While October could be considered the calm before the holiday movie storm – paving the way for Skyfall and Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn (Part 2) – it isn’t without its box office success stories. Though the month has been dominated by two different horror franchises for the better part of a decade, this October has a few films that could pose a significant threat to the reigning king.
Of the films we’re looking forward to, this October boasts a non-sequel horror film, a stop-motion feature from Tim Burton, the return of Liam Neeson as the one-man wrecking crew, a 3D video game adaptation, one of this year’s most ambitious films, and of course another Paranormal Activity. It’s quite the array of spooky entertainment, but who will win out in the end?
Here are the 10 movies we are looking forward to in October.
Back in 2008, Liam Neeson became a bonafide action star in the film Taken. The concept was simple – Neeson’s character, a former CIA agent, attempts to recover his kidnapped daughter, and leaves a pile of bodies in his wake – and the appeal of seeing Neeson in a believable action role helped the film cruise to $145 million in domestic grosses.
Now, Liam Neeson is back as Brian Mills for Taken 2. This time, as expected, the stakes are much higher as every member of Mills’ family (including himself) is literally up for grabs. If the trailers are any indication, fans can expect Neeson to punch a few throats and kill more than a few thugs, all while delivering some seriously badass diatribes. Neeson has acknowledged the series’ conceit has a shelf life, though, so fans can also expect director Olivier Megaton (Colombiana) will pull out all the stops for what might be Mills’ final adventure.
Check out the trailer for Taken 2 here.
When a much younger Tim Burton directed the short film Frankenweenie, it was his playful homage to the story of Frankenstein. However, in place of the undead monster, Burton used a bull terrier, a clever move that transformed the narrative of Mary Shelley’s novel into a story that focused on the unbreakable bond between a boy and his dog. Not only did the short film showcase Burton’s imaginative eye, it jumpstarted his career in live-action filmmaking.
But clearly there was more of the Frankenweenie story that Burton wanted to tell, as he is returning to adapt the film into a 90-minute stop-motion animation (a la The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride). A compilation of monster movie tropes and a distinct visual style all suggest this might be the film Burton has been working toward all these years.
Check out the trailer for Frankenweenie here.
As a director, Ben Affleck is arguably two-for-two when it comes to feature films, with both The Town and Gone Baby Gone having garnered significant praise from critics and audiences. Affleck appears to have made such an impression as a filmmaker that Warner Bros. reportedly considered hiring him to helm the Justice League film.
For his third feature, Argo, Affleck is leaving his usual Boston setting behind to tell the true story of the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. Affleck plays Tony Mendez, a CIA specialist who concocts a plan to rescue six U.S. diplomats by having them pose as a traveling sci-fi film crew. Along with Affleck, Argo‘s cast includes Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, and Alan Arkin. The film is already garnering rave reviews from critics, suggesting that Affleck once again has knocked it out of the park.
Check out the trailer for Argo here.
Last time Colin Farrell teamed up with director Martin McDonagh, they delivered the critically acclaimed and Oscar-nominated In Bruges. It was one of Farrell’s few comedic roles, and an impressive directorial debut for McDonagh.
With that in mind, it’s easy to see why we’re greatly anticipating McDonagh and Farrell’s next collaboration, Seven Psychopaths. While the film doesn’t feature Brendan Gleeson acting opposite Farrell, it is filled to the brim with an eclectic array of actors, including Christopher Walken and Woody Harrelson. The film’s story follows a screenwriter (Farrell) who is in search of inspiration, and unfortunately finds it by way of the film’s eponymous psychopaths.
Check out the trailer for Seven Psychopaths here.
Director Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) is returning to the genre that put him on the map with Sinister, the first of October’s three horror films. Derrickson, who didn’t quite hit the mark with his remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still, is looking to rebound with the help of the producing team responsible for last year’s Insidious.
The film follows a struggling writer (Ethan Hawke) who moves his family to a reportedly “haunted” house in search of inspiration. However, what Hawke’s character finds is a secret far more sinister (get it?) than he initially presumed. Sinister has already screened at several festivals, and early buzz suggests it could be another sleeper hit like the aforementioned Insidious.
Check out the trailer for Sinister here.
Director Tyler Perry is ditching Madea’s dress, wig, and glasses, and jumping in front of the camera for Alex Cross – the next entry in the franchise that includes Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. The FBI agent is once again on the hunt for a killer, but a connection to one of the victims makes this case his most personal.
Tyler Perry is inheriting the Alex Cross role, which Morgan Freeman made famous in the aforementioned adaptations of James Patterson’s novels. While Perry had a small role in Star Trek, Alex Cross will mark his first leading role in a film he did not also direct. That fact alone makes this a film to keep an eye on, but it’s Matthew Fox’s turn as the film’s villain that has us truly intrigued. Coming off his six seasons on Lost, the extremely muscular Fox is apparently taking great strides to separate himself from the character of Jack.
Check out the trailer for Alex Cross here.
It wouldn’t be October without the next entry in the extremely profitable Paranormal Activity franchise. While the past two films have taken looks into the past, Paranormal Activity 4 is picking up the story in 2011, as we follow Alice, a new protagonist.
Alice’s new neighbors – who we surmise to be Kate and her kidnapped nephew Hunter – appear to have brought some bad mojo to the neighborhood, and Alice seeks to document it. Directors Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost promise that their use of web cam footage and Microsoft’s Kinect will rival the “fan cam” from last year’s prequel. Either way, we’re more concerned with how this next entry will further explore the series’ overarching mythology, although we wouldn’t mind a few jump scares along the way.
Check out the trailer for Paranormal Activity 4 here.
Sony’s film adaptation of the popular video game Silent Hill was by no means a rousing success, but its $46 million domestic haul was nothing to be ashamed of – especially considering its R-rating and bizarre imagery. However, news of a Silent Hill sequel, titled Silent Hill: Revelation, was met with a few raised brows.
With Revelation, Sony is apparently taking a page out of Resident Evil‘s book and going with a 3D presentation for this sequel, and has put together a cast of fresh new faces that include Adelaide Clemens and Kit Harrington. Based on the film’s trailers, it appears Silent Hill: Revelation will carry on the video games’ penchant for deeply disturbing character design, which should (at least) catch fans’ attention. Still, we’re left wondering if audiences are interested in a sequel to a moderately successful video game adaptation?
Check out the trailer for Silent Hill: Revelation here.
Directors Michael Apted (Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader) and Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential) are teaming up to deliver Chasing Mavericks. Based on a true story, the film follows Jay Moriarty, a surfer who dreams of surfing Northern California’s most dangerous waves.
That premise alone wouldn’t be enough to get us too excited, but the presence of Gerard Butler as Moriarty’s mentor Frosty Hesson has us intrigued. Unfortunately, Butler’s been riding a wave of box office “misses” over the past couple of years, even as he’s attempted to make the transition into more dramatic fare. The verdict is still out on Chasing Mavericks, but Butler as a surfer might be worth a look.
Check out the trailer for Chasing Mavericks here.
Counted among this generation’s unfilmable novels, David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas is as dense as they come. Focusing on six different storylines, set in several completely different time periods, and featuring characters in multiple roles, the story of Cloud Atlas is so expansive that any director’s attempt to adapt it would have us paying attention.
However, knowing that directors Lara and Andy Wachowski (The Matrix) and Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) are at the helm has us even more excited. Add to that a cast that includes Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and long-time Wachowski collaborator Hugo Weaving, and you’ve got one of this year’s most buzzed about films. Early reviews of Cloud Atlas out of TIFF have been decidedly mixed – some are praising it as a masterpiece, while others say it is extremely flawed – but all seem to agree it’s a film worth seeing.
Check out the trailer for Cloud Atlas here.
While October is a slow movie-going month overall, it typically fosters a couple breakout successes, one of which is usually titled Paranormal Activity. This year is a real tipping point for Paramount’s found footage franchise, though, with audiences being able to decide whether it continues to climb, or begins its slow decent into Saw territory. Additionally, there’s the chance for Sinister or Silent Hill: Revelation to steal a piece of PA 4‘s Halloween box office, even if they can’t match its attendance. And don’t forget to keep an eye on Cloud Atlas, which could be one of the year’s most divisive film.
Once again, here are the 10 movies we’re looking forward to for October:
- October 5: Taken 2, Frankenweenie
- October 12: Argo, Seven Psychopaths, Sinister
- October 19: Alex Cross, Paranormal Activity 4
- October 26: Silent Hill: Revelations 3D, Chasing Mavericks, Cloud Atlas