What better way to start off the new year than to take a look ahead at the year in horror? Rather than guess at what the entire year has in store, let’s begin with the first quarter, which is plenty jam-packed with scary goodness.
Opening this Friday, Daybreakers is a hold-over from last year’s vampire mania. Set in a near-future where vampires run the world and humans are harvested for their blood, Ethan Hawke plays a human sympathizer trying to create a blood substitute before the supply of blood runs out. Shot in a style more reminiscent of Blade than Twilight, this icy entry into the genre mines a great gimmick and features an always entertaining turn from Willem Dafoe as a human renegade.
Opens January 8th.
Hopefully, Legion marks a return to the 90s religion-themed horror films like The Prophecy. Director Scott Stewart is better known for delivering impressive visual effects with ILM and The Orphanage, and Legion marks his first feature-length film. As the story goes, God gets fed up with humanity and sends his angels to bring about the end of the world. It’s up to a group of humans holed up in a diner with the Archangel Michael to stop the apocalypse.
Opens January 22nd.
Another year, another Horrorfest. Though these titles traditionally fare better on DVD than their ‘festival’ counterpart, this year’s lineup is arguably the strongest yet. Boasting the now-familiar 8 films over 8 nights, Austrailian horror-doc Lake Mungo and Clive Barker adaptation Dread have already made some waves on the festival circuit last year. While details on screenings are sparse, you can bet that Horrorfest will return to San Francsico.
Festival begins January 29th.
The first remake of the year, and not the last, director Joe Johnston – who brought you Honey I Shrunk the Kids and Jumanji but also Jurassic Park III – tries his hand at the 1941 Universal Studios classic tale of a man who is attacked by a wolf-like creature and comes face to face with the reality that he may receive a rude awakening on the next full moon. With Benicio del Toro and Anthony Hopkins at bat, this one has a shake of a chance of reinvigorating the original story for a new audience.
Opens February 12th.
Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever
The only DVD release to make the list is added purely because its director, Ti West, made one of the better horror films of 2009 with House of the Devil. However the fact that Cabin Fever 2 has been shelved for years and West has steered clear of discussing his involvement does not bode well for the film. A sequel to the 2002 breakthrough feature for Eli Roth – who went on to direct the Hostel series, Cabin Fever 2 follows a group of teens exposed to a flesh-eating virus when they attend their High School Prom.
Hits DVD February 19th.
The Crazies is a remake of a 1973 film by George Romero, the director of Night of the Living Dead. The new version follows the same set-up: a Pennsylvania town is overcome by insanity and murder after a virus is introduced into their water supply. Any reason for Timothy Olyphant to reprise his role as Sheriff, invoking images of Deadwood’s Seth Bullock, seems like a good idea.
Opens February 26th.
A Nightmare on Elm Street
Michael Bay returns to the cash cow structure of remaking 70s and 80s slasher films. After tapping into The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Friday the 13th, Bay sets his sights on Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street. The first in the series not to feature Robert Englund in the titular role, the remake is a fleshing out of the original tale of a vengeful man who stalks a group on teens in their dreams – and if you die in these dreams, you die for real.
Opens April 16th.
It certainly seems that 3-D is here to stay, if the box-office success of Avatar and the critical reception of Up! are any indication. The original Piranha was a low-budget late 70s feature from Joe Dante who would go on to make it big with Gremlins. The story involves a shift in the earth that releases prehistoric piranhas into a lake at a popular summer-resort. Remaking it is Alexandre Aja, the French director who brought High Tension and the surprisingly good remake of the The Hills Have Eyes, but perhaps anticipation would be stronger if Aja hadn’t released 2008’s stinker Mirrors.
Opens April 16th.
Here’s to a strong-looking first quarter for horror, and hopefully a great 2010.
Cross-published on Ornery-Cosby.