I remember the first time I saw The Exorcist. I was in high school and decided to watch it late at night, and the first time I heard the tinkly piano theme I got chills up my spine. By the time the movie was over, I was seeing things out of the corner of my eye and interpreting every slight creak in the house or gust of wind outside to be the end of times. It was amazing. If you’re a movie thrill-seeker like me, here are ten horror flicks to look out for in the last half of 2013!
V/H/S/2 (July 12)
OK, we all know by now that the whole “found footage” sub-genre is played out to the point of “blah.” But after hearing about it when I was reading up on this year’s Sundance Festival, I watched the trailer for V/H/S/2 and it scared the bejeesus out of me. Now, part of that could have been because I watched it at night like an idiot, but this thing looks absolutely terrifying. Like the first V/H/S, number two involves people finding a cache of videotapes documenting some seriously disturbing events, with each serving as a sort of horror vignette. Titles include “Phase I Clinical Trials” and “Slumber Party Alien Abduction,” so it looks like audiences will get a variety of things to have nightmares about from segment to segment. Wonderful!
The Conjuring (July 19)
The Conjuring is the latest with the “based on true events” tag line, and early reviews suggest it’s a very successful old-fashioned horror flick (it currently has a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes). The story revolves around real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga (one of my favorite under-the-radar actresses), as they try to help the Perron family fight a ghostly presence in their home. This is the first of two James Wan-directed movies on this list, and it seems that the man behind Saw has only gotten better. Again, reviewers are saying that Wan is relying on simple, old-school atmospheric scares rather than overdoing it with the CGI, so fans of the classics should really get their money’s worth.
Evidence (July 19)
Bill Compton fans rejoice! While he’s not playing a vampire this time around (as far as I know), True Blood’s Stephen Moyer stars in this thriller as a detective using, you guessed it, found footage to try to catch a serial killer. From the rather clichéd trailer, it seems that the survivors of a multi-car accident are stranded in a deserted town and systematically hunted down by a deranged, masked killer. One of the survivors is (handily) a director, who films the proceedings so that the cops will have something to look at once she’s dead (OK, that’s probably not the actual reason). Not a lot of undiscovered country here, and I’m very disappointed that Moyer does not use his deep-south vampire accent. Come on Bill!
Apartment 1303 3D (July 25)
Well, apparently the kids from The O.C. are still getting acting jobs. Who knew? Mischa Barton “stars” in Apartment 1303 3D (ugh), which should contend for the title of “most generic horror movie of the last five years” if the trailer’s any indication. As if the old “haunted house accompanied by a ghost-girl in the shower and a creepy child” schtick hadn’t been played to death enough, actors have also been forced to say lines like, “apartments don’t kill people – people kill people,” and “this apartment is truly spooky.” This movie is trying to be everything from The Shining to The Ring, and it’s doing all of it wrong. The cast won’t redeem it either, as the only other somewhat recognizable name besides Barton is Rebecca de Mornay, and I guarantee you no one in this movie’s target audience has the first clue who she is. See this one at your own risk.
You’re Next (August 23)
There look to be some effective scares in You’re Next, a home invasion-type horror movie along the lines of The Strangers (and if it’s anywhere near as jarring as that film, it’ll be worth your time). The plot centers around a family celebrating what looks to be a wedding anniversary or other wholesome event until intruders in appropriately creepy dead-eyed animal masks bring axes and crossbows and other weapons that are clearly not anniversary presents to the party. It’s not clear from the trailer who exactly is our hero, but obviously not every family member makes it out alive or unscathed.