Spring Movie Preview 2011: Horror

All but one of the spring’s five horror films comes out in April. April has sort of become the October of the spring, perhaps because the two are six months apart. Last year the focal point was on the release of the remake of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and that was it. Now we have three horror films and one comedy. You can thank “Paranormal Activity” for a lot of this as well.

5. Dylan Dog: Dead of Night  (Apr. 29)

Directed by Kevin Munroe
Written by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer, Tiziano Sclavi (comics)
Starring: Brandon Routh, Peter Stormare, Sam Huntington, Taye Diggs

The Word: Do you like your horror with a big heaping side of cheese? That’s what “Dylan Dog,” based on the Italian comic, is all about. Brandon Routh has fallen far from his turn as “Superman,” but he’s seemed to find a bit of a cult following with his role as the super-powered vegan ex-boyfriend in “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” and now this starring part. Created in the ’80s, this comic has a big overseas following despite a very Hollywood feel because of the rise of vampire, werewolf and zombie films across the board. Dog is a paranormal investigator who tries to keep order in a world with zombies, vampire and werewolves vying to rule the world.

My Thoughts: Talk about the monster mash of horror comedies. This film appeals to a very specific segment of the moviegoing population for sure and strikes me as the kind of film that will do very well on DVD. Expect a very small window of release on this film and pray you’ll be lucky enough (if it’s up your alley) to get it in a theater near you. Just in time for this post, Apple has released a new high-quality trailer. Dylan Dog: Dead of Night Trailer.

4. Apollo 18 (Apr. 22)

Directed by Gonzalo López-Gallego
Written by Brian Miller, Cory Goodman

The Word: Wait a minute, weren’t there only 17 Apollo missions? Exactly. That’s the beginning of this pitch-perfect premise for “Apollo 18,” another found-footage style horror film and the first of two films on this list to exist thanks to “Paranormal Activity.” The film operates on the notion that there was an 18th mission to the moon that no one wants us to know about because, well, there was some freaky stuff that happened. The cast is nameless and Spanish director Gonzalo López-Gallego makes his Hollywood film debut.

My Thoughts: The Weinstein Co., which will distribute, reportedly wants us to believe that this movie is just the tapes from this previously buried mission and not a movie that was created. I guess they think the public can be pretty stupid. They might be right. Either way, “Apollo 18” will be the last April horror film released so it will have to be quite the little gem in order to win a significant audience. Who knows, it could be. Apollo 18 Trailer.

3. Red Riding Hood  (Mar. 11)

Directed by Catherine Hardwicke
Written by  David Johnson
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Max Irons, Gary Oldman, Shiloh Fernandez

The Word: Original “Twilight” director Catherine Hardwicke takes aim at another tween film with werewolves at the focus and Amanda Seyfried on the posters, an actress that age group is quite fond of. The “Little Red Riding Hood” tale gets a dark romantic twist (and werewolves instead of just one bad wolf). Seyfried plays Valerie (?), who loves an outsider (Fernandez) but is told she must marry another man (a love triangle of course). Meanwhile, her village has had an uneasy relationship with a wolf for quite some time and it’s taken the life of her sister as its first human kill. The village hires infamous hunter Solomon (Gary Oldman) to track the beast, and he learns it is in fact a werewolf and could be any one of them.

My Thoughts: This film embodies two trends: one ripping through Hollywood right now and one about to within the next two years. The first would be teen romance mixed with classical monsters as spurred by “Twilight.” The second would be darker takes on classic fairytales. “Red Riding Hood” is a huge litmus test for studios making these films, though it does skew a bit too female to be ripe with box-office potential. Either way, if this premise interests you, Hollywood has a lot to offer you between now and the end of 2012. If not, start rooting for this film to tank. Red Riding Hood Trailer.

2. Insidious (Apr. 1)

Directed by James Wan
Written by Leigh Whannell
Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Barbara Hershey

The Word: From the creator of “Saw” and the producers of “Paranormal Activity.” Yup, that’s got your attention, doesn’t it? James Wan (“Saw,” “Dead Silence”) directs this film that I would say combines “Paranormal Activity,” “Poltergeist” and “The Omen.” Wilson and Byrne play a couple whose son has an accident that puts him in some kind of coma. When they return home from the hospital, paranormal occurrences begin and the couple begins to see things in the house. At first they blame the house, but the son could be the problem.

My Thoughts: Usually a more produced horror film with a budget for name actors would seem like a total step down from a “Paranormal Activity,” but Wan might have done it one better. There’s a lot of familiar horror goodness like creepy children and haunted houses and Wilson and Byrne are superb actors who could lend this gimmicky film clearly meant to capitalize on a horror trend some unexpected gravitas. Insidious Trailer.

1. Scream 4 (Apr. 15)

Directed by Wes Craven
Written by Kevin Williamson
Starring: David Arquette, Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, Emma Roberts

The Word: Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson re-team after 11 years (or 14 if you take into account that Williamson didn’t write the third film) to bring the “Scream” series back to the big screen and with the original cast (at least those who weren’t killed off in the firs three). Horror nostalgists will have a hard time not going straight to the theater on Friday evening April 15 to see this reunion for a horror franchise that single-handedly revitalized the slasher genre and changed the face of horror films permanently. The premise for the new take is that the town of Woodsboro is recognizing the ten-year anniversary of the original killings and Sidney is back in town for it, only it seems a copycat killer has taken on Ghostface’s identity.

My Thoughts: Among the things I don’t like is that rather than let “Scream 4” be a reunion of sorts, the film has cast actresses Hayden Panettiere and Emma Roberts, two young starlets who will likely carry the torch for a fifth and sixth film. When the first trailer debuted, it looked like a dash of satire on the slasher genre, the evolution of horror films and self-exposure through the Internet would play a (limited) role in the film. The second trailer shows that’s a huge chunk of this story and that the new killer is presumably making his/her own horror film out of love for the original “Scream” and zillions others that Panettiere spouts off in the trailer. What seemed clever now looks over-the-top. We shall see what wins out on Apr. 15. Scream 4 Trailer.



You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment