Angeles)
“A young couple (Natasha Henstridge of “Species” fame & Lukas Hassel) moves into the house of their dreams which quickly becomes a living nightmare when they discover a dark secret awaiting them in the cellar. It has been locked up for years, trapped inside “The Black Room” and it wants out now! A demon who seduces with unholy pleasures, feeds off fear, and violently kills all (Lin Shaye “Insidious” series, Dominque Swain “Lolita”, James Duval “Donnie Darko”, Augie Duke “Bad Kids Go To Hell”) who cross its’ path.”
I guess we found where Dominique Swain disappeared to! And why Lin Shaye is in this? Doesn’t she have enough Insidious money?
This movie looks low-budget and cheesy as hell! Those graphics! That acting! That hilarious 70s sex-orgy-devil-worshipping-party! That terrible CGI smoke ghost thing coming up the stairs!
This is all so disappointing, since I feel like incubi and succubi are demons not fully utilized in modern horror films. And I have no investment in this movie. I just want a good horror movie about incubi and succubi. Is that too much to ask?
- Blood Feast (Limited)
“Faud Ramses (Robert Rusler) and his wife Louise (Caroline Williams), with the help of their daughter Penny (Sophie Monkton), run a retro American diner somewhere deep in suburban Paris. The business is struggling and in an attempt to make ends meet Faud also works late shifts at a museum in the city. Long lonely nights, his failing restaurant and worsening health problems begin to play on Faud’s mind however, with alarming results. Who is the strange woman (Sadie Katz) who appears to him each night in the quiet corridors of the museum, and what is the terrible request she makes of the increasingly unhinged Faud? A request which will have horrifying repercussions for not only him, but also anyone who has the misfortune to cross his path”
This movie is a remake of splatter-ific, gore-tastic 1963 movie Blood Feast, directed Herschell Gordon Lewis. In fact, Lewis invented the whole splatter horror subgenre. And while much of his work was considered nothing more than depraved exploitation films upon release, today’s horror directors and producers regard Lewis as a pioneer, a brave and keen visionary who pushed limits and went farther than anyone dared to go, good taste be damned.
It’s no surprise then that the director for the remake takes the same approach. Violence and gore are right up director Marcel Walz’s alley, and he seems incredibly excited and grateful for his chance to remake a classic horror film.
Blood Feast will have a very limited release schedule. The final list of cities and show times has yet to be announced, but if gory and splatterific is your cup of tea, stay tuned to the films Facebook and Twitter.