The Upcoming Horror Movies of Fall 2017

These are the 19 horror movies hitting screens over the next three months.

2017 had already been a great year for horror films before the month began, but Stephen King’s IT has upped the ante both critically and at the box-office. The film’s a fantastic opener for the fall season’s remaining horror titles, and while the odds are slim that any of them will match its blockbuster haul we’re hoping that more than a few of them can equal its scares, thrills, and chills.

The next few months see a wide variety of horrors heading our way from slashers to creature features, from sequels to remakes, and from the hotly anticipated to the one directed by a convicted pedophile. Some are hitting theaters while others are premiering on VOD, and all are coming our way from September through November.

Keep reading for a look at the remaining horror movies of fall 2017.


mother!

Synopsis: “A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.”

The jury’s still out on Darren Aronofsky’s latest with reactions after its TIFF premiere ranging from high praise to utter disdain, but everyone seems to agree that it’s a beautifully-made spectacle. Its A-list cast — including Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ed Harris, and Javier Bardem — along with eye-catching marketing promise an initial audience for opening weekend, but it’s anyone’s guess after that. I’ll admit to being curiously uninterested in this one due mostly to that very marketing. Rosemary’s Baby is not my cup of genre tea, and if mother! apes it in some way it seems destined to leave me cold. I much prefer being pleasantly surprised to being disappointed, though, so hopefully that won’t be the case.

Release date: 9/15


Friend Request

Synopsis: “A popular college student graciously accepts a social outcast’s online friend request, but soon finds herself fighting a demonic presence that wants to make her lonely by killing her closest friends.”

This… does not look good. It does, however, look like a successful knock-off of bland studio horror films of the past decade. The premise has actually already been done before with slight tweaks in 2014’s Unfriended, so the trick will be seeing what this one does different. The glimmer of hope here is that the film’s R-rating suggests it’s interested in more than just the usual teenage audience, but I’m guessing it’s a pretty faint glimmer.

Release date: 9/22


Happy Hunting

Synopsis: “An alcoholic drifter must battle withdrawal and psychotic rednecks after he becomes the target of a deranged sporting event.”

Premise-wise this looks to be a low-budget riff on The Most Dangerous Game meets The Purge, and while the former has seen seemingly hundreds of variations over the years it remains an appealing story line. Who doesn’t like a good underdog tale? And adding the twist of a whole town full of armed hicks means we should get a ton of satisfying kills once our hero starts fighting back.

Release date: 9/22


The Houses October Built 2

Synopsis: “Recovering from the trauma of being kidnapped last Halloween by the Blue Skeleton – a group who take ‘extreme haunt’ to another level – five friends decide they must face their fears in order to move on. Heading back out on the road to visit more haunted house attractions, signs of the Blue Skeleton start appearing again and a new terror begins.”

When it comes to found footage films the math works out that you get one truly good one for every thirty seven bad, and 2014’s The Houses October Built was one of those rare exceptions. It committed several of the format’s common sins, but it delivered enough creepiness and unsettling scenes to make up for it. The follow-up, sadly, does no such thing. It’s devoid of scares, and while the third act features some fun turns they come too late to save the rest.

Release date: 9/22


Welcome to Willits

Synopsis: “Deep in the Northern California woods, in the heart of the notorious Emerald Triangle, lies a remote cabin. The residents struggle to fight off the repeated attacks and abductions by mysterious creatures that have plagued them for years. When a local pot farmer is caught up with a wayward group of campers the situation quickly escalates into total carnage.”

Horror/comedies are always a risky proposition as tone can be a real bitch to maintain in between punchlines and beheadings. This one has potential as it looks to mix aliens, creatures, Dolph Lundgren, and good old-fashioned backwoods slaughter in with the laughs, and if enough of those elements work the end result could be good fun.

Release date: 9/22


Jeepers Creepers III

Synopsis: “Sergeant Tubbs assembles a task force hellbent on destroying The Creeper.”

Look, the first Jeepers Creepers is a fun little monster movie, and 2003’s second film also made money, so a third seemed inevitable, but there’s a reason this long-overdue sequel is hitting theaters for “one day only” and then getting the hell out of Dodge. Writer/director Victor Salva molested the lead child actor of his 1989 feature, Clownhouse, and while he was convicted and served his sentence before returning to Hollywood to direct 1995’s Powder — thanks Disney! — many genre fans aren’t interested in lining his pockets with their cash. You’ll need to draw your own line on this one.

Release date: 9/26


Don’t Sleep

Synopsis: “After moving into a cottage together, two young lovers confront the horrors of a forgotten childhood.”

Young couple, new home, old terrors… the setup is familiar, but that doesn’t automatically mean it’s going to be bad. Watching the trailer, though, doesn’t exactly instill confidence that it will stand out from the pack. The cast is equally confusing as Cary Elwes, Jill Hennessy, and Alex Rocco are generally appealing onscreen presences, and yet something still feels off.

Release date: 9/29


Flatliners

Synopsis: “Five medical students, obsessed by what lies beyond the confines of life, embark on a daring experiment: by stopping their hearts for short periods, each triggers a near-death experience – giving them a firsthand account of the afterlife.”

I’m a fan of Joel Schumacher’s 1990 original for both its cast — Julia Robert, Oliver Platt, Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon — and its fun thrills around the ideas of past sins coming back to haunt you. This remake looks to carry over the same themes, but am I wrong for not being equally excited by this cast? Ellen Page, Diego Luna, and Kiersey Clemons are all solid, but none of them pop the way that earlier cast did. Sony hasn’t had the best luck with remakes — Total Recall, RoboCop — but hopefully this one can deliver real thrills without getting lost in typical cg-heavy bs.

Release date: 9/29


Gerald’s Game

Synopsis: “While trying to spice up their marriage in their remote lake house, Jessie must fight to survive when her husband dies unexpectedly, leaving her handcuffed to their bed frame.”

I’m not the biggest fan of Stephen King’s novel, but it’s one I’ve felt compelled to re-read with more mature eyes. Mike Flanagan’s upcoming adaptation may be the thing that pushes me towards doing just that as he’s quickly become a filmmaker capable of real surprise — a prequel to a bland studio horror film about a board game should have been hot garbage, but Flanagan turned it into one of last year’s best horror films. He’s paired here with the always terrific onscreen talents of Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood meaning that this Netflix film could very well be a real treat.

Release date: 9/29


Cult of Chucky

Synopsis: “Chucky returns to terrorize his human victim, Nica. Meanwhile, the killer doll has some scores to settle with his old enemies, with the help of his former wife.”

This franchise is almost thirty years old, and the effects that bring little Chucky to life just keep getting better. I still think I could take the little shit, but the films have been pretty steady in delivering at least a minimum of fun thrills highlighted by stellar voice work from the great Brad Dourif. The latest entry brings Jennifer Tilly and Alex Vincent back too for a tale set in a mental hospital, and the only thing crazier than a homicidal doll is a homicidal doll killing crazy people.

Release date: 10/3


Better Watch Out

Better Watch Out

Synopsis: “On a quiet suburban street, a babysitter must defend a twelve-year-old boy from intruders, only to discover it’s far from a normal home invasion.”

Along with Tragedy Girls below, Chris Peckover’s (Undocumented) film sits among my favorites of the year as one of the best horror/comedies in recent memory. It’s smart, brutal, clever, and wickedly funny, and I’m excited to see it a third time. You’ll notice I haven’t included the trailer above — there is one out there, but it gives a bit too much away to the point of robbing viewers of certain charms, so I’m recommending you don’t seek it out if you’re already interested in seeing the film. If you like slashers, home invasion movies, and/or holiday horror you should damn well be interested in seeing this film.

Release date: 10/6


Cold Moon

Synopsis: “From the Writer of Beetlejuice & The Nightmare Before Christmas… A Chilling Tale of Supernatural Vengeance”

This one has potential starting with Michael McDowell’s (Tales from the Darkside: The Movie) source material and extending on through a cast that includes Christopher Lloyd, Frank Whaley, Candy Clark, and… Tommy Wiseau? The story looks to be a mix of small town secrets and ghostly vengeance, both things that I love in my atmospheric horror, so color me cautiously optimistic on this one.

Release date: 10/6


The Crucifixion

Synopsis: “When Nicole comes in contact with Father Anton (Corneliu Ulici) more and more inexplicable events occur. The pair begin to believe that the priest lost the battle with a demon.”

Religious horror films too often follow a pretty bland formula, and story wise this one looks no different. It does, however, look attractively shot which alone lifts it above the fray. Director Xavier Gens (Hitman) crafts visually appealing films, and hopefully that’s enough to keep this one engaging through its “true” story turns.

Release date: 10/6


Happy Death Day

Synopsis: “A college student relives the day of her murder with both its unexceptional details and terrifying end until she discovers her killer’s identity.”

Well doesn’t this look like a refreshingly fun slice of horror? That says a lot for a movie that appears to simply be mixing a slasher with Groundhog Day, but the nifty premise offers a strong base on which to build something original. Director Christopher Landon (Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse) may not have the strongest track record, but the trailer oozes slick slasher fun that has me ready to live out this day at least once.

Release date: 10/13


Leatherface

Synopsis: “A teenage Leatherface escapes from a mental hospital with three other inmates, kidnapping a young nurse and taking her on a road trip from hell while being pursued by an equally deranged lawman out for revenge.”

2007’s Inside remains a brutally effective horror film despite its numerous lapses in logic, but while other French directors in the nation’s “new horror wave” came quickly to America Alexandre Bustillo & Julien Maury struggled to make the transition. They made two more homegrown horrors (Livid, Among the Living) but have finally arrived with the English-language debut. I’m not one for seeing slasher icon’s explained via prequels, but this looks like it might scratch an itch for those of us interested in bloody, gruesome, energetic horror movies.

Release date: 10/20


Tragedy Girls

Synopsis:Tragedy Girls, a twist on the slasher genre following two death-obsessed teenage girls who use their online show about real-life tragedies to send their small mid-western town into a frenzy and cement their legacy as modern horror legends.”

My love for this one is well-documented as I’ve been singing its praises since its SXSW premiere. Part Scream, part Heathers, but wholly its own creation, this is a slasher/comedy made by fans for fans. It’s overflowing as much in wit as it is in blood, and it refuses to go where you think it will at almost every turn.

Release date: 10/20


Creep

Creep 2

Synopsis: “A video artist looking for work drives to a remote house in the forest to meet a man claiming to be a serial killer. But after agreeing to spend the day with him, she soon realizes that she made a deadly mistake.”

There’s no trailer yet for this one — hence the still from the first film above — but it’s one I won’t need to watch in advance of seeing the sequel itself. The original is a wonderfully creepy and funny found footage success, and with director/co-writer Patrick Brice and star Mark Duplass both returning I’m already in the bag. That said, I’m hoping the premise above is fleshed out some because a woman heading to a remote house to meet a serial killer reads like pure comedy.

Release date: 10/24


Jigsaw

Synopsis: “Bodies are turning up around the city, each having met a uniquely gruesome demise. As the investigation proceeds, evidence points to one man: John Kramer. But how can this be? The man known as Jigsaw has been dead for over a decade.”

I stopped watching the Saw films three entries into the franchise, but I’m thinking I should catch up before the eighth film hits theaters. The big draw for me isn’t the story though, it’s the directors — Michael & Peter Spierig. Daybreakers and Predestination are both terrific genre hybrids that look fantastic, so I’m excited to see what the brothers can do for a franchise not of their own creation.

Release date: 10/27


Polaroid

Synopsis: “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.”

Look, I know this one technically opens in December, but it’s so close and there aren’t even any horror titles in November that I’m calling an audible and allowing it. (Did I use that sport ball reference correctly?) The film itself looks on the surface like any number of PG-13 studio releases designed to make money on opening weekend from gullible teens and then be forgotten, but am I wrong in thinking the trailer doesn’t look terrible? A bit generic maybe, but some of the beats seem fun. We’ll find out together the day after November ends.

Release date: 12/1