After a decidedly quiet September things are really starting to get exciting as we move to October. This is the month when the genre fare starts mingling with the rare blockbuster, and the awards contenders start popping up every now and again. Last year, for example, October included the release of Best Picture nominee and Screen Rant favorite Gravity, as well as actual BP winner 12 Years a Slave.
Granted, we don't think October 2014 will be quite as fruitful, but it still has plenty of intriguing releases all the same. Almost every demographic has at least one picture to look forward to this month, and yes there are even a few horror flicks on the schedule. It's a good thing September was so slow, because October looks to keep movie fans plenty busy.
Without further ado, here are the 8 films we are looking forward to this month.
8 Annabelle (Release Date: October 3rd)
Although the horror genre has been struggling as of late, there is still a strong belief that, come October, the fans will come out of the woodwork. And chances are if they do come out, Annabelle will make plenty of money. It also doesn't hurt that the film spins off from The Conjuring, last year's breakout horror hit.
However, a lot of Annabelle's potential success will rest with whether the creepy doll gag can sustain a full film. She was plenty eerie in The Conjuring, but not as a focal piece. Here, Annabelle will take center stage and if she can scare the pants of the average moviegoer then chances are she has a bright future ahead.
Check out the trailer for Annabelle.
7 Gone Girl (Release Date: October 3rd)
Stop us if you've heard this one before: David Fincher directs an adaptation of a best-selling crime novel with a major A-lister in the lead role. Okay, while The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo didn't turn out quite as we hoped, expectations are high for Gone Girl based on early reviews. Beyond Fincher behind the camera and Ben Affleck in front, Gone Girl has us intrigued because author Gillian Flynn wrote the script herself, and even allegedly tweaked some elements to better suit a film.
That's all to say that Gone Girl is likely the most anticipated movie of the month, with expectations building as each glowing review comes in. It's also a chance to see Affleck in one last drama before he dons the cape and cowl.
Check out the trailer for Gone Girl.
6 Dracula Untold (Release Date: October 10th)
The story of Dracula has been told and retold countless times over, so titling a movie Dracula Untold is a bold statement in and of itself. He's been the hero, the villain, a side character, and even a cartoon character, and every approach has been slightly different from the next. This film seeks to paint Dracula's origins in a new light, and to hopefully jumpstart a franchise.
Developed under the title Dracula Year Zero, this film has gone through a tumultuous development, which might give some pause. But, with Luke Evans playing the Dark Prince it'll be hard for us to stay away. Evans' star has been on the rise for some time and it was only a matter of time before he got his shot at a flick like this. Then again, we said the same thing about Aaron Eckhart and I, Frankenstein.
Check out the trailer for Dracula Untold.
5 Birdman (Limited Release Date: October 17th)
It sounds too perfect to be true: Michael Keaton plays an aged actor who once was at the top of his game for playing a beloved superhero named Birdman. And yet, that's what Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has seemingly delivered, a meta commentary that follows a fictional actor's attempt to reclaim stardom. It's Batman poking fun at Batman!
There are dozens of reasons to see Birdman, from the cast to the director to the concept. But even if none of those elements sound appealing, the film could prove worthwhile for its filmmaking technique. See, Birdman is constructed in such a way that it's meant to feel like one continuous shot, picking up and dropping the action without (obvious) cuts. Gravity tried a similar thing last year and ended up winning the Oscar for Best Cinematography. Could be Birdman has some Academy gold in its future.
Check out the trailer for Birdman.
4 Book of Life (Release Date: October 17th)
Although we may never see an animated film directed by Guillermo Del Toro, The Book of Life is the next best thing. Director Jorge Gutierrez worked closely with Del Toro to develop this film, which fuses Latin folklore with a beautiful art style. The story follows a young man named Manolo who, after being killed, must journey through the realm of the undead in order to reunite with his love Maria.
Obviously, The Book of Life doesn't have the pull of a Pixar film, but it certainly seems to have the imagination. What Gutierrez showed off at Comic-Con was bursting with life, more so than most animated films we see these days. Given that October is decidedly light in the family friendly department we wouldn't be surprised to see The Book of Life strike box office pay dirt this month.
Check out the trailer for The Book of Life.
3 Fury (Release Date: October 17th)
From the very beginning David Ayer has been a writer/director to watch, delivering such critically acclaimed (and oftentimes under appreciated) films as Street Kings, Training Day, and End of Watch. As both a writer and director, Ayer has explored the gritty underbelly of the police force in ways few creatives have, to the point we were almost surprised when his latest project Fury was announced.
Unlike most of Ayer's prior work, Fury takes place during WWII and follows a tank battalion as they try to survive a German onslaught. It also features Brad Pitt in a starring role, which is sure to boost its profile considerably. Enough to make this film an awards contender, however, is another question.
Check out the trailer for Fury.
2 John Wick (Release Date: October 24th)
Keanu Reeves as a retired hit man was all we needed to be sold on John Wick. But the film's early reviews have reinforced that supporting this one may be a wise choice. About a month ago few even knew Keanu Reeves was working on a new film, let alone that it cast him as a badass. Then, after one screening, all that changed.
Reeves may not be the bankable action star he once was, but John Wick has the potential to put The Matrix actor back in the spotlight. In a lot of ways, it sounds as if John Wick could be Keanu Reeves' Taken (i.e. a career jumpstart in the form of a gritty thriller).
Check out the trailer for John Wick.
1 Nightcrawler (Release Date: October 31st)
Much like with John Wick, we're most intrigued by Nightcrawler because it features an actor playing against type. In this case, that actor is Jake Gyllenhaal and that against type is a slowly unraveling crime journalist named Lou Bloom. Having not seen the film it's hard to say just how far Gyllenhaal travels down the rabbit hole, but all signs point to him letting loose as Bloom.
Admittedly, Nightcrawler will slip under a lot of people's radars, but early reviews (a running theme for this month's releases) have been mostly positive. Some are even calling Nightcrawler this year's Drive – a glowing endorsement for fans of films that lean a little left of center. Again, we were sold based purely on Gyllenhaal's performance, but luckily everything else has supported the notion that Nightcrawler is a must-see.
Check out the trailer for Nightcrawler.
All in all October offers a little bit of everything to moviegoers, from the families to the horror fans to the art house aficionados. Some of these films might slip past, but a good many of them will make their stamp in one way or the other. Gone Girl seems like the easy choice to make a splash this month, if only because the book was such a hit and Affleck's involvement. But we're not counting out the power of animation in The Book of Life. We also wouldn't be surprised to see Annabelle open huge, building off The Conjuring's success and a perfect October release date.
There are also a few October releases that didn't make our list but might be worth checking out. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day should be a hit with younger audiences and families. The Robert Downey Jr. drama The Judge boasts a star-studded cast and should do really well with older moviegoers. Nicholas Sparks' latest adaptation Best of Me could prove to be a real tearjerker. And although Ouija could easily be terrible, its close proximity to Halloween could be its ticket to success.
Once again, here are the 8 films we're looking forward to this month:
- October 3rd: Annabelle, Gone Girl
- October 10th: Dracula Untold
- October 17th: The Book of Life, Fury, Birdman
- October 24th: John Wick
- October 31st: Nightcrawler