Over at A-ZHorror.com each month, we scour the internet for the horror movies releases and then we gather them together (a “roundup” if you will), along with links to the trailers and synopses, and even our thoughts including a few quips. We’re moving from July into August and as the mercury keeps rising at the peak of summer, so do the number of titles on the release schedule. Look at all these movies. Look at ’em.
As you could imagine with such a long list of releases, the quality of what is coming out can best be described as diverse… kind of like the reaction you got at last weekend’s family barbecue when you got blackout at 2 pm and belly flopped into the pool with your shoes still on. To get through it all without succumbing to heat stroke, we strongly urge you to grab a cold one and settle in to check out our compilation of trailers for horror releases in August along with our reactions to each. As always, let us know which titles you’re into. Did we forget anything? Tell us about that, too.
08/01/2017 – LIMITED THEATRICAL, VOD
Jack: Couple things here. It’s pretty clear that the writers of this movie haven’t been teens for quite some time. I’m quite confident that “working smoke detectors” have never stopped teens from smoking weed or dabbing or whatever the hell it is they do now. Certainly, it’s no basis on which to choose your spring break locale. Also, it’s pretty wild how accustomed we’ve become to foley art, so when you have a punch with no additional noises apart from the boom mic, it’s crazy anticlimactic.
Jake: What the fuck kind of name for a horror movie is “WTF!”? Is that supposed to be clever because kids abbreviate things and this is a movie about kids? Fuck you, movie. Although minor props because you stumbled into some comedy gold with your wise old man trope guy. He delivered one of the most insultingly hollow lines I’ve ever heard in this trailer… but then he got punched in the face. Thanks for that.
Mark: Man, teenagers are the worst. They talk shit, they throw awful parties, they think that a desert is the woods, they don’t take heed, and they insist on popping back and forth. On top of all that they take part in overly long trailers that more or less give away the entire plot of movies that they star in. Poor form, teenagers. Poor form.
08/01/2017 – VOD
An immortal blues musician terrorizes childhood sweethearts reunited over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Jack: Well that sure ended abruptly huh? That was a strangely put together trailer. Also, how did we get to this place where blues musicians selling their souls to the devil has become such worn ground? This trailer plays it off like it’s happened a thousand times. One time. Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil for guitar skill down at the crossroads. No one else is even alleged to have done that. Also, I can’t imagine that the rights to any song on The Complete Recordings costs all that much. Find some more money and buy a damn Robert Johnson song.
Jake: Have we moved on from music boxes to vinyl as the next stage of musical items not to have in your house due to the odds of them being either haunted or demonically possessed? The trailer doesn’t make me think this will be much to write home about, but to Jack’s point above, it at least tangentially hits on what could actually be interesting ground to explore. Cautiously optimistic that a few other ideas in this realm could pop up in the future.
Mark: Not to be confused with Death Note, and also not to be confused with the 30 different songs about selling your soul to the devil at a crossroads. What is going to be the most insulting thing about this movie isn’t the preposterously banal plot or incredibly cheap effects… it’ll be the lack of good blues music.
THE DARK TOWER
08/04/2017 – THEATRICAL
The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim, also known as the Man in Black, determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black.
Jack: Hard to call this horror, but equally hard to call this not awesome. Not too much to say about this one that hasn’t already been said. I will be seeing this.
Jake: Everyone already knows about this movie so I’m just going to comment on the use of Mt. Hood Lodge aka the Overlook Hotel in this trailer. Yes. It’s a Stephen King story. We get it. Should have just made it a picture of Scatman Crothers OR the kid could have been a big Hong Kong Phooey fan or some shit. Make us work for the connective tissue a bit, goddamnit. Where’s Kubrick when you need him?
Mark: I feel like this is narrowly escaping the horrorish cutoff because it’s a Stephen King book. I mean, I guess you also got the devil and a bunch of demon creature things but Idris Elba is badass enough that I don’t think the scare factor is going to be very high in this one. I don’t particularly care, since this movie looks badass, but I’m just laying the cards on the table over here.
08/04/2017 – LIMITED THEATRICAL, VOD
Scraping by flushing septic systems is not Chip’s vision of a perfect life. But he’s a simple guy and he’s got a great girlfriend in Liza. Sure, she supplements their income with a sugar daddy, but every relationship has it’s own complexities. When Liza suggests that they relieve her sleazy benefactor of a stack of cash, Chip begins to see a side of her he never knew existed…or never wanted to admit.
Jack: One of the cue cards in the trailer explains the entirety of this thing: bad people doing fucked up things. That alone doesn’t do much for me, and we’ve seen it before. To excel, this one is going to have to be incredibly charming or well-acted, or probably both. And the trailer makes it seem like it actually could. Might be worth a watch.
Jake: “You let a girl manipulate you into murder and kidnap?!?!?!”… Tale as old as time, my friends.
Mark: I’m not positive about the actual horrorness of this movie. This movie just looks violent and silly. Is that horror? It’s Smokin Aces with less of a plot. Or any of a handful of other kill-a-guy-to-steal-his-money movies. It’s strange… my brain tells me I’ve seen this movie before in a generic sense, but I can’t come up with a similar title to relate it to.
08/04/2017 – LIMITED THEATRICAL
Six college kids who are assigned a group project to rediscover a moment in history decide to head into the backwoods of Georgia to investigate the legend of Emily Burt, aka the Talbot County werewolf.
Jack: Fuck that stupid fucking old-timey phone. Why did you put that in there? Note to prop masters out there: old-timey phones are stupid and we don’t think they’re scary. Stop it. Also, I note a conspicuous lack of werewolves in a movie clearly not afraid to give stuff away in the trailer. That’s concerning.
Jake: Someone out there is going to be mad about how a movie called “Lycan” also referred to its antagonist as a “werewolf”, citing that they are different in many respects and proceed to shit all over this movie. I’m not that guy. I’m just the guy to sit here and say I told you so when it happens. I delegate those tasks.
Mark: What is it with this month and movies that I legitimately can’t tell if they’re well made or dumpster fires. It’s not fair. I feel like I’ve seen most of these actors before, but I can’t really figure out where. Soap operas maybe? Seems likely.
SHARKNADO 5: GLOBAL SWARMING
08/05/2017 – TV: SYFY
With much of America lying in ruins, the rest of the world braces for a global sharknado, Fin and his family must travel around the world to stop them.
Jack: These movies are fun. They know it. This is the platonic ideal of those two things coming together. Not too far in either direction. Yet.
Jake: This is the greatest trailer in the history of moving picture. I love it. I am in love.
Mark: OH MY GOD WE GET IT. Syfy discovered lightning in a campy pop-culture bottle and now they think they can ride it for years. Well, I’m here to say no. No, Syfy. We’re done with Sharknado movies and the incredible puns you attach as subtitles. Dare I say it? You’ve jumped the shark. Haha. See, now I’m cashing in on your bullshit premise. Whatever, at least it’s not uncorked.
CUT SHOOT KILL
08/08/2017 – THEATRICAL, VOD
Serena Brooks, an ambitious young actress, signs on as the star of a horror film with a crew of backwoods filmmakers. When the cast starts disappearing, Serena has to channel her character to survive.
Jack: I’m really glad that the cue cards came up after a while with the actions in the proper order because for a good bit there this was SHOOT, CUT, CUT, KILL BY SHOOTING. Actually though, I’m kind of down for this movie. It looks well put together and has a hell of an original concept. Color me intrigued.
Jake: Five seconds into this trailer, I was convinced I would be blazing right by this one without thinking twice. And then came the turn… This movie actually has a fairly interesting and relatively unique premise. I’m not sure how far those legs will take it, but something about this is telling me it could be better than you expect.
Mark: Hey, at least it has a bitchin soundtrack. I think if you watch this movie, you are morally obligated to do a double feature with Capture, Kill, Release. That way your friends can ask “What’cha up to tonight, bro?” And you can legitimately respond with “Cut Shoot Kill Capture Kill Release.” I’m sure that’s worth a lark. I’m actually strangely excited about this movie in the sense that it’s a low-budget movie that appears to be leagues ahead of its cohort. Perhaps it might even have some witticisms that it cares to share with us pertaining to the slasher genre as a whole?
08/08/2017 – VOD
After the mysterious death of their young son, a couple desperately flees to a remote lake house to escape the unrelenting haunting following them only to discover the mysterious entity is still very much a part of their lives.
Jack: I really hope that it was just the cutting in the trailer, but holy diver, the dialogue, and delivery of every line between anyone and that paranormal expert was astonishingly forced. I don’t hate the concept of this thing, or at least what I think it is based on that trailer, but I’m sure not excited to see it.
Jake: I’m more than half convinced this movie takes place in some sort of purgatory where Neckbeard McGillicutty is confined to a wheelchair for eternity and made to watch as his wife(?) is, though able bodied, wholly incapable of jogging like a regular human being. If this movie isn’t just Groundhog Day but with the above, then this trailer really confused me.
Mark: I don’t really get what’s happening in the opening of this trailer. The son dies so instead of driving to a hospital they just up and bail? I’m pretty positive that isn’t how parenting works. If that scene is indicative of the overall logic that this movie is built around then I’m out. The knowledgeable waitress trope isn’t helping much either.
THREE TEARS ON BLOODSTAINED FLESH
08/08/2017 – DVD
A modern, Midwestern spin on the Giallo about a man with a sordid past who returns to the small town he abandoned to bury his niece. Convinced she was murdered he begins uncovering the town’s dark secrets, racking up a very high body count.
Jack: You know what? For an ultra low budget flick, this looks pretty damn good. Tattooing a eyeball is an interesting interrogation technique. The acting doesn’t look great, but that doesn’t always sink a film.
Jake: Here’s a micro-budget flick that uses the work “fuck” a lot, in case you’re interested.
Mark: This movie appears to have been shelved for at least 5 years before this momentous DVD release. I’m guessing that Uncork’d wasn’t around at the time, but would have definitely produced this movie given the chance. As such, it narrowly escapes the Uncork’d rule, while simultaneously being terrible enough to otherwise qualify for it. Boo this movie. Boo.
08/11/2017 – THEATRICAL
Several years after the tragic death of their little girl, a dollmaker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, soon becoming the target of the dollmaker’s possessed creation, Annabelle.
Jack: This is an unpopular opinion these days, but I didn’t hate the first Annabelle. While it certainly wasn’t the Conjuring, it was a solid modern horror movie with effective scares that used its large budget pretty well. I imagine this will be the same. It won’t be special or truly great, but I have a hard time imagining that it will be bad.
Jake: Get your popcorn ready, because we’ve reached the big money blockbuster segment of the program. We know the deal here so let’s make things a little more interesting. I’m setting the over/under on jump scares for this thing excluding those seen in the trailer at 4.5. Whatdyagot?
Mark: Oh hey, look at that. The movie is so big that they made a diegetic trailer intro. How quaint. Look, this is the juggernaut in the room. I’m almost definitely going to see it, but I’m not particularly excited about it. The first Annabelle was both terrible and provided a sufficient backstory to the doll, so I don’t really get why they think this movie is necessary. Meh, whatever, at least it’ll have some solid jumpscares. Think they’ll tie it in with The Nun?
OPEN WATER 3: CAGE DIVE
08/11/2017 – VOD
Three friends filming an audition tape for an extreme reality show, take part in shark cage diving, only to be left in great white infested waters, turning their recording into life and death.
Jack: Where was that voice over at the beginning of the trailer supposed to have come from? Was that like the recording of the mayor or whatever that plays in New York taxis, but in tropical paradise? For a movie with cage dive right there in the title, that cage seemed to be woefully underused.
Jake: Open Water is not a formula that can be repeated. The original was really solid and a gut punch in a sea of over the top thrillers. The fact that we are on the third entry of this franchise boggles my fucking mind. This is because of Shark Week, I know it. Thanks Obama.
Mark: I lost it when the Row Your Boat cover came in. Are you trying to make a parody of a serious movie trailer? Because I think you may have achieved that goal. I’d like to rag on this franchise for putting out a new film when one wasn’t necessary, but the horror world is in need of a good shark movie and we all know that Sharknado 5 isn’t going to fill that void.
08/11/2017 – VOD
Terror strikes when five teens download a malevolent app that taps into their worst fears to torment them.
Jack: I think we should all take a minute and appreciate how long the iPhone notification sound is going to be with us. Seriously, can you think of a time in the future when kids won’t recognize that sound? I also like that they tried to make it scarier by writing “cell phone application” instead of app. Abbreviated words aren’t scary. Everyone knows that. Someone should have told WTF!.
Jake: This is a marked for death movie that’s playing right into the times with a mobile app taking on the role as the bad guy/horror-bringer. I’m fascinated by horror’s ability as a genre to indicate generational, societal fears and there’s no doubt that technology is going to be a hallmark of 2010’s horror, but this will not be one of those movies we point to as an example.
Mark: That toy race car wasn’t a music box, was it? Because I think I have made my thoughts on music boxes abundantly clear in previous months. Other than that, isn’t this basically just One Missed Call meets The Bye-Bye Man? Are those two movies really the pick of the litter for mashup horror? That’s a rhetorical question. The answer is no.
08/15/2017 – DVD/BLU-RAY
A petty car thief in a small Southern Ohio town gets involved in an underground game of life and death.
Jack: Gotta give them credit for those masks. Those were scary. This concept certainly isn’t anything new, and that trailer doesn’t make it look like it will stand out in the execution, but you never know. This might be one to watch.
Jake: Love the masks. This trailer gives hope that this could actually be a relatively stylish and entertaining game of death style flick. My hopes are by no means up, but I wouldn’t be shocked if it delivered, either. Also, quick shoutout to Union Furnace. What a weird town name. Bravo, Ohio.
Mark: On the one hand, I like Keith David and am curious how they got him to participate in this. On the other I’m a little dubious about his ability to carry a movie as a top billed character. Although this doesn’t look particularly bad, it also doesn’t stand out from the other bland offerings that the month has brought to the table so far. I could see myself watching this, but I can’t really see myself seeking it out.
THE MONSTER PROJECT
08/18/2017 – LIMITED THEATRICAL
A recovering drug addict takes a job with a documentary crew who plans to interview three subjects who claim to be real life monsters.
Jack: When in the timeline did they hire that woman from Craigslist? If it’s earlier, then they should be wayyyy more weirded out by her claiming to be a vampire because they don’t know monsters are real yet. If it’s later, they should be wayyyy more scared of vampires. Something doesn’t add up here.
Jake: Oh god, Mark probably lost his shit for this trailer. And in fairness, I gotta admit I am pleasantly surprised/cautiously optimistic for this one. The effects don’t look half bad. This actually looks like it could be fun.
Mark: Awwwww yeeeeeeeah found footage movie. What’s more is that it’s not your standard haunted movie premise too. It’s like RL Stein Goosebumps level monster found footage. I give it points for being moderately unique, and also a bunch of points because I’m a sucker for found footage. Will this be good? Well, no, decidedly not. Will I still see it? Probably not, but you never know what drunk-me is capable of after downing a bottle of rosé.
FOUND FOOTAGE 3D
08/20/2017* – THEATRICAL
A group of filmmakers sets out to make the first 3D found footage horror movie, but find themselves in a found footage horror movie when the evil entity from their film escapes into their behind-the-scenes footage.
*NOTE: We’ve been unable to confirm this movie is actually going to come out on the 20th but wanted to at least get it on your radar because it looks freaking hilarious. We will go ahead and leave it here and claim zero responsibility if you wake up like it’s Christmas on the 20th only to discover it’s not there for you to get your hands on. If it does come out though, we’ll take all the credit. We like beer and donuts. You can mail either (or both) to us.
Jack: Is it just me, or does this look great? This looks like it nails the line of self-referential but still interesting enough on its own. And apparently produced by Kim Henkel. What the hell has that guy been up to lately anyway?
Jake: Holy shit it’s Mark month up in here. This trailer was fucking awesome until the 1:05 mark and then it did some seriously inexcusable shit. I feel like if you are interested in this based on the first :45, stop and plan to watch it because there appear to be amazingly huge spoilers in this trailer. Also, go in with the expectation that the effects will look like the ass end of a dead mule.
Mark: Darkhorse pick? I like the recent uptick in movies that are providing satirical insight into common horror tropes. The effects look incredibly cheap, but I’m really digging on the sense of humor the trailer brings to the table. These movies ultimately rest on the writing talent (which seems decent from the trailer), and the acting talent (which is a little bit more unclear). The big question is whether or not they keep filming in the third act. Let’s see how they handle that one. Zero points if it’s not mentioned again after that scene. Two points if they provide a throwaway line of dialogue about how they need to keep filming because “the world needs to know.” Ten points if they actually do turn off the camera, and just cut back later when they have resolved the issue and are able to safely retrieve their equipment.
08/22/2017 – DVD
Russel Brody, a one-time successful playwright, works diligently on a follow-up play that could land him back in the spotlight he so dearly craves. Brody reaches his breaking point when the ghost possesses his former mistress, and he’s forced to confront the scorned entity — resulting in a climax of both psychological and physical terror.
Jack: . . . I think there was a shot in there of a woman holding two dripping fetuses over a soup pot. They just tossed that in like it’s just a thing. That did not seem to fit with the rest of the vibe of this thing. Though it did make me slightly more interested in watching it.
Jake: Hahahahaha. Just watch the three seconds starting here. That should give you enough energy to help you get through the rest of this month’s trailers.
Mark: Ahh. This month’s entrant into the “most generically named movie” competition. If you don’t have the understanding of your story well enough to have a more specific name than this, then you probably shouldn’t make your movie. Am I being too harsh? Maybe, but I’m going to into this one expecting it to be incredibly unfocused. On top of that, pause the trailer at 0:30. They use CG to paint on some floorboards. Would it really have been that hard to actually just paint on some floorboards? That has to be one of the easiest effects possible and they opted for CG instead. Not a great omen. Lastly, that lady is definitely double fisting two blatantly fake fetus dolls at 0:44. There’s basically no possible way to spin that into something I am excited to see.
08/25/2017 – THEATRICAL
High school loner Bird Fitcher has no idea what dark secrets are tied to the mysterious Polaroid vintage camera she stumbles upon, but it doesn’t take long to discover that those who have their picture taken meet a tragic end.
Jack: This looks like one of those that could really be creepy if they keep everything else simple enough and don’t try to go too deep on the Polaroid thing. Kind of a less is more situation. If they try to Lazarus Effect it and dive deep on the explanations, then god help us all.
Jake: I like the general idea of using a Polaroid as a tool in a horror movie. It lets you do that creepy camera thing, but with the built-in bonus of added suspense while you wait for a picture to develop. That ambiguity could lead to an intense and creepy romp, but this doesn’t seem to be going that direction at all. Too over the top for me.
Mark: Didn’t we already do this with Camera Obscura? And wasn’t Camera Obscura just a ripoff of that Are You Afraid of the Dark episode with the gremlin camera? And wasn’t that episode a ripoff of a pile of other horror references before that? Admittedly, this at least seems to do it better than the rest, but it’s getting no points for originality. I’m intrigued by this as mindless-but-decent horror in the same vein as Lights Out.
08/25/2017 – NETFLIX
Light Turner, a bright student, stumbles across a mystical notebook that has the power to kill any person whose name he writes in it. Light decides to launch a secret crusade to rid the streets of criminals. Soon, the student-turned-vigilante finds himself pursued by a famous detective known only by the alias L.
Jack: Adam Wingard is an interesting figure these days. I really dug You’re Next and V/H/S, but the Blair Witch was a pile of hot garbage. It’s a bold move for Netflix to pick him to helm their first venture into feature length horror, and the trailer makes it look like it paid the fuck off. Then again, I was also excited for the Blair Witch before it came out . . .
Jake: Please do better than last time, Wingard… On first glance, I’m pretty excited for this one. It definitely has the look and feel of a manga adaptation down, and I’m down with Willem Dafoe voicing a pretty radical looking demon.
Mark: Does Death Note count as horror? Our judges say yes, so I guess we’re rolling with it. Based on this trailer I’m willing to guess that “death” as seen in the Final Destination franchise, and the god of death from this trailer are the same entity. I mean, he even revisits the classic killed-by-being-hit-in-the-head-with-a-ladder trope. That must be his signature move. Look, realistically, this seems more like a taut psychological drama that happens to feature the god of death, but at least the general atmosphere is pretty close to horror. Maybe your kids will be scared? Willem Dafoe does have a particularly creepy voice, so at least it has that going for it.
08/25/2017 – LIMITED THEATRICAL
A young couple goes on an adventurous vacation to Thailand only to find themselves haunted by a malevolent spirit after naively disrespecting a Ghost House.
Jack: I in no way have the cultural knowledge to know how legitimate the ghost house graveyard idea is, but it’s cool and a really unique variation of the disturbing a native burial ground thing. I think these movies are the strongest where the underlying lore is deep, and this feels like it will adhere to that rule. If they had a lot to draw from, I can see this being terrifying, but if they were creating it out of whole cloth, I’m not so sure.
Jake: Haven’t seen too many horror flicks set in Thailand, so at least this has that feather in its cap. The trailer sure does show a lot of the ghost, though. I’d be interested to see if this offers any unique and culturally accurate frights, but I have the feeling we might just be in for a heaping helping of ol’ herky jerky lady.
Mark: Might this ghost house be of the variety that you should be alone in? Ahhh…. Good memories. Can’t we just talk about Alone in a Ghost House again? I’m pretty sure that’s all the people want. As far as this movie goes, well, they can’t all be winners. This is your standard not-good not-bad type horror movie. If I have to watch this as a result of a lost bet I probably won’t be particularly mad about it. That’s the best praise I’m willing to proffer.
THE HOLLOW ONE
08/29/2017 – VOD
While searching for her missing father, an emotionally damaged woman confronts her tragic past and a shadowy figure with sinister intentions.
Jack: So the trailer page says this was due out in 2015. The hell happened there? And why doesn’t she want them telling her mom that she discovered a 3000 year old artifact? This raised many more questions than it answered, but it must have been in a good way because I am interested as hell.
Jake: I’m a little hesitant to get my hopes up for this one actually releasing on the 29th, but it looks like it could be a decently well put together flick. I’m interested to see what road the film chooses when connecting the Crazies-style zombifications to the prehistoric artifacts that are discovered. Call me cautiously optimistic.
Mark: I earnestly cannot tell what this movie is. Low budget zombie flick? Arthouse hidden family secrets slasher? Music video for an oddly complex piano backing piece? I don’t think I’ve ever been more befuddled, dare I say nonplussed, by a trailer. This simultaneously looks horrible and awesome at the same time, and god help me I’m actually intrigued.
THE EVIL IN US
08/29/2017 – VOD / DVD
While on a fourth of July holiday, six best friends fall victim to the insidious plan of a mysterious organization when they are unknowingly transformed into bloodthirsty cannibals.
Jack: So it didn’t really take long for Jeff Sessions’s plan to bring back the D.A.R.E. campaign to take effect huh? I will say that if they had told us as kids that this is what drugs do, I dare say they would be less prevalent than they are.
Jake: Bath salts… Not even once.
Mark: Not to be confused with The Evil Within, which appears to be completely unlike this movie. Is this movie really about cocaine that turns you into a zombie? Isn’t that just bath salts? The news told me it was bath salts that did that, not cocaine.
TOP 1 / BOTTOM 1
Jack: Annabelle: Creation – Unlike Mark, I liked the first Annabelle, and this just looks all around solid. Is it groundbreaking in any way? No, but movies can just be fun sometimes.
Jake: Death Note – Willem Defoe as a radical looking demon.
Mark: The Hollow One – I will probably regret this, but this trailer makes me almost too curious to pass this one up. I’ll readily admit there are safer movies to pick this month.
Jack: Among Us – The dialog and acting in every scene involving the waitress / paranormal expert is so astonishingly bad that I can’t move past it.
Jake: Lycan – Not one thing excites me about this and the effects don’t look like much to write home about. Just see wolves in that trailer & there is the little thing about how werewolves and lycans aren’t the same thing but this movie doesn’t know it.
Mark: August – Can I just choose the whole month? This is a month of quantity over quality, and it’s frankly difficult to separate any movie from the gigantic pack that is the bottom 1. Push comes to shove I’ll give it to Three Tears on Bloodstained Flesh because not only does it look abysmal, but also because the trailer is unforgivably long.