The horror offerings of spring 2018 were defined by two themes: human-eating monsters, and women seeking blood vengeance. But the upcoming summer horror movies slate is looking like a considerably more mixed bag. The months-long countdown to the Sundance smash Hereditary will finally end in June. The Green Room team of Jeremy Saulnier and Macon Blair is returning with a look at the savage Alaskan wilderness. The origins of the Purge will finally be revealed on Independence Day. Nicolas Cage will show up to redefine the limits of his crazy, and — praise be — there’s even a brutal thriller that revolves around a lesbian couple. Here are Vulture’s most anticipated summer horror movies for 2018.
Hereditary, June 8
Hereditary has been racking up superlatives since it debuted at Sundance in January. First-time feature director Ari Aster also wrote this script, which focuses on the very troubled Graham family. Annie (Toni Collette), Steve (Gabriel Byrne), Peter (Alex Wolff), and Charlie (Milly Shapiro) are mourning the loss of the family matriarch, Annie’s mother. But that sad development is just the start of their troubles, as grandma’s death catalyzes the unearthing of dark family secrets. It’s been wrecking people in advanced screenings for months, and you can finally get initiated into the Graham family terror this June.
The First Purge, July 4
Purge: Election Year teased the end of the New Founding Fathers regime that instituted the bloodiest fictional holiday in future America — and The First Purge will show you how it all began. Franchise creator James DeMonaco wrote his fourth straight script in the Purge series for the upcoming movie, but he will cede the director’s chair for the first time to Gerard McMurray, who made his debut with black fraternity drama Burning Sands. This time, the setting is Staten Island, where the annual evening of slaughter started as a social experiment designed by a doctor and implemented by the politically powerful in order to “reduce crime” in the United States. But of course, “reduce crime” really means “maintain a rigged system meant to thin out the poor and people of color.” God bless America.
Unfriended: Dark Web, July 20
The first Unfriended was a surprisingly effective story that emphasized the importance of “do unto others” by making a group of teens pay the ultimate price for their connection to a fatal act of bullying. Dark Web is a more violent, nihilistic take on the “The Internet Is Here To Kill You” subset of scary movies. The gore in this sequel approaches the torture-tourism era of cinema that’s mostly been left in the aughts, and it’s the most wantonly upsetting entry on this list. But considering the stamina the first movie managed to have, despite containing the entire narrative in a screen share, we’re hopeful that Dark Web can match the novelty of the first Unfriended while still delivering some surprises. The specific release date has not yet been disclosed.
Summer of ‘84, August 3
The most exciting thing about Summer of ‘84 is who made it. The Canadian directing trio of François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell — who professionally go by the name Roadkill Superstar (RKSS) — made their feature debut with Turbo Kid, a Valentine to 1980s action adventure movies that charmed genre fans at Sundance in 2015. And now they’re back with Summer, a horror movie set in the slasher heyday of 1984 that tells the story of four teenage boys who suspect a local police officer might be the man behind a series of killings. RKSS is a super-passionate filmmaker collective who pour their love of genre camp into all their work, making ’84 very well suited to their specific talents.
Mandy (Date TBD)
Here’s how Vulture’s Kyle Buchanan described Mandy after he saw it at Sundance: “Mandy is an undulating, heavy-metal screen-saver of a film that stars [Nicolas] Cage and Andrea Riseborough as lovers who share a beautiful house in the mountains. Even though the sky is always lit like a forest fire is raging, their existence together is utopian until a band of weird, religious hippies decide to fuck it up and claim Riseborough for their own. Once they do, it’s up to Cage to take bloody, increasingly outrageous vengeance on all who have wronged him. He even takes time out to weld a battle ax. (No, that’s not a typo. He does wield it, but first, he welds it.)” Excited yet? Mandy is reportedly arriving this summer, but does not yet have a specific release date.
What Keeps You Alive (Date TBD)
Filmmaker Colin Minihan has been known to do it all. He writes, directs, produces, edits, and has even done VFX and camera operating from time to time on his movies. For his fourth feature, he only does the first three jobs in that list, but he’s clearly kept a close eye on quality control with everything else. What Keeps You Alive follows two women spending a weekend at a remote cabin to celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary. But the sun has barely had time to set on the first night of their getaway when a visitor stops by and accidentally kicks over a whole bucket of secrets, setting off a layered and emotionally charged game of murder and vengeance.
Down a Dark Hall
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich
The Little Stranger