Ricky D’s 20 Most Anticipated Horror Films of 2014

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In case it isn’t obvious, I’m a pretty big fan of the horror genre, and so I wanted to spotlight some of my most anticipated horror films of 2014. Between the big studio releases and the crop of independent features from some of our favourite directors, 2014 looks to be a great year.

Note: I am not including such movies as Big Bad Wolves or Cheap Thrills, or any other film I had the pleasure of watching at a film festival in 2013. For those, you should check out my list of favourite horror films of 2013. I am also not including Godzilla, since it appears on our list of most anticipated sci-fi films.

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Special Mention: Cold in July
Directed by Jim Mickle
Written by Nick Damici
USA
Release date: TBA

Based on the novel by cult author Joe R. Lansdale, Cold In July will make it’s premiere this January at the Sundance Film Festival, and is the latest from director Jim Mickle who follows up the zombie-rat movie, Mulberry Street, the bleak vampire hit Stake Land and the American remake of We Are What We Are. The film is co-written by Mickle’s regular co-scribe, Nick Damici, and stars Michael C. Hall (Dexter) in the story of two men pitted against each other in a revenge plot, who uncover a much darker truth. Based on Mickle’s track record, we can only expect great things. Since the novel plays out like a thriller, we assume Mickle will move away from the horror genre this time around … but I felt it deserved a special mention.

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20. Horns
Directed by Alexandre Aja
Written by Keith Bunin
USA / Canada
Release date: TBA

French director Alexandre Aja (Haute Tension, Piranha 3D) is back with an adaptation of Joe Hill’s (Stephen King’s son) 2010 novel about a man accused of raping and murdering his girlfriend, who then wakes up sporting a set of horns, which give him the power to divine people’s innermost secrets. Truth be told, our very own Diana Drumm gave the film a rather negative review when it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival calling it, “a morbid and miserable supernatural love story with R-rated special effects”; However Aja hasn’t let me down yet, and every one of his films seems to have critics divided. I’d like to form my own opinion, and until then, it is one of my most anticipated horror films of this year.

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19. Cooties
Directed by Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion
Written by Ian Brennan and Leigh Whannell
USA
Release date: TBA

Making its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival later this month, Cooties is co-written by Saw and Insidious writer Leigh Whannell, and stars Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill, Jack McBrayer and Nasim Pedrad. The brief IMDB description reads: “A mysterious virus hits an isolated elementary school, transforming the kids into a feral swarm of mass savages. An unlikely hero must lead a motley band of teachers in the fight of their lives.” Personally, I’d pay to see any film with such an outrageous premise.

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18. Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead
Directed by Tommy Wirkola
Written by Vegar Hoel and Tommy Wirkola
Norway
Release date: TBA

Tommy Wirkola’s 2008 hit Dead Snow had gore hounds cheering over the comic mayhem and picturesque blood splatter between a group of medical students and a battalion of undead, Nazi soldiers. Now he’s back with a sequel, Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead, and as the trailer suggests, we’re picking up right where we left off; Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead wastes no time getting right to the gore-filled action, leaving a bloody trail of blood on the white virgin snow. The film is scheduled to premiere at Sundance this month, and hopefully will hit other festivals and VOD later in the year.

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17. Knights of Badassdom
Directed by Joe Lynch
Written by Matt Wall and Kevin Dreyfuss
Release Date: Jan 21st 

It’s been two years since the first Knights of Badassdom trailer debuted with an impressive presentation at Comic-Con back in 2011. But horror fans who were eagerly anticipating the genre-bending feature by Joe Lynch won’t have to wait much longer. After years of post-production battles, the movie is finally getting a release both in limited theatrical and VOD outlets. The bad news is, fans will not be seeing director Lynch’s original cut of the film but instead the producer’s cut instead. Hopefully this new cut won’t eliminate any of the fun seen in the original teaser. The film which follows a group of live action role-players who accidentally summon a succubus demon from the underworld, stars Ryan Kwanten (True Blood), Peter Dinklage (Game Of Thrones), Summer Glau (Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles) & Steve Zahn (Joyride).

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16. Willow Creek
Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait
Written by Bobcat Goldthwait
USA
Release date: TBA

Who would’ve predicted that comedian Bobcat Goldthwait – a man who became famous as the ridiculous Zed in the Police Academy series – would go on to become a successful director in the art of the black comedy. Truthfully, I am not fan of any of the films he’s directed, but I am a fan of found footage horror, and based on what I’ve heard, Willow Creek is a fun addition to the sub-genre. Detouring from his dark, biting comedy films (Shakes the Clown, World’s Greatest Dad, God Bless America) and high-profile TV direction gigs, Goldthwait takes a shot at the Blair Witch School of mock/doc filmmaking with Willow Creek, about a young couple who venture into the woods in search of Bigfoot, and along the way, make a terrifying discovery. The film received mostly positive reviews when it premiered at the Fantasia Film Festival last July, with critics calling it a shocking mix of comedy and horror, and a proper cinematic feature that such a legendary creature deserves.

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15. Wolf Creek 2
Directed by Greg Mclean
Written by Aaron Sterns and Greg Mclean
Australia
Release Date: February 20th (Australia)

Mick Taylor is up to his old, sadistic tricks again: Greg Mclean’s sequel to his infamous 2005 Wolf Creek, has been in the works for a couple of years now, but after making its premiere at the annual Venice Film Festival this past September, the sequel has an official Australian release date. The original is an effective and thoroughly tense survival horror film, and despite the obvious influences of the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes, it has found a loyal cult following over the years. With Mclean once again behind the camera and penning the screenplay, we expect Wolf Creek 2 to be just as great, if not better than it’s predecessor. Australian horror entries rarely disappoint; from The Loved Ones to Wake In Fright and everything in between. Mark your calendars now.

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14. Tusk
Directed by Kevin Smith
Written by Kevin Smith
USA
Release date: TBA

Kevin Smith recently wrapped production on his latest film Tusk, another horror film which was picked up by A24 for distribution and will be released in late in 2014. The film follows the bizarre story of a podcast host (Justin Long) held captive by a man (Michael Parks) who has plans to turn him into a half-man, half-walrus like creature. Teddy (Haley Joel Osment), the co-host of Long’s character, then goes on a search for him in the backwoods of Canada along with his girlfriend Allison (Genesis Rodriguez). I’m not a fan of Kevin Smith the filmmaker, but Red State is one of the two films he’s made, that I actually like. Considering he is returning to the horror genre – and considering it takes place in Canada – and considering the wacky premise – Tusk has peeked my curiosity.

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13. The Green Inferno
Directed by Eli Roth
Written by Guillermo Amoedo and Eli Roth
USA
Release date: September 5

The Green Inferno marks Eli Roth’s return to the horror genre in the form of cannibal exploitation cinema. I’m not a huge fan of the director, but I’m curious to see why some critics love it, and others downright hate it. Our very own John McEntee reviewed the film when it premiered at TIFF and wrote, The Green Inferno proves Eli Roth needs some new blood in his ideas and in his executions”. Meanwhile Scott Weinberg of Fear.net wrote, “it works as both a gut-punch horror film and a distressingly downbeat adventure story”. But my number one reason to see The Green Inferno, is to see how and what Roth could do while shooting on location in the remote Amazonian rainforest along the Aguirre River.

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12. The Town that Dreaded Sundown
Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
Written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
USA
Release date: TBA

Scream Factory just gave the 1976 original cult classic a proper Blu-Ray release, just in time for producers Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story) and Jason Blum to remake the film. The original is based on a series of actual murders attributed to a man dubbed locally as the Phantom Killer, who murdered five people between February and May 1946. The upcoming release was reportedly made “low-budget” to keep the same cinéma vérité as Charles B. Pierce’s film. This is a remake I can get behind since the original is plainly dated and suffers from its miniscule budget. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, who’s best known for directing some of the best episodes of American Horror Story helms the project. It will be interesting to see if The Phantom Killer will continue to wear his mask, which is nothing more than a potato sack with one eyehole. Here’s a quick synopsis: “65 years after a masked serial killer terrorized the small town of Texarkana, the so-called ‘moonlight murders’ begin again. Is it a copycat or something even more sinister? A lonely high school girl, with dark secrets of her own, may be the key to catching him.”  

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11. The Quiet Ones

Directed by John Pogue
Written by Craig Rosenberg and Oren Moverman
USA
Release date: April 25 

John Pogue directs this supernatural thriller which is loosely based on the supposed true story of an unorthodox professor who claims that by using controversial methods, he and his students were able to create a poltergeist. The film comes from Hammer Studios, and given the company’s track record, any new Hammer horror release is worth checking out.

 

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