This year makes no sense whatsoever. February flew by at damn near record pace and then March came. It was, as I wrote previously, a month that lasted about a bajillion years. Now April has come and gone feeling like an eternity and a blink of an eye at the same time. I guess quarantining oneself tends to have that effect.
To meme things up a little, we’ve moved beyond April and now it’s gonna be May. This month offers some pretty interesting horror titles across a variety of platforms. There are sinister imaginary friends, plenty of witches, and some good old-fashioned cabin fever, which may or may not be incredibly relevant right now…
1. ‘The Wretched’ – Release Date: May 1
Subgenre: “As If Relationships With Neighbors Wasn’t Awkward Enough Already”
Official Synopsis: A defiant teenage boy, struggling with his parent’s imminent divorce, faces off with an old witch who has possessed the neighbor next door.
Why You Should Check It Out: Atom Ticket’s own editorial lead Alisha Grauso writes, “The horror is visceral and real,” while also adding, “…it’s an entertaining movie, one that never drags.” Having seen the movie a few times at various festivals, I completely agree with her take. It’s fun, it’s snappy, and it’s got plenty of spooks and scares! If you want something to watch with your young teens, this is pretty perfect.
2. ‘The Lodge’ – Release Date: May 5
Subgenre: “This Suddenly Feels A Bit Too Real”
Official Synopsis: A bone-chilling nightmare from the directors of Goodnight Mommy, The Lodge follows a family who retreat to their remote winter cabin over the holidays. When the father (Richard Armitage) is forced to abruptly depart for work, he leaves his children, Aidan (IT‘s Jaeden Martell) and Mia (Lia McHugh) in the care of his new girlfriend, Grace (Riley Keough). Isolated and alone, a blizzard traps them inside the lodge as terrifying events summon specters from Grace’s dark past.
Why You Should Check It Out: Yes, this was written about only a few months back. However, this column was originally supposed to focus on movies coming to theaters. Since then, and for hopefully very obvious reasons, it’s pivoted to VOD titles, which is why The Lodge is making a repeat appearance.
A movie all about isolation, although here it’s forced and not voluntary, The Lodge might very well be the catharsis that many need right now. While some shy away from entertainment that too closely mirrors reality, some need that in order to face what’s happening right outside our front doors. And while The Lodge isn’t about a pandemic, it is about the effects of forced confinement and all that comes with such a situation. Wrap yourself up in a blanket, settle in, and prepare yourself for something harrowing…and all too pertinent.
3. ‘Z’ – Release Date: May 7
Subgenre: “Yep, Kids Are Still Scary”
Official Synopsis: A couple is shaken to the core when their eight-year-old son begins hanging out with a creepy and ominous imaginary friend. A new tale of “parental terror” from the writer/director of Still/Born.
Why You Should Check It Out: The first Shudder Original to appear in this column, Z hails from the same team that brought audiences Grave Encounters, What Keeps You Alive, and It Stains the Sands Red. An exceptionally scary film, Z has one of the best jump scares in recent memory. I saw this during Popcorn Frights last year and the entire audience screamed several times throughout the screening. If you’re seeking something deeply unsettling and genuinely frightening, get yourself a Shudder account and make this a priority.
4. ‘Porno’ – Release Date: May 8
Subgenre: “Exploding Testicles. ‘Nuff Said”
Official Synopsis: A group of seemingly wholesome young movie theater employees are tempted and terrorized by a sex demon. And, when the five teen employees discover a mysterious old film hidden in the basement of the theater, they unleash an alluring succubus who gives them a sex education…written in blood.
Why You Should Check It Out: FANGORIA’s latest release pushes the boundaries when it comes to practical FX and gore, including a visual gag that saw the quarterly magazine receive a few heated cancellations. But if you’re the type who doesn’t get easily squeamish, you’ll find a wickedly entertaining horror/comedy that is the exact kind of slap in the face that the more rigid among us need.
5. ‘Diablo Rojo PTY’ – Release Date: May 14
Subgenre: “Bus Tickets Are Nonrefundable”
Official Synopsis: Based on local folklore, Panama’s first horror film is a ride through Hell with witches, cannibals, and monsters.
Why You Should Check It Out: Another movie from my company, The Horror Collective, we’re incredibly proud to be bringing Panama’s first-ever horror film to North America! And as a bonus, this piece is the exclusive release date reveal, so make sure to mark your calendars for one helluva bus ride – trust me.
Based on the local Costa Rican and Panamanian legend of La Tulivieja, Diablo Rojo PTY is a throwback to ‘80s horror, complete with a great score, practical FX, and memorable monsters. This is a special film that we can’t wait for audiences to see, so give it a watch once it hits Amazon on May 14th!