For years, horror films were relegated to being released in what are called “dump months”, typically January and February but sometimes also August and September. But, as Bob Dylan so eloquently put it, the times, they are a-changin’. Horror releases are generating fantastic box office returns throughout the year. No more is horror relegated to the icy months of a year’s start, nor is it used during Halloween to fuel the spookiest season of all. Movies like Us, Pet Sematary, Brightburn, The Curse of La Llorona, and more have all come out throughout the first half of 2019, proof that horror hits hard no matter what time of year it is.
As we leave June behind, ushered forward by the tremendous stomps of Godzilla, the sinister cackles of Chucky, and the haunting smile of Annabelle, we enter July. This month, horror will take us into a culture we don’t understand, pit us against the ferocity of Mother Nature’s own creations, against demonic creatures, and more.
Without further ado, here are several horror movies coming out in July that you need to check out!
1. ‘Midsommar’ – July 3
Subgenre: Folk Horror
Official Synopsis: Dani and Christian are a young American couple with a relationship on the brink of falling apart. But after a family tragedy keeps them together, a grieving Dani invites herself to join Christian and his friends on a trip to a once-in-a-lifetime midsummer festival in a remote Swedish village. What begins as a carefree summer holiday in a land of eternal sunlight takes a sinister turn when the insular villagers invite their guests to partake in festivities that render the pastoral paradise increasingly unnerving and viscerally disturbing. From the visionary mind of Ari Aster comes a dread-soaked cinematic fairytale where a world of darkness unfolds in broad daylight.
Why You Should Check It Out: Last year, Aster stunned audiences with his audacious debut Hereditary. Now he’s back and he’s leaving behind the darkness and shadows for the sunlit hills of Sweden in Midsommar. Reviews are already out and they’re very positive (you can read ours here), highlighting the intensity, beautiful production design, captivating cinematography, arresting music, and phenomenal acting. Florence Pugh shines and is bound to be regaled with accolades for her performance as Dani. Aster has certainly proven himself to be more than a one-trick pony.
2. ‘Crawl’ – July 12
Subgenre: Creature Feature
Official Synopsis: A young woman, while attempting to save her father during a Catagory 5 hurricane, finds herself trapped in a flooding house and must fight for her life against alligators.
Why You Should Check It Out: A throwback to the era of movies like Lake Placid and Anaconda, Crawl is taking us back into the world of natural horror, where what we have to fear is actually out there, in the real world. Produced by Sam Raimi (Evil Dead, Darkman) and directed by Alexandre Aja (Piranha, The Hills Have Eyes), everything about this movie screams, “Time to have a blast!” Definitely the most “popcorn movie” title on this list, consider this a must-see with a group of friends. Just don’t go swimming after.
3. ‘Darlin’ – July 12
Subgenre: Comedy Horror
Official Synopsis: A direct sequel to 2011’s The Woman.
Why You Should Check It Out: If you haven’t seen The Woman, you’re missing out. Lucky McKee’s film, based on a novel by acclaimed horror author Jack Ketchum, has one helluva cast and saw the rise of Pollyanna McIntosh, who went on to star in Hap and Leonard and The Walking Dead. Now, McIntosh returns as director in this sequel that blends biting commentary with hefty doses of black humor and isn’t afraid to splash the screens with copious amounts of fake blood. For those who were curious whatever happened to The Woman, Darlin’ will give you the answers you seek.
4. ‘Trespassers’ – July 12
Official synopsis: Two couples, each working through relationship issues, rent a gorgeous house in the desert for a sex and drug-fueled escape from reality. Sarah (Angela Trimbur) and Estelle (Janel Parrish) are longtime best friends looking forward to reconnecting after a period apart; their boyfriends, Joseph (Zach Avery) and Victor (Jonathan Howard), however, are immediately wary of one another. As tensions escalate over the course of a debaucherous night, things take an unexpected turn when a woman (Fairuza Balk) claiming to be a neighbor with car trouble shows up at the door. She seems harmless enough…or so they think.
Why You Should Check It Out: First of all, it’s got Fairuza Balk of The Craft fame. That alone should sell you on carving out some time for this one. Second, IFC Midnights, the distributor, has a proven track record of releasing very solid horror titles, such as The Devil’s Doorway, What Keeps You Alive, Ghost Stories, Pyewacket, The Devil’s Candy, and many more. From the looks of the trailer, this will have strong elements of The Strangers with a heavy dose You’re Next. If either of those movies are your thing, Trespassers is your must-see film of July.
5. ‘Luz’ – July 19
Subgenre: Demonic Thriller
Official Synopsis: A rainy night. Dazed and numb, Luz, a young cabdriver, drags herself into the brightly lit entrance of a run-down police station. In a nightspot, Nora seductively engages police psychiatrist Dr. Rossini in a conversation. Nora tells the Doctor about her old schoolmate Luz’ rebellious past at a Chilean school for girls. Nora is possessed by a demonic entity, longing for the woman it loves – Luz.
Why You Should Check It Out: Luz has been making a solid name for itself on the festival circuit over the past year and horror fans around the globe are singing its praises. A throwback to horror films of the ’70s, the movie has been likened to the early works of David Cronenberg as well as Andrzej Zulawski’s Possession. Definitely the most indie title on this list, find this if you want something boldly different and refreshing.
In the interest of full disclosure, the following two titles are part of the DREAD line, of which I’m a part of. That being said, these are horror titles that are coming to theaters, so I feel like they deserve their place on here.
‘They’re Inside’ – July 7
Subgenre: Found Footage
Official Synopsis: When two sisters go to an isolated cabin in the woods to film a passion project, family secrets start to get in the way… as do masked strangers filming a passion project of their own.
Why You Should Check It Out: Hailed as The Strangers-meets-found footage, They’re Inside is the directorial debut of John-Paul Panelli and was produced by Derek Dennis Herbert, who brought audiences the phenomenal documentary To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story. With plenty of horror knowledge throughout the cast and crew, this team is passionate about revitalizing the found footage genre.
‘Assassinaut’ – July 25
Subgenre: Sci-Fi Horror
Official Synopsis: In the near future, aliens have invaded Earth and declared a galactic war resulting in thousands of human casualties. To save Earth, a team of four teenage astronauts brave the alien wilderness of a distant planet to stop an assassin from changing the course of history forever.
Why You Should Check It Out: Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because the leads are several children that this will be some light-hearted fare for the family. One of our most unique releases, Assassinaut is dark, vicious, and certainly doesn’t pull any punches.
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