With horror still proving to be an easy win for most film studios (small budgets, big profits), the genre has become overpopulated with more inferior cash grabs than ever before. But aside from the many many sequels that are on the way (Paranormal Activity 5, Insidious 3, Sinister 2), there's also some potential greatness on the horizon, that's if you're a fan of sleeping with a night light on.
Here are the eight upcoming scary movies we're most excited about:
In the wrong hands, this genius concept could have been transformed into a tired mid-00s J-Horror but thanks to its lo-fi credentials, It Follows remains a coolly different proposition. The plot is brilliantly simple: there's a murderous sexually transmitted curse that's plaguing a Michigan teen and the only way to get rid of it is to have sex with someone else. We've already been lucky enough to see this one and it's a stylish and inventive treat for horror fans, delivering memorably haunting imagery, a fun throwback tone and the perhaps worrying potential for a sequel. But before the formula inevitably gets old (sex, death, sex, death etc), enjoy this untainted original. You can see the scary new trailer here and even attend a special screening at our upcoming film club.
Release date: February 27
It's being pushed as "a new genre of horror", which any real horror fan will know to be a slight lie since similarly structured cyber-chillers Open Windows and The Den have already been there, but to the casual scary movie buff, there'll be something rather shiny about the gimmick on display here. Said gimmick relies on all of the action taking place on a computer screen. If it sounds rather convoluted then, yes, it can be but if it's combined with some narrative ingenuity, it can be a rather skillful way of building suspense. The story here sees a girl commit suicide after an embarrassing video goes viral and the kids involved find themselves in a deadly Skype conversation, one year on. Yes, we know how that sounds but the film premiered last summer at the Fantasia Festival to surprising critical acclaim, You can see the effective trailer here.
Release date: May 1
Remember when the new movie from twist weaver M Night Shyamalan was a fairly big event? It was a time before Lady in the Water, The Happening, The Last Airbender and After Earth, arguably the worst run from any director in recent memory. So how can we trust someone whose recent Rotten Tomatoes average is a lowly 14%? We're going out on a limb here but we think 2015 might be a comeback year for Shyamalan. He's the exec producer of mysterious new show Wayward Pines, starring Matt Dillon, Juliette Lewis and Terrence Howard, and he's teamed up with Midas-touched producer Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Sinister, The Purge) for a low-budget horror about two kids who find out a terrifying secret about their grandparents. Last chance though yeah.
Release date: September 11
After playing around with giant robots, giant monsters and a giant budget in the intermittently fun but ultimately disappointing Pacific Rim, Guillermo del Toro is back to what he knows with his next picture. The gothic horror Crimson Peak sees the director head to the north of England for a period ghost story about a young woman, played by the reliably excellent Mia Wasikowska, who discovers that her new husband, played by fangirl favourite Tom Hiddleston, is not what he seems. A supporting cast that includes Jessica Chastain, a Comic-Con trailer that impressed the geeks and a tone that del Toro has compared to The Shining and The Haunting has us counting the days until this one.
Release date: October 16
Found footage horror has become a repetitive and lazily used subgenre, thanks in part to the increasingly tired Paranormal Activity franchise and a deluge of cheaply made and ineffective DTV shockers. So we're excited by the sound of Creep, which was shown at last year's SXSW to a host of enthusiastic reviews. It stars the versatile Mark Duplass as a man who places an ad looking for someone to film him for a day. He gets a plucky young applicant who soon discovers that all is not quite as it seems. We've heard that the film boasts a tone that veers from hilarity to outright terror with most critics remaining admirably tight-lipped on just what horror awaits our unlucky cameraman.
Release date: TBC
Given the fact that over 200 films are being shown at this year's Sundance Film Festival, it's often difficult to make a mark, especially if, like many, your film has no recognisable names involved. Pats on the back then should be aimed at director Robert Eggers whose 17th Century chiller The Witch has emerged as one of the festival's genuine success stories. The film follows a Puritan family as they deal with the devastating abduction of their baby by, you guessed it, a witch. Early reviews suggest its a case of mood and atmosphere over straight up scares but most agree that it has a lasting nightmarish effect
Release date: TBC
The Final Girls
The slasher movie has proved to be a difficult sell with audiences over the past few years with Sorority Row, My Soul to Take and even the much fêted Scream 4 all failing at the box office. Hoping to inject some fun back into the subgenre, this comic spin has an outlandish yet appealing concept at its core. A young girl is grieving for her mother, a horror actress, and she finds herself transported back to 1988 and into the world of her mother's most famous horror movie. If the tone is managed right and there's enough knowing humour then this could be hugely fun, especially with Malin Akerman, a proven comedienne, in the maternal role, with American Horror Story's Taissa Farmiga and Vampire Diaries' Nina Dobrev also starring.
Release date: TBC
Although we were understandably dubious about a film which revolved around a "haunted mirror", the Karen Gillan-starring shocker Oculus was surprisingly effective and announced writer/director Mike Flanagan as a major talent on the horror scene. We're therefore putting his follow-up in the "cautiously excited" pile. It focuses on an orphaned child whose dreams, and more worryingly nightmares, manifest physically and start to affect reality. Kate Bosworth and Thomas Jane star. Flanagan himself has described it as a film that deals with "intense feelings of loss", suggesting that we'll be getting something that's as scary as it is poignant.
Release date: TBC