Happy Death Day 2 U

Horror Release Roundup February 2019

February: Still winter, almost spring. Valentine’s Day AND President’s Day? Wow. What a month. Also, not for nothing, it’s Women in Horror Month, so make sure you celebrate that appropriately. February 2019 is hitting us in full force, and frankly has already dropped some gems in our lap by the time you’re reading this.

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 February of 2019. Enjoy the trailers and our respective thoughts below.

Interested in reading up on previous months? Try checking out our archive.


DOWN
02/01/2019 - HULU

 
 

A pair of office workers get trapped in an elevator over a long Valentine’s Day weekend, but what at first promises to be a romantic connection turns dangerous and horrifying.

Jack: Okay. Hold on. I’mma let the obvious copy of Devil pass for a minute because there’s something more important to talk about here. The guy in that trailer is clearly the villain. I flat refuse to look up how many times valentine’s and presidents’ day happen on the same weekend, because no non-demon human in the history of forever has or would have referred to that event as the perfect storm. Nope.

Jake: Is Valentine’s Day a holiday that anyone, anywhere, gets a day off for? If not, then I’m confused because I don’t know anyone who is getting more than 3 days off for that “long weekend”. President’s Day is the federal holiday, not that Hallmark bullshit.

Mark: These two bozos are over here commenting on the semantics of holidays, and the only thing I can focus on is the fact that some file folders are deleting themselves from a computer that appears to be running Windows Vista. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say neither of them are the villains and that they’re being attacked (or maybe set up on an elaborate blind date) by some type of sentient techno-demon.


THE VELVET BUZZSAW
02/01/2019 - NETFLIX AND LIMITED THEATRICAL

Note: This trailer is super long and a bit spoilery. You can turn it off at about 1:10 and still get the gist without spoiling too much.

 
 

After a series of paintings by an unknown artist are discovered, a supernatural force enacts revenge on those who have allowed their greed to get in the way of art.

Jack: Well alright. I was all ready to slam this trailer for being way too long, but damn if I was engrossed throughout that whole thing. I dug Nightcrawler a whole lot and think it was pretty underrated, so I’m into this whole thing. But you know what? What if the trailer didn’t show me the entirety of the horror turn? Okay, I’m back on thinking this trailer is way too fucking long.

Jake: Jack’s wrong. This trailer is still way too long. And it officially lost me when the monkeys started doing monkey things. Not that it was the movie fault, mind you. But I just couldn’t help but think about Jumanji for the rest of the trailer. Yeah, I have problems… This movie will be great.

Mark: There is no way I’m going to take Gyllenhaal’s performance as anything other than Ongo Gablogian.I fully expect this movie to be one of those that I find funny, but also I’m not sure if that was intended or not. Does that make it art? I have no clue. Will this movie be another grand slam netflix power house? I have no clue. Will everyone at work be talking about it and will there be a Velvet Buzzsaw challenge where people set themselves on fire while driving around town? Yeah… probably.


PIERCING
02/01/2019 - LIMITED THEATRICAL

 
 

A man kisses his wife and baby goodbye and seemingly heads away on business, with a plan to check into a hotel, call an escort service, and kill an unsuspecting prostitute.

Jack: A lot of those things fit in that trailer. And then one thing abundantly did not. All of the psychosexual stuff fits very well with the kinky, BDSM, border-questioning horror this thing appears to have going on. And then there’s a talking infant at one point? Kind of mood killer. I have a feeling that this thing won’t be anything like the tone we just saw.

Jake: What. The Fuck. The Eyes of My Mother was pretty gnarly and this looks like it’s from an entirely different universe of weirdness. Count this one in for at very least a lost bet movie because it’s too damn odd not to be.

Mark: If Jake is going to hand this thing out as a penalty for a lost bet then I’m going to start throwing bets. It feels weird to say (and will definitely get me on some lists in a government building somewhere) but I am really digging what this movie is putting down. The hotel room torture scene thing has been done before, but I get the sense that this mixes in enough absurdly weird toppings that it won’t get bogged down enough to make it a slog. Mix in some good ol fashioned doo-wop and I’m hooked.


FOLKLORE
02/01/2019 - HBO

 
 

This HBO Asia Original horror anthology series features the deeply-rooted superstitions and myths across six Asian countries, including Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

Jack: Why was there a random white guy in the middle of that trailer saying “holy fuck”? That made me think that “U.S.” was going to pop in at the end there when they were listing countries. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad it didn’t, but was that supposed to be in there?

Jake: Conceptually, this seems awesome. I really hope it’s actually accessible because I’d be in just to see the differences in style from place to place.

Mark: Anthology series? Cool. Based in Asian folklore? Cool. Something I’m going to have to ask my sister for her HBO Go password for? Less cool. If nothing else I like that this exists as it seems that off-mainstream horror is becoming more and more desirable for streaming services, which is going to make things better for all of us in the long run.


THE GOLEM
02/01/2019 - LIMITED THEATRICAL
02/05/2019 - VOD

 
 

During an outbreak of a deadly plague, a mystical woman must save her tight-knit Jewish community from foreign invaders, but the entity she conjures to protect them is a far greater evil.

Jack: Hell yeah. We’ve been wondering for awhile why there isn’t more Jewish horror. Not that religious horror is something I really need in my life, but if I’m gonna have to sit through x hours of demonic possessions and crucifixes every year, I might as well be exposed to other myths too. And to be clear, this looks to be about as good as the upper tier of bad possession movies that come out every year. Which isn’t great.

Jake: This trailer is too fucking long. And it’s boring. I also got all I needed to know out of the on-screen text. This is made by the creators of Jeruzalem. Ok. I hated that movie. This is “A Jewish Frankenstein”. Oh. Just that I’ve been clamoring for…

Mark: It seems that the single piano key trailer score trend has been replaced by the single atonal cello string plucking trend. On the one hand, I can really only name one time I’ve seen an honest-to-god golem storyline in horror media, and it was that episode of The X-Files with the dude made out of garbage. On the other, this still looks like it might be pretty trope driven. Time will have to tell if this thing is creative as it has the possibility to be. From the directors of Jeruzalem? Uh oh.


THE MERMAID: LAKE OF THE DEAD
02/05/2019 - VOD, DVD

 
 

An evil Mermaid falls in love with Marina's fiancé Roman and aims to keep him away from Marina in her Kingdom of Death under water.

Jack: You know, the last mermaid horror movie I saw was The Lure, and it’s going to be pretty hard to convince me that this extremely generic looking flick that happens to feature a mermaid is going to be worth it after the unadulterated insanity that was The Lure.

Jake: Awful lot of jumpscares involving mildly to full-blown horrible CG effects. That’s flat-out danger zone for the movie and there’s also a real chance you just saw all of them right here in a 2 minute trailer. What’s the reason for me to throw this five bones at this point? So I can see mermaid lady jolt at me again?

Mark: When did mermaids become the villains? Back in my day mermaids were just there to ogle you from afar and sing to their crustacean-jamaican friends about life in the Epipelagic Zone. It was sirens you had to worry about. They were the ones that sang too… I feel like we definitely got some mythological wires crossed within the last decade or so. This movie might have some budget limitations, and with it some not-great-looking CG effects in that trailer, but I’m actually surprisingly interested by it. It seems like it has a lot to say about mermaids and their ability to teleport into any source of water anywhere, and I would like to know more about their powers. If a mermaid doesn’t swim out of somebody’s blood stream in this film I am going to be upset.


THE PRODIGY
02/08/2019 - THEATRICAL

 
 

A mother concerned about her young son's disturbing behavior thinks something supernatural may be affecting him.

Jack: Yikes. When the best name-dropping you can do is “a producer” of the Exorcism of Emily Rose, you’d have been better off not saying anything. And god dammit. That was such a rad jump scare, why did they fucking just ruin it right there in the trailer? Still, this looks pretty good and the heterochromia on the kid is a nice touch.

Jake: This trailer is too long. And not a lot happens. It’s going for the tension thing and I suppose the second half is pretty good but you could start almost a minute in and get nothing different from the thing. Judging by the pre trailer-trailer, this movie is at least acting like it’s the real deal. I’m not sure I’m convinced, but I’m going to avoid anything more and try to go in as blind as possible.

Mark: It is sorta funny that the trailer seems to be actively trying to put you to sleep. Maybe not the best device to get people excited for your movie? Except, I suppose it worked because I’m in like Flynn on this one. Kids are creepy, and now if I have to start worrying about past lives then that well becomes much deeper. Sidenote, I’m not a musical person and only am just now realizing that metronomes tick when the pendulum is all the way out and not when it’s straight up. Ya learn something new every day.


DARKNESS VISIBLE
02/08/2019 - LIMITED THEATRICAL

 
 

London-raised Ronnie returns to his home in India to discover his mother Suleka has died in mysterious circumstances. As he uncovers a series of similar past murders, Ronnie's own inner-darkness come to light.

Jack: Holy diver, this looks downright terrifying to me. I always love horror movies based on lore and cultures that I’m not terribly familiar with. Plus, the use of color in the trailer alone is striking. This is on my must-watch list.

Jake: It’s hard to take too much away from that trailer but it looks like it’s a competently made film and I am totally down with checking out a horror movie from India because that’s an area I definitely don’t have much experience in.

Mark: I’m going to get past it in a second, but I can’t not comment on the title. I feel like it was supposed to be more deep than it is. Darkness is visible all the fucking time. Unless you are somehow reading these words from the world of THX 1138 then I’m not buying that darkness isn’t visible. As far as the movie goes I can get behind any trend that brings in some new horror cultures into the mix, and if they’re willing to lower the barrier to entry and shoot in english then more power to them. This one might not blow your socks off, but you never know.... Maybe you’ll see something new. Just please don’t make another The Other Side Of the Door.


THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT
02/08/2019 - VOD

 
 

A legendary American war veteran is recruited to hunt a mythical creature.

Jack: Sam Elliott badassery and sweeping Canadian vistas is enough to draw me in right off the bat. There is very little that could stop me from seeing this movie.

Jake: Title alone should have you ready to throw down whatever it takes to see this. But then you’ll see that it has Sam Elliott and Ron Livingston in it. Wow. Just wow. Take all of my money.

Mark: Likely to be more horrorish than horror, but sometimes those are the ones that surprise you. This will obviously get our stamp of approval because it looks awesome, but can I just gripe for one second that they could’ve gotten rid of the “the” before bigfoot and it would flow just a little bit better? Wait, that’s two title gripes in a row now… I must be in a mood.


ST. AGATHA
02/08/2019 - VOD

 
 

Set in the 1950s in small-town Georgia, a pregnant young woman named Agatha seeks refuge in a convent. What first starts out as the perfect place to have a child turns into a dark layer where silence is forced, ghastly secrets are masked, and every bit of will power Agatha has is tested as she learns the sick and twisted truth of the convent and the odd people that lurk inside its halls.

Jack: Hey, here’s part of that pile of christian horror movies I was talking about earlier. I guess this could surprise me, but I’m pretty sure it will be fairly indistinguishable from the other 400 demonic horror movies that will come out this year.

Jake: Oh shit. Nunsploitation making a comeback. There are a lot of Sitges 2018 movies coming out on Feb 8th. I have not idea how good they all are but that’s at least a little exciting.

Mark: Are we all just going to accept that nunsploitation is a thing? If there is a setting or character archetype that has been in more than two movies does it just automatically qualify for a sploitation? I’ll tell you what, that rorschach-without-the-splotches masked homey shows promise, but everything else about the trailer leaves me very uninterested.


THE ISLE
02/08/2019 - LIMITED THEATRICAL

 
 

On a remote island off the west coast of Scotland in 1846 a heavy storm hits, causing a ship to sink. The survivors soon discover that the myth of a ghostly siren haunting the island may be true, driving them to uncover the truth whilst they battle to survive.

Jack: It’s giving me a headache that everyone in the trailer calls it “the island” when the movie is called “the isle.” I honestly didn’t even really retain any other information from the trailer. I would also guess that if you can’t find an island with rudimentary navigating equipment in a spinning rowboat, it’s not that the island--sorry, isle--doesn’t or shouldn't exist. It’s that you don’t have a sextant or whatever. Or a table.

Jake: A period piece about people running around on a spooky British island just isn’t doing it for me. I’m not sure if I’ve hit my period piece quota or if cold, damp windswept islands are too much to enthrall me in the dead of winter, but my excitement meter didn’t move at all while watching the trailer. This is going to be a pass from me.

Mark: For a moment I thought this might be a reimagining of Shock Waves and I got very excited. Although I can’t be certain that this isn’t that, I’m pretty sure no one will ever re-imagine that movie. At its best this could be something like It Comes at Night on an island and with a plot, so at least it has promise.


HAPPY DEATH DAY 2 U
02/13/2019 - THEATRICAL

 
 

Tree Gelbman discovers that dying over and over was surprisingly easier than the dangers that lie ahead.

Jack: The first one of these ended up being really fun, and this one looks no different. Jessica Rothe is charming and magnetic on screen, and, like the first movie, the very worst this one will be because of how good she is is good, stupid fun. I’m not giving it much hype beyond that, but that’s plenty. What are you people looking for these days? Sheesh.

Jake: I didn’t really think we’d be seeing Happy Death Day turn into a series and when this was announced I wasn’t really able to make heads or tails of it but hey, just watch the trailer if you’re skeptical. Seems fun, right?

Mark: What Jake fails to realize is that Happy Death Day made a cool $125MM on a $5MM budget, which is a return of 2500%. Granted, that’s basically all Blumhouse ever does (make piles of cash off small budget movies - the much worse Truth or Dare had a return of 2700%), but I’m not even remotely surprised they’re dipping back into this well. It’s funny. It’s got that easy to settle into college setting. It’s super easy to setup bonkers situations like skydiving in your skivvies. It satiates our subconscious need to watch Groundhog Day. They’d be dumb not to make it. And releasing it for Valentine’s Day as a date movie? Brilliant.


THE UNSEEN
02/26/2019 - DVD

 
 

A man, who years earlier mysteriously abandoned his family and isolated himself in a small northern town, returns for one last chance to reconnect with his troubled daughter. When she goes missing, he risks everything to find her, including exposing the fact that he is becoming invisible.

Jack: What does this have to do with Unbreakable? You know what? I don’t even care, this looks original as shit and totally awesome. The effects, though briefly shown, look largely practical and great. Mark me down.

Jake: Damn this guy gets all fucked up. If that’s what getting a superpower looks like I don’t want it. Too much drama and I like my guts on the inside of my skin, thanks.

Mark: I honestly think the best thing this movie can do is avoid using the invisibility as a hamfisted metaphor for anything. For one, it will lead to a bunch of people arguing about whether or not it has a deeper meaning, which will generate both word of mouth and possibly create some interesting fan theories. For two, it can allow the movie to focus on the actual interesting part of its story which is that this dude is literally turning invisible for no reason and it looks fucking weird. That’s what I want to see. If the effects are pulled off even remotely well then this could be a phenomenally interesting little flick. Hopefully it actually comes out… (it’s been kicked around the release schedule for a bit).


TOP 1 / BOTTOM 1

TOP 1:

Jack: Darkness Visible - I cannot get over the cinematography and use of color in that trailer. If this continues that and has a halfway competent story, it will be excellent.

Jake: The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot - for having the best title ever and then showing me who is in the movie.

Mark: Piercing - I’m already on their list. I might as well lean in, right? The bloody fishbowl murder movies are not typically my thing at all, but if this movie has any of the charm and editing prowess of the trailer then I’ll be all the way in on this one.

BOTTOM 1:

Jack: Down - This appears to have an unoriginal premise with very little to back that up. No thanks.

Jake: The Mermaid: Lake of the Dead - I was damn close to picking Golem but the over-reliance on jumpscares in this trailer bodes terribly for the quality of the film as a whole. There are some other forgettable movies this month, but I have the feeling this one could be a rage-inducing piece of work.

Mark: St Agatha - Nuns and convents don’t really resonate with me at all as a horror element. I just don’t see any avenues where I find this movie either engrossing or entertaining.