We make an April showers joke in this post every single year. This year, I refuse to talk about pilgrims or spring or flowers or dentists. Why? I’m not sure, I’m just feeling spicy. Hey, speaking of spicy… this month has a pretty stellar lineup of on-the-radar and off-the-radar horror movies that you should probably look into so you don’t get blindsided by them like 8 months from now when they show up on those “best of 2019” lists.
The Horror Release Roundup is our recurring feature breaking down the screams and scares that are heading your way every month. This time around we have everything (or at least our attempt at everything) coming at you in April of 2019. Enjoy the trailers and our respective thoughts below.
Interested in reading up on previous months? Try checking out our archive.
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04/02/2019 - VOD
After the death of her mother, an estranged daughter struggles to save her brother, and those around her from a malevolent faceless spirit.
Jack: Well, if nothing else, this stands a very good chance of being a decent amount better than the last big Slenderman movie. So that’s a thing. But what’s the deal with the guy suggesting that it can’t be one person, but then being surprised when his dining companion suggests that it wasn’t a person? I feel like the person who points out all the reasons it shouldn’t be a coincidence isn’t typically the same person who then defaults to it being a coincidence. Breaking new ground, this thing.
Jake: Damn. Slendy and all the other CG garbage in this looks like… well, garbage.
Mark: Why is there such a temptation to do CG smoke all the time? Filmmakers, AAA blockbusters can barely do smoke and fire effects that look passable. Unless 99% of your budget is going to that department, maybe come up with an effect other than smoke. Admittedly, this looks like it might be the best slender man movie, but also I don’t understand why we needed so much of him in the last five years.
04/02/2019 - VOD
A group of teens are tormented by the Grim Reaper and his pet after undergoing an experiment that allows them to revisit the dead.
Jack: Come on. Really? This might be half-way forgivable if the title of this thing fit the movie it appears to be. But this is just the Lazarus Effect combined with the intent behind that Transmorphers movie. No on both counts, thanks.
Jake: Oh my god Uncork’d you fucking assholes. And after all the nice things we said about you over the past year. Cash grab trickery like this is a very normal but very bullshit practice and I don’t care for it. No.
Mark: I have almost zero tolerance for movies that are blatant attempts to ride other movies coattails. What is especially obnoxious about this one is that it’s more derivative of Flatliners than of Pet Sematary. This is a lame cash grab to try and trick people into watching the wrong movie.
THE HAUNTING OF SHARON TATE
04/05/2019 - VOD
Pregnant with director Roman Polanski's child and awaiting his return from Europe, 26-year-old Hollywood actress Sharon Tate becomes plagued by visions of her imminent death.
Jack: This looks pretty rad. I am endlessly fascinated by the Manson family, and Sharon Tate’s whole story would be mind-blowing in its own right even if you removed that bananas saga of it. Also, does anyone else think Hillary Duff might just god damn slay this role?
Jake: Damn it would be such a good horror fantasy things draft pick to go with “The ___ of [insert woman’s first and last name here]”. Also, two for the price of one - this is “based on true events”. Except no really, this one actually is. It looks way better than I was expecting. I’m not expecting it to be awesome, but it looks watchable and hey, the soundtrack is kick ass.
Mark: I will like any trailer that uses The Zombies, and the extra distortion they toss on top is just icing. Where did Hilary Duff go for the last 15 years? If this is marking a shift in her career to leading in horror movies then I can get 100% behind that move. I’m not particularly familiar with Sharon Tate’s story, but apparently it has the Manson Family AND Ghosts? I’m in.
THE HEAD HUNTER
04/05/2019 - VOD
A medieval warrior's gruesome collection of heads is missing only one - the monster that killed his daughter years ago.
Jack: Welp. I know what I’m going as for Halloween this year. I’ll just need to work on my beard. And hair. And muscles. And cool accent. But apart from those things, I’ve got that whole vibe on lockdown. I hoping this movie rocks regardless of the creature design, and then that there’s an awesome creature on top of that.
Jake: This looks well shot and I typically like movies that focus in on a very small cast as it builds dread. This seems way more bombastic than a movie like The Alchemist’s Cookbook but if it can muster a performance out of its lead character and build dread around him over the course of the movie like that one does, I’ll be all the way in.
Mark: This trailer is alternately titled “man with awesome beard shouts in anger.” Creature focused fantasy horror set hundreds of years ago is a thing we don’t get a lot, so I’ll be keeping an eye on this one as a good change of pace.
04/05/2019 - THEATRICAL
Dr. Louis Creed and his wife, Rachel, relocate from Boston to rural Maine with their two young children. The couple soon discover a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near their new home.
Jack: If John Lithgow doesn’t talk about a cat having his nuts cut I will walk out of theater. Now granted, I guess I won’t definitively know that he doesn’t say that until the very end, but that sounds like a win-win because either I get my righteous indignation or I get to watch what looks to be a pretty good and loving remake of a classic.
Jake: Veeerrryy interested to see how this highly anticipated remake plays out. It looks good and it will probably be good, but I’m just as interested to see how it will be accepted by the horror community. Remakes can be a great thing, bringing a classic to a new audience in a modern setting but it has to walk the tightrope of not sucking, not being too similar to the original and not straying too crazily from the story. It’s a surprisingly tall order, but I’m optimistic with this one.
Mark: I hope this is good, because otherwise it’s going to be an overwhelming tidal wave of “sometimes, not-remade is better” jokes. It’s a good joke, mind you, I’m just concerned about the magnitude of the tidal wave. When I initially heard they were remaking this movie my thought was “ain’t no goddamn way they will be able to do better than Fred Gwynne.” Then, the trailer came out with John Lithgow delivering his monologue and I realized that I was immediately wrong. Not saying I’ll prefer Lithgow, but that is a phenomenal casting choice for this movie.
04/05/2019 - VOD
A woman living on the western frontier is driven mad by the harshness and isolation of the untamed land.
Jack: Yes. Hell yes. Atmospheric western playing with isolation and potential hinted at supernatural attackers that might just be psychological? This is almost everything that I want. Also doesn’t hurt that it looks just beautifully shot.
Jake: Yep. Yes. Mmmhhhhmmm. I like this and want to put my eyeballs on it. Right now. A psychological horror western is a convergence of two of my absolute favorite things, so I need this. Also, two only mildly related thoughts. Thought 1: I bet this will be as much or more about something that comes at night than It Comes at Night was. Thought 2: If chica was running from wolves like that, she’s absolutely dead.
Mark: I appreciate the specificity of this movie. There aren’t a lot of western psychological dramas out there that fully commit to the horror genre-tag. This will help fill that space significantly. This looks good enough that it could survive on its own regardless of how crowded the space is, and this just happens to be stepping into a wide open prairie.
04/09/2019 - VOD
An expecting Mother and husband crash their car in the countryside and are offered shelter by a farmer and his wife.
Jack: So here’s my thing. This looks pretty creepy and well-acted, but I just can’t buy into the terror of this situation. If I and my pregnant wife legitimately feel threatened, I am smashing right through that door and booking it. If I end up being wrong, I buy an a old couple a new door. Wasteful? Perhaps, but I’m here to tell you neither myself nor my wife have ever been terrorized by an elderly couple on a prolonged basis.
Jake: Things are insta-creepier with British accents. Imagine this having a Southern California accent. Would it be as creepy? No. No it would not.
Mark: Although this certainly looks eerie, and those twins are at the very least unsettling, can we pretty please never ever make a movie ever again where someone barely crashes their car off the side of the road and it’s totaled? Actually, horror movie car crashes in general should probably go the way of the dodo.
04/09/2019 - VOD
A young woman is forced to push past her worst fears and battle to deport an ancient entity back to where it came from.
Jack: Did anyone else notice that the symbol on the wall at around the 14-second mark looks a lot like the Azorius symbol from Magic the Gathering? No? Just me at that level of nerd? That’s cool, I’ll just be over here mapping out my conspiracy theories about how Azor the Lawmage is a confirmed elder god.
Jake: This looks more action sci-fi than horor and I’m thinking it might belong better in the “horrorish” category, but hey there’s some fighting and violence so that’s cool.
Mark: Action horror sword fighting? Yeah sure why not. The trailer doesn’t make it particularly scary looking, but hey we take all kinds.
THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA
04/19/2019 - THEATRICAL
Ignoring the eerie warning of a troubled mother suspected of child endangerment, a social worker and her own small kids are soon drawn into a frightening supernatural realm.
Jack: Was that two different trailers just spliced together in the middle? I kind of dig the monster design, and if the jumpscares can stay consistently good and prop up some creepiness behind them, then this just might be great.
Jake: We’ve seen the trailer for this one coming for awhile and my main thought is that I really hope we didn’t just see every scare scene in the whole movie in the trailer. This thing is balls-out on the jump scares. If it can match with atmosphere, it could be cool.
Mark: Can someone please re-cut this with My Sharona in the background and then change the lyrics from “my Sharona” to “la llorona.” It’s basically the only thing I’m ever able to hear whenever I hear the name of this movie, despite this being one of those super old classic fairy tales. When you gonna give me some time, Llorona?
04/12/2019 - NETFLIX
The story of a family struggling to survive in a world terrorized by a deadly, primeval species who have bred for decades in the pitch darkness of a vast underground cave system, hunting only with their acute hearing.
Jack: Annabelle is a consistently underrated movie so I’m stoke to see that director getting more cool horror work. Also, the fact that this is on Netflix means that it will start autoplaying on my TV soon and I’m all but guaranteed to see this thing.
Jake: So another movie about creatures that wreck your shit if you make noise? How many is too many in a year? That being said, this looks a-ok and the barrier to entry is zilch because it’s gonna hit Netflix. I’ll probably watch it but it’ll mostly be because the creatures seem to be the exact monsters from a campfire story my grandpa used to tell me at our cabin when I was a kid that he called “Wombats”. The more you know.
Mark: Stanley Tucci is in this so my wife will instantly love this. Wait a second, is this movie about mini carnivorous pterodactyls? Sure, there’s plenty of comparisons to be made with A Quiet Place, but it feels like this will actually end up being closer to Birdbox. Maybe it’s that Netflix is developing a bit of a formula but… based on a book, family on the run, sinister interlopers, and appears more focused on the fall of society than in what happens significantly after society has fallen. I just can’t wait for someone to put out a movie about aliens that attack you if you taste something.
HAGAZUSSA: A HEATHEN’S CURSE
04/19/2019 - VOD
Paranoia and superstition in 15th Century Europe.
Jack: I’m trying to think of the last trailer I saw that didn’t have a single line of dialog. I’m sure there has been one before, but I simply can’t think of any off the top of my head. That was really cool. Don’t know if it says anything about the movie, but that’s was a really cool trailer.
Jake: That trailer is moody as hell but you know what? I can’t help but feel refreshed to see a trailer that chose the rare route of using almost no dialogue and leaning heavily into atmosphere. Now, it looks weird as hell but that’s ok. I think I’m more interested in it than if the trailer were straightforward. Good job, trailer people.
Mark: Okay so elephant in the room, the trailer says “Coming 2017” at the end. It has been out in Germany and various other countries for a while now, but it’s US release is supposedly this month. Google told me so it must be right. And mom said I’d never make it as a journalist...
I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE: DEJA VU
04/23/2019 - VOD
Déjà vu sends now successful writer Jennifer Hills hurtling back to where it all began - to face the wrath of the families of those she murdered.
Jack: Has it really been forty years since the first movie came out? Wowsers. I’m a little worried about how much stock this is putting in being “the only direct sequel to the 1978 movie.”
Jake: What a weird thing this is. The action elements on display in this trailer are a bit unexpected.
Mark: Having never seen the original or the remake, I have no idea what this is supposed to be. I guess the original 1978 film was remade in 2010 and then the 2010 movie got two sequels and now there’s also a sequel to the 1978 film? What? I am flummoxed and perhaps even nonplused.
I TRAPPED THE DEVIL
04/26/2019 - VOD
(No Trailer… Yet)
A man descends into paranoia after trapping what he believes to be the devil in his basement, but things take a dark turn when his family unexpectedly arrive for Christmas.
Jack: This is a concept that simultaneously insanely unique and yet I’m actually surprised it doesn’t exist yet. I’m really hoping they follow through on this and just kill it.
Jake: I like the honesty in this movie’s title. It’s kind of like “We Summoned a Demon” which you should all try to watch. Other than that I can’t really comment sans trailer.
Mark: Without having the trailer to go off of I am left unable to ascertain exactly what level of metaphor this “devil” is. Is this going to be a movie about alcoholism or drug abuse or something? I think I’d prefer it be a movie about literally trapping a trickster demon in your basement and having to deal with the consequences. Sidenote: this is an IFC midnight title so the likelihood that I become infatuated by it is high.
HORRORISH RELEASE ROUNDUP
These movies might not exactly count as “horror,” but we figure we can squeeze them in with an “ish.” That still counts, right?
HELLBOY - 04/11/2019 - THEATRICAL
TOP 1 / BOTTOM 1
Jack: The Wind - Yes. Horror. Western. Vaguely supernatural. Psychological. Isolationist. I am so excited for this thing.
Jake: The Wind - Give it to me. I didn’t know about this (probably (definitely) my own fault) and I want to see it so badly.
Mark: The Haunting of Sharon Tate - It has a lot going for it and the soundtrack of the trailer was enough to put it at the top for me. Besides, I didn’t really see this one coming and I like being pleasantly surprised.
Jack: Pet Graveyard. Don’t do this. The fact that I almost certainly will accidentally rent this in a month looking for the new Pet Sematary doesn’t mean that I condone this in any way.
Jake: Pet Graveyard - Fuck, Uncork’d I thought we were getting friendly and then you let this codswallop fake-out trash happen. No.
Mark: Pet Graveyard - This movie looks bad, but I’m also picking it because I can’t stand the practice of making a shitty movie and riding the coattails of bigger names to try and make a cheap buck. You know what you did.