Thursday, January 02, 2020

10 Horrific Picks of 2020 to Bite Into

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In a new year comes new terrors. 2020 is no different than other years for coming releases in the cinematic front. While I see producers turning to the classics and folklore for inspiration in this year's lot, to find original tales is tough. Out is Saw and The Purge, and even Ghostbusters did not make the cut in my list. I like to see the original team back, not the passing of the torch which was obvious in the teaser trailer. I feel these franchises have run it course.

Plenty of other choices are there, and in what I'm putting my money on are the following:

The Turning
January 24th, 2020


Henry James's tale, The Turn of the Screw is a classic for a reason. It's a ghost story that has been told and retold countless times, and this update, from Floria Sigismondi (The Runaways), kicks off the new year with a terrific cast list who may give this take the modern take it needs for a new generation. Mackenzie Davis, Finn Wolfhard, and Brooklynn Prince stars in this work. Wolfhard is better known for his work in "Stranger Things." To see him appear in more than one ghostly work suggests greater things for this talent. As much as we want the Netflix show to go on, children age and they will leave the nest. In this film's case, perhaps find peace in the hereafter by not being typecast?

Gretel & Hansel
January 31, 2020


Folklore is almost a key to ensure drawing audiences in to revisiting a classic Brothers Grimm tale. Set in the past, this tale is being contemporary by focusing on the heroine, Gretel (Sophia Lillis) taking her little brother Hansel (Sam Leakey) into the woods in a search for food. However, what they find is far more terrifying and may well be a precursor to a certain region of woods getting its ominous name Black Forest.


Fantasy Island
February 14th, 2020


To turn a '70s cheery and hopeful television series into an all out tale of terror may seem odd, but I have a good feeling about this work. Blumhouse is the production house behind this work, and to reimagine the series to say be careful of what you wish for can simply deliver a strong message. As risky as this idea and parable is, we have an incredible cast involved, and Michael Peña playing the lead role! He deserves a chance to prove his mettle instead of being comic relief, and I can only hope he does a fantastic job. Maggie Q, Lucy Hale, Austin Stowell, Portia Doubleday, Jimmy O. Yang, Ryan Hansen, and Michael Rooker are the co-stars.

The Invisible Man
February 28th, 2020


Universal Studios is at it again to bring all their classic monsters back to life and perhaps living in a shared universe. Okay, the 2017 The Mummy was a bad idea, but I don't mind being wrapped in Sophia Boutella's arms. Seriously, getting Leigh Whannell (Saw, Insidious) involved is a good idea. Unlike Alex Kurtzman who directed the last film of this franchise, his experience with the horror genre and reimagining the H. G. Wells' classic by changing the point of view around should help. We are dealing with Liz Moss trying to rebuild her life after her boyfriend commits suicide. But he may not even be dead. His invisibility can offer a few ghostly touches to the narrative.


Baba Yaga: Terror of the Dark Forest
February 27, 2020


Based on the legend of ancient Slavic lore, this movie from Russia sounds like it will hit all the right notes. The threats from the old world will certainly be a danger to a family moving away from the big city. Egor and his young sister is the focus, and all we know is that this boy has to save his sibling from the evil witch. This fact is obvious.

No word of when this will make wider release was announced at the time of writing. I've found interpretations of this titular character hit and miss with other works, like the Hellboy reboot, and really want to see her shine. Another reason is in how we do not see a lot of releases from Russia in this genre. I'm still searching for a home video release of Viy 2: Journey to China.

Antlers
April 17, 2020


Not much was known about Antlers, the new horror film from director Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart, Black Mass) is helming this eerie work concerning a Wendigo. This supernatural beast has often been one very hard to realize in cinema, and the feelings I have suggest the foreboding atmosphere is all we need than to see the terror full front and center!

From Fox Searchlight Pictures:
A small-town Oregon teacher, Julia Meadows (Keri Russell) and her sheriff brother Paul (Jesse Plemons), become entwined with a young student in her school who is harboring a dangerous secret with frightening consequences.

Insidious: Dark Realm
May 5. 2020


Not much is known about this next chapter of the Insidious saga, but if the summary of: "a demonic entity attempts to unleash chaos into the world of the living," is true, it's about bloody time! We will see the return of the true heroes, Elise (Lin Shaye), Tucker (Angus Sampson) and Specs (Leigh Whannell). I enjoy seeing this team deal with the terrors from the Further. It's a more competent approach than what Paranormal Activity tries to do (and The Conjuring).

New Mutants
August 2, 2020


Superhero movies are typically all action adventure fares. Despite attempts with Constantine, Blade, Brightburn and Hellboy, I feel they are not 100% entrenched in horror. Neither is New Mutants if the past trailers are any indication, but it deserves mention because center to this tale is that of Illyana Rasputin. The fact that her origin tale is rooted in becoming Darkchylde, a queen of all demons. She may well be central how she and her friends escape–through the demon realm–and with their tormentors behind, only to be devoured by greater terrors.

Despite problems with getting this work to screen due to reshoots (to make it scarier) and finding a position in the calendar to premiere, I'm hopeful with this work since it's the only superhero film I've found which has a poster directly inspired by horror films.



The Conjuring 3
September 11th, 2020


I'm a sucker for this franchise, and to see the life and times of Ed and Lorraine Warren fictionalized for cinema will have me returning every time. The Annabelle trilogy is the highlight and the main films despite being laughable sees just how much Lorraine is looking out for her husband. Despite the real world facts, I doubt Ed can say "The Devil Made Me Do It" for his infidelity. As for the true victim, no he was not the same boy who inspired "The Exorcist."

In the official press release:
It starts with a fight for the soul of a young boy, then takes them beyond anything they'd ever seen before, to mark the first time in U.S. history that a murder suspect would claim demonic possession as a defence.

Army of the Dead (TBA)

Netflix's Army of the Dead is a movie that boasts an impressive cast, and who doesn't want to see Dave Bautista kick ass? Ella Purnell, Ana de la Reguera, Theo Rossi, Chris D'Elia and Huma Qureshi round out the crew of mercenaries intent on robbing a Las Vegas casino during a zombie outbreak. The story feels amusing enough to see them deal with fighting their way in just to get the loot.

This movie might take on a similar style as Zombieland, but until this work is released, whether this work is pure comedy or a blend of horror depends on Zack Snyder's intent.

Ed Sum runs his own site and covers everything under-the-sun, in pop culture, here: Ed Sum at Otakunoculture

The best in the series (The Conjuring, 2013):




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