So far this summer, horror fans have seen stalkers, strange men and old-fashioned phones in “Watcher,” “Men” and “The Black Phone.” However, the scares of the summer are only just getting started. On the horizon is a lineup of unsettling films doing what the genre does best: illuminating and critiquing the real horrors and issues in our society. Here are the upcoming horror films that will terrify audiences while also providing social satire and commentary and discussing important topics like mental health and trauma.
One of the most awaited horror films of the year is “Nope” directed by Jordan Peele. Peele previously shocked audiences with “Get Out” and “Us,” two films packed with horror, hilarity and biting social commentary. His undeniable influence on modern horror has set the expectations high for “Nope,” a film that remained mysterious plot-wise up until the recent release of its final trailer. The trailer reveals that two siblings (Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer) are trying to capture what they believe to be aliens in the clouds above them on film. Palmer told Entertainment Weekly, “It uses the horror genre as a way to [examine] what we are all running from, or what we all get so totally obsessed with, how it defines us, how it brings us to the edge.”
“Nope” will hit theaters on July 22.
In his directorial debut, Addison Heimann delves into his struggles with OCD and childhood trauma. “Hypochondriac” follows a young, gay ceramic artist (Zach Villa) who is haunted by a physical manifestation of his past trauma, causing him to lose functions of his body. Heimann told The Advocate, “As a queer person, and especially moving forward after my mental breakdown, all the stories I want to tell are just queer genre stories that explore mental health.” For years, horror films have been used to demonize homosexuality and mental illness, so Heimann’s story and perspective is an exciting progression for the genre that he hopes will make audiences “feel less alone in their struggle.”
“Hypochondriac” will be released in theaters on July 29.
Director Andrew Semans considers fear to be a constant companion, and a parent’s fear of failing to protect their child inspired him to write “Resurrection.” The film centers around a successful woman (Rebecca Hall) whose life is upended when her abusive ex-boyfriend (Tim Roth) returns, leaving her terrified for both her and her daughter’s safety. Semans tackles the very real horrors of parenthood, abuse and trauma with the help of Hall’s commanding performance, following her role in last year’s psychological horror “The Night House.” “Resurrection” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival where critics applauded the film for its unusual twist on a common thriller premise.
“Resurrection” will be released in theaters on July 29.
“Bodies Bodies Bodies”
“Lord of the Flies” meets “Mean Girls” is how director Halina Reijn explains her new A24 film, “Bodies Bodies Bodies.” This whodunnit horror-comedy follows a group of rich Gen-Z friends as a party game at a remote mansion gets violent. The slasher film features an ensemble cast including Amandla Stenberg, Pete Davidson and Maria Bakalova. The trailer teases gaslighting, toxicity, and literal backstabbing, commenting on the shallow and performative culture of a generation raised on Instagram and iPhones. The film already has 96% on Rotten Tomatoes following its South by Southwest Film Festival Premiere, with critics praising it for its hilarious satire.
“Bodies Bodies Bodies” will be released in theaters on Aug. 5.
Not to be confused with Karyn Kusama’s 2015 horror film of the same name, Jessica M. Thompson’s new gothic film is inspired by the story of “Dracula” and delves into traditional vampire lore. When an adult orphan (Nathalie Emmanuel) searching for a sense of belonging takes a DNA test, she discovers her long-lost cousin. She is united with her newfound family but soon learns of their bloody history and evil intentions for her. The trailer paints the film as a more serious, vampire take on 2019’s horror-comedy “Ready or Not.” Emmanuel discussed the symbolism of “The Invitation” with IGN, connecting the way she is treated as a minority and woman of color to her character’s experience meeting her wealthy, white aristocratic family.
“The Invitation” will hit theaters on Aug. 26.
By Emily Ince