There are a ton of new August horror releases this month, and a wide variety at that! That’s what I’m talking about! This broad array of new horror is what I’ve been missing from the last few months—a mix of big-budget wide releases, artsy indie flicks, and some bizarre low-budget films.
I’m excited for zombie-apocalypse film Patient Zero, as well as the moody, ghostly gothic thriller The Little Stranger. And of course, I can’t wait to see The Meg, because who doesn’t love a ridiculous action-horror movie about sharks?
Check out all of the August horror releases below! Enjoy!
The Forest of the Lost Souls (Limited)
“The Forest of the Lost Souls is a dense and remote forest, Portugal’s most popular place for suicide. On a summer morning, two strangers meet in the woods. Ricardo is a sad old man, who gave up on life when his older daughter, Irene took her life in a romantic pact gone wrong in the glacier lake that rests hidden deep in the forest. Carolina is an eccentric, unstable young girl who finds all things related to death are fun. As bumping into each other puts them off killing themselves, they decide to go for a walk to discover The Forest of the Lost Souls and see what they will find. As they walk deeper into the woods, they get to know each other and become friends: but one of them is not being honest, one of them is a dark and horrible person.”
Oh, how artsy! How moody! I always love an atmospheric black-and-white indie horror film. I’m not sure how scary it will be (as often happens with such arthouse horror films), but hopefully, something disturbing happens.
Legend of Dark Rider (VOD)
“Horror fantasy about a man known as Dark Rider, a savage brute who walks the wasteland with no memory of his past.”
To directly contrast the previous film, here’s a bloody, violent, very metal horror film about vicious ax-murder (literally, it seems). Fantasy horror is a fun subgenre, especially when you’ve got bits of Vikings and Game of Thrones mixed in for good measure. (We all saw that wolf medallion.) This film is the feature-length adaptation of a short by the same director called Legend of Dark Rider: The Beginning. This doesn’t look like my cup of tea, but hey, to each their own.
The Meg (Wide)
“A massive creature attacks a deep-sea submersible, leaving it disabled and trapping the crew at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. With time running out, rescue diver Jonas Taylor must save the crew and the ocean itself from an unimaginable threat — a 75-foot-long prehistoric shark known as the Megalodon.”
I’m SUPER excited for this film, if only because it looks like a ton of mindless fun. The film seems to know it too, possessing the kind of tongue-in-cheek self-awareness that we’ve come to love from the Sharknado films. Cheesy lines, an unrealistic and outrageous baddie, and a bunch of pretty people fleeing a shark? The only reason this isn’t on SyFy is that The Meg had an actual budget and could afford to hire Jason Statham, and honestly, I can’t wait.
Slender Man (Wide)
“Terror strikes when four teenage girls in a small town perform a ritual to debunk the lore of a tall, thin, horrifying figure known as the Slender Man. They soon fear that the legend is true when one of them suddenly goes missing.”
After being pushed back numerous times, Slender Man is finally coming out this month. Yay? It doesn’t look particularly scary or creative, except for some cool camera shots in the trailer. It’s hard to get excited for this one because there are so many more terrifying, better creepypastas on the internet.
Also, don’t you hate when trailers are dark as hell, and you can’t tell what’s happening? Like, we get it, it’s a spooky horror film and shadows=scary. But dammit, I have to be able to see what’s going on.
Along Came the Devil (VOD)
“After a troubled childhood, Ashley searches for a connection and unknowingly becomes connected to a demonic force.”
How many exorcism clichés can one movie stuff into itself? Along Came the Devil promises to answer, but I don’t feel like sitting through this silly, poorly-acted movie to find out. Next!
Patient Zero (VOD)
“A supervirus has turned humankind into highly intelligent, streamlined killers, and an asymptomatic victim who can communicate with the infected must lead the last survivors on a hunt for Patient Zero and a cure.”
This actually looks interesting? Yeah, zombies are played out, but I love the idea of Matt Smith, Natalie Dormer, and Stanley Tucci (!) in a post-zombie-apocalypse world. I’ll forgive a stale plot and any zombie movie clichés so long as this movie lets the actors flex their muscles.
“After winning the championship cup, Jonsey and his team must survive the zombie apocalypse.”
LOL, what? I think I might have found my next screening pick for my Cheesy Horror Movie Night.
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (VOD)
“An ancient evil entity animates puppets to go on a bloody killing spree at a convention.”
Oh, my, Nazi puppets? And I thought Child’s Play was scary shit. This film looks tasteless, violent, potentially offensive, but overflowing with black humor. I can already tell that it’s not for everyone, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this didn’t garner a cult following at some point.
Down a Dark Hall (VOD)
“Five emotionally fragile teens are committed to Blackwood, a mysterious school for gifted girls. Mesmerized by the intense headmistress Madame Duret, they think they have found a place where they can finally flourish academically and artistically. The mystery deepens as they break through layer after layer of misdirection to discover the true, horrifying purpose of the school.”
As much as I love Uma Thurman, this made me think of a gothic Beyond Scared Straight and then I couldn’t stop laughing. I know there’s something more sinister at work, but the whole trailer left me feeling very meh. The film is an adaptation of a Lois Duncan novel (who wrote I Know What You Did Last Summer), so I hope the movie can capture some of Lois’s magic.
The Ninth Passenger (VOD)
“A group of eight college students embarks on a midnight sea voyage that turns to horror when they find themselves being stalked by a mysterious ninth passenger.”
Originally, I was excited since Corey Large, who helped produce It Follows, also helped produce this film. But this trailer is disappointing. It looks atmospheric and pretty, but the plot seems to stretch credulity, and the acting looks terrible. Sorry, Corey, I’ll have to pass.
Summer of ’84 (Limited and VOD)
“Teenager Davey Armstrong is a conspiracy theorist who begins to suspect that a neighboring police officer is a serial killer. With help from three friends, Davey launches a daring investigation that soon turns dangerous.”
Oh man, the 80s nostalgia unleashed by Stranger Things has exploded, hasn’t it? Still, I’ve wanted to see this movie since I first heard about it at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The premise is interesting, and I’m intrigued by the cast. Mostly, I know that if they cast Rich Sommer (Mad Men), then by God, he’s the serial killer. That guy has such a smug face. Harry Crane did it, I just know it!
The Little Stranger (Wide)
“After a doctor is called to visit a crumbling manor, strange things begin to occur.”
I’m reading this book—The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters—so I’m excited to see this artfully crafted and ghostly period pic about a haunted house and the decaying aristocratic family that lives within it. Psychological horrors like The Little Stranger are best when they have a solid cast and an impeccable setting, both of which seem to be true for this film. I’m stoked! Again, however, I hope the film uses its atmosphere and talent to deliver actual scares instead of vaguely creepy plot developments.
Blood Fest (Limited + Download)
“Fans flock to a festival celebrating the most iconic horror movies, only to discover that the charismatic showman behind the event has a diabolical agenda. As festival attendees start dying, three teenagers — more schooled in horror-film clichés than practical knowledge about neutralizing psycho killers — must band together and battle through various madmen and monstrosities to survive.”
Blood Fest looks kind of stupid, but I think it stands a chance to be a witty, fun exploration of horror genre tropes. Maybe it won’t be as good as films like The Cabin In the Woods, but I’m interested.
Boarding School (VOD)
“Jacob Felsen experiences every kid’s worst nightmare — attending boarding school at a creepy old mansion with six teenage misfits and two menacing teachers. He must soon confront all of his fears as events become increasingly sinister and horrific.”
Wow, and I thought the trailer for Down a Dark Hall looked like the underwhelming boarding school horror. I was wrong because this seems …bad. Boarding School seems lazy and boring. I can already tell it will be somehow dull and over-the-top, with heaps of bad acting. Pass.
What are you going to see this month? Let me know in the comments!