One of my favorite things about seeing horror movies in the theaters is the exciting previews that precede the film.
When I went to see Jordan Peele’s Nope in theaters, there were four horror/thriller previews, the fifth was for the movie Till, a biographical drama about Emmett Till, which, while a truly horrifying story about a mother’s relentless pursuit of justice for her 14-year-old son, doesn’t fit into the horror genre.
Here are the four horror movies coming to theaters in August and September in order of release date.
Beast opening Thursday, August 18
Idris Elba leads his teenage daughters in a fight for survival on the South African savannah
This is probably the one I am least excited about, except that Idris Elba (The Wire, Suicide Squad) is definitely a GOAT (Greatest of All Time) contender. It seems like a straightforward survival thriller, with the monster being nothing supernatural – but a still terrifying lion who has become a bloodthirsty apex predator after surviving poachers. I enjoy giant crocs, great white sharks, and anacondas as the monster, but I’m not sure I can get behind the majestic lion as the animal that needs to be defeated.
Idris Elba plays a widowed doctor who, along with his teenage daughters (Ilyana Halley and Leah Jeffries), returns to South Africa where he met his deceased wife on a trip that’s meant to be about healing and reconnecting. They go to a game reserve run by his friend and wildlife biologist Martin Battles, played by Sharlto Copely, a South African native where they run afoul of a villainous lion. This looks like a straightforward predator vs. prey survival flick, and I kind of hope there’s more to it to justify the enormous talent within.
The Invitation, coming out on August 26
A survival thriller, vampire movie filled with beautiful people, and I’m here for it
After the recent critical flop that was Morbius, I’m itching for a good vampire movie. This one stars Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones) as a Evie, a young woman who finds herself alone in the world when her single mother, who was her only family, passes away. Seeking a connection, she uses one of those ancestry services and unearths an English cousin Oliver, played by Hugh Skinner (Fleabag), who invites her to a wedding across the pond where everyone is “dying” to meet her. She arrives at a beautiful remote estate where she is greeted by a supremely handsome friend of the family, Walter played by Thomas Doherty (Gossip Girl).
Evie is charmed by Walter and the unfamiliar yet beautiful and luxurious accommodations, but strange things start to cause her unease – and where is the bride for this wedding? The kindling romance between Evie and Walter is a distraction, but at a masquerade dinner where the servants become the meal, Evie realizes she has stuck her neck out accepting this invitation from total strangers (see what I did there?).
Directed by Jessica M. Thompson in her first full-length feature, The Invitation looks highly stylized, visually stunning, and a bloody good time! This one looks like the bloodiest of these exciting previews, and I say, bring it on!
Don’t Worry Darling, coming September 23
A new twist on Stepford Wives
The third of these exciting previews is Don’t Worry Darling starring Florence Pugh (Midsommar) and Harry Styles (Eternals) as 1950s newlyweds who move to an idyllic, utopian community that is the brainchild of Chris Pine’s (Wonder Woman) character Frank.
This community is tight-knit with all the amenities, except, it appears, freedom. Reminiscent of The Great Gatsby in its luxury and Suspiria with its disturbing imagery – director Olivia Wilde (who also plays Bunny) and her all-star cast take a plot that’s at the very LEAST an homage to the Stepford Wives, if not a copy of it – and give us a sexy, twisty-turny roller coaster ride dominated by an oppressive, patriarchal control freak.
The previews for this have been around for a while, and have definitely piqued my interest – I’ll be seeing this one in the theater, as it looks grandiose enough to warrant a viewing on the big screen.
Smile, opening September 30
Possibly the movie I am MOST excited about after seeing all of these exciting previews.
Smile was the last of the exciting previews for upcoming horror movies before I settled in for Jordan Peele’s Nope – and possibly the most exciting of all.
Psychiatrist Rose Cotter, Sosie Bacon (13 Reasons Why), experiences a traumatic and inexplicable incident where her patient dies during a session (although dies seems like the wrong word for what the preview implies happened), after which she starts experiencing the same bizarre phenomenon expressed by that patient – seeing people smile, or rather seeing an entity showing itself through people’s smiles? What is scarier than a giant fake smile and dead eyes? Isn’t that giant fake smile part of the reason people are afraid of clowns?
Anyway, filled with frightening imagery and horrific occurrences (a woman falling through a glass table, a man screaming she’s going to die, and someone engulfed in flames) – Rose has seven days (a la The Ring) after the incident with her patient before she succumbs to this evil herself. There is a LOT in the preview, and I hope it doesn’t give away too much.
Written and directed by Parker Finn in his first full-length feature, the story seems somewhat inspired by It Follows, which I really liked. I hope this one is as good as it looks because it looks SCARY.
As the autumn starts to fall (another pun, I’m on a roll) and we ramp up to Halloween and beyond, there are so many more possibly great horror movies on the horizon. Which one are you most looking forward to?
What upcoming horror movie are you most excited about? Let me know in the comments!