Happy New Year to all you horror fans out there!

I don’t know about you, but 2018 was kind of an amazing year for horror. There were a lot of original titles and a fair bit of inventive stuff. Of course, each month we saw many of the same old bad horror movie titles, with shoddy special effects, unimaginative jump scares, and laughable acting. Despite the highs we experienced in 2018, it appeared that each month would bring an endless stream of subpar horror movies.

I went into this month’s horror movie calendar feeling the same way. 2019 would be, largely, the same, and all I could do was hope we’d have the same caliber of cool horror movies as in 2018.

But then! These January 2019 horror trailers weren’t that bad. Some of them were actually, dare I say, interesting? Take Rust Creek, which might be a more sophisticated execution of your typical redneck survival horror movie. Or Pledge, which promises to unleash a whole frat of Patrick Bateman psychopaths on a group of unsuspecting underclassmen. And then, of course, there’s Glass, which isn’t really a full horror film, but by God, James McAvoy’s Beast character creeps me the hell out.

There’s also the notable horror DVD releases this month—Halloween will hit Amazon on January 15, followed by Suspiria on January 29. Both of these 2018 horror films are solid choices, so check them out.

And enjoy this month’s new horror releases!

January 4th

Escape Room

“Six strangers, including a student (Taylor Russell), a slacker (Logan Miller) and a businessman (Jay Ellis), receive mysterious invitations in the mail to a new “immersive” escape room in which the last remaining player will receive $1 million. They soon discover the game’s stakes are deadly and the various rooms were created by a master manipulator to reveal each person’s past secrets and true character.”

There have been a few escape room movies recently (Escape Room (2017) comes to mind), which is no surprise. A room you’re trapped in with all sorts of nasty surprises? That’s a premise tailor made for a horror movie. But a lot of those recent movies looked like crap because while the room full of booby traps is a solid premise, there’s only so much novelty one can throw at the audience. You might actually have to have character development and good acting.

So this Escape Room gets around this by changing to location and combining the premise with the tried-and-true conceit straight out of House on Haunted Hill. Cool. It might even be an interesting, fun horror movie if you turn your brain off a bit. I’m just not going to hold my breath for any semblance of character development.

Rust Creek (VOD)

“An ordinary woman must summon extraordinary courage to survive a nightmare odyssey in this harrowing survival thriller.”

Not even going to lie—I saw the IFC bumper and the synopsis and thought this trailer would suck. IFC isn’t exactly known for distributing quality horror movies, so what was I supposed to expect? And a survival horror movie about a plucky girl and bunch of rednecks? There are so many horror movies like that.

But then I watched the trailer, and I thought, oh damn, this might actually be worth a watch. For one, the acting seems stronger than your typical indie horror movie. That’s a plus! I’m also intrigued by the camera work in the trailer. And the basic plot seems a bit more nuanced than your average backwoods survival horror movie. Again, January 2019 horror undercuts my expectations!

January 11

Pledge (VOD)

“Three friends get the chance to live the college dream when they’re invited to join an elite fraternity—but first they’ll have to survive the hazing from hell.”

When I first read the synopsis, I thought this trailer was going to suck. Again. I mean, I went to the University of Texas at Austin, which had a ton of Greek life on campus (and a lot off campus, since frats got “suspended” all the time for doing dumb fratboy shit). I thought, do we really need a horror movie about these douchebags?

However, I was surprised to find that Pledge doesn’t look half-bad—Pledge might actually be decent after all. I’m especially interested in the film’s potential examination of toxic masculinity and gatekeeping, two aspects of modern day power dynamics that I believe horror is uniquely positioned to address. I think I’ll watch this one!

January 18

Glass

“Security guard David Dunn uses his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb, a disturbed man who has twenty-four personalities.”

Okay, this isn’t a straight horror movie in any way, shape, or form. However, Split was more of a horror movie, and I’m just so excited for Glass that I want to talk about it anyway. It’s my blog, I’ll cry if I want to.

After a string of, um, questionable films (looking at you, The Last Airbender), Shyamalan seeming got his groove back with 2017’s Split. It was a really good thriller with all kinds of horror trappings, not to mention some brilliant and immaculate acting from James McAvoy. And for fans of Shyamalan’s Unbreakable (2000), the surprise ending was very exciting. I’m hopeful that Glass delivers more of McAvoy’s creepy and effective performance and explores the themes shaped in Unbreakable and Split.

January 25

The Final Wish (VOD)

“Following the passing of his father, Aaron Hammond (MICHAEL WELCH) returns to his hometown to help his devastated mother (LIN SHAYE) and to confront his past demons. Sifting through his father’s belongings, Aaron comes upon a mysterious item that is far more than it seems. In all the chaos, one thing is certain — when desperation strikes, be careful what you wish for.”

Yes, I said there were a lot less crappy trailers for crappy movies this month, but don’t worry, The Final Wish alone makes up for the lack of shitty movies. This trailer looks so bad, and I can’t imagine pulling a good movie out of this mess. It’s like a weird, poorly executed mash up of The Monkey’s Paw and Pushing Daisies, with every cliché horror jump scare thrown in for good measure. And the acting. MY GOD.

No thanks.

What horror releases do you want to see? Have you seen any of these already? How psyched are you for Glass? Let me know in the comments!

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