Horror Release Roundup
NOVEMBER 2017

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Whoa. Where the hell did October go? Just like that, the Halloween season and the litany of horror flicks that it brings in tow are behind us. But don't fret, there are still horror movies on the horizon, and plenty to discuss from November's slate of releases. Kick back, grab some beers and check out our compilation of trailers for November'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.


My Friend Dahmer
11/3/2017 - Theatrical

 
 

Before Jeffrey Dahmer became a notorious serial killer, he was a shy, alcoholic teen who never quite fit in. Based on the acclaimed graphic novel by Derf Backderf, this is the true, haunting story of Jeffrey Dahmer in high school.

Jack: Woof. That looks heavy. If the acting holds up to what the trailer makes it look like, then this is going to be a fucking ride that will make me feel awful for days afterword. Although I do have concerns about lumping kids who set traps in the woods in with serial killers. Plenty of normal kids did that. I mean . . . I assume. Clearly that’s not something I did, but I’m just saying, some totally normal kids probably did that.

Jake: Honestly, this seems more sad than anything. Yeah, Dahmer turned out to be about as terrible a serial killer as they come, but a drama about all the influencing factors and warning signs is some heavy, depressing shit. Looks well acted, too.

Mark: I’m with Jake on this one. This is going to be a good movie that is an utterly joyless slog. My brain can never really wrap itself around how to rate those movies… Are they good because they’re incredibly well made, or are they bad because they’re absolutely impossible to watch?


The Killing of a Sacred Deer
11/3/2017 - Theatrical

 
 

Steven, a charismatic surgeon, is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice after his life starts to fall apart, when the behavior of a teenage boy he has taken under his wing turns sinister.

Jack: So are Yorgos Lanthimos and Colin Farrell like Tim Burton and Johnny Depp now? They just make exceedingly similar movies together all the time and we just pretend that’s normal? I have a feeling this will teeter over to the thriller side of things pretty quickly, but am unironically a pretty big fan of Phone Booth, another Farrell-anchored thriller, so maybe this will be good..

Jake: When you watch a trailer for something with a title as opaque as this, you kind of know they don’t want you to know what the film is about. This succeeds on that front because I haven’t the faintest idea what’s going on here, and that’s a good thing. The cast speaks for itself, and there’s definitely an uneasiness to the trailer.

Mark: This gets the award for most creative use of score, but it does severely limit the rewatchability of the trailer. I’m also a little unsure on how they’re going to shoehorn the song into the plot. With an audio clip that long I’m lead to believe that the whole song is in the movie, which seems odd. Then again, The Lobster was nothing if not odd. Actually, yes it was. It was also boring. Boring and odd. Hopefully this is able to surpass those descriptors from the director’s previous work.


Bad Match
11/3/2017 - Limited Theatrical, VOD

 
 

An internet-dating playboy's life spirals out of control after meeting a woman online.

Jack: Get it everybody? Because Tinder is the hot new app out on the app marketplace. Or store. Is it an app store? Full disclosure, I’ve been married for longer than Tinder’s been ubiquitous, so I’m a little out of the loop on things, but haven’t all the kids moved on from Tinder? Either way, it seems like a good locksmith and a better defense attorney would sort that chode right out. Problem solved.

Jake: I had always just assumed this was how every Tinder etc. dating obsession ended. If you take them to their logical endpoint, there’s really no other option.

Mark: Is that the Ocean’s 11 theme song? This seems to be a shot at reinvigorating the “never stick your dick in crazy” sub-genre that has been long quiet. Remember Fatal Attraction? Quick, what’s the most recently made movie from that sub-genre you can name. Was it Swimfan? For me it was and that movie came out 15 years ago. In any case, this one could be notable if only because it’s going to have zero competition in its own corner of the market.


Cute Little Buggers
11/7/2017 - VOD

 
 

When hostile aliens crash land in the sleepy English countryside and young women start going missing, the villagers must band together to fend off the invaders and restore peace to their village.

Jack: It’s really hard to get the whole “so bad it’s good” thing right. The tone has to both spot on and consistent throughout the whole movie. The acting has to be bad, but with elements of genuine passion and brilliance (looking at you Tommy Wiseau). Maybe this movie nails it . . . but the smart money’s on the other side.

Jake: Look, I could go a lot of different directions with my assessment of… that. But I’m going to focus on the fact that this trailer is pretty much just one, big fade transition. I don’t care how “B” you are, there’s no place for that shit.

Mark: So wait, is this just critters but way way worse in every single aspect? Why would anyone in their right mind showcase that horrible CG bunny for as long as they did? Why does it have a pseudo-british accent? I have so many questions and I want answers to literally none of them. Move along folks, nothing to see here.


The Elf
11/7/2017 - VOD*

 
 

Nick is haunted by night terrors stemming from a tragic murder he saw when he was young. After inheriting an old toy shop, he discovers a cursed elf doll sealed inside an ancient chest with a naughty list of his family's names written on it. He soon discovers that the elf was an evil conduit meant to unleash a supernatural killing spree during the Christmas Holidays by whomever set it free.

Jack: I’m really trying to be less cynical (read: be less of a dick), but trailers like this make it really hard. I don’t know if there was some pretty bad ADR work done here, or the audio is not synced up with the video for some other reason, but come on. You’ve at least gotta get that right on the face close-up dramatic line reading shots.

Jake: If you want Uncork’d-level holiday horror to fill your stocking with feces this year, boy have I found a gift for you!

Mark: Uncork’d is inching its way out of mediocrity. They’re notably still decidedly in the realm of mediocrity, but this at least seems like it’s a step in the right direction. The key here is that they aren’t forcing in terrible cg special effects like they usually do.


Mayhem
11/10/2017 - Limited Theatrical, VOD

 
 

A virus spreads through an office complex causing white collar workers to act out their worst impulses.

Jack: “Certifiably crazy”, huh? Who certifies non-corporeal concepts like film as crazy? I get that a doctor can certify a person as crazy, but even that certification usually only follows a court order. Who ordered a movie doctor to test this movie for craziness? Sounds like my kind of court. I’m just rambling here because this looks like a ton of fucking fun.

Jake: If the Belko Experiment felt a little too dark in its scenario and depiction of violence, this should slide in nicely on the other side of the battle royale continuum AKA this looks like fun. Dumb, violent, beer guzzling fun.  

Mark: Glen looks like he’s having a rough day. Like Jake said, this is The Belko Experiment but where they spend the first quarter of the movie establishing why everyone sucks and should die instead of endearing them to us. Probably a solid move. I enjoyed Belko, and I fully expect to enjoy this as well. The only thing that seems moderately annoying? Why the hell would a virus cause only one of their eyes to turn all bloodshot?


Thelma
11/10/2017 - Limited Theatrical, VOD

 
 

A woman begins to fall in love, only to discover that she has fantastic powers.

Jack: Anyone else getting some really strong Black Swan vibes from this? Also, do we really need a movie telling us that conversion therapy for gay people is fucking terrible? I would hope not, but then I also thought that it was kind of universally accepted that nazis are the worst, so what the fuck do I know I guess? I am now very sad.

Jake: This seems like a gorgeously shot, artistic film that is also not horror... We’ll need to circle back and see just how far some of the imagery in the trailer takes this into genre territory, but I’m guessing it’s mostly just a drama that includes some unsettling elements. Then again, I’m always wrong.

Mark: This movie just reminds me of how much a Birds remake would be a beautiful disaster. Sure, Stephen King is having his moment this year, but when can we start to circle back on Hitchcock? As far as this movie goes, well, I have no idea what’s happening and there’s a lot of surreal shit going down. I’m gonna rate my expectations as “tepid” and duck out of the way.


Angelica
11/17/2017 - Limited Theatrical, VOD

 
 

A couple living in Victorian London endure an unusual series of psychological and supernatural happenings following the birth of their child.

Jack: David Lynch channeling Henry James? So it’s going to be baffling and inscrutable without reason filtered through a lens of incomprehensibly boring? How about we make a movie that’s like David Simon channeling P.G. Wodehouse. Now that I can get behind.

Jake: Victorian ghost shit is about as boring as it gets for me. How’s this for immersion? I couldn’t even get through the trailer without hopping on my phone to fuck around with absolutely ZERO purpose. Does not inspire confidence.

Mark: Oh good, I was worried we wouldn’t have the obligatory period piece movie. Did this trailer just put up the cue card  “Imagine David Lynch channeling Henry James?” First off, what? Who would go to that from this? Second off, why would you put that in the trailer? I sincerely doubt you have market research saying that people are clamoring for modernism filtered through the lens of the guy who brought us this work of art. My bet is that they used a random name generator and just threw them both into the card as filler. Hey, at least we’re talking about it.


I Remember You
11/10/2017 - Limited Theatrical, VOD

 
 

A story about a young man and woman who move into a small abandoned town in Iceland to renovate an old house. Little do they know the town has a dark history.

Jack: I kind of feel like it’s absolutely not impossible that the two similar wall-writings are a coincidence. Unlikely? Sure. But that’s kinda the point of coincidences. Better yet, how about the latter wall writer saw the work of the former and emulated it. Not a coincidence. Bam. What’s that you say? I should stop trying to pick a plot hole in a movie I haven’t seen yet based on a single line? I mean . . . you’re probably right, but I am who I am.

Jake: During my summer escapade to Iceland this year, I was able to gain an appreciation for just how fucking creepy and uniquely isolated it can feel on that island when you get away from the throngs of tourists. If this is able to successfully tap into that feeling (which Icelanders should be able to do well), this could be really cool. Bonus points if it uses the crazy, arctic day/night swings to its advantage.

Mark: I don’t know what exactly it is about this, but I am seriously digging its vibe. There’s a spiritual maguffin, hijinks, foreign landscapes, ghosts, and incredibly long difficult to pronounce names. What the hell else would you want from a movie? This could just end up as another derivative ghost murder mystery, but I have a feeling that this will have that extra bit of Icelandic spice that will bring it to another level.


Attack of the Killer Donuts
11/17/2017 - VOD

 
 

A chemical accident turns ordinary donuts into blood thirsty killers. Now it's up to Johnny, Michelle and Howard to save their sleepy town from...Killer Donuts.

Jack: Couple things here. First, just tell the police fucking anything. Tell them you’re being attacked and then just hang up. They will come, and then they can see the killer donuts for themselves. The donuts aren’t like Michigan J. Frog, right? Second, this seems wildly derivative of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, right down to the bombastic song.

Jake: I was not feeling this at all until about the 50 second mark, and then it made a swift transition into pure, visual poetry. That nightstick action is just majestic. Also, I want a Killer Klowns VS. Killer Donuts movie, now. Make it happen, god.

Mark: Well, at least they have their own song to go out on. Everything else about this schlocky mess looks terrible. Look, I get it. B-Movies can be fun, but that’s almost universally because the people in them set out to make a serious movie and just utterly and bafflingly failed at every opportunity. It becomes performance art. This? This is a bunch of people swinging tennis rackets at imaginary donuts fueled by glowstick. It’s an intentionally bad movie that will achieve its goal of being intentionally bad. Good work.


Nails
11/17/2017 - VOD*

 
 

Paralyzed after a terrible accident, Dana struggles to regain her life and family when she encounters a malevolent ghost in her hospital room.

Jack: Why didn’t I like that trailer? I honestly can’t figure it out. I’m pretty sure that I didn’t like it, but everything about it looks at least decent, if not quite solid. Fine premise, able to take away resources, looks like good acting, etc. I’m going to have to watch this, if only to figure out if I can still trust my gut.

Jake: This is flaunting some relatively good company, with the likes of Let Us Prey and The Hallow among those listed as sharing the same producers. However, let us never forget that the “from the producers of…” claim is one of the most meaningless and abused in the business. I hope this turns out as well because the Nails ghost seems creepy and I don’t yet know enough about him to find him stupid for any reason… No one ever said the bar is high, kids.

Mark: Wait, why would you use a wheelchair to block a door? Isn’t that the exact opposite type of chair than what would be desirable? Outside of that issue, and the disagreeable usage of a freeze frame jumpscare at the end of the trailer this actually looks half decent. Hospitals are creepy. Being immobilized in a hospital bed is creepy. Being stalked by local hospital folklore monsters is creepy. It’s a bold gambit, Cotton, let’s see if it plays out.


12 Deaths of Christmas (aka Mother Krampus)
11/20/2017 - DVD

 
 

Based on the myth of Frau Perchta, a witch that comes on the 12 days of Christmas taking children each night.

Jack: Thank you for clarifying that this is based on a German urban legend. I would have never guessed with a name like Frau Perchta. Also, I find it impossible to be scared of someone wielding an electric turkey carver. I’m just going to go watch the good Krampus again, and let its effect on the genre wear off a bit more.

Jake: Look, Krampus is already hard enough to pronounce. Frankly, I’m never going to get there with “Frau Perchta”. There’s just no way. Even if this looked good, and my goodness it does not, I’d shy away from it because I’d be self conscious about mispronouncing that name and sounding even more stupid and less professional than I already do.

Mark: I feel like Krampus suddenly woke something up in people that they were allowed to access the incredibly fucked up folklore surrounding Pagan holidays that were repurposed by Christianity. This looks moderately well made, but I hesitate to give it credit because it’s just riding the coattails of the far superior film from two years ago. This is irksome especially because it does seem like they’ve stumbled upon their own unique villain. Just lean into her and ditch the Krampus thing, and I’ll give you all your credit points back. Deal?


Rift
11/21/2017 - Limited Theatrical

 
 

Two men in a secluded cabin are haunted by their dead relationship.

Jack: This trailer had logo cards for five different production companies before it actually started. Five. That said, I’m actually pretty stoked for this. I love that cabin, and it looks isolated and terrifying as all hell, while still seeming kind of cozy inside. That’s how I like my horror cabins.

Jake: Iceland has officially taken over, you guys. I talked about Bokeh a few months back and this seems similar in a sense that it appears to be focusing on the relationship of two characters that are largely isolated throughout the movie in the astonishingly beautiful Icelandic countryside. It goes without saying (but I’m doing it anyway) that my interest is piqued and my expectations are high.

Mark: Is this a jilted lover flick? Is this really another Don’t Stick Your Dick In Crazy picture like ten movies down from the one where I talked about how no one else is competing in the genre? We already have a DSYDIC picture and an Iceland picture, and this movie has the audacity to be both? I don’t know if you can sense my exasperation level, but it’s high. This looks good, but it also looks not as good as either of the other two movies it’s competing with.


* Movies with an asterisk have eluded all scientific tools and psychic readings. We can confirm they exist, but are dubious at best as to whether they will arrive on the provided date. Consider this our official badge of uncertainty. 


BONUS STUFF

  • Primal Rage is screening at Cinepocalypse in Chicago on November 3rd. We’re nothing if not regular folk, so we’ll keep you tapped into when you can get your hands on this bigfoot romp.
  • If you haven't seen it yet, 2016’s The Triangle will be added to Amazon Prime on November 20th. Jake checked this one out last year and recommends it highly.
  • Polaroid is now being released on November 22nd. We covered it in our August roundup, but shit happens. You can go see this over Thanksgiving to help bust out of your tryptophan coma.

TOP 1 / BOTTOM 1

Top 1:

Jack: Rift - This month doesn’t look particularly strong, so I guess I’m banking on the setting of this movie to carry it through? I really hope this is great, and it has the potential to be, but there’s just nothing this month that has me crazy excited, you know?

Jake: I Remember You - My reasoning here is basically the same as Jack's. Which is to say, let's just bank on the stunningly beautiful and creepily barren Icelandic setting deliver some chills this month. I'm betting this will be passable at bare minimum, but if the spooky kid/ghost story that it appears to have going on is handled correctly, it could be great. 

Mark: Mayhem - Jake had it pegged. This is Belko where you’re rooting for everyone to die.  That sounds great. TBE’s biggest issue was that it was a building full of (mostly) likeable people and you didn’t know who to root for. I don’t foresee this one having the same problem. I had Belko as my top 1 back when it came out and this one seems to have improved on the formula.

 

Bottom 1:

Jack: Cute Little Buggers - Maybe I’m wrong and maybe the fun will carry through this thing like a mutant alien bunny you just sliced in twain. But I really don’t think I’m wrong, and may just wholly unwatchable.

Jake: Angelica - I'm potting this one here for sheer boredom factor. Of all the trailers I watched, this was the one I had the most viscerally negative reaction towards. This feels like it will be a forgettable movie in a totally over-saturated corner of the horror market. Let's try something different, please. 

Mark: The Elf - This is actually meant as a congratulatory note to Uncork’d. For those of you who aren’t consistent readers (Welcome!) I have had a long standing rule that movies that are below a certain threshold in quality are not worthwhile to talk about or even consider as a bottom 1. I have referred to this as my “Uncork’d Rule” due to the general level of quality associated with their productions, but I’ll tell you what between this and Cold Moon last month they’ve actually got a pretty good streak of watchable-enough trailers going. Kudos to you, Uncork’d. I award you last place. Stop injecting long expositional rants into your trailers and you might force your way out of the bottom quartile.


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