Welcome to the third quarter of the year everyone. It’s hot and the best thing you can do over those sweltering weekends is to stay inside and watch a nice horror movie with the AC blasting. It might not be the most energy efficient thing to do, but dammit if it doesn’t feel good. And what movie should you put on while trying not to sweat your ass off? Well, let us make a few suggestions for you...
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 2019. Enjoy the trailers and our respective thoughts below.
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07/02/2019 - VOD
Jack: The idea of protagonists lacking one major sense or another is becoming really popular on the backs of movies like A Quiet Place and Bird Box and Hush a little before that. Nothing about this looks bad, but it just feels like the logical conclusion of this trend by adding it to the zombie genre. I’ll let Jake watch this one, being the resident zombie fan and all.
Jake: Welp, the zombie category is already full enough for the month. This… uh… this looks like a zombie movie. It doesn’t look like a particularly good one either. The idea of blindness in the face of the threat is interesting but not sure it’ll amount to much here.
Mark: I generally like to start these things out by being positive, but god damn that is a stupid name for this movie. Kudos, however, should go to the editor for shoehorning in the main character basically reading the synopsis of the movie in the first 20 seconds of the trailer. The name is dumb but at least we know what we’re in for.
07/02/2019 - VOD
Jack: So I was quite ready to give this thing grief for an uninspired concept and an on the nose title, but maybe dolls are actually creepy enough to carry the day here. Damn if that didn’t actually look pretty freaky.
Jake: So this is an Uncork’d Puppet Master-ish thing. Not a lot of need for this but it makes some sense given the popularity of that franchise and Mark said it below… this could be worth a watch.
Mark: Wait, is that drew carey? I swear to god Uncork’d, if you got Drew Carey to do a horror movie then I fully apologize for everything I’ve ever said about you. IMDB informs me that this guy’s name is actually Thomas Downey, but hey at least now we all know what it takes to get back on my good side. In all seriousness, this actually does look like one of Uncork’d’s better efforts. Also, I’ve never had to make Uncork’d possessive like that and now I want to know what the style guide says I should do.
PLAY OR DIE
07/02/2019 - VOD
Jack: So the “based on” card toward the beginning definitely led me to believe that this movie was based on a best-selling puzzle until I went back through and re-read it. Full disclosure, most of my jokes were based on that fact. Kind of drawing a blank now . . . I don’t think people bemoan the fact that they made a movie about emojis enough.
Jake: Based on a book about events inspired by a game. Question: if rule number 1 is to be believed then does rule #2 matter?
Mark: Basically Escape Room but on a seemingly lower budget. I think there is something fundamentally appealing about these “malevolent games” types of movies. I’m in on this one. It might not be great, but at the very least the conceit will appeal to the potentially-a-serial-killer side of my brain.
07/03/2019 - THEATRICAL
Jack: Well. I mean, yes. What’s surprising to me is how much this feels like Hereditary. The guy’s really got a style, I guess, and that style works for me.
Jake: Given the unreal success of Hereditary, it was pretty inevitable that Aster’s next movie would carry some heavy expectations but this looks up to the task. Cult things really get to me for some reason. Can’t wait for this.
Mark: I guess Ari Aster really wanted to remake Wicker Man, but this time get it right? Well, looks (and per the early festival viewings, sounds) like he did. I guess the trick was to put it in Sweden instead of the San Juans. Who knew filmmaking was both that fickle and that easy? Really though, this looks great and I want it in my life.
STRANGER THINGS SEASON 3
07/04/2019 - NETFLIX
Jack: Obviously, I’m excited for this and it will almost certainly be great. That said, I like season 1 wayyyyyy more than season 2 and this trailer leads me to believe I will like season 3 a little less than season 2. I think this thing woked best when the supernatural stuff was really unknown and mysterious.
Jake: Known quantity binge fest, this. It seems odd to have Midsommar play second fiddle in any month but when we’re talking Stranger Things, that’s exactly what we have in July #blessed.
Mark: In preparation for this, the horror cinematic event of the summer, my lovely wife and I have been re-binging the first two seasons of Stranger Things. Both seasons are amazing, but season 1 absolutely blows 2 out of the water. Why? Well, many things, but in my opinion the chief reason is that instead of the cooperative optimism of the first season the Duffers defaulted to a much more simplistic angsty feel where all the characters basically argue non stop. Season 3 will be great if they can re-capture the vibe of the first season and could falter significantly if they continue to go down this path where all the characters hate each other for no sensical reason. Also, don’t (for the love of all that is holy) bring back any of those fucking stupid X-Men characters from that bullshit backdoor pilot. No one wants that.
07/09/2019 - VOD
Jack: Ooh, baby. A lot of tropes on display here. Jump scares, heavy violins, ouija boards, metronomes--it’s like they were working from a checklist. Not that that’s always a bad thing, but I’m not expecting much innovation here.
Jake: I have no idea what is happening in this trailer. The aunt plays too large a role. This is probably just a bump-in-the-night ghost story so I’m not going to worry about it too much but really not seeing anything that piques my interest.
Mark: Based on actual events… somebody’s aunt died? I mean, yeah, that’s probably happened. Someone’s aunt got mad at them? Also seemingly possible. Isn’t this basically the plot of Hereditary but with an aunt instead of a grandma? This is your run-of-the-milll ghost movie fodder. Probably good for putting on in the background at your halloween party, but there’s virtually no way it’s bringing anything new to the table.
07/12/2019 - RELEASE FORMAT
Jack: Oh hell yeah. I’m a little worried that there was a pretty major spoiler about halfway through that trailer, but who really cares? You’re not watching this thing to figure out if they survive the alligators.
Jake: You guys. Third fiddle (that’s a thing) is a fucking Alexandre Aja directed, Sam Raimi produces fast ball of a summer monster flick. I am so excited for this embarrassment of riches.
Mark: Ah yes, everyone’s new favorite genre cross-over: alligator home invasion. Sam Raimi and Alex Aja bring some gravitas to this one. This is the exact perfect time to release something like this. Best case scenario we get something that can run with Deep Blue Sea or Lake Placid. That might sound like a bad thing, but I love both of those movies.
07/12/2019 - VOD
Jack: They didn’t cast the girl who played that demon thing ninja in season 2 of Barry, and that was a mistake I cannot abide. Still though, this looks pretty cool and is probably worth a watch.
Jake: Pretty sure someone would just shoot the feral mom character and all of this action would never come to pass. This is America, after all.
Mark: So basically if Nell were a serial killer? Chicka chicka chickabee. Tee an me an tee an me, chickabee? (And then ostensibly she eats someone’s face or something.)
07/12/2019 - VOD
Jack: I have A LOT of questions about that whiskey decanter in the kitchen there. This is clearly an AirBnB kind of a sitch, right? Is this an AirBnB that comes with a decanter of whiskey for the guests? That’s a classy move. Did they bring their own decanter on vacation to pour whiskey into? Show me those establishing shots a la breaking bad. Did they rummage through the host’s house just to find a decanter? Then they probably deserve some of what they get. Again, build the world, show me how this happened.
Jake: This looks like it could be pretty brutal. I don’t care for torture porn, but that’s probably the necessary direction for this to stand out even a little bit. Looks well made but I do have a question about the synopsis. Does the phrase “murderous trouble” have a weird ring to it to anyone else? Sounds like a minor inconvenience when put that way.
Mark: So, kind of a strangers ripoff but with some purge mixed in as well? Looks good enough. Senseless violence just for the shit of it is something that will always work in horror at a very basic level. Production value doesn’t look incredible, but I’d watch this if it were on any of the common streaming services.
07/16/2019 - VOD
Jack: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again--if you’re going with a straight up and down home invasion flick, you’ve gotta put some time into finding or making cool masks. This, unfortunately, did not do that. I am pretty curious about the censor blurring on the guy’s face at the end, though.
Jake: This is the second straight release that looks a lot like The Strangers and this one seems to lack the potential of Trespassers. I do not appreciate this.
Mark: Oh, so we get two Strangers rip offs four days apart from each other? I guess there’s a little bit more to the story based on the synopsis we were able to find, but boy that sure is a strange coincidence isn’t it? There’s gotta be some marketing research something or other out there saying that this is the best month for Strangers ripoffs right?
07/18/2019 - SHUDDER
Jack: I’m always a little concerned when the use a pull quote from a publication predicting how the thing looks. “Looks like a blast” is the conclusion I should (and, for the record, kind of did) come to on my own after watching the trailer, not what I need the appeal to the authority of Bloody Disgusting to believe. It’s awesome that Shudder just keeps taking shots, however this turns out.
Jake: This may hit all the right notes and be hilarious and awesome. It’s also totally possible that this will fall totally fall flat but I don’t really care. Shudder is really starting to bring it with more and more exclusive and original content and I am genuinely excited to see what they continue to put out as they grow. Thanks Shudder!
Mark: This strikes me as a show where they came up with the name first and then decided to write a narrative around it. Having said that sardonically, I would now like to seriously state that this show looks awesome, and I fully endorse Shudder getting more original exclusive content.
07/19/2019 - LIMITED THEATRICAL
Jack: What just happened? Smart trailer-ing there, movie. Now I’m going to have to watch just to figure out what in the hell was going on. Also, I can figure out why that receptionist just ignores a weird woman standing directly in front of him for what looks like minutes on end.
Jake: This is a difficult trailer to glean much from in terms of what the hell the movie will be about (synopsis doesn’t help). What it does do is larger on some atmosphere and showcase some interesting and pretty gorgeous shots. I like it when movies give a tiny morsel but really afford you the opportunity to go in blind. Given the pedigree of the releases this month I probably won’t get to this until later in the year but it’s for sure one I will check out.
Mark: Hard to tell what’s going on here, but the imagery sure seems spooky. The opaque trailer combined with the synopsis kinda leads me to think this might feel a bit like Last Shift, and if that’s anywhere near the right ballpark then we’re all in for a treat. Why is she pantomiming driving a car like she’s in an improv class? That’s basically my biggest question here. Second biggest question: what was the smoke machine budget for this movie?
07/23/2019 - VOD
Jack: Yup. This sure is Critters. I will say that they seem to have just nailed the tone, which is among the most important things with campy flicks like this.
Jake: Hell yeah, dude. Like with Luz, I might not be able to get my eyeballs on this until later but this is gonna be a ton of fun. Those little bastards rolling around and causing mayhem is a thing of beauty. The earlier phrase “murderous trouble” applies much better in this scenario.
Mark: Crampton gonna Crampt, nahmean? Critters is one of those franchises that I’m glad exists, but I'll never really seek it out in any regard. Basically the same as tremors in that way. It’s doofy camp and this is going to premier on Syfy in a month or two… you know what you’re getting into with this one. I love the laser sound effects they use for the “really big gun.”
ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS (aka ROCK PAPER DEAD)
07/23/2019 - VOD
Jack: See? Here we go. Original mask. I’m a little worried this might have one too many subplots going on, but I do like the hunting the serial killer thing, and I’ll good and guarantee you that: 1) there will be a significant twist; and 2) that significant twist will not be the final twist.
Jake: This movie is my dark horse for the month because it has the potential to and lightly suggests it may go the direction of having the female lead fuck with this dude, turning the tables a la the cop in The Devil’s Rejects. That would be awesome but I’m not sure it will go there.
Mark: If I just said “the doll movie from July” you could legitimately think I was talking about any of three or four movies. Are we at peak doll saturation? I guess I should say that at least The Boy 2, which also has a doll theme to it, was originally slated for release this month as welll but got pushed to December. This will likely be a moderately well made psychological serial killer type movie that I wouldn’t hate to watch. Michael Madsen wouldn’t sign off it it was that bad, would he?
HORRORISH RELEASE ROUNDUP
These movies might not exactly count as “horror,” but we figure we can squeeze them in with an “ish.” That still counts, right?
Once upon a time in Hollywood - 07/26/2019 - THEATRICAL
This is a dram-com about being recruited into Chuck Manson’s cult. Probably won’t be particularly scary unless you think hard about it, but Manson is a recognizable subject in the genre and there was that other Sharon Tate movie just a few months ago… A few of those shots of the family about to attack do ring true to the genre, and we don’t need much of an excuse to give a tenuous recommend to a movie with this cast.
TOP 1 / BOTTOM 1
Jack: Midsommar - Hereditary was amazing, and I have absolutely no reason to believe that this won’t measure up. The tone in that trailer is chilling.
Jake: Stranger Things Season 3 - I have to. Don’t fucking kill Steve, writers. Or I will come to your house, and I will cut you.
Mark: Midsommar - I get Jake’s take, but I’m also too concerned that they’ll continue to push that series down the angst rabbit hole. Midsommar is a new IP that is brought to us by the guy who brought us arguably the best movie from last year. The worst case version of Midsommar is still pretty damn good.
Jack: Deadsight - I don’t love zombie flicks to begin with, and I’m pretty soured on these down-a-sense movies (thanks, the Silence).
Jake: Ashes - I could barely give a shit about the likely run of the mill paranormal storyline here but the trailer was unnecessarily confusing as well. Does not inspire confidence.
Mark: Deadsight - I just don’t have any interest at all in seeing this. The sight disadvantage really doesn’t seem to impede the protagonist much and although the elevator pitch of the movie sounds good it just doesn’t look like it’ll execute.