Welcome to August 2016's Horror Release Roundup! HRR is a schedule of the horror flicks coming out over the next month, complete with links to trailers and a juicy little morsel of our thoughts on each release. Is there a movie we missed? Likely. Let us know what we’ve omitted either on Twitter or in the comments at the bottom of the page. Pick your favorite. I mean, shit, do we have to do everything?
8/2/16 - LIMITED THEATRICAL, VOD
Jack: Well that looks fucked up. These super-tense, interpersonal psychological jobs are always hit or miss for me. I haven’t totally figured out why some succeed and others don’t yet. I should probably get on that before I start reviewing movies . . . uh oh.
Jake: I’m betting Barbara Crampton does not stab someone in the neck with five knives in this film. How does that affect my interest level? More than you’d think, friend. We can never go back to the way things were. That’s how life works.
Mark: This movie will live or die by its acting, and based off of the scene where the shock collar gets put on I don’t have high hopes. Just flip the damn thing around backwards so its prongs aren’t digging into you. Or cut the thing off like it looks like you finally figure out how to do in the trailer anyway. I’m already angry about this movie, but psychological thrillers with idiotic rule systems always get me into a tizzy.
8/2/16 - VOD, DVD
Jack: Now I’m not a religious man, but isn’t there a bit in the actual Bible where big-G tells Abraham to kill his son? I think I heard that in a Bob Dylan song once. So these religion movies are supposed to be the scariest to people who believe, yeah? But those people are already burned out on the killing your child story because of the Abraham thing. Who the fuck is this movie for?
Jake: I thought this was a pretty well done trailer in the sense that despite recognizing that this is filling the role of this month’s compulsory religion/possession flick, I didn’t immediately tap out. Bravo. Probably still won’t watch because compulsory religion/possession flick.
Mark: Oh hey look another psychological thriller. Can’t wait. Is this what being jaded feels like? This trailer actually did a solid job of building tension, but I’m not sure how much of that is the actual content of the trailer and how much of that is the clock ticking sound in the background. Wait. You guys hear that clock ticking sound, right?
THE ABC'S OF DEATH 2.5
8/2/16 - VOD
Jack: Well there’s a lot of things happening in there. Some will be good and some won’t. I can guarantee that some of the connections to the letter “M” will be tenuous at best. And that will piss me off because they did a whole movie just for the fucking letter.
Jake: What the fuck is up with Timpson Films’ logo? I couldn’t really get past that.
Mark: Mama mia! Mystical marauding mariachis murdering mostly malevolent masquerading malcontents to the maximum! Also… ummmm…. Moon? I like these concept anthologies. Most of the shorts will probably be meh, but I’m sure if there are 26 of them that at least two or three will have moxie.
8/2/16 - VOD
Jack: Woof. So we’re just not worried about effective plot development at all huh? That said, if the shit that happens here is over the top enough and strikes the right tone, this might just be watchable.
Jake: Ok, so here’s the thing. This movie will be bad. The question is will it be bad in an amusing way, or bad in a “you just ate two of those McDonald’s summer menu lobster rolls, and now you might literally die” way? The reckless abandon this thing is showing for for anything that can be considered an even mildly logical script is kind of charming. This is horror. People can and routinely do stupid shit. But when a film shows that hand in the trailer and still makes a trailer that appears to be taking itself with any degree of seriousness, we have a problem. And we have a problem.
Mark: This is an insultingly bad trailer. Really, really bad. A.) In no way shape or form does the setup make any sense. No place to stay? Hmmm, better fucking break into the abandoned mine to find a place to sleep. What? B.) Okay so I guess it’s just a bad excuse to get people into a spooky mine. Nope. Crazy torture freak show for some reason. There’s at least four different villains in this thing and you give them all away in the trailer. Good work. I’m preemptively vetoing the hell out of this thing. C.) “I’m gonna make you pretty, just like me” has got to be one of the laziest possible lines you can write. Just bad. Take a lap.
IN THE DEEP (AKA "47 METERS DOWN")
8/2/16 - VOD, DVD
Jack: So this is what we're bringing to the table huh? Trailer commentary with no trailers? This is a crackerjack operation we're running here.
Jake: We couldn’t find a trailer so here’s a pointless excerpt. It’s about a shark/sharks.
Mark: For whatever reason, trailers for this movie don’t really exist. This appears to just be a scene excerpted from the movie. Maybe they realized that the movie they made was beaten to the box office by a month in the form of Blake Lively’s “The Shallows” and just decided it would be better to keep their heads down and not draw attention to themselves.
THE MIND'S EYE
8/5/16 - LIMITED THEATRICAL, VOD
Jack: Holy shit I want to see this movie. That was exactly what a trailer should be. I actually really liked that movie Jumper, and this kind of looks like that, but horror-y instead of action-y which makes me way more interested.
Jake: Larry Fessenden and Lauren Ashley Carter in a… not Mickey Keating flick?.. This looks badass. Love the color palette. Love how it seems like a throwback to the midnight movie. Unless I’m missing something, it’s pretty much Scanners. That right there is enough to warrant a watch. I’m interested to see what else it brings to the table.
Mark: The end all be all of telekinesis movies has been and always will be Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood. That being said this looks like a solid entry into the sub-sub-genre. The trailer claims that this is going to be a body horror movie, but unless the trailer is leading me astray I don’t really get how they’re making that claim.
Jack: Hey look, a jumpscare at the end of trailer after the music had died down. Hooray. This is the most generic middle-of-the-road mainstream horror trailer I’ve seen in awhile. Does that mean it will be bad? No, but it does mean they’d better be rock fucking solid on the execution.
Jake: for some reason this trailer had me thinking about the astounding number of movies this either took inspiration from, or seems to be straight up borrowing shots from. The problem with that is that it made me want to go rewatch any/all of those more than it conjured up excitement for this film. That’s not to say it was a bad trailer or that it will be a bad movie. I think it’s just bound to get lost in the shuffle.
Mark: This trailer is actually sufficiently creepy, but as Jake said I’m pretty that’s because it’s just an amalgamation of four or five other creepy movies. I suppose that would still probably make the final outcome sufficiently creepy but it just feels kinda cheap. If you have to borrow from Ouija to get scares then you must be in a pretty limited creative space. I guess I’d see it, but it’s going to have to do a lot of work to convince me that it’s not just a ripoff. Also that “jump scare” at the end does not bode well for execution.
LET'S BE EVIL
8/5/16 - LIMITED THEATRICAL, VOD
Jack: My god does the Kim Wilde cover at the end of that trailer wreck the whole mood that thing had built. Seriously, why did they put that in there? Because this is about kids and set in America? And while I think the movie itself actually looks kind of cool, isn’t it pretty much just those Hunger Games or that one that runs through the maze or that other one that scorches things or whatever?
Jake: Ender’s Game vibes because of the kids. Bad vibes because it looks poor. I’m mildly intrigued by the first-person perspective, but I think it will quickly grate because of all the flashy lights on the HUD.
Mark: Is this a thing now? Dystopian technology movies that come out like every month? I’m getting a Nerve meets Gamer meets Ender’s Game meets Existenz vibe… and I’m not really sure where the pyrokinesis fits in. One thing is for sure though; they REALLY like that shot of the lights going out in the hallway.
HOUSE OF MANSON
8/5/16 - VOD
Jack: I am so fucking fascinated by Charles Manson. Did you guys know that he convinced his followers that they were going to wait out the race wars in a faerie city at the bottom of bottomless pit? Didn’t see that in the trailer. And here I was, available to consult.
Jake: This is not a new movie. House of Manson, or just Manson, actually premiered back in 2014 but is just now garnering robust distribution. Not much to say here. If you’re interested in a biopic of Charles Manson, dive in. If not, move along.
Mark: It seems like what this movie lacks in acting talent it also lacks in quality script writing. It can always fall back on the true story aspect to make it more creepy, but nothing in this trailer seemed to grab me at all. I’ve been wrong about movies before (audience gasps), but this one seems like it will be the opposite of immersive.
A MONSTER WITH A THOUSAND HEADS
8/9/16 - VOD
Jack: So that trailer actually made me feel really weird. Like super nervous. That thing looks like I’ll be clenching my fists the whole time. Assuming the movie keeps the tone of the trailer.
Jake: Not sure how well this will fit into the genre but it does look like a tense affair, and honestly, the horror genre’s ability to provide a home to a wide variety of films is one of the main reasons I am a fan of the genre.
Mark: Cancer? Scary. Doctors refusing to treat a loved one? Scary. This looks well made and certainly has the tension vibe down. It might not be ‘horror’ in the strictest interpretation of the word, but I’m betting that it at least gets a fair amount of suspense points. Plus it’s got subtitles so you can watch it and say that you’re cultured and enjoy foreign cinema.
ALONE IN THE GHOST HOUSE
8/9/16 - VOD
Jack: What in the actual hell? How could something possibly look this bad? Also, what the fuck audience is their ‘documentary’ thing appealing to? The ghost hunter shows have already jumped the shark and are mostly a laughing stock now, so is it for Youtube? This feels like it would have fit better in 2004. And even then. Yikes.
Mark: Wait, is that really how you spell grisly? Wait, did their psychic draw a third eye on her forehead in pen? Wait, why is the psychic in her underwear? Wait, is she carrying a plastic skeleton arm? What the hell is going on out there? I wanted to do a whole thing in this review about the terrible font they chose to lay over the trailer and the concept of a house being “most haunted” like there’s some scale or something that you can measure that on. Instead the intrigue just kept growing throughout the trailer. I might hate myself for committing to this down the line, but this actually looks…. good?
8/12/16 - LIMITED THEATRICAL
Jack: Now here’s an example of a horror comedy that isn’t just a blatant ripoff of Shaun of the Dead. Mark me down. Looks funny and original.
Jake: This movie looks fucking hilarious. Count me in. Sidenote: this is as close as Jon Heder gets to a horror movie.
Mark: I’m in. As someone from Idaho I am contractually obligated to like anything Jon Heder does. Except for that ridiculous ghost love story. The fuck was that? Honestly I’ll take any competently made movie in the realm of horror-comedy as a good sign. I love that this is a thing.
8/12/16 - VOD
Jack: Suspense! Drama! Other things! Looks decent.
Jake: See thoughts for “A Monster With a Thousand Heads”.
Mark: This looks suspenseful af. Not positive it’ll qualify as horror in the traditional sense, but I’ll probably at least be on the edge of my seat. Looks like a solid movie, if probably a little forgettable.
8/16/16 - VOD
Jack: Bear? Terrifying. Gazelle-thing mask? Terrifying. Glowing eyes? Not terrifying at all. That part looked bad. If that’s the climax and the creepy pieces are just there along the way, this is going to stink.
Jake: Typical haunted house fare. Where’s the dead kid going to be buried? I really, really don’t care.
Mark: She was clearly disintegrated in some type of electrical fire, Jake. Didn’t you watch the scene where she goes super saiyan? You can’t go super saiyan unless you’ve been electrified or died in an electrical fire. They were dead the moment they breathed in her vaporized ashes. Not necessarily because she’s a malevolent spirit or anything, it’s just that now they probably have pneumoconiosis.
8/19/16 - VOD
Jack: . . . Presented without comment.
Jake: So it seems like worry dolls are being linked to voodoo in this film per the use of an extremely stereotyped, bayou-based, priestess. The thing is, worry dolls are Latin American/Mayan. Shit don’t make no sense. Voodooism already has a doll. The movie itself looks middling at best.
Mark: Man, how awkward would it be if you were stalking some chick with a chainsaw and you went to pull start it and it wouldn’t turn over? Also, why don’t these chainsaw wielding bros just use Fiskars? Aren’t they silent until you actually rev the engine even if they’re on? Seems like that would be much more efficient.
8/22/16 - VOD (UK)
Jack: So like, what the hell is going on here? What are they so scared of that they’re hiding in a tank? They do know it’s a tank right?
Jake: I’m so beat down by zombie films at this point that I immediately assumed this would fill the monthly quota as the trailer got running. By the end, I was more uncertain. Here’s hoping that this will be a decidedly more psychological flick, as it appears to be promising.
Mark: I can’t even begin to have a clue what the hell is happening here. They’re running from something (zombies?) and they lock themselves in an APC which is doubling as a cell for something else (chemical weapons?) which drive them all crazy and then there’s still zombies outside and one of them has a flamethrower? What is this? I can’t even.
8/26/16 - THEATRICAL
Jack: Well jesus christ. They Picked the wrong blind guy to fuck with huh? In my experience robbing the blind it usually goes much smoother.
Jake: I’m pretty upset at the way this trailer was cut because it definitely gives away at least one pivotal plot point for no reason whatsoever. What the fuck? Despite that and ignoring the initial premise, which is fucking stupid, this looks like it will be an extremely intense ride.
Mark: So we have After Dark mixed with Intruders mixed with the end of Quarantine. Seems like this is reasonably well put together, but like Jake said they lose massive points for including multiple spoilers in the trailer. Wildly unnecessary guys. Poor showing. Also, why is nobody talking about how jacked the blind guy is? I hope I’m that buff when I’m 65.
I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER
8/26/16 - VOD
Jack: An old man using an elliptical in raw silence might be the most depressing thing I’ve ever seen. And I already get the feeling that the title is lying to me, because that guy seems like a serial killer.
Jake: I have no idea what to make of this one but great Scott, it looks interesting. Bonus points for having Doc in it... Even if all he does is hang out on that goddamned elliptical.
Mark: I was gonna make a joke about how I was glad that Bernie Sanders found work after not being able to garner enough support to get the nomination, but Jake already beat me to the punch talking about Christopher Lloyd. Those two guys could be brothers I tell ya. Anyway, for a movie that looks like it was shot on a shoestring budget it appears to have a pretty good cast. At the very least I’m tentatively interested.
8/26/16 - VOD
Jack: Oh good. Zombies. Fuck.
Jake: Just when I thought a minor miracle might be upon us, here’s this month’s zombie film. It has an action bend, and everyone appears to be fighting everyone. There are some distracting and pointless graphic overlays in the trailer. That’s about all I have to say.
Mark: Okay, first off, stop overlapping multiple images in the trailer. Second off, why does the “alpha” zombie get special powers? Because it’s a hobo? Third, I feel like 90% of the trailer happened in the same jail cell-lined hallway. Fourth, why do I actually kinda want to see this? Am I having a stroke?
TOP 1 / BOTTOM 1:
Jack: The Mind’s Eye - This thing has the potential to be genuinely great. I dig the story, and the tension looks real. Plus, I have no idea who the good guys will end up being.
Jake: Don’t Breathe - In a month that is disappointingly light it’s ok to pick the low hanging fruit. Don’t Breathe will be the best the genre has to offer this August. Pro tip though - if you’re interested in the film and somehow skipped watching the trailer above, I highly recommend you continue to pass on it and just go see the movie.
Mark: Alone in the Ghost House - I’m not gonna say this isn’t just to spite Jake a little, because it is, but I also am intrigued by that movie more than the rest of the shit river that is coming out this month.
Jack: Alone in the Ghost House. This thing looks bad. Really bad. Who is this even supposed to appeal to?
Jake: Alone in the Ghost House - Nooooooope.
Mark: Blackburn - If you use the phrase “I’m gonna make you pretty, just like me” you are automatically disqualified from any semblance of praise. Also, this movie looks shitty even regardless of that line.