We did it, everyone. We made it through another year of most of the world not understanding why we watch horror movies and we are now squarely into the month that is made for them. The leaves are changing, the air is getting crisp and it’s the perfect time to sit back and watch as many of these as we can between now and Halloween because why the hell not? Let’s take a look at the newest entries that are coming our way and will be jockeying for our eyeballs this October.
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 October of 2019. Enjoy the trailers and our respective thoughts below.
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10/01/2019 - VOD
A group of UAC Marines responds to a distress call from a top-secret scientific base on Phobos, a Martian moon, only to discover it's been overrun by demons.
Jack: This looks alright, even if the effects are a little Starship Trooper-y, but what I’m trying to figure out is why. They said in the middle that it’s not a game anymore, but that whole trailer looked like a really really fun game. This might be decent to toss on in the background or something.
Jake: I really don’t have a desire for Doom stuff. I’ve never even played the games. You know how some things are just not at all interesting to you? We all have ‘em. Doom is one of those things for me, and this movie will not be changing that.
Mark: For as low budget as this movie looks I’m surprised they were able to actually get the license. Doom Eternal (the video game) comes out November 22nd. Until then I will fill any of my Doom needs with the Karl Urban movie. Luckily for me, my Doom needs are currently kept to a minimum.
IN THE TALL GRASS
10/04/2019 - NETFLIX
A brother and sister enter a field of tall grass to rescue a boy, but they soon realize they cannot escape and something evil lurks in the grass.
Jack: Yes, please. I love the novella on which this is based, and while it’s hard material to adapt right, this could be a fantastically creative and downright terrifying movie. Plus, it being on Netflix, the barrier to entry is effectively nothing. I will be watching this.
Jake: Of course Jack has read the book. In this instance, I’m actually very pleased that I know absolutely nothing about the story because this looks very interesting and the trailer successfully piqued my interest (by the way having legit actors helps) without making me feel like I know where it’s going. That doesn’t mean I don’t have any ideas, but this could just as easily go in an entirely different direction than I’m thinking. Ignorance is bliss, y’all. Can’t wait for this one.
Mark: This looks great. Netflix has a bit of an inconsistent past with self-produced horror movies so I’m really hoping this turns out on the positive side of their catalog. It’s certainly an interesting visual setting for a movie to take place, and as Jake said, you can’t argue with the cast. I’m optimistic and patiently awaiting the release. In the meantime, I’m gonna go mow my lawn.
10/04/2019 - Shudder
Kidnapped and afraid, a woman finds herself fighting to stay alive as an unwilling participant in a deadly game where women are hunted by masked men.
Jack: Those costumes look cool as all hell. That kind of attention to detail is key to making a low budget movie like this appear to be great. I was a little hesitant going in, but this trailer has converted me. I’mma toss this on my list.
Jake: This trailer sure wants you to know that there is gore in this film. Half of me wants to call its bluff but I kind of believe it. Honestly, really good use of pull quotes, here. “Predators meets Running Man meets Hostel”? I could leave the hostel part, for sure, but Running Man is borderline untouchable so seeing that has me all excited. I’m just gonna go watch Running Man.
Mark: I really hoped that this was going to be an expansion of the Warriors universe growing the sorely lacking mythos of The Baseball Furies. Alas, we can’t always get what we want. What we get instead is a Cabin in the Woods meets Hunger Games meets Wrong Turn slashfest. You know what… that doesn’t sound half bad.
MY SOUL TO KEEP
10/04/2019 - VOD
Eli believes that there's a monster living in his basement, and it's trying to steal his soul.
Jack: Some of the shots in here look like they could be really cool scare scenes, I’m just hoping the trailer didn’t spoil all of them. I’m also super curious to get the low down on that furnace they’re rocking. This is a residential home with a furnace that appears to cover the open flame only with ornate metal patterns. Seems unsafe.
Jake: This movie promises some atmosphere. Scary house things are really at home during the month of October, so I am definitely more likely to throw this on than if it came out in May or something. Seems like a good play for a chilly Friday evening.
Mark: I’ll start by saying that this looks pretty good, but these movies tend to ride or die on the strength of the performance of the young cast members. It’ll be hard to know for certain the quality level until we’re actually able to see it. I was also a bit confused by their MSTK moniker at the back end of the trailer because my brain couldn’t figure out how this was connected to Mystery Science Theater.
UNCANNY ANNIE (INTO THE DARK)
10/04/2019 - HULU
On Halloween night, a group of college students takes part in a board game, which traps them in the game and forces them to face their darkest secrets and fears while they play the game to escape and they can only survive by winning.
Jack: I haven’t loved the Into to the Dark flicks so far, but I absolutely love that Hulu keeps bringing in new voices to make unique things. And this looks pretty unique, if not wholly original (*cough* Jumanji *cough*). I think this one has pulled me back into the world of Into the Dark watching.
Jake: I’m still the only one who hasn’t seen one of these Into the Dark flicks and it’s mostly because of what I’ve heard from the other two guys but these trailers always seem interesting to me. Hard not to be interested in the dangerous, magical board game a la Jumanji.
Mark: Oh, so, Jumanji and Halloween had a baby and made it’s a made for Hulu movie? This “episode” kicks off the 2nd season of Hulu’s Into the Dark series and I’m pulling for them. They have some good ideas and pull in interesting talent to make a full-on horror movie every month of the year. Sure, they’ve let me down in the past but shows only get better over time right?
10/11/2019 - Hulu
A washed-up musician teams up with a teacher and a kids show personality to protect young children from a sudden outbreak of zombies.
Jack: Welp. This looks flat awesome. No two ways around it. This looks like it would be great without Lupita Nyong'o and Josh Gad, but guess what? They’re there too. I cannot wait to see this.
Jake: I really hope this trailer didn’t spoil anything but holy mackerel this movie looks awesome. This is my top zombie movie for October and yes that’s a hot take considering a certain, other movie coming out, but look at this! Hell yeah.
Mark: Damn, two in a row for Hulu. Good for them. It’s been a relatively zombie-light year so far and this looks simultaneously funny and brutal, which are both key ingredients for good (or at least watchable) zombie movies. Maybe it’s hoping to get ahead of Zombieland 2 and ride the hopefully rising tide of zombie love?
10/11/2019 - VOD
A family sailing in isolated waters discovers the ship they bought holds terrifying secrets.
Jack: When I saw this was from the writer of the Shallows I was just expecting this to be another thalassophobia kind of a movie, but I really like the idea of a haunted yacht. A ghost in a tiny confined space with nowhere to go is a rad idea. I am really curious about whether she brought those old-timey newspaper clippings with her on the yacht, which makes me question why they embarked, or just found them on the boat, which makes me question the boat’s cleanliness prior to embarking.
Jake: I want to watch this as a group if for no other reason than to play a drinking game related to Jack’s inevitable nits-picked with the way this movie shoots the inside of the ship. It would be so fun. That aside, this movie is a testament to why you should always throw a party or two on your yacht before taking it out into remote waters. Gotta make sure you run into this situation early if it’s gonna happen. Come on, team.
Mark: Wait, does their schooner have a legit pirate ship style mast ornament? Is that a thing that boats still have? I’m not of the sailing type but I assumed those kinda went out of style about 150 years ago. This movie has a great setting and hopefully can execute well on its premise. It’s got Gary Oldman in it so I’m thinking there’s a pretty high floor.
ALONG CAME THE DEVIL 2
10/11/2019 - VOD
A young woman seeks help from a cleric when a demonic force starts to terrorize her small town.
Jack: Hey, I have that same record player! Do you know what I do to keep from getting possessed? Buy less terrifying records. If my player decides to start on its own, it’ll just be old Snoop Dogg albums or Big Country or something. Much less ominous. Now I really wanna go listen to Big Country.
Jake: Not gonna have time for this one given all the other, better, less overdone movies coming out. I’ll either be watching those or listening to In a Big Country on repeat because Jack’s a dick and it’s stuck in my head now.
Mark: Wow, packed with tropes this one. You got the under the bed crawling monster shot. You got the mirror that doesn’t move when you do shot. You got the spooky record player. Hey, at least their trailer is not an all-out assault on your eardrums like the original one was. What’s that? Don’t remember the original trailer? Well, you can go watch it in our HRR from August 2018.
ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP
10/18/2019 - Theatrical
Zombie slayers Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita and Little Rock square off against the newly evolved undead.
Jack: Yep. Not too much to say here. The first one was fantastic. This one probably won’t be as good but will still be really fun.
Jake: My earlier comments about being more hyped for Little Monsters than this movie do not mean that I’m not incredibly excited for this one. The reason I’m putting this second on the list is because we’ve known it’s coming for a long time and I just don’t want to have my hopes dashed, so I’d prefer to put my excitement into the new movie bucket and hopefully not see or hear anything else about this one until I am watching it.
Mark: We all fucking loved Zombieland, and then you bring this trailer along and get my hopes up even higher than they already were. At this point, I will almost certainly be disappointed, but hey shoot for the moon and even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.
10/18/2019 - Theatrical
Two lighthouse keepers try to maintain their sanity while living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.
Jack: Well Willem Dafoe has a face made for horror. That’s just a straight-up fact. This looks totally bonkers, and I’m more down for it than I expected. I hope the weird aspect ratio either isn’t in the film or doesn’t stay noticeable.
Jake: Spoilers for the written synopsis above… They don’t maintain their sanity. The trailer makes it abundantly clear. The trailer also makes it clear that this is going to be a very specific thing that will probably be very polarizing, and I can’t fucking wait.
Mark: This strikes me as what a horror movie made by Wes Anderson would look like. (I should mention that it’s actually brought to us by Robert Eggers who also directed the VVitch). I’m always curious what goes into the decision to make a movie fully black-and-white and the cynical side of me thinks that they do it when they couldn’t figure out how to make the script dramatic enough and decided to cheat a bit with visual effects. I’ll give this one a shot because it takes very little to convince me to watch anything that Willem Dafoe is in, but I’m already thinking that this movie might be taking itself too seriously.
10/18/2019 - NETFLIX
A boy becomes trapped in a haunted house while undergoing treatment for a rare disease.
Jack: . . . It’s a pretty cool poster. I’m choosing to believe this is the prequel to the Book of Eli and we learn that Denzel’s character wasn’t always blind, but ghosts made him that way. And also gave him superpowers I think? That movie was weird.
Jake: Welp, I like the poster I guess… Classic Netflix.
Mark: True to Netflix form we won’t have a trailer for this one until probably the 16th or so of October. Until we have that the most we have to go off of is that it’s directed by Ciaran Foy who also directed Sinister 2. For those who haven’t seen Sinister 2, it was an unmitigated disaster. Here’s to hoping that it continues to be his worst movie.
10/18/2019 - VOD
A no-nonsense detective tries to track down a serial killer named Trick, who is terrorizing a small town.
Jack: This section intentionally left blank.
Jake: A second one in a row we know nothing about. I’m less convinced this one will actually come out so I’ll issue my CYA right now.
Mark: To pile on Jake’s point, we normally don’t include these movies that don’t have really any info about them, but there are articles confirming its release as of about three weeks ago. Probably still a gamble but we’re nothing if not suave and handsome risk takers over here at AZH. The synopsis sounds interesting enough and Omar Epps in the lead role is certainly good enough to carry something like this.
10/18/2019 - HULU
Disturbing and mysterious things begin to happen to a bartender in New Orleans after he picks up a phone left behind at his bar.
Jack: Ugggh. This looks disturbing as hell. For real though, don’t go snooping on a phone and claim you’re just trying to return it. You’re snooping, we all know it. Probably deserve to get haunted for your disingenuous snooping. Now I really wanna go listen to Doggystyle.
Jake: Oh damn the director of Under the Shadow. Guess I’ll be watching a lot of Hulu stuff this month. Good work Hulu!
Mark: I guess Hulu got the memo that October was the appropriate month to release horror movies. This is from the maker of Under the Shadow which people raved over for a while. I’m not accustomed to high quality horror coming out of Hulu originals, but man does this thing look promising.
10/22/2019 - VOD
Jenn has washed ashore a small tropical island and it doesn't take her long to realize she's completely alone. She must spend her days not only surviving the elements, but must also fend off the malevolent force that comes out each night.
Jack: I god damned love a monster movie. Bring it on Blumhouse, this looks rad. I am curious about the title though. This feels like they couldn’t get the rights to the original title they wanted, so they did a reshoot and she’s going to find a letter from her mom that calls her “sweetheart” or something.
Jake: Heck yes. It’s been a minute since we’ve had one of these and I am on board. The Blumhouse pedigree also gives you reasonable certainty around where the quality floor will be with the movie. Worst case scenario is it looks good but is threadbare, and luckily there’s not a lot that has to be done here. It’s a woman and a monster. Just don’t try to pull some fucking twisty-turny, Lost bullshit, please.
Mark: Well, it’s Blumhouse so you know that they’ll hide the monster as much as possible to keep the budget down. Typically, that’s exactly what makes a good monster movie so this one certainly has promise. Short, sweet, spoiler free, and to the point… I like this trailer.
10/25/2019 - Theatrical
In COUNTDOWN, when a young nurse downloads an app that claims to predict exactly when a person is going to die, it tells her she only has three days to live. With time ticking away and a mysterious figure haunting her, she must find a way to save her life before time runs out.
Jack: If you beat the clock by one second, doesn’t that just mean you died one second later than wayyyyy too young? I’m not sure I’m buying that theory. That said, this is classic teen horror. It even has one of the hunks from that Black Lightning show in it. Looks kind of fun.
Jake: Mark wrote this first so I have to jump in and say his last statement cannot possibly be true considering where the bar we have for “things worth talking about” is set. This looks fun. I could totally see myself going as a pre-Halloween theater evening.
Mark: The whole pre-trailer trailer thing really messes with my head sometimes. This was not an exception. This movie is straight out of the early 2000’s with its premise and as regular readers of the website know, that is exactly my jam. It’s been too long since we’ve had a mystical death based game with arbitrary rules that was worth talking about. I hope this one is at least decent.
THE GALLOWS ACT 2
10/25/2019 - Limited Theatrical, VOD
When Ana Rue transfers to a prestigious new acting school, she encounters a malevolent spirit after participating in a viral challenge.
Jack: Why? Why did you do this? Did we need this sequel? It doesn’t even really look like they had any fun making it or had anything to say. I’m hoping that’s all poor trailer editing, but I’ll probably never find out, because I am not excited to see this.
Jake: Don’t remember the first one at all and I can totally tell why after watching this trailer.
Mark: I mean the first one wasn’t rated particularly highly so I don’t know why there was a need for a sequel, but hey it’s October and they’re just getting into the spirit of things. Overall my stance on this movie is that people should really spend less of their time reading haunted books.
GIRL ON THE THIRD FLOOR
10/25/2019 - VOD
A man tries to renovate a dilapidated house for his growing family, only to learn that the house has other plans.
Jack: You know what? I don’t even care that this looks like a relatively thin plot used to string together various haunted house vignettes, because those vignettes look awesome and done in an original way. This is one that I want to wait for my wife to go to bed and watch alone in the dark.
Jake: Ah, man. CM Punk. Remember when CM Punk was on Ghost Hunters? That was back when that show was still reasonably ok. Anyway, I could totally see how this movie could fall flat on its ass, but this trailer is pretty damn good. I’m hopeful that we may have something here.
Mark: I love me a good haunted house movie. This one happens to star a retired wrestler and MMA fighter so that leaves a pretty wide window for how much I could enjoy this movie. I’ll probably wind up taking the plunge if it’s even remotely easy to find .
TOP 1 / BOTTOM 1
Jack: Zombieland 2 - For the record, this doesn’t have to be anywhere near as good as the first one to still be awesome. But I’m hoping it will be.
Jake: Little Monsters - Trying to keep the Zombieland expectations manageable and this looks like a really good zombie movie!
Mark: Zombieland 2 - I will most certainly be disappointed by this movie due to how impossibly high my expectations are.
Jack: The Gallows Act 2 - I’m sorry, but the trailer just makes the thing feel soulless. I hope I’m wrong.
Jake: Along Came the Devil 2 - Just to be different from Jack, because I actually share that sentiment - this movie looks wholly unoriginal and there’s just too many other things coming out that do have something unique to offer to spend time on it.
Mark: Doom Annihilation - Why did we need another Doom movie when we already have one that has basically the same plot? Are they trying to cash in on the video game coming out?