With 2014 now upon us, it’s time to start thinking about the array of horror films that will be hitting movie theaters (or Video On Demand) over the course of the next 12 months. As is the case with every year, I am highly anticipating a number of films and thankfully for us horrorphiles, 2014 looks to hopefully be a banner year for the genre. With that said, here are my Most Anticipated Horror Films of 2014.
Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno
A film I already got to see in last year’s Midnight Madness section of the Toronto International Film Festival, Eli Roth’s latest certainly deserves a mention here. While I wasn’t crazy about the film upon my first viewing, I look forward to revisiting it to see if it’s grown on me since. The tale of a group of environmentalists who visit the Amazon only to be taken hostage by the natives they swore to protect, The Green Inferno is no doubt one hardcore horror fans have been clamoring for for quite some time. If cannibalism is your bag, there is no doubt in my mind you will be thrilled with Roth’s newest torture-fest upon its release on September 5th.
Greg Mclean’s Wolf Creek 2
Being released some nine years after the original Wolf Creek, it’s certainly no easy task for Greg Mclean to drum up excitement for his latest Outback adventure. It is surprising then that I find myself actually looking forward to his newest horror installment centering on Australian serial killer Mick Taylor, played by the incomparable John Jarratt. I haven’t seen the original since I saw it in theaters all those years ago, but it apparently made enough of an impression on me to actually have peaked my interest with it’s sequel. Here’s hoping it’s a good one upon its eventual release, which will hopefully not be too long after the Australian release date of February 20th.
Top Ten (In No Particular Order)
Joe Begos’ Almost Human
Another film I got see at TIFF this past year, Almost Human is a fun 80s-style horror throwback that prides itself on fun, low-budget effects and a truly eerie sound design. It’s a fun little indie that surprised many at the festival this year, including IFC who nabbed the rights for an as yet undisclosed release. Here’s hoping you get the chance to check out the film in 2014, which centers on a pair of friends, one of which mysteriously disappears in a blue flash of light one night only to return some two years later as something else entirely.
Jonathan Milott & Cary Murnion’s Cooties
Making its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in just a few weeks time and co-written by Saw and Insidious writer Leigh Whannell, Cooties is the kind of horror film that gets you excited just from its brief description. “A cautionary tale of a school lunch gone horribly wrong, Cooties tells the story of a young girl who eats a chicken nugget infected with a virulent disease. She begins to transform into a violent, murderous flesh-ripping juvenile who transmits the disease, which only affects the pre-pubescent. As it quickly spreads, the teachers find themselves trapped in the school, faced with a horde of rampaging adolescents, and must come up with an immediate lesson plan to save their very lives.” With a cast that includes the likes of Elijah Wood, Alison Pill, Rainn Wilson and Jack McBrayer, yeah, I’m definitely on board.
Mike Flanagan’s Oculus
Another horror flick that premiered at TIFF 2013, I had originally planned on seeing Mike Flanagan’s Oculus while in attendance, but it unfortunately eluded me. Thankfully, it’s already set for release this coming April 18th thanks to its acquisition by Relativity Media. It’s a horror film of the paranormal variety, centering on a woman (Doctor Who‘s Karen Gillan) who attempts to exonerate her brother (Brenton Thwaites) by proving that it wasn’t he who committed murder, but rather a paranormal phenomenon associated with their family’s antique mirror that perpetrated the crime. It’s a film that has already received its fair share of accolades from critics and I for one can’t wait to see what is has in store come April.
Gregory Plotkin’s Paranormal Activity 5
Not to be confused with the soon-to-be-released Latino spin-off The Marked Ones, this is the true sequel to 2012’s Paranormal Activity 4 that is scheduled for release October 24th of this year. Now I understand that many of my fellow horror brethren find the found-footage sub-genre abysmal, but count me as one of the many who have greatly enjoyed what this franchise has had to offer. While I truly hated Paranormal Activity 4, I thought the first three entries in the series were creepy and far more clever than I expected. Here’s hoping this installment proves to be either a return to form for the series, or the film that finally puts the story of the demonic Toby to rest.
John Pogue’s The Quiet Ones
Given the company’s track record, any new Hammer Films horror release is sure to get people talking, and John Pogue’s The Quiet Ones is just the latest. Starring Jared Harris as a University professor who assembles a team to create their own poltergeist, The Quiet Ones instantly became one of my most anticipated horror releases with its first teaser trailer. Scheduled for release on April 25th, check the teaser out for yourself below.
Gil Kenan’s Poltergeist
Remaking a horror film is never an easy task, but remaking an absolute horror classic is even more difficult. That is precisely the task Gil Kenan was faced with when he signed on to Poltergeist, the remake of the 1982 haunted house classic. Set for release sometime this year, the update centers on a mother (Rosemarie DeWitt) who moves with her children to a new house in order to get away from her abusive husband (Sam Rockwell). It is in this new house where things begin to go wrong, very wrong. Sporting a script from David Lindsay-Abaire, this is the rare remake that I’m actually highly anticipating, mostly due to its fantastic cast and interesting premise that sets itself apart from the original film.
Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive
Not a typical horror film by any stretch of the imagination, Only Lovers Left Alive is a vampire film from the mind of indie filmmaking icon Jim Jarmusch. Starring Loki himself Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton and Mia Wasikowska, the film centers on Adam and Eve (Hiddleston and Swinton), vampire lovers for centuries, whose relationship is tested by Eve’s unpredictable sister (Wasikowska). While the film will most likely end up being more of the dramatic variety than specifically horror, any new film from Jarmusch is one to be anticipated. It is currently set for release on April 11th.
Kevin Smith’s Tusk
Another horror film with a completely bat-shit crazy concept, Kevin Smith’s latest is about a podcast host (Justin Long) held captive by a man (Michael Parks) who has plans to turn him into a half-man, half-walrus like creature. Teddy (Haley Joel Osment), the co-host of Long’s character, then goes on a search for him in the backwoods of Canada along with Long’s girlfriend Allison (Genesis Rodriguez). Although I’m not a Kevin Smith apologist in any sense, he has a knack for creating some crazily entertaining films and I’m definitely anticipating Tusk, which is expected to be released some time this coming Fall.
Ti West’s The Sacrament
Yet another film I was able to catch at TIFF this past year, The Sacrament is the latest horror flick from the incredibly talented Ti West, the man behind The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers. It is of the found-footage genre and centers on a group of Vice magazine correspondents (AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg) who set out on a search for their friend’s sister (Amy Seimetz) who is now a member of Eden Parish, a cult-like community led by the enigmatic ‘Father’ (a brilliant Gene Jones). For my money, it may just be the best found-footage horror film ever and it’s perhaps Ti West’s finest film yet. It’s a work highlighted by an eerie mood and some great performances. While many will resist calling it a horror film, there is quite honestly nothing more horrifying than the events portrayed in this film. I can not implore you enough to check it out when it is released on VOD on May 5th and then to a limited run of theaters on June 6th. It’s already my favorite horror film of 2014.
Alexandre Aja’s Horns
Adapted from a book written by Joe Hill, the son of Stephen King, Alexandre Aja’s Horns stars Daniel Radcliffe as a man who wakes up with horns on his head following his girlfriend’s mysterious death. One of the more underrated actors working today, Radcliffe has made some truly brilliant choices in his post-Harry Potter career and I’m hoping Horns proves to be the latest. While I’ve never been a huge fan of Aja, his Hills Have Eyes remake proved he definitely has talent and with a concept this strangely interesting, the film may just prove to be quite the experience whether it’s good or bad. Here’s hoping it’s the former when it’s released sometime this year.
Any 2014 horror releases you think I’ve missed? Sound off in the comments below.