2011 was pretty much a year of remakes and sequels in the Horror genre, with the annual gift of further entries in the Final Destination and Paranormal Activity franchises with the later taking just under $203million worldwide at the box office. So it is of no surprise that 2012 will bring much of the same, however there is some light on the distant horizon. A light provided by fresh blood, and original ideas.
What could be the highlight of the year come quite early on with the February release of James Watkins’s The Woman in Black. Based off Susan Hill’s 1983 novel and subsequent stage production, it will see former Harry Potter Daniel Radcliff in his first non-Potter role since the final instalment last summer. At the helm of the Hammer produced movie is Eden Lake (2008) director James Watkins who showed bags of promise in the 2008 film which brought our attention to the talent of both Michael Fassbender and Kelly Reilly. If the trailer provides any auspices to where the movie might take us, we are going to be in for one hell of a ride, and with a script by Mrs. Jonathan Ross aka Jane Goldman behind it there is no reason why this can’t be the stand out film of the year.
One film that has been simmering away in MGM melting pot is the Joss Whedon produce and co-written Cabin in the Woods. Filmed back in 2009/2010 the film was caught up in financial failings and so has been struggling to find get released. Fortunately the guys at Lionsgate have stepped in and back the distribution of the film. The film was written by Whedon and Cloverfield (2008) writer Drew Goddard who also marks his directorial debut with the film. Staring Thor himself Chris Hemsworth, the trailer shows that this isn’t your usual ‘Kids in the Woods’ kind of movie, hinting at a more science fiction edge to the film. If Whedon and Goddard can bring there own flavour to the film, it looks like it Cabin in the Woods has been something worth waiting for.
2012 will also mark Ridley Scott’s return to the Alien franchise, or will it? Original touted as a prequel to Scott’s 1979 sci-fi horror classic Alien, Scott has now suggest that Prometheus is a completely original idea that shares DNA with the original. The trailer plays off the original, with same coy suggestion that it may not be all that it seems. It looks in to uncertain terms brilliant, and with a cast boasting Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender and Idris Elba there is no reason why this movie can’t be something special. It’s Ridley Scott in space for god’s sake! Will we find out the origins of the space jockey?
As is usual for the cinema world we live in, Prometheus is not the only horror film that is treading familiar ground. 2012 is going to see a large number of sequels, prequels and re-boots of existing Horror franchises. The first of these is Kate Beckinsdale and her return as Selene in Underworld: Awakening. The forth film in the Underworld franchise, it will see Selene trying to see off the threat of the humans who have now discover the existence of the warring Vampires and Lycans. It may not be worth writing home about, but I’m sure fans of the series will flock to see Beckinsdale back on the big screen.
The other big return for Horror fans will be Resident Evil: Retribution the fifth in the zombie slaying franchise. The series has always been a sore point with fans of the video games, and since 2002’s original they have seemingly got worse and worse. The last instalment Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010), which was a low point in the series, took up an additional dimension and utilised the new 3D trend. Something that has always been exploited within the Horror genre. This new film will also use the 3D medium, something that director Paul W.S. Anderson has now used in his last three films and I’m sure will continue to do as long as it put bums on seats. The one thing that will interest fan boys is the arrival of popular character Leon Kennedy into the mix, along with the return of Jill Valentine. The big question that will hang over Retribution is can if finally appease the fan boys? Something that Leon’s appearance will be aiming to do.
Also hitting our screen in three dimensions is Texas Chainsaw Massacre: 3D Lionsgate’s attempt to fill in the void left by the Saw franchise. At this all we know is that the film will follow a girl named Heather travelling to Texas to collect an inheritance that includes Leatherface. At the helm is John Luessenhop the man behind 2010’s Takers. The cast on this one looks fairly unknown cast with some reported cameos from Gunner Hansen and Marilyn Burns. Lionsgate will be hoping that fans of the original series really get behind this new attempt at revitalising the series, that Platinum Dunes nearly killed off with 2006’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.
The sequel trend will run through the year with Piranha 3DD, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D and Rec [Genesis] all slated for release this year. Something that might be of note to a true Horror fan, is the latest release from low budget masters The Asylum. This year will see the 2 Headed Shark Attack grace our television screens. The Asylum are masters of creating awful yet amazing Horror movies. Who could forget Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus (2009) or it’s sequel Mega Shark vs Crocosuarus (2010). As bad as they are you can’t help but love them, very much the modern day exploitation movie promising much more than they give. 2 Headed Shark Attack has some brilliant casting choices Carmen Electra, Charlie O’Connell (brother of Stand By Me star Jerry) and Brooke Hogan (daughter of wrestling legend Hulk). If you don’t come away from 2 Headed Shark Attack with a smile on your face, then there is something wrong with you.
The Horror genre however is defined by those films that manage something very special off a budget equal to the average person’s annual wage. These are the films that break out onto the DVD market and become cult classics with Horror fans. The likes of [Rec] (2007) or Donnie Darko (2001) originated on DVD and then managed to create a cult fan base and exploded into something entirely different. Can 2012 provide one of these stand-out DVD features?
Another place to keep an eye out for low budget Horror is Film4’s annual FrightFest Film Festival which since it’s debut in 2000 has brought us such highlights as Alexandre Aja’s Haute Tension (2003), All The Boy’s Love Mandy Lane (2006) and this years standouts The Troll Hunter (2011) and Kill List (2011). It is certainly going to be interesting what films raise there heads next August Bank Holiday.
2012 looks to a very interesting year for the Horror genre, and with some familiar faces set to grace the silver screen it remains to be seen if audiences will be left wanting more, or wanting there money back.