2017 was a phenomenal year for horror movies. Whether it was the social commentary of Get Out, the combination of winking humor and slasher violence of Happy Death Day, or the sheer clown-based terror of It, audiences enjoyed a considerable number of high-quality scares. And that’s on top of some notable indie fright flicks, such as the critically acclaimed The Void, The Devil’s Candy, and Tragedy Girls. On the surface, it would seem like a hard year to top.
Happily for horror buffs everywhere, it appears that 2018 is poised to give it a serious run for the money. The titles scheduled for release next year are incredibly exciting.
What follows is a look at the most notable horror releases of next year. Since this is a diverse genre, we’ve put together a mixture of big studio fare and independent releases. We’ll tell you what the movies are about, who stars in them, and which innovative writers and directors are behind the camera. Next year’s entries span a wide range of styles and focus on impressively varied subject matter. We’re confident that you will share our eagerness to check them out in full.
Here are 17 Horror Movies You Didn’t Know Were Coming In 2018.
17. The Nun
When The Conjuring was released in 2013, audiences became fascinated by a creepy doll that figures into the plot. Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line Cinema decided to spin that doll off into her own movie, Annabelle. When The Conjuring 2 came out, a similar thing happened. An eerie painting of a nun featured in one scene really got viewers talking. Now she’s getting her own movie, too.
The Nun will tell the backstory of the woman in that painting. Alien: Covenant‘s Demian Bichir plays a priest who is dispatched to investigate the unexplained disappearance of a nun. Bonnie Aarons, who played the sinister sister in The Conjuring 2, will reprise her role.
16. The Strangers: Prey at Night
One of the biggest horror hits of 2008 was the home invasion thriller The Strangers, which made $82 million worldwide. There was talk of a sequel for years, but it never materialized. That changes in 2018 with the release of The Strangers: Prey at Night.
Starring Martin Henderson, Bailee Madison, and Mad Men‘s Christina Hendricks, the movie is about a family that travels to a mobile home park to stay with some relatives. They find the place ominously deserted. Then three psychos wearing masks arrive to terrorize them. To survive, the family has to fight back with a fierceness they never thought possible.
Brian Bertino, who made the original, isn’t behind the director’s chair this time. Instead, that task falls to Johannes Roberts, whose 47 Meters Down was a surprise summer hit. No doubt admirers of the original will be glad to finally get the sequel they’ve been waiting for.
15. A Quiet Place
Horror movies are, by nature, kind of loud. Characters scream. Clanging noises are often used on the soundtrack to help create jump scares. There are sometimes weapons, like guns or chainsaws. For that reason, a horror movie that involves silence is a real rarity. Welcome to A Quiet Place.
John Krasinski directs and stars in the film, which he also co-wrote. He and real-life spouse Emily Blunt play a couple living with their family in an isolated location. Their lives are carried out in total silence because there’s some kind of supernatural menace outside the walls of their home that pounces whenever it hears noise. Being quiet is the only way for them to survive. When one of them accidentally creates a loud sound… well, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens when A Quiet Place opens in April.
14. The Meg
MEG: A Novel of Deep Terror is a 1997 book by Steve Alten about Navy deep sea diver Jonas Taylor, who takes on a Megalodon, a massive prehistoric shark. It was popular enough to spawn several sequels. Sharks have been a reliable source of jolts on the big screen ever since Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, so it’s no surprise that Hollywood scooped up the rights to a film adaptation of the book.
The Meg casts Jason Statham as Jonas. After a terrifying encounter with a 70-foot shark, he becomes traumatized. Unfortunately for him, he’s recruited to help rescue a group of scientists in a submersible who are being stalked by — you guessed it — a humongous shark.
13. Insidious: The Last Key
No one thought Insidious would inspire an entire franchise when it was released in 2010. Audiences fell in love with Elise Rainier, the intrepid investigator of the paranormal, though. Actress Lin Shaye took what could have been a dull stock character and invested her with an abundance of personality.
The latest installment of her story, Insidious: The Last Key, will be the first movie out of the gate in 2018, debuting on January 5. Shaye returns for another round, as does writer/co-star Leigh Wannell. Details about the plot are being kept on lockdown so as to preserve what we assume are some pretty big surprises. That said, the press materials offer the tantalizing tease that Elise will face “her most fearsome and personal haunting yet, in her own family home.”
12. New Mutants
Marvel movies are about to go in a creepy new direction with the April release of New Mutants. This spinoff of the X-Men franchise follows five young mutants who are held against their will in a secret facility. The only way to escape is to jointly use their individual powers. The mutants featured are Magik (Anya Taylor-Joy), Wolfsbane (Maisie Williams), Cannonball (Charlie Heaton), Sunspot (Henry Zaga), and Mirage (Blu Hunt).
Directed by Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars), New Mutants will be done in full-fledged horror style. The director says that the mutants will battle a psychic monster called Demon Bear, and he promises plenty of jolts.
X-Men movies have thus far stuck firmly in the “action-adventure” category, so the idea of interpreting the superhero story through a horror prism certainly marks this as one of the year’s must-see movies in any genre.
11. “Cloverfield 3”
The original Cloverfield began life as a “surprise” movie no one knew about until the teaser appeared (without title) before the first Transformers movie. A couple years later, an under-the-radar thriller called Valencia was abruptly revealed at the last minute to be another entry in the series, with the real title of 10 Cloverfield Lane. Secrecy and surprise are clearly a significant part of the entire structure.
That same sense of secrecy extends to Cloverfield 3. The exact title of the movie remains unknown, although it was developed under the name God Particle. All we know for certain is that the story is about a group of astronauts fighting some kind of threat following an incident involving a particle accelerator, and that the stars are Elizabeth Debicki, Chris O’Dowd, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
10. The Purge: The Island
The Purge had an irresistible concept — all crimes, including murder, are legal for one night per year. The two sequels, The Purge: Anarchy and The Purge: Election Year, put their own unique spins on that concept. One thing people have frequently wondered, however, is how did the Purge begin? We’ll get the answer to that next summer.
The Purge: The Island is a prequel that will show us the events leading up to the establishment of the titular event and how the country came to take part in it. Series originator James DeMonaco wrote the script for this fourth entry, but Burning Sands’ Gerard McMurray takes over directing duties.
Has any long-running franchise had as many ups and downs as Halloween? The original is, of course, a classic. The various sequels and Rob Zombie reboots have run the spectrum from good to abominable. The series has been all over the map. Thankfully, next year’s Halloween has enough exciting ingredients to suggest it might wind up on the high end of the scale.
Here’s why you should be optimistic. It ignores all the other movies, offering continuity only to John Carpenter’s original. It was written by Pineapple Express director David Gordon Green and comedian Danny McBride, which should guarantee a highly original take on familiar material. Carpenter is on board as both producer and composer. And, perhaps most importantly, Jamie Lee Curtis will reprise her role as Laurie Strode, and she’ll come face-to-face with Michael Myers one more time. This movie can’t hit our eyeballs fast enough.
8. Winchester: The House that Ghosts Built
Helen Mirren in a horror movie? Sounds like a phenomenal idea. The widely-admired British actress will star in Winchester: The House That Ghosts Built as Sarah Winchester, a mentally disturbed firearm heiress. (This is getting even better already.) One of her beliefs, or possibly delusions, is that she’s being haunted by the spirits of those killed with the rifle her family has long manufactured. She builds a house containing hundreds of rooms, meant to be an asylum for ghosts, and one of them has a score to settle.
Did we mention that this is based on a true story?
Winchester is coming to us from filmmaking siblings Michael and Peter Spierig, whose previous credits include Daybreakers, Predestination, and the recent Jigsaw. How true the movie will stick to the facts remains to be seen, but the combination of Helen Mirren and some actual historical basis implies something potentially very special.
7. Devil’s Gate
You probably don’t know the name Clay Staub, but he was a second unit/assistant director on Zack Snyder hits such as 300 and the Dawn of the Dead remake. He makes his formal directorial debut with Devil’s Gate, opening in January. Amanda Schull plays an FBI agent sent to the tiny town of Devil’s Gate, North Dakota to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a woman and her son. The prime suspect is Jackson Pritchard (Milo Ventimiglia), a religious fanatic who also happens to be the husband/father of the missing people.
There’s a good supporting cast here. Shawn Ashmore, who plays Iceman in the X-Men franchise, plays a local police officer who helps the FBI agent solve the mystery, and Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Jonathan Frankes has a role as the town sheriff.
6. Slaughterhouse Rulez
Real-life friends Simon Pegg and Nick Frost gained fame with their horror-comedy Shaun of the Dead, which they made with director Edgar Wright. Hot Fuzz and The World’s End followed. Back in May, they announced the launch of their own TV and movie production banner, Stolen Picture. 2018 will mark the release of the first film under this new venture. Like Shaun of the Dead, Slaughterhouse Rulez is a horror/comedy hybrid.
The story takes place at an elite boarding school full of rich kids. A new student, played by Asa Butterfield, comes from a less wealthy background, arrives, and immediately has to cope with sadistic fellow students. When a sinkhole opens up on the school grounds, the entire social order is thrown into chaos, leading to a no-holds-barred battle for supremacy between students, staff, and faculty. Slaughterhouse Rulez promises to be bloody and satirical in equal measure.
5. The House with a Clock in its Walls
Horror doesn’t have to be R-rated and aimed at adults. There should be horror for kids, too. The House with a Clock in its Walls will fill that void. Eli Roth (Hostel) directs this adaptation of the popular children’s book by John Bellairs. He’s assembled an impressive cast that includes Cate Blanchett, Jack Black, and Kyle MacLachlan.
The main character is 10-year-old Lewis Barnavelt (Owen Vaccaro), who moves into his uncle’s creepy old house. The home is unusual because it has a ticking clock hidden somewhere within it. Lewis soon discovers that his uncle is a warlock, the next-door-neighbor is a witch, and the home’s previous owners had an evil plan to bring about the end of the world. That clock has something to do with it, leading to a frantic search to locate the timekeeping device. This one should be just scary enough for kids, but not so scary that they have nightmares.
Overlord is a horror movie with an air of mystery surrounding it. The film is set on the eve of D-Day, when a group of American paratroopers has landed behind enemy lines. They quickly realize that they’re not only fighting Nazis, but also some kind of supernatural enemy that has been summoned by an experiment Hitler’s troops have conducted. Combining a WWII war movie with a horror flick sounds like a cool idea. Wyatt Russell and Jovan Adepo are among the actors involved.
The reason for the mystery is that Overlord is being produced by J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot company. Because this movie has a paranormal element, there have been rumors that it’s somehow connected to the Cloverfield universe. We won’t know whether those rumors are true until the October 2018 release date. Until then, expect speculation on the internet to run rampant.
3. The Midnight Man
The Midnight Man brings together two actors with a serious pedigree in horror. Robert Englund is, of course, beloved for playing Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street series. Lin Shaye is best-known for her role as paranormal expert Elise Rainier in the Insidious franchise. Seeing these two favorites sharing the screen sounds like a dream come true for horror fans.
The movie is about teenagers who discover a mysterious box in the attic of an elderly woman’s home. Inside is a set of instructions for something called “The Midnight Game.” Needless to say, they decide to play it, subsequently summoning a gruesome demon who forces them to confront their greatest fears.
Obviously, Englund and Shaye have supporting roles here, but even if they aren’t the main characters, their track records in horror are enough to warrant enthusiasm. IFC Midnight will bring The Midnight Man your way on January 19.
2. Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich
Full Moon Features’ Puppet Master franchise has been around since 1989. It spans twelve entries, all low-budget efforts. The movies have never broken out into the mainstream, yet they have a devoted cult audience. The thirteenth installment, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, comes out next year, and it could be the one to attract general audiences.
Thomas Lennon plays a recently divorced man who brings a doll he found in his dead brother’s house to a puppet convention. The very presence of the doll causes all the others there to spring to life, leading to bloody chaos. Udo Kier co-stars as a Nazi sympathizer, and horror icon Barbara Crampton plays a tour director.
Unlike the previous Puppet Master movies, The Littlest Reich will go to theaters, rather than just direct-to-video. The best part, though, is that it’s being written and produced by the team who made the critically acclaimed Bone Tomahawk. This one sounds like it will be the craziest you-gotta-see-it genre film of 2018.
It was recently announced that superstar recording artist and Grammy winner Chance the Rapper secretly filmed a horror movie during the summer of 2016. Details of the project, which is called Slice, have remained a well-kept mystery. Here’s what we know for sure: it involves the murder of a pizza delivery guy, and there’s possibly a werewolf. In addition to Chance, the picture will star Zazie Beetz from the hit TV show Atlanta and Deadpool 2. And it marks the feature debut of director Austin Vesely, who made some of Chance’s music videos.
Another reason Slice is exciting is that it will be released by A24, the indie distributor that has amassed a glowing reputation for putting out hip, ambitious movies running the gamut from the Oscar-winning Moonlight to the dark and gritty thriller Green Room. The combination of actors, hot new director, intriguing premise, and association with A24 gives every indication that Slice could end up being something really offbeat and special.
Which of these horror movies are you most excited to see? Which do you think will be the best? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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