After the intense year of horror movies that was 2017, I’m confident that the 2018 horror calendar will be just as full of solid and groundbreaking films.
True, there are lousy horror movies every year, but there is an undeniable upward trend of quality, well-made horror movies. This year, the 2018 horror release calendar has a bevy of goodies for us, like from horror novel adaptions Annihilation and Birdbox, the latest entry in horror franchises such as The Purge: The Island and The Nun, and brand new stories like A Quiet Place and Slaughterhouse Rulez. There’s so much I don’t really know what to be more excited for, but the new Suspiria reimagining (don’t call it a remake!) is probably the 2018 horror movie I’m most anxious for.
2018 Horror Films with a Definitive Release Date
(These are the 2018 horror movies that have dedicated slots on the release calendar, which is no guarantee. Hopefully, there aren’t any changes!)
Annihilation (February 23, 2018)
Sci-fi-horror movies are fantastic, filled with tons of world-building and mind-warping scientific and philosophical ideas. Annihilation seems to be just as creepy and trippy as they come, and I cannot wait! Based on Jeff Vandermeer’s novel, Annihilation is about a group of soldiers who wandered into an “environmental disaster zone” and met an uncertain fate. When only one soldier returns, a biologist, his wife, volunteers to investigate and returns to the zone to face the mysterious horrors within.
This movie looks weird and uncomfortable as hell, and I’m already in love. 2018 horror is off to a great start!
The Strangers: Prey at Night (March 9)
You know how everyone has that one subgenre of horror that gets under their skin? Home invasion, psycho-murders-stalking-you movies are mine. They freak me out so bad. Check all the doors and windows and pour myself a drink, it’s so bad. And yet, I can’t keep away from them. It’s a type of morbid fascination I have, a way to confront and experience my fear without any real risk (other than I might freak out and knock over my drink).
That’s why I’m looking forward to The Strangers: Prey at Night. It’s written by Bryan Bertino, who wrote and directed the original The Strangers. That trailer seems creepy and savage and darkly funny, which is what I want from this kind of movie. I’m hoping this 2018 horror sequel delivers.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Unsane follows the story of a young woman (Claire Foy) who is involuntarily committed to a mental institution. There, she is tortured by her greatest fear, but can’t tell if it’s real or if it’s all in her head.
I love watching Claire Foy on The Crown, and Steven Soderbergh has directed some fantastic projects, like Traffic and The Knick. I am so intrigued to see a Soderbergh horror film! Especially one shot on an iPhone! There’s no trailer yet, so I hope they release it soon.
A Quiet Place (April 6)
Oh my gosh, this trailer had me hooked from the beginning! John Krasinkski and Emily Blunt are a movie-making power couple in this horror film about a family living out a quiet, simple life and trying to evade mysterious monsters that will kill them if they make the slightest noise. An amazing premise, an insane degree of world-building, and Emily Blunt acting her heart out?
Can you imagine an entire movie of silent terror? I’ve never seen a horror movie like that. The closest thing I can come to was Hush, one of my favorite horror movies of 2016. Trailers can be deceiving, and A Quiet Place may not be as good as it wants to be, but damn, I sure want this one to succeed. The New Mutants could be one of the more inventive 2018 horror films.
The New Mutants (April 13)
I love a good superhero movie as much as the next person, but I have to say, a lot of superhero movies rehash the same old tropes and set pieces over and over. But 2018’s The New Mutants is going in a radical direction—horror. Considering the comic’s dark and spooky tone, it makes a lot of sense using horror to tell a story about young mutants learning to control their frightening powers while imprisoned in a secret government facility. In an interview with entertainment weekly, director Josh Boone explained, “We are making a full-fledged horror movie set within the X-Men universe…there are no costumes. There are no supervillains. We’re trying to do something very, very different.”
I’m ready for this new take! There is a ton of unexplored darkness in the X-Men universe, and I can’t wait to see what The New Mutants brings to the table.
The Purge: The Island (July 4)
I have mixed feelings about the entire The Purge series. On the one hand, they often suffer from bad acting and distractingly poor dialogue; on the other, I appreciate how the series examines systematic racism and strict classism with American society. A lot of horror movies fear to tread into political territory while The Purge gleefully runs into the fray, swinging its ax wildly, taking shots at all the hypocrisies of our society.
That’s what I’m looking forward to this prequel, which tells the story of how the first Purge took place in an isolated part of New York City. The details from writer James deMonaco’s interview with Vulture sound fascinating, but I don’t want to say anymore! Just know it’s going to be brutal and savage.
The trailer isn’t out yet, but stay tuned.
Halloween (October 19)
I cannot wait for this movie! I love the original Halloween, and this film seems to be working overtime to get back to that original spark. Jamie Lee Curtis back as Laurie Strode? Check? John Carpenter on board creative consultant and executive producer? Check? Carpenter’s confirmation that this movie will be a direct sequel to the original? Check and check!
How will this new sequel treat legendary scream queen Laurie Strode? As Screen Rant pointed out, one of the most significant potential changes could be that Laurie and Michael aren’t related in this sequel, since that plot twist was introduced in Halloween II. I’m so excited to see what this new chapter of the Halloween story brings!
IMDB says that the film is still in filming, so no trailer yet. I’m waiting with bated breath!
Overlord (October 26, 2018)
In this period horror film, two American fighter pilots are shot down over Normandy during the D-Day invasion, or as it was officially known, Operation Overlord. Stuck behind enemy lines, they uncover the Nazis’ most sinister plot—trying to harness supernatural forces to tip the war in their favor.
I love occult WWII stories, from Raiders of the Lost Ark to Hellboy! Details about the movie are pretty sparse so far, but here’s hoping that it’s good. It’s been a while since I’ve had any occult-horror war movies, and I need my fix.
The House That Jack Built (November 29)
Lars von Trier is back with a new psychological horror-thriller film, and it sounds like a doozy. The film follows a serial killer named Jack and takes us on a tour through the greatest hits list of his formative murders. Again, it sounds like a lot, and it seems very Lars von Trier, what with the potential for grotesque violence (ala Antichrist) and also depressing and beautiful lyricism (ala Melancholia). And even though von Trier is a bit cuckoo himself, I’ve always been very impressed by how he never fails to push the envelope.
2018 Horror Movies That Don’t Yet Have a Release Date
(These are the 2018 horror films that should be released this year)
If you haven’t read Josh Malerman’s novel Birdbox, get yourself a copy from Amazon right now. It’s a quick read with an intriguing post-apocalyptic/Lovecraftian premise and tons of horror that will make you squirm. I enjoyed the book, so when I heard that Netflix was adapting it, I was over the moon! Even better, Sandra Bullock stars as protagonist Malorie. Starring alongside Bullock are Sarah Paulson, who is consistently the best part of any season of American Horror Story, and John Malkovich, who is creepy without even trying.
No details yet on a release date, but hopefully it will be out later this year.
Not much is known about the quality of this movie just yet, but dammit, it’s about that demonic nun from The Conjuring 2, which is reason enough to look forward to this movie. I will never recover from the scene with the painting of the nun in The Conjuring 2. Never ever, ever! And so I simply have to see this movie; I am drawn to it even though that nun is literally the worst and I hate her.
I would feel better if James Wan was directing this since he did a fantastic job with Insidious and The Conjuring, but he is involved. Other than that, we’re just going to have to wait and see if the Nun is going to be more Annabelle or Annabelle: Creation.
Remember 2016’s The Eyes of My Mother, directed by Nicolas Pesce? He’s back with a new psychological horror-thriller film, this time about a seemingly devoted family man and businessman who plans to kill a prostitute but gets more than he bargained for. Piercing is an adaptation of the novel of the same name and explores themes of repressed violence and conflict between the sexes. It “blends psychological horror with comedy and stylish neo-noir, resulting in a sly take on the fantasy of escape and the hazards of modern romance.”
I also hear that Pesce indulged his love for giallo films, paying homage to Italian horror classics Deep Red and Tenebre, which basically ensures I’ll see this movie. It’s slated to screen at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, which means we should get some early reviews shortly.
Oh, how I adore French horror! The French consistently turn out incredible horror films that spare no audience member and deliver compelling human stories. I suppose it was only a matter of time before we got the French version of a rape-revenge horror movie. In Revenge, protagonist Jen goes on an ill-fated vacation with her married boyfriend and his two friends. After one of his friends propositions her and she turns down his advances, he rapes her for daring to reject him. After that, the situation spirals out of control and seemingly ends with Jen pushed over the edge of a cliff, left for dead. Little do the men know that Jen’s not dead, and she’s got her plans for revenge.
Now, this horror subgenre is tricky territory to navigate for a myriad of reasons, ranging from concerns about violence against women to filming the pivotal rape scene in a distinctly male-gazey way. But I hope Revenge is different. It seems to be getting pretty good reviews so far, earning acclaim for subverting the tired, lazy tropes of lesser rape-revenge films and genuinely empowering its female protagonist. Especially given the current discussion regarding misogyny and abuse, Revenge sounds like a challenging horror film and a painfully relevant one.
If I told you that there was a new film out this year that reunited horror-comedy dream team Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, would you need to hear anymore?
I know I wouldn’t, but in case you’re curious, Slaughterhouse Rulez follows students and teachers of a prestigious British boarding school in their quest for survival after an ominous sinkhole opens up at a nearby fracking site, and the bloody horrors that they encounter. There’s so much they could do here! So much material to mine, from awkward teenagers to bumbling adults to the horrors of oil and gas production. I can’t wait to see what they do with it.
In A24 and Chance the Rapper’s secret horror movie project, someone or something is stalking and killing Chicago pizza delivery drivers. What could it be? Drug dealers? Werewolves? Or something worse?
That’s pretty much all there is to know about the movie so far since A24 and Chance the Rapper are being very tight-lipped with details. We do know that the movie was filmed over the summer of 2016 and will be a slasher film. As evidenced by the quirky and enigmatic teaser trailer below, Slice might be a fun horror-comedy with tons of throwbacks to old-school slashers. I’m here for it.
Alright, this is the film I am most anticipating because I am both excited to see a new interpretation, but I’m nervous that it’s going to suck. Honestly, remaking a horror film with the kind of legacy and gravitas of Dario Argento’s Suspiria is an uphill battle no matter how good your version is. Not that it can’t be done.
This version’s basic plot will be the same as the original—a young American girl travels to Germany to attend a renowned ballet school, but when she gets there, she realizes something very, very evil lurks behind the walls of the school. Apparently, the similarities end there—director Luca Guadagnino has the good sense to avoid making his Suspiria a remake at all. Instead, he aims to honor the original film, to create, “a homage to the incredible, powerful emotion I felt when I saw it.” In my opinion, this is a good sign that we will get an innovative, honest reimagining of Suspiria rather than a lifeless, soulless remake.
Tigers Are Not Afraid
In this dark fantasy, a group of orphaned children struggles to survive on the streets of Mexico, clinging to fairy tales and ghost stories to cope with the turmoil and dangers they face. The infusion of the supernatural into the decaying world of the children serves as a compelling foil to the rampant violence the city’s drug wars. Tigers Are Not Afraid recalls so much of the heartbreak and loss of innocence found in The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth, but feels unique and fresh. It showed at last year’s Fantastic Fest and received a lot of positive attention for its child actors, story, and unflinching portrayal of the children who are at the mercy of a cruel world.
What do you all think of these 2018 horror films? Are there any I missed that you feel are going to make a big splash? Let me know in the comments!