Ahh, July. A month known for heat, fireworks, and now Purge movies, I guess. And true to form, this July is bringing us the latest iteration of the Purge movies along with another swath of horror movies ranging from questionable to great-looking. Are any of them worthy of a fireworks celebration? Continue on down to find out.
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 July of 2018. Enjoy the trailers and our respective thoughts below.
Interested in reading up on previous months? Try checking out our archive.
Who's Watching Oliver
07/03/2018 - VOD
Sophia's sweet eccentricity and naivety puts her in danger when she meets a mentally unstable loner.
Jack: So you can just have nudity on youtube now? When did that happen? I have no idea what’s going on here, but I assume it’s about a troubled man-child and his family’s struggles in dealing with him. Ehh.
Jake: Not a lot here other than a psychotic looking fellow drinking milk out of a mason jar… Actually, there’s a lot going on here. Grown men drinking milk is bad bad not good.
Mark: I feel like if I just out and out and say that I find this trailer intriguing you’re going to assume it’s because of the surprising boobage. Granted getting that out of a youtube trailer is surprising, that’s not really what captured my attention. This looks dark and gory with a solid dash of psychosis. Basically the slightly more-off-the-wall Capture Kill Release. Is that a good recipe? I’m not totally sure, but I’m betting it heavily depends on how well Russell Banks can play this particular variety of psychopath.
07/03/2018 - VOD
An ex-soldier ventures into the forests of the Pacific Northwest to uncover the truth behind his fiance's disappearance.
Jack: This movie looks like it could have an unsettling tone, and kind of looks like it does the getting fucked with in the woods thing right, but I’m pretty concerned this one is going to sink with its effects.
Jake: For the first 1:45 of this trailer, I was going to say that it had a great amount of restraint in not showing “the big man”. Then the next fifteen seconds happened and WELP. Also, love what the dude has done with his camp. It ain’t home till there’s a big ass American flag as a tapestry.
Mark: You know what? That Papa Octopus logo is fucking awesome. I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that. Good work, Papa Octopus design team. Unfortunately, basically everything after that logo was incredibly underwhelming. This movie isn’t going to be terrible in the sense that nothing works… it’s going to be terrible in the sense that everything is pretty close to working but just can’t quite finish. And that’s going to make it all the more frustrating. Plus, did you see the scene where the rock hits the dude in the leg? Did they steal that thing from the set of Global Guts?
The First Purge
07/04/2018 - Theatrical
To push the crime rate below one percent for the rest of the year, the New Founding Fathers of America test a sociological theory that vents aggression for one night in one isolated community. But when the violence of oppressors meets the rage of the others, the contagion will explode from the trial-city borders and spread across the nation.
Jack: You know what makes the Purge movies a whole lot less fun? When the venn diagram of the fictional world and the world it’s parodying start to overlap but I’m still not allowed to kill people. I might have to give this one a few years.
Jake: This is a Purge movie so you sort of know what you’re getting in that it will be significantly more action than horror on the ol’ continuum, but I think that of all the Purge entries, this is the part of the story that has needed to be told the most. Of course I’m seeing it.
Mark: I think it’s safe to say that the Purge is really no longer a horror movie. We are however grandfathering it in because it’s still an interesting concept, the masks are way better than any masks you would get in real life, and it is seemingly turning our co-author Jack into a serial killer. These are always solidly entertaining action movies with a weirdly progressive dystopian undertone. As Jake said, you know what you’re getting into.
07/06/2018 - VOD
Humans learn a secret society of vampires is killing people in Hollywood.
Jack: Yikes. I know that Lemmy wasn’t happy in his later years, but fuck, he doesn’t deserve this. This just looks bad. Not funny bad. Just bad. That fucking smoke was nowhere near the source of Ron Jeremy’s injury. I’m betting that’s the level of detail they’ve applied across the board.
Jake: Lol what a fucking cast. Ron Jeremy. Steve-O. Fucking Lemmy. Lemmy died years ago, guys. This looks like unmitigated trash, but it’s the kind where you might find an Ali Baba sword and it’ll all be worth it, nahmean?
Mark: What is with the interspersed cartoon stuff? Actually, no, fuck that... If I’m going to be picking nits with this then I’m not going to focus on the thing that actually looks stylistically interesting and instead will point out that the disparity between quality of cameras is baffling. It’s like they filmed half of this trailer with one of those handy-cams from the 90s that recorded onto a mini-VHS tape. How long has this thing been sitting on a shelf?
The Devil's Doorway
07/13/2018 - VOD
When two priests investigate a miracle in an Irish home for unwed mothers in 1960, they discover that one of the residents is possessed by the devil.
Jack: The 4:3 aspect ratio thing is a bold choice. On the one hand, it might sell the found footage documentary feel of this thing and draw you in. But on the other hand, if there’s too much else drawing you out, you’re just going to be infuriated that you’re spending 90+ minutes staring at 4:3 aspect ratio movie on differently-sized screen in fucking 2018. I’ll play it safe and err on the side of the latter.
Jake: This move does not excite me at first glance. Something about the trailer left me with a vague feeling of The Borderlands and let me tell you, if it’s even half as good as that shit then we’ve found a winner. I don’t think that’s how things work though. I think I’m gonna go watch The Borderlands.
Mark: In case you are wondering, the movie Jake is referring to is much easier to find under the title The Final Prayer. It is good, and you should go see it. I disagree with him on his point though, I actually do think that that’s how it works. I’m excited for this one. Interesting stylistic choice? Check. Found footage? Check. Ghost hunters in a haunted house? Check. Some dude talking shit about nuns? Check. Why would I not want to see this?
How it Ends
07/13/2018 - Netflix
A desperate father tries to return home to his pregnant wife after a mysterious apocalyptic event turns everything to chaos.
Jack: So this is the Day After Tomorrow but with Forest Whitaker in the Dennis Quaid role? Don’t get me wrong, that’s a strict upgrade in every way, but it still doesn’t really make me want to see this wholly unnecessary movie.
Jake: That’s some bad weather. I bet global warming caused it, too. And now everybody has a gun. Sounds a lot like reality, huh?
Mark: Stop talking shit about Quaid, Jack. It’s not his fault he’s not as cool as Mr. Whitaker. No one is as cool as Mr Whitaker. He has a fucking Brother Ali song named after him. That’s hard to compete with. As far as this movie goes… look, Netflix has been on a pretty steady roll for months now. The Babysitter, 1922, Gerald’s Game, Cargo, Les Affames… their studios know what they’re doing and they hadn’t yet tackled an end-of-the-world type disaster movie. It’s a good cast (Forest Whitaker Y’all!), well funded, well shot, and will have a low barrier to access. Frankly this movie looks a lot better than it would need to for me to watch it. If you want to hear our thoughts on it I’m close to positive it will be in this month’s Cutting Room.
The Night Eats the World
07/13/2018 - VOD
After waking up in an apartment where a party was raging the night before, Sam is forced to come to grips with reality. He is now alone, and the living dead have invaded the streets of Paris.
Jack: So . . . this is a comedy I guess? It actually looks like a halfway decent zombie flick, but that still just makes it a halfway decent zombie flick. Also, why a drumset near an open window in a world where zombies can hear you? Is that necessary?
Jake: Comparing this movie to Shaun of the Dead was an interesting and weird move, trailer via Indiewire. I have no idea what’s supposed to be so innovative about this, but I sure as shit am bound to be disappointed. Thanks!
Mark: Even though Jake is the definitive zombie guy in the crew I’m always down to put one of these movies on. This one looks solid, but also decidedly not as good as the recent crop of z-word films that have been dropped on us. It’s literally only been a few sentences since I mentioned Cargo, and that probably means that we’re nearing a saturation point with zombie movies once again. This will likely scratch a 28 Days Later itch that the more recent entries haven’t... but if you don’t have that itch then you don’t need the cream, amirite?
07/19/2018 - VOD (Crackle)
An employee at a weapons factory discovers that an energy drink turns his co-workers into zombies.
Jack: Fucking what?! Crackle still exists? Haven’t there been 2 vaguely comedy offices go crazy and kill everyone inside movies in the last year? This is going to be your big comeback Crackle? You’d have been better off not selling Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee to Netflix.
Jake: Great. Let’s make a funny movie to jump on the office battle royale trend. Love it. Next.
Mark: Where did this genre come from? Were Belko Experiment and Mayhem that successful? Actually, this looks almost identical to the plot of Mayhem but with more protagonists and the guy from Blue Mountain State. I don’t want to turn this segment into the bash Crackle hour, but is this something that their subscribers were clamoring for?
07/20/2018 - Limited Theatrical
Abandoned by her friends and family and with her career in jeopardy, starlet Markey Marlowe is sequestered in a duplex with a reclusive landlord who just may be more dangerous than she is.
Jack: I love Tyler Labine. Just him in a starring role is enough to get me interested. The movie looks pretty tense too, and I can’t find too much to dislike about the trailer. I am a little worried it’s going to veer too hard into the social commentary realm.
Jake: Markey Marlowe? Cool name. No wonder she’s a psychopath. She must have heard so many Marky Mark jokes. Probably had to start popping pills just to quiet the din from all the Wahlberg jabs she’s getting each day.
Mark: Calling your studio “Gravitas Ventures” is a little presumptuous, no? This movie seems to be treading heavily into the Starry Eyes and Neon Demon realms. One of those movies was great. One of those movies aged me beyond my years and attempted to suck the soul out of my body like a dementor. I hope that this one is closer to the bucket of the former.
Unfriended: Dark Web
07/20/2018 - Theatrical
(Editor’s Warning: Spoiler filled trailer, you probably don’t need to watch if you’re interested in seeing this.)
A teenager finds a cache of hidden files on his new laptop and soon discovers that the previous owner is watching every move he makes.
Jack: God damn it. You know what was legit good about the first Unfriended? They kept it god damned simple. I good and guarantee you that this movie is wildly misinformed about what the dark web is. Also, fuck any and all of my friends that say I can’t take a laptop that has been sitting in the lost and found of my work for a fucking month. That shit’s mine.
Jake: Unfriended frightened ⅔’s of this outfit, so I can’t wait to hear what they think of this one. I leave this trailer wondering how the fuck you are supposed to play Cards Against Humanity with everyone in a remote location. There will probably be some cool deaths in this, though, so I look forward to that.
Mark: I hope you heeded the editor’s warning, because I feel like this movie will be substantially better if you don’t know what’s coming. They seem like they’re going down a different narrative path with this one, which I commend them for, but also now isn’t this just the plot of The Den? I really enjoyed the first entry so I will be seeing this one, but man I wish I had stopped watching the trailer at about the 90s mark.
07/27/2018 - VOD
A science wiz creates a machine that can bring back dead loved ones, which seems like a great idea -- until the wrong spirits are unleashed.
Jack: They call something with the initials E M I “eli”? Cool, makes sense. Also, isn’t wireless electricity just solar power? Or wind power?
Jake: First of all, I take issue with this movie synopsis. Who in the hell would think that bringing the dead back to life seems like a great idea? Pet Sematary? Frankenstein? Never a good idea. Ever. On the whole though, this looks like a well shot, well made movie and that machine looks cool. I also like the synths in the score. Those are so “in” right now. This could be a worthwhile flick just as easily as it could be a steaming pile of fuck.
Mark: Okay so if we can all get past the fact that this is damn close to the plot of Pulse (which was terrible), and that we still don’t have the technology to do proper smoke monsters in movies, then we can arrive at the fact that there is an interesting technology-driven ghost thriller here. I like the props they display and I’m always down for a haunted house movie. It’s not likely to blow me away completely, but this is a substantially novel summer blockbuster and I am totally in on it. Sidenote, if that kid can invent wireless transmission of power he would be the richest person on Earth by a substantial margin. Maybe don’t just sequester the project away to be tinkered with on weekends?
07/27/2018 - VOD
When a family of four rent a beautiful house for their summer vacation, the price seems too good to be true. Unbeknownst to them, the lascivious owner has set up a series of spy cams throughout the house, streaming their lives onto the darknet.
Jack: You’re renting a place and you’re uncomfortable because you feel like you’re in someone else’s house? Good work. Totally normal. I actually thought the 13 Cameras movie was fine, if forgettable. This looks like that but a little worse.
Jake: Let’s file this into the folder with all the other movies that definitely didn’t need to be made. Jack saw the first one and I remember nothing from his review other than confirmation that the old dude is preposterously ripped, so I expect that to carry through, especially since the trailer practically says as much.
Mark: Damn. Two Gravitas Ventures features in one month. Maybe they should be called Cajones Ventures. I have not seen the original 13 Cameras (aka Slumlord), but voyeurism is an underutilized horror topic and that dude looks grotesque. Seems like a decent formula to me.
07/27/2018 - Limited Theatrical
A college freshman trying to get into a sorority discovers a dark secret about the house she's pledging for after a series of murders terrorize the campus.
Jack: You know, it’s actually been a little while since the last sorority slasher that came out. I assume this will be no different than the long line of those that don’t really add anything to the genre, but do provide some decent if fleeting amusument.
Jake: Fucking Randy Couture is in this movie? I didn’t know he was acting now. Also, this seems like as optimal a time as any to mention that this seems totally normal for college. Fraternities were not recognized where Jack and I went to school because too many people were dying. Flip that for a sorority and bam. This movie.
Mark: I’ll take “What Randy Couture does when he’s not making Expendables movies” for $500, Alex. For some reason this is the only “dumb horror” movie this month. Maybe that’s not the right name for it… Fun horror? I don’t know what to call it, but you get my drift. It’s the type of movie that has a voiceover in its trailer. Sorority slashers are movies you put on to unwind and relax, and in a world where this July doesn’t have any other competition this might just find a decently sized audience… I will probably not be part of that audience.
Another WolfCop is finally, actually coming out, hitting VOD and DVD on July 3rd.
Top 1/Bottom 1
Jack: Broken Star - Tyler Labine is a good start. A creepy looking vibe is good too. Allusions to Starry Eyes never hurt anything either. This one’s one to pay attention to.
Jake: The Row - Why not? Plenty of people will see and talk about The First Purge and Unfriended: Dark Web but it’s summer and I want some sorority murder debauchery.
Mark: Our House - This struck as the right balance of serious horror movie that won’t waste my time and suspension of disbelief. The smoke monsters look iffy at best, but you know what? Sometimes a man just wants to watch a haunted house movie that has a tenuous understanding of the underlying science it is based upon without getting all wrapped up in the rigamarole of carrying at all about the effects.
Jack: Sunset Society - This doesn’t look particularly interesting, and certainly doesn’t look funny enough or frankly even bad enough to get a chuckle out of with your buddies. RIP Lemmy, and know that this is not what you will remembered for.
Jake: Office Uprising - this looks fucking dumb and not funny. Boo.
Mark: Big Legend - I have articulated this many times in the past. Anyone can make an incredibly shitty movie. It takes almost no effort. Big Legend looks like people worked hard on it, and to their credit it looks like they almost got it to all click. Unfortunately I’m more disinterested by mediocrity than I am in out-and-out disasters.