Several low-budget horror movies have gone on to reap big-budget profits at theaters this summer, and some new frightening releases up ahead could potentially generate similarly strong box office performances. Here’s the rundown of summer titles keeping viewers on the edge of their seats and producers’ pockets full.
The Conjuring (July 19)
Directed by James Wan (Saw, Insidious), this thriller is based on real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren and stars Patrick Wilson (Insidious) and Vera Farmiga (Orphan, Bates Motel). The Warrens are most-widely known for their involvement in the Amityville hauntings, a story that has inspired several films, including The Amityville Haunting (available on HitBliss). Wan’s use of silence, sound and long takes is expertly tailored to generating chills without relying on gore. The Conjuring also boasts a strong script, written by the Hayes twins who wrote House of Wax.
The Purge (June 7)
Those who have yet to see The Purge have likely heard of its premise – a sign that its unique storyline has generated buzz. In the world of the film, crime is at an all-time low thanks to an annual 12-hour grace period known as the Purge when any crime can be committed without punishment. As a family puts their house on lockdown in order to wait out the hours of violence, a stranger knocks on their down which begins a cycle of chaos that reveals lingering resentment and hate. The film offers an interesting take on criminal impulses.
World War Z (June 21)
Inspired by a Max Brooks novel of the same name, World War Z follows a former United Nations investigator who is recruited to stop a zombie-like pandemic from wiping out the human race. Brad Pitt stars in the lead role and also served as a producer. There is no lack of zombie thrillers to choose from, but World War Z stands out as an entry is a convincing action-thriller while featuring compelling emotional performances.
You’re Next (August 23)
This weekend, the next entry of horror films hits theaters, including You’re Next, which features an entertaining blend of dark humor and gore. Rolling Stone commends director Adam Wingard for his “fresh take” on the home invasion plot. A family gathered together for a reunion is attacked by a group of masked invaders, the standard foundation for this type of thriller, until an unexpected twist emerges. Reviewers praise the smart script, admiring the film for its appeal to fans and critics.
Devil’s Pass (August 23)
Devil’s Pass is a fictional found footage film a lá Blair Witch Project. A group of college students plan to investigate the mysterious deaths of Russian hikers at Dylatov Pass a few decades earlier. Unfortunately their trek is plagued by the same mysterious forces that attacked before. The New York Times says, “Whether the audience is laughing or gasping, “Devil’s Pass” is ideal midnight-movie material.”
Available on Video-On-Demand (all of the below titles are available on HitBliss)
Detention of the Dead (June 28)
Detention of the Dead is a Breakfast Club-style horror movie that brings thrills and comedy together. The ensemble cast includes Jacob Zahar (Rusty Cartwright from Greek), Alexa Nikolas, Christa Allen (Charlotte Grayson from Revenge), and Jayson Blair (Clay Clemmons from The New Normal). The plot focuses on a group of high school students in detention battling their classmates who have turned into zombies.
Beneath (July 16)
Beneath pays homage to many horror films that have come before, including Jaws, Friday the 13th and the more recent Piranha 3D. A group of teens get caught out on a lake where a killer fish looms. In the hours they are trapped, the darkness within themselves begins to emerge as well. The movie is co-produced by Paramount Classics and MTV Films.
No One Lives (August 20)
The title of this movie is upheld in the plot, as No One Lives is a tense thriller where everyone’s lives are at stake. Director Ryuhei Kitamura first gained attention with 2008’s Midnight Meat Train starring Bradley Cooper. His newest movie follows a killer (Luke Evans) who indulges in elaborate killings, turning the film into a true slasher flick. The plot is one familiar to horror enthusiasts, but the execution brings new entertainment to the mix.
Lords of Salem (September 3)
The famed Rob Zombie directs Lords of Salem, which also stars his wife Sheri Moon Zombie in the lead role. Tess Lynch of Grantland notes that this was a passion project for Zombie, who called this film his biggest yet. The story focuses on a DJ in Salem, Massachusetts, who receives a mysterious record that appears to unearth some of the town’s dark past.
What is your favorite horror film from this summer?
Photo credit: davecobb