If you’ve been keeping up on our 2017 year-end coverage, then you’re on top of what a tremendous year this has been for horror. But as 2017 is almost over, it’s time to look ahead to what next year will bring. Luckily, it looks as though there’s a lot on the schedule in 2018. From blockbuster summer horror to festival darlings finally seeing release, and surprise reboots to tried-and-true franchise sequels, 2018 might just be another year where horror saves the box office. Again. Here’s what we’re most looking forward to:
Insidious: The Last Key – January 5
Picking up after the events of Insidious: Chapter 3, Elise Rainer (Lin Shaye) moves on to investigate supernatural activity in her former childhood home. Which appears to make this sequel function as a sort of prequel within a prequel, as actresses Ava Kolker and Hana Hayes both portray the franchise heroine at varying ages. This sequel also seems to hint that we’ll get a much deeper dive into the creepy depths of The Further, which has long been a highlight of the series. Outside of Lin Shaye’s butt-kicking Elise, of course. Written by Leigh Whannell, he’s handed the directorial reins over Adam Robitel, who caught audiences off guard with 2014’s The Taking of Deborah Logan.
Mom and Dad – January 19
Written and directed by Brian Taylor (Crank), this horror-comedy is every bit of the over-the-top fast-paced thrill ride you’d come to expect from Taylor’s work. When a strange phenomenon causes parents to turn violently against their own children, Selma Blair and Nicolas Cage become completely unhinged in the best possible way. There’s a ton of humor, the best product placement of a home-improvement tool that I’ve seen in a while, surprising violence, a horror cameo, and superb performances by Cage and Blair. It’s not perfect, but it is a very enjoyable way to spend 83 minutes, especially with a crowd.
Annihilation – February 23
Directed by Alex Garland and adapted for screen from a book by Jeff VanderMeer, the trailer for this sci-fi horror is nothing short of stunning. There’s a surreal, almost dream-like quality about the expedition that Natalie Portman’s character steps into, full of alien creatures with big teeth. I’m not sure I know what’s going on in the trailer, but I know I want to see it. Strange, monstrous creature encounters, beautiful cinematography, and a very talented cast indicates this might be something special. Of course, VanderMeer’s source novel is the first in his bestselling Southern Reach trilogy, so Annihilation might just be the sneaky first entry in a new franchise.
The Strangers: Prey at Night – March 9
Quite possibly the most anticipated sequel, and one that fans have been asking for since Bryan Bertino’s hit in 2008, we finally get to reunite with Dollface, Pin-up Girl, and Man in the Mask. If the film is half as good as the marketing has been leading up to release, I think we’ll be in for a good time. This time targeting a family in a mobile home, the scale and body count promises to be much higher. Directed by Johannes Roberts, fresh off the success of 47 Meters Down, and starring Bailee Madison, Martin Henderson, Lewis Pullman, and Christina Hendricks, there’s a lot that indicates this sequel might be well worth the wait.
The Endless – Early 2018
If you follow reviews out of the festival circuit, then the latest by filmmaking duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (Resolution, Spring) probably has you salivating. There’s not really a facet of the film untouched by the duo; from writing, directing, producing, and even starring in the film as two brothers returning to the cult they escaped years ago, only to find things may be stranger than they ever believed possible. As Brad described in his review, it is every bit the mind fuck, and the festival reviews are justified. Thanks to Well Go USA, The Endless will finally see a yet to be determined release in early 2018. I recommend you revisit their previous films while you wait.
Revenge – Early 2018
As Julia Ducournau did the previous year with her debut Raw, Coralie Fargeat also makes a bold declaration in the French horror movement with her debut Revenge. The plot set up is simple; when Richard’s friends show up early for their annual hunting trip, they catch him with his mistress. The encounter escalates into a twisted tale of rape-revenge, but Fargeat manages to make it far less exploitive than it sounds while being every bit as violent and bloody as you’d expect from French horror. It’s visceral, leading up to one of the bloodiest finales I’ve seen in a while, and still manages to feel fresh thanks to Fargeat’s perspective. Luckily, Shudder picked this one up for early 2018 release.
Slice -Early 2018
There’s no question A24 puts out some risky stuff; titles like The Witch, Green Room, The Blackcoat’s Daughter, and the polarizing It Comes at Night. Which makes any horror release of theirs something worth noting, and Slice definitely invokes curiosity. For one, it stars Chance the Rapper. Two, it follows a pizza delivery driver murdered on the job, who then searches for someone to blame. Three, the footage revealed. Yes, please. A24 announced dates for two undisclosed horror films: March 16 and April 27. Slice will be one of them.
The New Mutants – April 13
Superhero movie fatigue is a real thing, which makes it difficult to get excited about most of them these days. But if you cast Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch, Split), Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things), and Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones), and frame this origin story like something out of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, well, that’s enough to get me to take notice. How it plays out is a whole other story, but giving the superhero origin story a horror spin is enough for me to want to give it a shot.
The Nun – July 13
The Nun made quite the appearance in The Conjuring 2, so it’s no surprise that the demon would get its own movie. Like Annabelle: Creation, James Wan and Gary Dauberman opted to set the story in the 1950s, making for a much more interesting setting. That it stars Vera Farmiga’s younger sister Taissa Farmiga isn’t likely a coincidence, though the actress has proven her mettle in horror with American Horror Story. The Conjuring films and its spinoffs have been box office juggernauts, and it won’t be slowing down with this entry, either.
The Predator – August 3
The original Hawkins himself, Shane Black, returns to the franchise, this time as director as well as co-writer with Fred Dekker (The Monster Squad). This alone is what makes the potential for this entry, set to take place between Predator 2 and Predators, so exciting. The interesting cast choices also makes this one stand out; I don’t know that anyone would have expected Keegan-Michael Key, of Key & Peele or Jacob Tremblay (Before I Wake) to face the Predator, and you can bet I want to see how Predator handles suburbia. Pretty well, I’d think.
The Meg – August 10
Jason Statham versus giant megalodon shark. Do we really need any more than that? Sold.
The Little Stranger – August 31
Directed by Lenny Abrahamson and based on a novel by Sarah Waters, this post-WWII set Gothic ghost story will follow a country doctor (Domhnall Gleeson) whose new patient is dealing something far more ominous in their crumbling Hundreds Hall during the hot summer of 1947. Also starring Ruth Wilson, Will Poulter, and Charlotte Rampling, this one promises to exude quiet, haunting atmosphere. There’s something about period ghost stories that make them great for dread and mood, and that the source novel got a ringing endorsement from Stephen King makes The Little Stranger one to pay attention to.
The House with a Clock In its Walls – September 21
Based on a gothic horror novel geared toward child readers, originally published in 1973 with illustrations by Edward Gorey, this adaptation stars Cate Blanchett, Kyle MacLachlan, and Jack Black. Black already impressed with his work on Goosebumps, so already this seems like a promising horror fantasy. Most peculiar, though, is that story, which follows a 10-year old who goes to live with his uncle in a creaky old house with a ticking heart, is being directed by Eli Roth. Interesting cast, and very interesting directorial choice for horror aimed at a younger audience, so color me intrigued.
Halloween – October 19
If there’s any 2018 release more highly anticipated than The Strangers: Prey at Night, it’s this one. The more information trickles in, the stronger the fan reaction grows. From the early announcement of Danny McBride as co-writer, to John Carpenter’s involvement as executive producer, creative consultant, and possibly even partial composer. Toss in the news that this entry is effectively ignoring all sequels past the original, therefore erasing anything Cult of Thorn, Jamie Lloyd, and beyond, and you’ve got polarizing fan buzz. Whatever would entice Jamie Lee Curtis and Carpenter back to the series, though, is enough to make this one a guaranteed hit.
Anna and the Apocalypse – Awaiting distribution/December 2018?
This Christmas-set Scottish, high school zombie musical had its world premiere at Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX, and attendees went nuts for it, including our own Trace Thurman (review). Despite the very concept of a high school musical, director John McPhail doesn’t shy away from the gore or the surprising deaths. It also helps that the soundtrack is catchy. This one still doesn’t have a distributor for release, despite its film festival reception, but I bet that’s more to do with its niche Christmas setting than anything. 2016’s festival favorite Christmas horror Better Watch Out wasn’t acquired until May 2017, with just enough time for holiday release. Look for Anna and the Apocalypse to follow the same pattern.