Horror is a genre that's nothing if not diverse; no matter where your niche interests lie, there's something for everybody beneath horror's umbrella. The same can be said of 2015's horror release slate, which is a gory smorgasbord of every kind of horror sub-category imaginable.
Need your ghost story fix? Check. Looking for a fresh take or two on zombie cinema's decaying husk? Check. How about a reinvention of a classic horror narrative, or bravura, indie-minded offerings? Check, check. From evil clowns, to wicked specters, to ravenous undead, to holiday-centric monsters - 2015 has all a horror fan could ask for and more. Don't believe us? Read on to see our most anticipated horror movies of 2015:
10. Paranormal Activity 5: The Ghost Dimension
Release date: March 13th, 2015. Cast: Katie Featherstone, Billy Shepperd, Tyler Craig.
Granted that the most recent Paranormal Activity movie - last January's spin-off, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones - made more of a splash at the box office than among viewers; granted that the story is running out of gas, perhaps a side effect of its extended duration. But maybe all the series needs to rediscover its trademarked low-fi vitality is fresh blood?
Enter long-time editor, first-time director Gregory Plotkin, who leads an untested cast of victims against Featherstone's recurring villainy in Paranormal Acvitiy: The Ghost Dimension, ready to hit theaters after being held back from a 2014 release. The basics are familiar - family in a suburban house haunted by weird, inexplicable occurrences - but a fresh set of eyes could be just the thing to steer this ailing franchise back on the right track.
9. Amityville: The Awakening
Release date: TBD. Cast: Bella Thorne, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Cameron Monaghan, Kurtwood Smith.
Okay, yes, all recent updates on The Amityville Horror - from 2005's Ryan Reynolds vehicle to a pair of DTV efforts - have been uninspiring at best. So why does the saga's twelfth entry deserve special notice? Because it's helmed by Franck Khalfoun, director of 2012's excellent Maniac, a remake bolstered by an awesome visual style and a tremendous Elijah Wood performance.
If Khalfoun brings the same stylistic flair to Amityville: The Awakening that he did to Maniac, then his take on the formula - in which Jennifer Jason Leigh moves her unwitting kids into the Amityville house - should easily be worth a look.
Release date: TBD. Cast: N/A.
Beyond premise, there's little known about Rob Zombie's latest (crowdfunded!) screen endeavor. But that's okay, because as premises go, this one is guaranteed to turn heads. Five people are forced to compete in a game (called 31), where the object is "kill or be killed." They're pitted against a gang of vile clowns known as "the heads" and given twelve hours to survive in a man-made abattoir called Murder World.
Boom. That's it. The film currently lacks distribution, and the cast hasn't been revealed (though IMDB lists both Sherri Moon Zombie and Bari Suzuki as principals). But Zombie has promised that 31 is his most brutal film yet, and with a synopsis that insane, horror fans are going to find a way to see this, regardless.
Release date: TBD. Cast: Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pil, Jack McBrayer, Leigh Whannell, Jorge Garcia, Nasim Pedrad.
Speaking of great concepts, how about a zombie movie for kids? Or, more accurately, a zombie movie about kids who become infected with a virus and turn into bloodthirsty monsters. It's teachers versus students, with Wood, Wilson, and Pil fighting for their lives against cannibalistic tykes. The National PTA ought to have a field day with that plot summary.
Seriously, though, how can a zombie aficionado resist? Zombie movies tend to lean on cliches more than most horror archetypes, but Cooties - which premiered at last year's Sundance Film Festival but failed to find a 2014 release as planned - is a novel attempt at tinkering with tried and true elements of lore and coming up with gruesomely original entertainment.
6. Insidious: Chapter 3
Release date: June 5th, 2015. Cast: Dermot Mulroney, Stephanie Scott, Lin Shaye.
Like Paranormal Activity and The Amityville Horror, the Insidious series began taking a backward slide toward inferiority with 2013's Insidious: Chapter 2. Cut to now and we're staring down the barrel of Insidious: Chapter 3, the next installment in this eidolic chronicle, but without the benefit of having James Wan at the reins and Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson at the forefront of the cast.
Wisely, though, Insidious: Chapter 3 appears to realize that pushing ahead with a narrative that's run its course is a recipe for stagnation. Thus, we're taken back before the events of the first two films, as Mulroney struggles to protect his daughter from malevolent entities from the Further - with the help of horror icon Shaye and series writer Leigh Whannell, who steps into the director role for the first time in his career with this film.