Ho Ho Ho, Merry Wintertimes. Happy solstice. Cheerful almost-next-Julian-Calendar-year. Also, all the holiday jazz too. With times this festive the best thing I can think to do is close myself in a room and plow through the last horror movies 2018 has to offer. Next time we see you the year will end in a 9! How crazy is that? I bet that doesn’t happen for another thousand years.
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 December of 2018. Enjoy the trailers and our respective thoughts below.
Interested in reading up on previous months? Try checking out our archive.
A BRILLIANT MONSTER
12/01/2018 - VOD
Where do you get those brilliant ideas? A question which plagues all creators. They say success comes with a price, but for the story of Mitch Stockridge, an author of self-help books, that price feeds a bigger monster inside of us all.
Jack: Wow. Starting off the month heavy, huh? This movie looks well made and all, but I can’t help feeling like I don’t need to turn to fiction for this particular tale these days. Probably not a must-watch for this guy.
Jake: The most impressive part of this trailer is that they captured the same, stupid face on what I presume is the main character and his kid self, and it’s the most absurd, least realistic mug I’ve seen in some time. Also, if a movie uses a pull quote to clarify that it’s “for the horror fans out there”, how confident are you in its horrorness?
Mark: For some reason this just reminds me of the old Twisted Metal intro video for Mr Grimm that asked “What happens when I mind is forced to bend so far that it breaks?” Granted this guy didn’t have his mind shattered in Vietnam and decide to wear his buddy’s skull as a hat, but I’m sure this self help guru guy has seen his own share of shit.
IT’S JUST A GAME
12/01/2018 - LIMITED THEATRICAL
A teenage girl is kidnapped by a bizarre theatre cult intent on summoning an ancient witch.
Jack: Did they need to make up an alternative to Bloody Mary? I mean, I guess I’m for original content, but not when it’s so similar to existing lore. I . . . I . . . dammit. I can’t think anymore because now I just want a bloody mary. OOH! That’s why they did it. Good work, filmmakers.
Jake: In the spirit of the season and being positive, I am absolutely thrilled that trailer was a minute long.
Mark: Anytime anyone has ever said “It’s just a game” they are 100% of the time being a dick or an idiot. I can hardly blame this witch for killing these kids… they summoned her. Also, they seem to be dangling on the precipice of insanity as it is, so this probably didn’t help. I mean, who just has those types of costumes lying around?
12/02/2018 - SYFY CHANNEL TV SERIES
On a mission aboard the Nightflyer, the most advanced ship ever built, a team of scientists embark on an expedition to make first contact with alien life.
Jack: Is this what I keep seeing those NYT interviews with George R.R. Martin about? That guy’s got a history of being involved with successful shows, so that’s something I guess, even if the parts of the show not based on his books that took years to write are hot garbage. There’s a lot of horror shows these days, so the bar is pretty high, and I’m guessing this won’t quite clear it.
Jake: I typically stay at arm’s length from tv series, and I don’t anticipate I’ll be jumping on board this one, but I will say the similarities to Event Horizon are interesting, at least. It looks like this one will be on Netflix in terms of secondary airing, so it won’t be hard to find.
Mark: SyFy occupies a very strange place in the genre. It consistently produces content, but most of it is (at best) tongue-in-cheek cash grabs that are geared toward stoners (see: Sharknado). But then they go and do something like this, an apparent collaboration with Goerge R R Martin that seems like a totally serious serialized version of Event Horizon. I find this incredibly intriguing, but I’ll wait until I can binge the whole thing before I get my hopes up.
ALL THE CREATURES WERE STIRRING
12/04/2018 - VOD
When an awkward date on Christmas Eve leads a couple into a strange theater, they're treated to a bizarre and frightening collection of Christmas stories.
Jack: I like how that trailer does almost nothing to indicate that it’s an anthology. Even though it looks really low budget, it doesn’t seem like it’s falling victim to doing the “bad for bad sake” thing that a lot of these movies do.
Jake: I love anthologies so I’ll probably watch this but it seems like it has a relatively tongue-in-cheek tone for all of the shorts. If that’s the case I’m going to go on record and say that’s a bad idea.
Mark: At first blush, holiday anthology horror seems like a great idea. Sure, there’s already A Christmas Horror Story (which you should totally see if you haven’t), but there’s room enough for two here. I need something to watch on my laptop while staying with my in-laws and everyone has gone to sleep by 9pm.
CHRISTMAS BLOOD (JULEBLOD)
12/04/2018 - VOD
An escaped murderous psychopathic convict looks to restart his killing spree in the far north of Norway during Christmas.
Jack: Right. I kind of forgot this was December. The Christmas slasher thing is wearing a little thin for me. Am I getting cynical? Also, how many times does an insane asylum patient need to attack staff before they start implementing restraint procedures?
Jake: I appreciate that we have a Christmas-themed horror movie coming out in december but I don’t really have a burning desire to read subtitles while I watch a psycho kill people with an axe while wearing a Santa costume. I can just throw on Silent Night Deadly Night for that shit.
Mark: I have a feeling Jake is gonna freaking love this movie… he has very specific and weird tastes. I also love the fact that they directly translated “Juleblood” to “Christmas Blood.” That might be the best possible name for a movie like this. Good work.
12/04/2018 - VOD
It's Christmas Eve, and three cosplaying women come across the malevolent Christmas demon Krampus. The girls must team up with Santa Claus himself to battle the creature and save the world.
Jack: Well there we go. This is another Christmas gore-fest, but this one looks like a ton of fun. It doesn’t look great, but at least it looks distinguishable. Also, I’m getting real Tragedy Girls vibes from this, and that move was rad.
Jake: Whoa, Santa’s officially lost his goddamn mind. Wacky. Hilarious. Drop the bass.
Mark: Did anyone else think that this was the new Borderlands trailer because of the chick with the blue hair? I did, but I’m also very excitable. There’s something weird about Christmas that brings out the worst in horror movies. Like, you get some B-Movies around halloween, but they’re nothing in comparison to Christmas. This looks like your typical bottom of the barrel trying-to-be-so-bad-it’s-good fair. Proceed at your own risk.
(A NIGHT IN) THE CABIN
12/04/2018 - VOD
When a couple visits a remote cabin and cross paths with a compulsive liar, their vacation takes a dramatic turn for the worse.
Jack: Is that woman just really not stoked to go the cabin? I know that we, as the trailer viewers, got the irony of the “I think this will be good for us” line after we know stuff has gone to shit, but she didn’t, right? Oh snap! I’m calling it, this is gonna have an All the Boys Love Mandy Lane style twist.
Jake: The slow-mo jump off the fucking porch two feet down onto the grass is really summing up how this month rides, in general. Thanks, movie, for visually representing how poorly this is going in one clip.
Mark: Let’s just get right down to it: Cabins are creepy, especially when they’re on water. You’re isolated, it’s dark outside, you probably don’t have cell reception, you have no idea how many kids have historically died in that lake, and you are surrounded by people who are trying to escape society for various, mysterious reasons. Plus, you get that marine layer fog that hides everything. Honestly, just don’t go to cabins. Terrible idea. You could end up like these nice folks in the trailer that you just watched.
A woman with a checkered past must protect her son when a man brings trouble to her isolated bed and breakfast.
Jack: Pretty good cast on this thing. Not a particularly original premise, but if the tone and acting are good enough, this should make for a decently suspenseful ride. Although I do hope they don’t try to make a twist out of anything we saw in that trailer . . . because we saw the trailer.
Jake: This trailer pulled up the nosedive with what seems like some pretty good writing, but Emmanuelle Chriqui is probably also the most high profile name we’ve had thus far this month so it could just be that speaking to me. This seems like it might be more horrorish than horror, but whatever.
Mark: Dude, it would be so weird to run a B&B. I mean Airbnb is one thing, but like actually running a real B&B would bring by all kinds of shitty guests. This thriller will have to rely on the strength of its actors and writing to make it work, but the trailer seems promising enough. If the suspenseful thriller is more your speed, maybe seek this one out?
12/11/2018 - SYFY
Sorority sisters unwittingly awaken a depraved leprechaun who decides to teach them a lesson... in murder.
Jack: They really should have gotten Jennifer Aniston to reprise her role. It’s working for Jamie Lee Curtis, and Leprechaun is pretty much Halloween, right? This looks like decent fun, but I can’t imagine it will be memorable in any real way. I kind of want to shit on them for just remaking another existing IP, but actually, SyFy does go balls to the wall on bananas original content, so that’s not really fair.
Jake: Hahaha going to state the obvious and proclaim that December is not the right month for watching a Leprechaun movie. Maybe they needed to pull the trigger now because look at this fucking slate, but yeah. Not the right vibes for the season… Also, they should have had Jack Skellington go through the Shamrock door in a sequel to A Nightmare Before Christmas. Imagine the wacky hijinks that they could have gotten up to. Imagine them hammered. I want that movie.
Mark: See earlier comment on SyFy’s position in the genre. Also, who exactly thought it was a good idea to release a leprechaun movie in December? I mean, I don’t mean to burst any marketing people’s bubble here, but there’s a whole holiday dedicated to leprechauns. That holiday is obviously Arbor Day. Duh. All that said, Leprechaun movies are usually pretty goofy fun and I wouldn’t kick this one out of bed.
THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT
12/14/2018 - THEATRICAL
In five episodes, failed architect and vicious sociopath Jack recounts his elaborately orchestrated murders -- each, as he views them, a towering work of art that defines his life's work as a serial killer in the Pacific Northwest.
Jack: This looks pretty good, but all of that is pretty much irrelevant because they used that David Bowie song in the trailer instead of The House that Jack Built by Aretha Franklin. It was right there people. Maybe if they went really far afield in musical style, and I get that they are different, but not different enough. Not. Different. Enough.
Jake: Thank you, horror gods. Finally. This looks hilarious and interesting and awesome. Gotta put the 3 minute trailer on blast for a split second though. Why? Fucking why?
Mark: Here it is. The big hitter. The one that was out in the zeitgeist over a year ago. Does it seem like gritty serial killer dramas are having a moment recently? This one actually looks to sprinkle a little dark humor onto that recipe. I am very excited about this movie because it’s obviously competently made and has a great cast, but I’m a little worried that the sub-genre is getting to be a bit saturated.
INTO THE NIGHT
NO TRAILER AVAILABLE
Based on a story by Stephen King, two men help a stranger look for his wife and daughter, during a blizzard.
Jack: I don’t actually remember this King story off the top of my head, and with no trailer and a first time feature director, there is just not a whole lot to say about this thing at this point.
Jake: We don’t have a trailer at the time of this post so just listen to whatever Jack says about it because he’s the one who jerks off to King stories every night.
Mark: We don’t have much to go on here except for the poster, which makes it seem like we might be getting a yeti movie? I don’t know the Stephen King story, so I’ll just assume it’s about a torrid love affair between two men and yeti.
12/21/2018 - NETFLIX AND LIMITED THEATRICAL
When a mysterious force decimates the population, only one thing is certain -- if you see it, you die. The survivors must now avoid coming face to face with an entity that takes the form of their worst fears.
Jack: Holy diver, this looks rad. Sarah Paulson is an amazing actor, and the rest of the cast is pretty stacked too. This must have been in production since before A Quiet Place came out, so I wonder if they were pissed when that dropped, or if it’s getting them a little extra hype. Either way, this is a must-watch and it’s being dropped right into my living room on netflix. Yes please.
Jake: This looks awesome too! Ok I’m out of my funk. There seem to be some interesting scare mechanics here and it could create for some good set pieces along the way in what feels like quite and adventure/thriller with heavy horror elements. Also, the scariest part of this trailer is shooting the rapids blindfolded. Eff that.
Mark: So… this is A Quiet Place but with no sight instead of no sound? Is this a new a trend of just making monster movies based around sensory deprivation? I’ll tell you what, if they all have casts like this one that I have absolutely no issue with that. Wow. This is an absolute blockbuster lineup of talent. Confusing name though…. that’s gonna put some people off.
12/21/2018 - NETFLIX
A fallen priest, a legendary demon hunter, and a modern day superhero join forces to battle evil.
Jack: The last few seconds of that trailer had a drastically different tone than the rest of it. Is this just the smoke monster from lost flying around a city? With it being on netflix, the barrier to entry is pretty low and the concept is certainly original, but this one could be dicey.
Jake: It took .5 seconds for this movie to proudly flaunt its smoke monster. Guess what? It looks like complete horseshit. Pass.
Mark: On the one hand Netflix usually has a pretty high floor on the quality of its content. On the other hand, there seem to be a lot of CG smoke monsters in this trailer, and I will never trust a series that leans heavily on that effect. Let’s put this one in the “wait and see” column.
THE KRAMPUS CAROL
12/28/2018 - VOD
A drunkard kills his wife and then is visited by the ghosts of krampus past, present, and future.
Jack: Yikes-a-rooney that was a long trailer. Is Krampus actually in this thing or not? I saw him at the beginning when I thought this was a whole other movie. Then it went all Christmas Carol, and I lost track. I’m afraid this one might be a pass for me.
Jake: What the hell did I just watch? This was like two trailers mashed together. One had a woman wearing flat out bonkers clothing and the other had an aggressive amount of botox. Krampus looks like dick, too. I can’t do it anymore.
Mark: See earlier comment about Christmas B-movies. To top it off, Krampus Carol seems to be taking itself completely seriously (mostly seriously?) which adds another layer of difficulty to get past. I’ve been wrong before, but I’m fairly confident this one should be a hard pass.
TOP 1 / BOTTOM 1
Jack: Bird Box - This movie looks very good. I had halfway considered the House that Jack Built, but I think it’s over two hours long, and that is wayyyyy too long.
Jake: The House that Jack Built - It was between this and Bird Box. Mark wrote first and picked the other one. Those are the only two movies to pay attention to this month so I figured I’d get it out there so we have the bases covered.
Mark: Bird Box - The Happening + A Quiet Place with one of the best casts I’ve seen in a movie. There is no chance that I would be picking anything other than this movie.
Jack: Christmas Blood - This certainly doesn’t look like the worst movie on the list this month, but it looks like the one I least give a shit about. Almost every aspect of it in that trailer has been done before.
Jake: The Krampus Carol - I’m going to focus on the one that not only has some serious tone issues but is also a Christmas themed horror movie coming out after Christmas. That’s not the movie makers fault but really sums up the lump of coal that is this movie, and largely, this month.
Mark: Brilliant Monster - I ended up juggling a bunch of different options for this decision and landed on the aptly named BM. The psychological thriller about a genius gone rogue is just not my thing, and this one looks to be really overwrought. Also, between watching the trailers and then coming back to write a few days later I had completely forgotten about this movie. Never a good sign.