Horribly good films

by Martin McNamara

LET’S face it – horror movies don’t win awards.
Sure, there are plenty of best visual effects, costume design and the occasional editing or cinematography nod to go around.

However, the big awards are rarely given to anything that doesn’t skirt the line between horror and thriller – Hannibal Lecter might get Oscar attention, but Freddie or Jason never will.

Still, it’s the time of year to get excited about the genre; as long as the scares are delivered, who cares about realism or thespian performances?
With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the biggest horror in cinemas this Halloween and in the months to come …

With It, director Andres Muschietti introduced pop culture’s most infamous evil clown to a new generation and redefined him for long-time fans with this reboot.
It’s perhaps the most Stephen-Kingy Stephen King adaptation ever made – indeed, it got the author’s rarely-awarded seal of approval.

While It falls short of dishing out genuine, long-lasting scares, it packs a talented young cast, rarely shies away from the darkest elements of the source material, and holds plenty of promise for 2019’s planned sequel. Still on general release, catch it in cinemas this Halloween!

Moving on, and with 2010’s Saw 3D billed as the final entry in the so-stale-it’s-mouldy horror series, it seemed we’d be spared future instalments fraught with more dreadfully convoluted plots and barely strung together torture sequences.

It’s a shame really, as the 2003 original, directed by James Wan, was a pretty refreshing, disturbingly clever little horror movie.

Judging from trailers, Jigsaw appears to take itself a little less seriously than the past few Saw entries, and if it eschews all headache-inducing layers of “plot” in favour of a more stripped back story, Jigsaw may live up to the promise of the original and deliver a Halloween treat.

Notably, Tobin Bell reprises his role as the titular villain – odd, considering the character died about four movies ago …
On to Insidious: The Last Key for another big horror sequel, and another franchise initiated by director James Wan.

Though not to the same disastrous extent as the Saw series, the Insidious films have waned following a delightfully creepy start back in 2010.

Insidious 2 followed up on some of the promise of the original, but the third entry in the series was unfortunately routine, packing in plenty of chilling imagery but failing to dish out any genuine scares.

Judging from the trailer, this fourth instalment will certainly deliver on the former. In another prequel to the original, following Insidious 3, Lin Shaye returns as “parapsychologist” Elise Rainier, who’s led to investigate a haunting that’s disturbingly close to home.

Insidious: The Last Key hits cinemas in early January.
Last but not least, Annihilation sees director Alex Garland’s attempt to film the unfilmable with this adaptation of the first part in writer Jeff Vandermeer’s ultra-weird sci-fi horror trilogy.

Garland flexed his intellectual sci-fi muscle with 2015’s excellent Ex-Machina, and has demonstrated a knack for forward-thinking terror with his screenplays for 28 Days Later, and Sunshine.

Insidious: The Last Key

The recently released trailer for Annihilation suggests a dark, meditative handling of the source material: a Lovecraftian story in which a biologist (Natalie Portman) carries out an expedition with a secret government agency into a mysterious disaster zone.
Annihilation also stars Oscar Isaac and Jennifer Jason Lee and hits cinemas next February.

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