Sometimes you just need something divinely frightening. Thankfully movie lovers need no longer wait for Halloween to indulge in their desire for gore and horror. The 2014 horror movie release calendar is studded with scary fare. And we've narrowed down the 10 most tantalizing choices below, representing terror in all its shades.
Whether it's a tale of sultry extraterrestrials, love-sick vampires, plagued hackers, music-hating serial killers, government-approved packs of murderers or a supernatural thriller, these 10 most anticipated horror movies seem guaranteed to satisfy your dark side.
In this sci-fi thriller from 'Sexy Beast' director Jonathan Glazer, Scarlett Johansson stars as a Laura. On the surface, she's a beautiful lone woman driving around Scotland, kind-heartedly picking up hitchhikers. But under the skin, she's an alien seductress on the hunt for her next meal.
'Under The Skin' has been gaining buzz on the film festival circuit, winning praise at such respected venues as Telluride, Venice and the Toronto International Film Festival. As you might guess from the trippy trailer above, it pulls some inspiration from old-school horror to weave a disturbing story that proudly proclaims the female of the species is deadlier than the male. This horror movie is as sexy and smart as it is slick and scary.
'Under the Skin' opens on April 4.
Fangirls rejoice! 'Doctor Who's' Karen Gillan and 'Battlestar Galactica's' Katee Sackhoff join forces for this supernatural horror story about a pair of siblings trying to solve the mystery behind their parents' deaths. Sure, it seemed like their dad went mad and murdered their mom. But if you ask Kaylie (Karen) what happened when she was just a child, she'll tell you it was an evil mirror that made the family's life a nightmare. Now, she's determined to make sure it never happens again.
Following its premiere at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, 'Oculus' is rolling into theaters with nothing but praise from critics. It's being called "bracingly original," and an "exceptionally clever" and "exhilarating" "slow burn film." But you don't need to buy into the critical acclaim. Just check out its deeply creepy trailer above to see why this supernatural thriller is a must-see horror movie in 2014.
'Oculus' opens on April 11.
You might think the vampire genre has been done to death, but you ain't seen nothing until you've seen Jim Jarmusch's artful take on immortal bloodsuckers. Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton are perfectly cast as Adam and Eve, two vamps who've been married for centuries. But their happy nights are disrupted when Eve's hellion sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) crashes the party.
'Only Lovers Left Alive' isn't so much frightening as it is morbidly romantic and darkly funny. It's a moody tale of vampires, rock 'n' roll and love sprawled out amid the decay of Detroit. And it's lush design and poignant performances have been winning praise all along its illustrious film fest run, from Cannes to Toronto, Rio de Janeiro to New York, Sitges to Torino. Being undead never looked so cool.
'Only Lovers Left Alive' opens on April 11.
Would you kill a fly for $1,000? Of course you would. But what would you do for $100,000? This is the troubling question posed to down-and-out Elliot, who is offered an extraordinary opportunity to win a fortune in a bizarre game. A mysterious caller offers him cash prizes, but as the prices go up along with the risks and demands for debauchery. Just how far will Elliot go to win the game of 13 Sins?
This promising premise comes to you from Daniel Stamm, the director behind the truly spooky 'Last Exorcism.' On board for this demented game of dares are 'Scott Pilgrim vs. The World's' Mark Webber, 'Hellboy's' Ron Perlman and 'True Blood's' Rutina Wesley. What more could you ask for?
'13 Sins' opens on April 18.
This horror movie, the directorial debut of writer-director Karl Mueller, stars Jon Foster and Sarah Jones as a young couple who moves into the woods so they can focus on their art. But their quests of self-discovery are derailed when they come across some cryptic sculptures in the forests around them. Could these be the works of the renowned by elusive outsider artist Mr. Jones? As obsession to uncover his identity fuels them, the two walk down a dark path that could well lead them into hell.
'Mr. Jones' is a found footage thriller shaped around the premise of its protagonists' crafting a documentary about their search for the film's titular mister. But before you bemoan "not another found footage movie," let me assure you this one is something special. I caught this inspired bit of terror at the Tribeca Film Festival last year, and was pleasantly surprised at how exciting and thrilling it is. Mueller manages to create a buzzing tension that barrels into a finale that is both unexpected and chilling.
'Mr. Jones' opens on May 2.
Another directorial debut, this horror movie comes from Jerome Sable, who remarkably managed to get stars like Minnie Driver and Meat Loaf into his musical slasher flick. Set at a pretentious musical theater camp, this sick thriller follows teen singer Camilla Swanson (Allie MacDonald) whose dreams of Broadway turn to nightmares when a serial killer begins slaying the camp's would-be stars. Could it be the same maniac who murdered her mother years before?
The subgenre of musical-horror is generally considered horror's most unsuccessful branch. But despite its seemingly silly setup, 'Stage Fright' has been scoring some serious buzz out of its South by Southwest Film Festival debut. From what this reviewer is hearing, the trailer above fails to capture how supremely scary this movie truly is.
'Stage Fright' opens on May 9.
Cinematographer turned director William Eubank helms this follow-up to his sci-fi directorial debut 'Love.' This time around, his science fiction flare leans towards frightening with the story of an MIT student whose life is changed forever when tracking down a notorious hacker leads to his exposure to the signal. He's told he's chosen. He's gained strange abilities. But what does it all mean?
Earlier this year, 'The Signal' made its world premiere at the esteemed Sundance Film Festival, where it was praised for its mind-bending and risky narrative. This spurred the indie's pick-up by Focus Features, which is celebrating with a trippy ad campaign complete with posters asking 'R U AGITATED?' If its mystique isn't enough to draw you in to this anticipated horror movie, perhaps a cast that boasts Brenton Thwaites, Olivia Cooke, and Laurence Fishburne is.
'The Signal' opens on June 13 in limited release. An expanded release will follow.
Writer-director Scott Derrickson is carving out his own niche of terror. With 'The Exorcism of Emily Rose' he exposed the true and terrifying story of a girl possessed by the devil. His 'Sinister' centered on a true-crime writer discovering a supernatural killer he couldn't collar. For his latest, he pulls inspiration from the true-crime novel 'Beware the Night,' which focused on a NYPD officer's investigations into demonic possessions.
We're expecting great things from 'Deliver Us From Evil.' First off, Derrickson has a solid track record in making mind-bending horror. Secondly, he's scored Eric Bana to front his feature, lending some star power and tangible talent. And lastly, the summer release date for this feature suggests its makers believe they have the potential for a major hit, perhaps on the level of last year's 'Conjuring.' Basically, it's a good thing it will be hot outside, because this flick seems destined to give you the chills.
'Deliver Us From Evil' opens on July 2.
If any and all crime were legal for 24 hours, what would you do? This query played at the core of the twisted 2013 thriller 'The Purge.' It took us into the not-too-distant future where the upper class make this annual event of destruction into an evil playground for their worst vices. However, in its sequel, writer-director James DeMonaco leaves the gated communities behind, and embeds audiences in the mayhem unfolding in densely populated and impoverished urban environments.
'The Purge' was widely regarded as a movie with a great concept but a flawed execution. But its box office success has given DeMonaco a second chance to craft truly superb horror. This time he's got more locations, explosions, more characters and a cast that boasts Frank Grillo, Michael K. Williams, Zach Gilford and Kiele Sanchez. Does bigger mean better? We'll see.
'The Purge: Anarchy' opens on July 18.
Eli Roth, the twisted mind behind 'Hostel,' is back to remind you to never leave your homeland. His latest horror-thriller follows a group of New York City students on a good will mission to help an Amazon tribe struggling to survive. But when their plane crashes in the jungles, they become the victims of the very people they set out to save.
Roth has built his reputation on stitching together stories that are gross, gruesome and graphically violent. So if you like your horror with a heavy dose of gore, mark your calendars for 'The Green Inferno.' And maybe hold off on your vacation plans to the Amazon.
'The Green Inferno' opens on Sept. 5.