Our Most Anticipated Films of 2018!
2017 gave us films that will go down in not just horror history, but film history as some of the best work the genre has produced in at least a decade. In a nation hungover from the 2016 Presidential Elections, Get Out was the cathartic release many of us needed in the face of a tumultuous and unclear future. IT was the triumphant return of Stephen King as big box office bucks, aside from just being one of the most polished and mature horror films that, again, we haven’t seen in at least a decade from major studios. Peppered throughout that we had our extreme highs, like Aronofsky’s mother!, and extreme lows, like Aronofsky’s mother!. If last year’s big surprise was that horror was back and, finally, getting the respect that it has been long overdue then what is the next step? Will 2018 continue the growth of genre entertainment being taken seriously, even going so far as to give us even more “Genre Prestige” films than last year? Only time will tell, but we can say that the 2018 slate is PACKED with so much exciting possibility.
Victor Crowley (Dir. Adam Green, VOD Release: 2/6/18)
Jacob: When Adam Green landed on the scene with Hatchet in 2007, he was looking to break out of the industry box that was sequels, remakes, and “Japanese ones”. Flash forward a decade later and Adam Green is back in the swamp, and rather than attempting to break any new ground he swims further down into the abyss of old school American horror and surfaces with one of the best goddamn new slashers we’ve had since the films Green is inspired by were released. Grab some pizza and call your friends, because you’re about to relive your youth: Blockbuster-style.
Ryan: It’s no secret that slashers are my favorite genre. Yes, I enjoy the subtle nuance of something with a meta aesthetic i.e. Scream, The Final Girls, etc. However, I’m also in love with the swamp trampling monster Victor Crowley and Adam Green’s throwback midnight movie series Hatchet. Green perfectly captures what I believe is American horror (as my colleague Jacob notes as well) in these movies, and always has a stellar and well rounded cast with a perfect blend of humor and mayhem.
Annihilation (Dir. Alex Garland. Release: 2/23/18)
Megan: I love a good book-to-film adaptation and Annihilation, based on the book by Jeff Vandermeer, looks like it’s going to deliver. Annihilation is the first in a three book series, known as the Southern Reach trilogy, which consists of Annihilation, Acceptance, and Authority. A few years ago, a friend of mine lent me his copies of the three and after reading book one, I promptly bought my own copies (on a dreamy trip to Portland’s infamous Powell’s, I might add) because I knew right away that these were books that I needed to add to my personal library. The story is deep, dark, and disturbing as hell with some serious girl-power to boot. Annihilation is the sophomore film for director Alex Garland, and it boasts a kick-ass, female heavy cast. The film stars Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez (YAS QUEEN), Oscar Isaac, and Sonoya Mizuno, both Isaac and Mizuno having previously worked with Garland on his debut film Ex Machina. I’ve been looking forward to this film since its initial whispers and I plan on revisiting the book trilogy before the film’s theatrical release on February 23, 2018.
The Endless (Dir. Justin Benson/Aaron Moorehead. Release: 3/23/18 VOD)
Ryan: Benson and Moorehead are geniuses. Period, the end. The slow burn trauma of Resolution, the beautiful amalgamation of genres in Spring, these guys understand how to splice together mood and intensity in a rare and poetic way. Nothing they’ve ever made has been out-and-out horror and I don’t want it to be. I want these guys to drop some kaleidoscope of horror, science fiction and romance on us every two years until I die.
Jacob: Like Can Evrenol, I will also champion every last one of Justin Benson and Aaron Mooreheads work. From their fascinating take on addiction, Resolution, to the most gorgeous modern horror romance, Spring, their new film The Endless has some pretty big shoes to fill. But from the murmuring I have heard, it’s nothing short of what we come to expect from the duo: smart, funny, and deeply moving.
A Quiet Place (Dir. John Krasinski, Release: 4/6/18)
Megan: John Krasinski takes a stab at horror for his third time in the director’s seat with Paramount Pictures’ A Quiet Place. In addition to directing the film, Krasinski will star alongside his real-life wifey, Emily Blunt in this nearly silent horror thriller. Sound design is such an important aspect of film, and the presence or absence of sound can tell a story all on its own. I cannot wait to see how the film commits to the titular role of quiet, and I look forward to hearing the eerie arrangements that composer Marco Beltrami has in store for us. If the trailer is any indication, A Quiet Place is going to be filled with tension and unease and even though I might have to break out my inhaler once or twice, I cannot wait to hop onto this creepy, tension-filled thrill ride. A Quiet Place will be theatrically released on April 6, 2018 and you bet I’ll be at the cinema opening night as it is very high on my list of most anticipated films of the year.
Jacob: When the trailer for John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place played before an audience primed for The Last Jedi, it was laughed at, mainly because the title feels like a punchline to the trailer. But from the glimpses we’ve already seen, I’m tentatively calling this the scariest movie of the year. Through the usage of sign language, which hopefully will be less and less of a unique twist with greater representation on screen, the family must communicate under the presence of an unseen force. The film seems like a insular “haunting” story, but is it? Is it a monster? Or is it aliens? We don’t know! And the fact that are interests are piqued based solely on the trailer is a damn good sign.
Ryan: One word came to the forefront of my mind after I saw the trailer for Krasinski piece A Quiet Place: tense. That trailer made me tense as hell. You know what I could never do? Be quiet for extended periods of time. Krasinski has had some misfires with his films but I’ve always loved him and alongside real-life wife Emily Blunt, A Quiet Place looks like a solid new IP in the genre and I’m never going to say no to new big screen horror.
Cloverfield: The God Particle (Dir. Julius Onah, Release: 4/20/18)
Jacob: I may have overhyped the original Cloverfield to myself when it was released a decade ago (!!!), but with the recent rash of kaiju films taking over cinemas, the OG 21st Century American Monster Movie proved it still deserved a seat at the table with the surprise release of 10 Cloverfield Lane in 2016. Now we have The God Particle (originally The Cloverfield Particle), a sci-fi horror film that may or may not have also begun as a non-Cloverfield property like Lane but sounds fascinating: after an ISS carrying a particle accelerator makes the Earth vanish, they struggle for survival when a mysterious shuttle appears. Combine that with an all star cast featuring David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ziyi Zhang, and Chris O’Dowd The God Particle already has a pedigree for success.
The Purge: The Island (Dir. Gerard McMurray, Release: 7/4/18)
Jacob: Hey, I like The Purge franchise. What started as a high concept home invasion thriller has blossomed into a Walter Hill-esque social satire with each new installment, and the newest film sounds like it’ll fall just in line. The Island is set to be a prequel where we see the very first “Purge”: on Staten Island. For all of the East Coast readers out there, you know Staten Island isn’t necessarily known for be accepting of, ahem, progressive ideas so setting a contained Purge on the island, especially in reflective of our current political climate, is sure to rouse much debate online when it drops in July.
Rebecca: The Purge: The Island has the potential to be the best yet, as the quality of each film in this franchise has grown exponentially with each release. This is the first prequel we’ve seen in the franchise so far, and may give audiences some answers as to how this system came to be and who gave it the green light. Plus it stars Melonie Diaz, who is so talented, she could stand still and read a calculus textbook, and I’d still be entertained.
The Nun (Dir. Corin Hardy, Release: 7/13/18)
Jacob: After having read an early draft of the new chapter in the “Wan-iverse” or “Conjuring Universe”, I can say without a doubt that the avenues the creatives are taking the franchise will hopefully be as resonate with fans as it was to me. Not in so much the way that we are treading new, unforeseen ground, but rather taking the “Universe” formula that Marvel has written in stone and applying it to this intricately weaved web of paranormal movies. And with English director Corin Hardy at the helm, who directed by the fan favorite The Hallow in 2015, the film is set to be an oozing pile of tension.
Ryan: When it comes to the “Wan-iverse,” I’m bought in. I’m soooo in. I love everything they’re doing. The classic ghost stories, haunted house yarns, jump scare theatrics that they’ve been bringing to the mass public is just so DAMN fun. I imagine this is what horror was like in the 30’s when the Universal Monsters were the kings and queens of cinema. Even just from her brief but absolutely terrifying appearance in The Conjuring 2, a movie focused on the Nun from director Corin Hardy sounds enticing as hell.
The Predator (Dir. Shane Black, 8/3/18 theatrical)
Ryan: If this shit doesn’t take place on Christmas, I owe some people money. Predator is a cinematic gem, a perfect blend of horror and action, and as much as we love it we have never been able to capture that lightning in a bottle again. Sure, Predator 2 is fun and Predators had some novel ideas in it but nothing has ever got our blood pumping like the original Arnold led flick. When co-star and screenwriter Shane Black announced that he had been given the chance to bring our favorite alien hunter back to the big screen, we were stoked. When it was announced that longtime collaborator Fred Dekker, the man who wrote The Monster Squad and Night of the Creeps was also attached, it’s safe to say I lost my shit. Plus, that cast. God damn, that cast. Thomas Jane, Olivia Munn, child actor wunderkind Jacob Tremblay. ALL ABOARD THE HYPE TRAIN.
Goosebumps: Horrorland (Dir. Rob Letterman/Ari Sandel, Release: 9/21/18)
Jacob: As much as the generations before me had the moniker of Monster Kids, and in essence those of us that grew up in the late 80s/early 90s can toe the line of claiming it for themselves, in reality I'm a “Goosebumps Kids”. R.L. Stine’s YA novels opened my eyes to a seedy, sanitized world of werewolves, monster slime, and Living Dummy’s. The first Goosebumps film was a welcome surprise that retained the spirit of not only the books, but also the popular TV series, and as they venture into the popular “One Day at Horrorland” book territory we are sure to see the film double down on Goosebumps in-jokes and fan favorites. Fingers crossed The Masked Mutant shows up!
Ryan: Give me all the Goosebumps. I was incredibly cautious of the first film and had a blast with it. Now, I get to go in optimistically especially since we’re all going to Horrorland. With over fifty books to choose material from and almost every one of those containing at least one memorable monster, horror, or villain, I want every opportunity to enjoy more of the bright and colorful kid friendly horror that is Goosebumps.
Halloween (Dir. David Gordon Green, Release: 10/19/18)
Jacob: Is there really anything new to add to the most anticipated horror film of 2018? I don’t really think so. But what I will say is that, based on the talent and creatives attached to the film, for the first time in 39 years we have the potentiality of having a Halloween film that may give the original a run for its money. But while the series is spotty in terms of quality, like all horror franchises, I for one am just excited to sit in a theatre once again and listen to audiences react to Michael Myers again...many for the first time. And THAT’S exciting.
Ryan: We’re talking about the titans of the horror industry tackling the most important and influential slasher of all time. Jamie Lee Curtis returning. John Carpenter on board. The man who originally played “The Shape,” Nick Castle is back. I LITERALLY could not be more excited. Like I don’t know how they could get more excited, like, give me a hundred dollars just for going to see the movie? That would probably do it. But outside of that, the Blumhouse vehicle promises to be one of the biggest horror movies in years, with a megaton of talent behind it.
Slice (Dir. Austin Vesely, Release: TBA)
Ryan: Chance the Rapper is one of the most important and influential hip hop artists in the here and now. Not only is his distribution unconventional but his progressive message is one that’s oft ignored in that area of music. Teaming up with frequent music video director Austin Vesely, A24 will be distributing a movie that has literally been described as a PIZZA SLASHER. What in the actual fuck does that even mean?! I don’t know but it sounds like one of the best things I’ve ever heard. It really just needs to be a new genre. Not only are Chance and Vesely starring in the movie that follows the strange happenings in the town of Kingfisher where Chance is a pizza boy who runs into ghosts, werewolf and the sort, but Joe Keery of Stranger Things fame is attached. I don’t want this movie, I need it.
Dragged Across Concrete (Dir. S. Craig Zahler. Release: TBA)
Kieran: We’re big fans of S. Craig Zahler here at Ghastly Grinning. His debut feature, Bone Tomahawk, delivered a landmark horror-tinged Western for the modern era, while last year’s exploitation crime yarn, Brawl in Cell Block 99, was arguably our most beloved film of the year. His films are quickly becoming synonymous with gritty characters exacting horrible violence, and you can rest assured knowing that Dragged Across Concrete will likely be more of the same. The premise concerns dirty cops and police violence. It also stars Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn, two outspoken conservatives, and boasts a strong cast of genre heavyweights including Don Johnson, Udo Kier, and the cinematic art form Michael Jai White. When you consider the premise, the cast, and the perceived gross politics in the director’s previous output, this is definitely going to make some noise when it’s released. There’s no doubt this will ruffle a few feathers when it hits screens later this year, which should make for some lively discussion when that day arrives.
Apostle (Dir. Gareth Evans. Release: TBA)
Kieran: Welsh director Gareth Evans is already a household name in genre circles thanks to his The Raid series, which are arguably the greatest action movies of modern times. His latest, however, sees him enter period thriller territory with a story revolving around a cult who hold the wrong mans sister hostage. The Guest’s Dan Stevens returns to darker territory as the lead, and he’s joined by a cast that includes Lucy Boynton and Michael Sheen. While details have been kept close to the chest, don’t be surprised if this turns out to be the surprise gem of 2018. In Evans we trust.
Kilroy Was Here (Dir. Kevin Smith, Release: TBA)
Ryan: I know that Smith has delivered some...divisive content. Whereas I think Red State is a truly bleak and harrowing horror film Tusk and Yoga Hosers have received less than a considerate amount of love. (I thought they were both super fun.) Although his piece in Holidays was actually probably my least favorite of the bunch, I can’t help be excited about a horror anthology film from a director like Kevin Smith. It’s always exciting when someone breaks out of their comfort zone and I’ve been entranced with the conversational approach that Smith takes since the first time I saw Mallrats. Little is known about the new movie, save that it’s based on the strange graffiti phenomenon of the same phrase, but Smith describes Kilroy as the boogeyman, the grim reaper and a golem put together and is citing The Twilight Zone and Creepshow as influences.
Patient Zero (Dir. Stefan Ruzowitzky, Release: TBA)
Rebecca: Patient Zero is a dystopian horror/drama from across the pond starring the former Dr. Who Matt Smith and Natalie Dormer, of Game of Thrones fame. After a pandemic has turned almost everyone into an “infected”, Matt Smith has to find the being that started the whole mess. Conjuring themes from Outbreak, 28 Days Later, and The Walking Dead, this film has the potential to keep me in my house for three days armed with two cans of Lysol. (That kills zombies and zombie-related diseases, right?)
Rabid (Dir. The Soska Sister, Release: TBA)
Ryan: The Soska Sisters have certainly made a name for themselves. After low budget schlock fest Dead Hooker In A Trunk and feminist body horror masterpiece American Mary, they’ve very much become a pair to watch. That’s why when it was announced that they would be remaking Rabid, from horror master David Cronenberg, it immediately sent a shock of excitement through me. They promise to bring some new commentary to the movie while keeping it a bloody exciting flick and I know and have seen them excel at both. To put such a dynamic duo on one of the lesser known works of a big time director like Cronenberg could result in an ultra exciting affair.
Hold the Dark (Dir. Jeremy Saulnier. Release: TBA)
Kieran: For his fourth feature, Jeremy Saulnier has partnered up with Netflix for an adaptation of William Giraldi’s horror-thriller-mystery novel of the same name. Set against a snow-capped backdrop of Alaska, an investigator is called in to get to the bottom of the bottom of the deaths of three local children, which he initially suspects wolves were responsible for. However, upon arrival, he discovers that the town harbors some pretty dark and bloody secrets. We were sold anyway given that Jeremy Saulnier is the fucking man, but this could be another best of the year contender from the director who’s made a habit of delivering those since Blue Ruin and Green Room captured hearts and bludgeoned skulls.
Housewife (Dir. Can Evrenol. Release: TBA)
Jacob: I would talk endlessly about this movie if I could watch it five more times, but Can Evrenol’s new film Housewife, hot off of the heels of his smash debut Baskin, is still stuck in some distribution limbo after a successful run on the festival circuit last year. Emotionally as intense as its predecessor with an eye firmly rooted away from the overt gruesomeness we would come to expect, Housewife is a sensory overload unlike anything we’ve seen since Lucio Fulci, Argento, and Bava. He is truly the only one making these types of films, and I will champion his work every step of the way. Also: it would have been my number one film of last year if it had been released wide.
Suspiria (Dir. Luca Guadagnino. Release: TBA)
Jacob: After watching Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name my fears were assuaged for the Suspiria “remake”. Despite the changes that are bound to be made to the story, structure, and look of the film (remember: we rejected Gus Van Sant’s shot-for-shot remake of Psycho), it’s clear to me that it won’t be a bad film. Will it be your taste? Who knows. Will it be as good as the original? Who knows. Will it scare me? Who knows. But it’s clear the director has an adept hand at crafting tone, creating tension, and painting the screen with beautiful colors. And frankly: isn’t that all we really need for Suspiria?
Puppet Master: Littlest Reich (Dir. Sonny Laguna. Release: TBA)
Jacob: Puppet Master scared me as a kid. Hell, most of Charlie Band and Full Moon’s catalogs gave me the heebie-jeebies. It didn’t help dolls scared the fuck outta me. But, tastes mature, and the films are what they are: weird, fun, dumb. Which makes it even more shocking when it was announced that S. Craig Zahler, writer/director/novelist of Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99 was penning a script set to star Thomas Lennon, Udo Kier, and Barbara Crampton? Just...here. Take my money now, because...whaaaaaat?!
Black Klansman (Dir. Spike Lee. Release: TBA)
Jacob: This is the only film on the list that you could argue isn't a horror movie, but I for one think the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacy is easily top three most vile, insidious, and horrifying things to happen in this country. Which is why this film sounds amazing. Based on the true story of Ron Stallworth, an African-American police officer working in Colorado who secretly infiltrated and rose through the ranks to become head of a local Klan chapter, the film is written and directed by Spike Lee, with Jordan Peele and Jason Blum on as Producers. John David Washington, son of the legendary Denzel Washington, is set to star with Laura Harrier, Adam Driver, and Topher Grace in supporting roles.
Nightmare Cinema (Dir. Mick Garris/Joe Dante/Alejandro Brugues/Ryuhei Kitamura/David Slade. Release: TBA)
Jacob: A couple of years ago everyone was agog on the resurgence of the anthology in television and film, but as trends seem to do: it’s dipped. While television is still thriving with the recent arrivals of news seasons of Black Mirror, American Horror Story, and American Crime Story alongside newcomers Philip K. Dicks Electric Dreams and The Black Rose, their film cousins still have wet feet. Hopefully with Mick Garris’ new project, Nightmare Cinema, we’ll see that shift happen. Alongside the work of Joe Dante, Alejandro Brugues, Ryuhei Kitamura, and David Slade, Garris has pulled together a crackerjack of a team for this anthology of frights. Most anticipated: whatever the fuck Mickey Rourke will be doing as The Projectionist, Nightmare Cinemas resident Crypt Keeper. Hide all of your scenery, lest it be chewed!