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MONTH IN REVIEW: JUNE 2024

It's not always easy to keep track of the world of horror day-to-day. So here's a round up of what's been happening this month and a glimpse of what we can expect in the coming weeks...


June has been an unusually busy month for horror, with no less than six genre films getting theatrical releases – you’ll be hard pressed to find a more prolific month this year. Whilst it’s been fun to have so much choice, it’s a bit of a shame that the quality was a little middling. We don’t enjoy dishing out three-star reviews but that’s where most of them have landed. Sting - a film about a big ass spider - was a lot of fun, despite some tonal issues whilst Ishana Night Shyamalan’s debut feature The Watched started off brightly but waned the further it delved into fantasy territory. Perhaps the best release this month was the criminally underplayed Arcadian featuring Nicolas Cage. It may not have offered up anything particularly new as far as post-apocalyptic fare is concerned, but it was a tense and satisfying watch. Just don’t go expecting a Nicolas Cage extravaganza. He’s a lot more toned down here! Something in the Water and The Exorcism were also perfectly watchable if unremarkable, although I think it’s fair to say we enjoyed them both a little more than most. So, although none of these films are likely to be on anyone’s top list by the end of the year, there were at least no real stinkers.



Worryingly though, none of them have made much at the box office (although a couple are still in theatres, so may rake in a little more). The Watched has taken just over $30m worldwide, which sounds like a decent return, but this barely covers its production budget. Sting has only taken a couple of million and The Exorcism just over $5m. The final release of the month, A Quiet Place: Day One will make a healthy profit for sure (it’s taken nearly $7m over its opening weekend already) but all in all, it’s disheartening to see the cinema industry struggling. They are becoming increasingly dependent on blockbusters like Bad Boys: Ride or Die to put bums on seats – it’s hit nearly $300m at the box office so far. Viewing habits are always changing but for those that love seeing horror on the big screen, the trend is rather worrying.

 

On the flip side, June saw the release of a film on Netflix that caused a few waves (pun intended). Under Paris has racked up more than 70 million views on the streaming platform so far and there are already rumours about a potential sequel. For those who aren’t aware of it, it’s a film about a giant mutant shark that appears in the Seine in Paris. It’s a preposterous film in many ways but there’s no denying it’s a lot of fun. However, whilst there have been plenty of genre films to choose from on the big screen this month, streaming wise it’s been thin on the ground. The only other notable release being The Devil’s Bath which was released on Shudder the 28th. Directors Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala have already given us Goodnight Mommy (2014) and The Lodge (2019) and they are also signed up to adapt Paul Tremblay’s bestseller A Head Full of Ghosts for the Big Screen. The Devil’s Bath is more historical folk drama than horror, but it’s just as intense and grim as their previous two efforts. A review for that is currently being written and that will be up on the site shortly.

 


Looking ahead to next month and it’s the cinema where most of the action is at once again. The third and final chapter in Ti West’s X film series, Maxxxine, is released on the 5th. X (2022) and Pearl (2023) were hugely impressive despite being very different types of horror movies with Mia Goth shining in both. Maxxxine moves things into the mid 80s and is set against the backdrop of the Night Stalker’s killing spree in Los Angeles. Trailers aren’t always an accurate indicator of how good a film is but admittedly the Maxxxine trailer looks like we may be in for another treat. A24’s other release In a Violent Nature has already had a North American release and divided audiences down the middle. The film follows a mute killer who is resurrected from his grave in the Ontario wilderness by a group of teenagers, whom he then begins stalking and murdering. Fans of 80s slashers rejoice! That’s released on the 12th and then three days later, we finally get to see Oz Perkins’ eagerly anticipated serial killer thriller Longlegs. Early stateside reviews have been gushing and it looks like it will appeal to those who like films that get under your skin. Plus, you know, it stars Nicholas Cage and Maika Monroe! Lastly, Wicker Man inspired folk horror Lords of Misrule is expected to get a Shudder release later in the month.

 

In terms of horror news, we learned that filming had begun (in Thailand) for the new Jurassic World movie. The last trilogy left a bit of a bad taste in the mouth but there are reasons to be excited about the ‘new Jurassic era’:

1. It’s directed by Gareth Edwards.

2. Jurassic Park screenwriter David Koepp has written the script.

3. Steven Spielberg is producing.

4. Scarlett Johansson and Mahershala Ali are in it.

5. It’s being described as a ‘back-to-basics’ reboot about six people getting stuck on an island.


Hopefully this all means we’ll get something a bit like Spielberg’s classic rather than the chaos of Dominion.

 

A24 continue to be major players in the genre, with news that they have purchased spec script Mice (written by Todd Spence and Zak White) and that they’ve hired visionary director Dave Bruckner (The Ritual) to helm it. No details on plot yet but A24 and Bruckner seems like a match made in heaven to us.

 

In other studio news, Director Scott Derrickson and frequent writing collaborator C. Robert Cargill have signed a deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment to produce films for Screen Gems. The duo are best known for one of the best horror films of the 21st century (in our opinion) Sinister (2012) and also 2022’s sleeper hit The Black Phone. Their remit is to create ‘thoughtful, intense, genre films’ so it will be interesting to see what features this partnership produces over the next few years.

 


We sadly lost Donald Sutherland this month too. His contributions to film in general have been vast over a hugely impressive career that spanned sixty years. Genre fans will remember him best for his iconic performances in Don’t Look Now (1973) and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) and most recently he starred in Mr Harrigan’s Phone (2022). We never need a specific reason to rewatch Bodysnatchers for the 100th time, but his passing feels like as good a reason as any to us. RIP Donald :(

 

Trailer wise, the two biggies we got in June were for Robert Eggers' take on Nosferatu and Smile 2, the sequel to the 2022 surprise smash hit. Talks of a Nosferatu remake have been rife for years but there feels like no better fit for it than Robert Eggers and the trailer is as dark and foreboding as you’d expect. Smile 2…well, people smiling inanely will always be creepy so that franchise could run and run.

 

For those who are into board and card games, popular horror podcast The Evolution of Horror are officially releasing their horror card game, Final Cut, on the 1st of July. Final Cut was originally a Kickstarter project and it smashed its funding targets a few months ago. The early reviews have been positive from backers who have been lucky enough to get their hands on a copy of the game and the game’s artwork from illustrator Mike Lee-Graham is beautiful too. So, if you are into horror games then this may be right up your street.



Finally, the UK’s biggest horror festival, Frightfest, announces their lineup on the 11th of July before full festival passes and day passes on sale from 13th July (single film tickets will be available from the 20th). The five-day movie extravaganza will be held at the Odeon Luxe on Leicester Square so if you fancy a day (or five!) out in London and checking out a load of new horror films, this is the only place to be.

 

Right, it’s nice and sunny here and approaching mid-afternoon so we’re going to catch some sun before settling down this evening with a nice cold beer and a summer slasher. Sleepaway Camp or one of the Friday’s perhaps…?

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