Welcome back, dear reader, and happy new year! If you’re reading this then you must’ve survived the apocalypse and managed not to look at any otherworldly zephyrs of suicide inducing leaf movement. 2019 greets us with a frankly lackluster number of new horror movies coming out. But what the month may lack in quantity, it may just make up for in quality, as there’s some heavy hitters coming in.
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 January, 2019. Enjoy the trailers and our respective thoughts below.
Interested in reading up on previous months? Try checking out our archive.
01/04/2019 - Theatrical
Six strangers find themselves in circumstances beyond their control, and must use their wits to survive.
Jack: I’m actually really surprised this concept hasn’t been brought to the big screen as a horror flick before now, because it fits perfectly. Almost . . . suspiciously perfectly? I really like the Cube-style modular rooms of terror this looks like it’s bringing, and it looks very well put together. Also Karen from Daredevil is in this thing! She’s a good actor. So there’s that.
Jake: This movie looks super duper fun. I don’t know if it will be very good, but I’d be shocked if I wasn’t entertained. Plus it has Tyler Labine in it, so you know you want to see it. If it sounds interesting, I’d recommend not watching the trailer because that thing seems SPOILERY AS FUCK.
Mark: If your curious, Minos was the dickhole king of Crete who commissioned Daedalus’ famous labyrinth and eventually became the judge of the dead in Hades. So if that's not foreshadowing than I don't know what is. This really strikes me as having the same vibe as Jigsaw, the Saw franchise reboot that came out in 2017, but it doesn’t appear that the two movies share any DNA. That movie surprised me with how good it was (especially in relation to how bad the franchise had gotten before it), and I’m hoping that this one does the same. There’s just some part of my lizard brain that likes these exceptionally complicated yet somehow poetic traps that force characters to confront their past. I’m not sure I’ll ever get bored of that setup.
01/04/2019 - Limited Theatrical
An overachieving college student gets lost on her way to a job interview. A wrong turn leaves her stranded deep in the Kentucky forest. The woman must defend herself against the harsh elements and a band of ruthless outlaws. She is forced into an uneasy alliance with a strange loner who has unknown intentions.
Jack: You know, for a concept as tired as the wrong-turn leads to hillbillies wanting to kill you, this actually looks pretty innovative and cool. I do predict that this will have a least a few twists along the way, but the kind of twist that you can see coming from well earlier, along the way. What? I’m eloquent.
Jake: This seems a lot more thriller than horror but we’ll include it here because this wrong turn genre is for real and the hillbilly cat & mouse game can get pretty ugly. Will it in this flick? I doubt it but I’m also usually wrong.
Mark: As Jake said, this will likely be pretty low on the scare factor score, but pretty high on the intensity factor score. Moreover, it actually looks like a pretty solid movie on its own right even outside the confines of the horror genre. If this one lands itself on any of the major distribution channels I’ll plan on giving it a watch.
The Vanishing (aka ‘Keepers’)
01/04/2019 - Limited Theatrical
Three lighthouse keepers on the remote Flannan Isles find a hidden trunk of gold, leading to their mysterious disappearance.
Jack: By “based on true events,” do they mean that one time a lighthouse keeper disappeared? Cool, good work. Also that trailer gave way too much of the movie’s plot away. I kind of thought we were moving away from that particular issue, but here we are. Nothing about this looks bad, but it sure doesn’t look exciting to me either.
Jake: Another possibly horrorish movie coming out this month, but at least this one asks the age old question, “what’s in the box?” At very best, this seems like it could be in the same-ish psychological sector as something like Black Mountain side, which, to be clear, it absolutely won’t be but we have to make exciting comparisons that are totally unfounded or we aren’t doing our jobs.
Mark: It sorta sends the wrong message to have the opening lines of your trailer be “we don’t talk about this.” If that’s true then, well, what exactly are you talking about? I am also immediately dubious of anything that claims to be “based on true events.” Especially, because it seems that these people disappeared and presumably never reappeared. Should read more along the lines of “based on a dramatized version of something that could’ve happened we suppose.” Man, I should quit my job and go into marketing.
01/11/2019 - Limited Theatrical, VOD
A group of college freshmen pledge an exclusive fraternity but soon realize there's more at stake than they could have ever imagined.
Jack: I’m confused about the “this isn’t a frat” line. Like, did these guys pledge a regular, well-established frat but it was taken over by lunatics for the night, or does this frat do this pretty routinely? Frats have some heft paperwork to comply with, and I think I’d need like 45 minutes of story to explain how a frat is continuously getting away with it. Not that I’d want to watch 45 minutes of explanations about how a frat skirts administrative regulations, but I’d need it to be satisfied. It’s hard being me.
Jake: I don’t know if this is trying to be serious or funny or both, but I’m a little concerned about the tone with this one. Granted, this is just a trailer and we see plenty of trailers that are waaaay different than the movie. Still, I’m feeling a bit funny about the odor wafting from the direction of this flick. I’m going to play it cautiously.
Mark: I suppose it was only a matter of time before we got a hazing as torture porn style movie (which also might have some Would You Rather mixed in for good measure). Truth be told, I’m actually rather surprised it took this long. The only other movie I can think of that is in the same space is The Skulls, and even then it’s only kind of. This might not be good, but at least it’s a setup that is relatively fresh.
01/18/2019 - Theatrical
Security guard David Dunn uses his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb, a disturbed man who has twenty-four personalities.
Jack: Don’t do that. You know about Glass. It’s going to be great. You’re going to watch it.
Jake: This will be a good movie that is extremely well done and the acting chops that will be on display are otherworldly, and I don’t give a shit. When we enter superhero territory, I’m out hard. I hate superhero movies.
Mark: Coming off what I thought was a truly stellar supporting role in Birdbox, Sarah Paulson is one of those people that I want to see everything that she touches. Jake is right in saying that this is going to be a cavalcade of talent, and the fact that Anya Taylor Joy only gets like 8 seconds of screen time in the trailer is a great indication of this. I actually do like superhero movies, so I’ll be reporting back on this one. Only thing is this: I fully expect this to not be a horror movie.
The Final Wish
01/24/2019 - Limited Theatrical
After the death of his father, Aaron returns home to help his grief-stricken mother and to confront his past. Going through his dad's belongings, he comes across a mysterious item that is more than it seems.
Jack: Ugggh. What even is this? Is this in the same world as Wishmaster? It’s got Tony Todd in it, so they’re clearly pulling for some kind of nostalgic allusions. But then it looks like it’s taking itself totally seriously too. I do not like that combination.
Jake: I don’t know about you, but I prefer my djinn to have some personality. This one seems to be all bite and no bark. All wheat and no chaff, nahmean? That said, the movie made sure to let you know it’s going to share some DNA with Final Destination, so here’s hoping for some entertaining kills.
Mark: Of course Tony Todd is in this. And of course he has some expositional knowledge about the exact nature of things that are happening. I like this cast. I like this concept. I’m not totally sure when it is we’ll actually be able to see this movie given their weird one-night-only release, but I’ll be trying to watch as soon as it becomes widely available..
Top 1 / Bottom 1
Jack: Glass - This is going to be well acted and well put together, and polish off a trilogy that I have quite enjoyed the first two installments of. This is what I’m looking for.
Jake: Escape Room - Fuck it. We are in the vice grip of winter and I want something entertaining.
Mark: The Final Wish - There are only 6 movies this month and two of them are massive blockbusters that we’ve seen coming for a while. I’m picking The Final Wish because it surprised me with some interesting content and I think it actually looks promising as long as you can get past the makeup effects on the djinn.
Jack: The Final Wish - Whatever this movie was going for, I’m almost certain they missed the mark. If it’s just trying to wink at Wishmaster, I’m out. If it’s trying to take itself totally seriously, then why the nods to Wishmaster? I’m out.
Jake: Glass - must be a pretty good month so I’ll put the “objectively not horror but all the horror fans will be talking about it so we do too” superhero movie here.
Mark: Pledge - Unique premise, but the trailer leaves the execution looking lackluster. There isn’t really a bottom of the barrel pick this month so my hand is forced.