December is here and we're betting you're ready to kick this shit can of a year into the creek and hope for a better and brighter 2018. But before we can get to that, we have one more crop of movies releasing in the coming weeks - a last gasp at quality horror before we roll the calendars over. Just think of it as a way to get through all that "quality" time with the family this holiday season. So while you're surviving the in-laws, kick back, grab some beers and check out our compilation of trailers for December's horror schedule, along with our reactions to each release. As always, let us know which titles you're into. Did we forget anything? Of course we did. Tell us about that, too.
12/1/2017 - Limited Theatrical
Alcoholic werewolf cop Lou Garou springs into action when an eccentric businessman with evil intentions seduces Woodhaven's residents with a new brewery and hockey team in this outrageous horror-comedy sequel.
Jack: You see it’s funny because “werewolf” in french is “loup-garou.” You sly bastards. This actually looks like a tremendous amount of fun, and now I desperately fucking want both Liquor Donuts and WolfCop Lager. Great. Night’s probably ruined.
Jake: I haven’t seen the original WolfCop but I know it’s silly as fuck. I didn’t know the sheer amount that this would be channeling Strange Brew. I honestly don’t know where I land on whether that’s a good or a bad thing because I love me some Strange Brew. I also think it’s worth mentioning that I’m a craft beer schmuck and I love that this appears to be making fun of craft beer schmucks.
Mark: In a trailer that full of effects you know what I’m going to comment on? The freaking CG work they put on the storefront of the building at the beginning. Not because it’s a particularly bad example of the practice, but because it’s been something I’ve been noticing lately that has bugged me. I get that you don’t want to advertise your local Safeway or whatever, and that it’s a pretty easy animation to do since it’s a static image against a static background, but it just never really looks right. Anyway, even if you have no idea what WolfCop is it seems like you know what you’re getting into with this trailer. B-movie with some moderately funny lines and completely bonkers werewolf vs. cult storyline.
12/1/2017 - Theatrical, VOD
A sleep doctor tries to protect a family from a demon that feeds on people in their nightmares.
Jack: It’s not really this movie’s fault, but in college I was turned down to be a paid participant in some wacky sleep-lab experiment because I’m left handed. I’m really fucking bitter about it, too. I’m trying to be professional and move past it and talk about how this movie looks decent and I wonder if their desire not to have things happen in their sleep will lead to experimenting with Hypnocil like in the Elm Street movies, but I can’t. I’m just mad.
Jake: Oh hey, another sleep paralysis movie that’s not about sleep paralysis. I’m not going to complain too much though. This actually looks competently made. It seems tailor-made to be forgettable, but I’m fairly certain it’ll be one of those that you can stream on Netflix in a few months so you can discover it all again and make that call then. That way you can go in blind. And speaking of blind, that blind guy in this trailer has awesome blind man glasses. Bravo, blind man.
Mark: If I understand the trailer correctly, the family is seeking the help of a scientific professional. Failing her advice it seems as though their backup plan is a wise old blind guy with a strange accent. Not really sure how that progression is going to work. I was in on this until the demon actually appeared. There seems like there might be some real bargain basement level CG in this one, which might be enough to distract from it’s relatively interesting premise.
12/1/2017 - Netflix
A family saga with a supernatural twist, set in a German town, where the disappearance of two young children exposes the relationships among four families.
Jack: Netflix is just fucking slaying it recently. This appears to be no exception. I will be watching this, and even if it doesn’t live up to that honestly great trailer, I’m still glad they’re swinging.
Jake: Dammmmnnn, Netflix. Not just another horror property but a series? In German?! This is not for the masses toying with the popcorn-crusted fringes of the genre. I’m just going to start the slow clap right now and say nothing more until I’ve binged my heart out.
Mark: Let’s just draw some shitty three-lobed venn diagram and scribble some years into it. Yeah, that’ll really sell what we’re trying to say. Netflix continues to bring their A-game to the horror genre, and we are very appreciative. Actually this might just be their B- game and there isn’t enough competition coming from anywhere else for us to really even notice. Don’t care, looks good.
12/8/2017 - VOD
To free this house from spirits and ghosts, let the spiritualist be your host.
Jack: That woman looks too much like Mrs. Doubtfire for me to focus on too much else going on here. Sure, that trailer looked generic, has a baffling title, and will probably rely too much on jump scares, but I’m just back in Bridge’s restaurant having a wacky sitcom-style mixup.
Jake: ANOTHER sleep paralysis movie? I guess I owe Slumber an apology. Of this month’s sleep paralysis movies, it’s sure going to be the unmost memorable!..
Mark: Midnight Releasing heard that I upgraded UnCork’d a bit last month, and I guess they decided to come after that open spot at the bottom of the list. This is one of the worst trailers I’ve ever seen. Honestly, the movie itself might be okay, but the trailer is cut so terribly and with such an idiotic selection of scenes that it’s impossible to tell.
The Shape of Water
12/8/2017 - Theatrical
In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa is trapped in a life of isolation but her life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda discover a secret classified experiment.
Jack: This is how a trailer should be put together. It’s beautiful, makes me curious, makes me uncomfortable, and generally looks awesome. I know this probably isn’t truly horror, but neither were most of the video games from my youth and I was still terrified of any under-water levels. QED. Or something.
Jake: So here’s the thing... This is not going to be a horror movie. But it’s a Del Toro and it is inspired by Creature from the Black Lagoon (at least to some degree), so I feel we are obligated to talk about it. This looks absolutely stunning and I can’t wait to let it wash over my eyeballs. I like the release timing as well because there’s something about the visual whimsy that Del Toro does so well that I love around the holidays. This is probably a good one to go see with your family while you’re together this December. And that’s ok.
Mark: Cue the talk of “horrorish” or “horror adjacent.” Yeah yeah… well I for one think the genre could use an infusion of a few other narratives. Horror is like a nice stiff drink, and every once in awhile it’s nice to add a mixer for some variety. Romantic drama is certainly among those mixers that are least represented, and I am getting pretty excited to drink this Guillermo Del Toro Mai Tai. Speaking of which, I’m gonna go get myself a Mai Tai.
12/8/2017 - Limited Theatrical, VOD
Recently released from prison, mild-mannered Carl quietly attempts to move on with his life. But Carl's fresh start is shattered by the sudden reappearance of his domineering mother, whose presence awakens within him a deep-seated trauma.
Jack: This looks like a really cool journey in cinematography. Every shot appears to have elements that make it look like a kaleidoscope. I’m not sure how interesting or frightening or compelling the story will be, but sometimes really goddamned cool cinematography is enough. And this could surprise me and have a great story, too.
Jake: This is a weird one for me. There are quite a few things going on in this strikingly simplistic trailer that I commonly associate with bad trailers for bad films. Empty shots, an odd volume clash between lines and score, and no real comprehensible ratcheting up of tension. However, the empty shots are beautiful and artistic, the volume matches a dreamlike quality that I think is intended, and oh yeah Toby Jones is starring. This isn’t a film school project. I don’t know if it will be my cup of tea, but I have a hard time thinking it will be a bad film.
Mark: Wow, pretty artsy this one, eh? You have to be a pretty bad dancer in order to accidentally kill your partner while spinning them. I’m guessing this ends up being a slow burn psychological she-was-dead-the-whole time serial-killer-was-in-your-head type of joint. I’ll take a pass.
12/12/2017 - VOD
A kebab shop owner's son, Salah, turns vigilante after his father's death in an effort to clean up the relentless onslaught of boozed up thrill seekers waging war on his doorstep.
Jack: Is anyone else physically unable to read or hear the word “kebab” without starting to sing the Most Beautiful Girl in the Room song by Flight of the Conchords? No? Just me? Yeah I was worried about that. In any case, this doesn’t look groundbreaking or like it’s going to stay with me, but it does look entertaining and well put together. I’m in.
Jake: I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that just maybe, with a different name/poster and only the first thirty seconds of this trailer, this could have pulled a full Audition on some asses. Looks entertaining enough, I suppose.
Mark: So it’s a new take on Sweeney Todd, but sans demon barbering and plus kebabs? Alright, fair enough. Seems like a pretty solid approach, but there’s just something about the cannibal sub-genre that has never really captured my attention. Also, I’m starting to get tired of the joke that people unwittingly eating human thinks it tastes great. What if human meat is terrible? Maybe it tastes like plastic or something. I mean, do we really have to make the same joke every single time that situation arises?
Once Upon a Time at Christmas
12/12/2017 - VOD
Santa and Mrs. Claus unleash their murderous fury on the residents of a small, snowy town.
Jack: Didn’t know that I had a thing for Mrs. Claus. Hmm. Learn something new every day, huh? Slim chance this as quality a flick as Better Watch Out, so I’m probably just going to start the season by revisiting that unexpected gem, but the holiday season is long, dark, and deep . . . something about some amount of distance to go before reposing. I’m sure I’ll get to this one out a desire for X-Mas horror is what I’m saying. I know things.
Jake: Finally, our first Christmas-set horror flick for the month. There’s actually a pretty deep bench when it comes to horror flicks set around the holiday, but I would have been a little disappointed if there were no additions to that roster. Sports metaphors.
Mark: Wow that very last clip was terrible. You’re like 10 feet away from the guy, why are you swinging the axe? Aside from that though, this looks like a solid Christmas horror entry. If nothing else it looks like it might be the only Christmas horror entry so it wins everything. Best acting, best cast, best use of A Night Before Christmas, best use of the line “escalating the numbers.” All that stuff. Sometimes you don’t have to be the prettiest girl at the bar, you just have to be the only girl at the bar.
True Love Ways
12/12/2017 - VOD
After a recurring dream Séverine decides she needs to get away from her boyfriend Tom for a couple of days. Tom makes a deal with a man he meets at a bar: Séverine will be kidnapped. Tom rescues her from the clutches of the kidnappers, and will become her savior. However what Tom does not know is that his new made friend has a different plan with Séverine. Faced with violent criminals and her own primal fears, Séverine is pulled into a brutal game of unfulfilled desire and the search for true love.
Jack: Huh. A lot of German stuff this month. What’s the deal with that? I’m not complaining or anything, just seems a little odd to pile all the German stuff into one month. I’ve been pretty interested in the German horror scene since Goodnight Mommy, although this one looks decidedly less gruesome and decidedly more artsy. I’m on the fence.
Jake: Hard for me to comment on much here because my brain tends to turn off when I hear literally any other language, but I can say this has an ‘art for art’s sake’ factor of more than zero, and it appears to be about a relationship that is less than ideal. This is professional journalism at its very finest, folks.
Mark: If they crowd-sourced the name of this movie the internet would name it Artsy McArtface. I guess this is trending toward the stalker “I’ll make you love me” type of deal. To each their own, I suppose, but this is not my bag of chips.
Beware the Lake
12/12/2017 - VOD
Tabitha is the new girl at school, who catches the eye of the local football hero. This gets her on the bad side of the high school cheerleading captain and she is lured to a secluded lake for drinks and a late night swim. There Tabitha is drugged, stranded and eventually murdered. But something brings Tabitha back to life, so she can take revenge on those who sent her to a watery grave.
Jack: So it’s the Ring meets Unfriended? That actually sounds legitimately good. Maybe there’s a little Lake Mungo thrown in? Holy shit, why didn’t they get me to write copy for this trailer? I’m psyching myself up for this so hard right now.
Mark: So, does the Wild Eye logo look suspiciously like UnCork’d’s to anyone else? Did I just sniff out a conspiracy theory? If UnCork’d is releasing this one under an alternate production studio name because they are afraid it will affect their ascending status in my rankings, then they are right and that was a good decision. Also, isn’t this basically the same plot as Jawbreaker? I’m asking honestly, I never saw that one.
12/15/2017 - Limited Theatrical, VOD
A mother takes her son and her best friend on a trip into remote wilderness to scatter his father's ashes; they must confront their fears when a lone hiker begins following them.
Jack: The quote they pulled for this noted that this is a great reminder that camping isn’t something the reviewer ever needs to do. I kind of feel like the main reason people getting fucked with in the woods movies are so damned affecting for me is that I know full well that I will be camping, and likely in the very near future. If I didn’t, then like, yeah, I’ll stay out the woods. Big deal. But because I am a camper, this looks pretty damn good.
Jake: Something about the lighting here is making me pump the brakes big time on a movie that I think I’d be all over otherwise. That and homeboy’s glasses are stupid as shit.
Mark: We all have a special spot in our hearts for the sub-genre we have eloquently dubbed “people being fucked with in the woods.” This is undoubtedly one of those movies, and as a result there is a floor on the level on of excitement for it. I am about one or two steps above that metaphorical floor. How many steps are there in this metaphor? Hard to say, I’m not a metaphorical architect. Seven? Seven sounds like a good number.
12/15/2017 - VOD
Gemma and Will are shattered when their son dies in an accident. Gemma blames herself and starts to have panic attacks that affect her eyesight.
Jack: Some very light googling puts the percentage of people that will experience a panic attack at somewhere between 1.3 and 5 of the general public. That is not quite rare. Unless the specific type of panic attack she experienced is what is rare? Ehh, just show me more blurry panic-cam and let’s move on.
Jake: Much like my feelings about the events of this year in general, I have no idea what’s going on here but I’m not happy about it. Let’s just move along to 2018, shall we?
Mark: And the award for worst visual effects in a trailer goes to…. This one, obviously. I think I’m going to follow this movie’s own advice and leave it… wait for it… Unseen. Hah. Nailed it.
TOP 1 / BOTTOM 1
Jack: The Shape of Water - This is a disappointingly weak month, and this film is far and away the most interesting to me. Nothing else even really comes close.
Jake: The Shape of Water - If you think this shouldn’t count then fuck you, you’re wrong. The ties to the golden age of horror alone are enough to do the trick. With Guillermo at the helm, we have something worth being excited for that will be good. Guaranteed.
Mark: The Shape of Water - Having just watched The Mummy and hearing about how they’re shuttering the dark universe franchise I’ve been lamenting the loss of a bitchin’ Creature from the Black Lagoon remake. This appears to be an adequate substitute that will actually be better than the movie I was hoping for. Also, there is almost no competition this month so I’m giving it to the movie that made me least want to quit doing this feature.
Jack: Slumber - I changed my mind. It is this movie’s fault that I was looked over in college because I’m left handed. Also it just looks so generic.
Jake: The Spiritualist - with two goddamned sleep paralysis-related films coming out this month, I’ll just put the one that seems of lower quality here and call it a day/year.
Mark: The Unseen - It looks like a bad movie with horrible visual effects layered on top to emulate panic attacks and hysterical blindness. Boo. Hard pass.
Live reactions to Hellhouse LLC 2. Wow this is awful.