Halloween 2021: Horror movies and supernatural thrillers in theaters on All Hallow’s Eve

October 1, 2021

by Carla Hay

There are numerous horror movies available to watch on TV, computers or mobile devices, but for Halloween 2021, there are some horror flicks and supernatural thrillers that will be released in theaters in October. Horror and supernatural movies released before October 2021 that should still be in theaters during the Halloween season include “Candyman” (rated R); “Don’t Breathe 2” (rated R); “Malignant” (rated R); “The Night House” (rated R); and “Old” (rated R).

Here are the movies that have an October 2021 release in theaters:

Information in this article is about U.S. releases.

“The Addams Family 2”

The ghoulish Addams Family returns in this sequel to 2019’s “The Addams Family.” Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon directed both movies. In “The Addams Family 2,” the family goes on a road trip, as gloomy teenager Wednesday Addams begins to question her identity after coming up with a biologically altering invention. The voice cast of the animated “The Addams Family 2” includes Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Kroll, co-director Vernon, Javon Walton, Bette Midler and Snoop Dogg. “The Addams Family 2,” which is rated PG, arrives in theaters and on VOD on October 1, 2021.

“Antlers”

After this movie’s release was delayed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sci-fi horror flick “Antlers” is finally arriving in theaters. Not much has been revealed about the plot, except that it’s about a mysterious creature that goes on the loose in a small Oregon town. Directed and co-written by Scott Cooper, “Antlers” has a cast that includes Keri Russell and Jesse Plemons. “Antlers,” which is rated R, is set for release in theaters on October 29, 2021.

“The Blazing World”

Written, directed and co-starrring Carlson Young, this sci-fi horror movie is about a woman haunted by the drowning death of her twin sister and ends up in an alternate dimension. The movie also stars Udo Kier, Dermot Mulroney and Vinessa Shaw. “The Blazing World,” which is not rated, is set for release in select theaters on October 15, 2021.

“Coming Home in the Dark”

In this New Zealand film, a high school teacher, his wife and his two stepsons encounter two murderous drifters​. Directed and co-written by James Ashcroft, “Coming Home in the Dark” stars Daniel Gillies, Erik Thomson, Miriama McDowell, Matthias Luafutu, Billy Paratene, Frankie Paratene and Bailey Cowan. The movie, which is not rated, arrives in theaters, on digital and on VOD on October 1, 2021.

“Detention”

Directed and co-written by John Hsu, the Taiwanese film “Detention” is an adaptation of the video game of the same name. The story, which takes place in 1962, is about the mysterious occurrences at a high school in an oppressive society. The movie’s cast members include Gingle Wang, Fu Meng-po, Tseng Ching-hua, Cecilia Choi and Hung Chang Chu. “Detention,” which is not rated, opens in select theaters and in virtual cinemas on October 8, 2021.

“Halloween Kills”

Jamie Lee Curtis returns in her iconic role as Laurie Strode, the most famous survivor of mask-wearing serial killer Michael Myers. You already know what the movie is about: Michael Myers goes after Laurie and some other people again. David Gordon Green, who directed 2018’s “Halloween,” directed and co-wrote “Halloween Kills.” The movie, which is rated R, opens in theaters and begins streaming on Peacock on October 15, 2021.

“Lamb”

The Icelandic movie “Lamb,” starring Noomi Rapace, is a supernatural horror film that has a lot of strangeness revolving around a lamb. “Lamb” is directed and co-written by Valdimar Jóhannsson. The movie, which is rated R, will be released in select theaters on October 8, 2021.

“Last Night in Soho”

Anya Taylor-Joy and Thomasin McKenzie star in this supernatural thriller with retro elements. The movie is about a London fashion student who begins having strange dreams about an aspiring singer from the mid-1960s. Directed and co-written by Edgar Wright, “Last Night in Soho” also stars Matt Smith, Diana Rigg and Terence Stamp. The movie, which is rated R, arrives in theaters on October 29, 2021.

“Monster Family 2”

In this animated comedy film, the Wishbone family returns to “free Baba Yaga and Renfield from the clutches of Monster Hunter Mila Starr,” according to the movie’s official synopsis. Directed by Holger Tappe, “Monster Family 2” features a voice cast that includes Emily Watson, Daniel Ben Zenou, Jessica Brown Findlay, Emily Carey and Nick Frost and Jason Isaacs. The movie, which is rated PG, is set for release in select theaters on October 15, 2021.

“Roh”

In this Malaysian folk tale, which is the feature-film debut of writer/director Emir Ezwan, a family headed by a single mother is deeply affected by a stranger who has been brought into the home. This stranger is a girl who was found caked in mud by the children in the family. And this mysterious girl has an ominous prediction: The entire family will soon die. The cast of “Roh” includes Farah Ahmad, Mhia Farhana, Harith Haziq, Nam Ron, Junainah M. Lojong and Putri Syahadah Nurqaseh. “Roh” (which is not rated) is Malaysia’s official Oscar entry for consideration for the 2022 Academy Awards category of Best International Feature. The movie arrives in select theaters, on digital and VOD on October 29, 2021.

“The Secret of Sinchanee”

Directed by, written by, and starring Stephen Grayhm, “The Secret of Sinchanee” is about how an industrial tow truck driver, who has insomnia, returns to his hometown after his father’s death and finds out that his childhood home is haunted. Meanwhile, a single mother from the area has gone missing. The movie’s cast also includes Nate Boyer, Tamara Austin, Laila Lockhart Kraner, Jacob Schick and Rudy Reyes. “The Secret of Sinchanee,” which is not rated, will be released on October 8, 2021, in select theaters, digital and VOD.

“The Spine of Night”

In this animated supernatural thriller, a power-hungry young man steals knowledge from another planet and becomes a corrupt villain. Throughout the years, his misdeeds result in human suffering, and several entities try to stop him. Written and Directed by Philip Gelatt and Morgan Galen King, “The Spine of Night” has a voice cast that includes Richard E. Grant, Lucy Lawless, Patton Oswalt, Betty Gabriel and Joe Manganiello. The movie, which is not rated, is set for release in select theaters, digital and VOD on October 29, 2021.

“Titane”

Written and directed by Julia Ducournau, the French film “Titane” tells a bizarre story of a 32-year-old dancer (played by Agathe Rousselle) who is a serial killer and who’s sexually attracted to automobiles. Her strange obsessions have to do with a surgical operation that she had after being in a car accident when she was 7 years old. Vincent Lindon also stars in “Titane,” which won the Palme d’Or (top prize) at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. “Titane,” which is rated R, is also France’s selection to be considered for the Best International Feature category at the 2022 Academy Awards. “Titane” arrives in theaters on October 1, 2021.

“Val”

An outlaw criminal (played by Zachary Mooren) breaks into the home of an escort named Val (played by Misha Reeves), and he finds out the hard way that she’s a demon. Directed and co-written by Aaron Fradkin, “Val” (which is not rated) is set for release in select theaters on October 1, 2021, before being released on digital and VOD on October 5, 2021.

“Witch Hunt”

What if the modern-day United States made being a witch illegal and punishable by death? That’s the concept of this movie written and directed by Elle Callahan. In “Witch Hunt,” a teenager in high school (played by Gideon Adlon) disapproves of her mother (played by Elizabeth Mitchell) secretly hiding witches in their home as part of an underground smuggling network for witches. There’s also a ruthless government inspector (played by Christian Carmago) who’s on the hunt for witches. “Witch Hunt,” which is not rated, arrives in select theaters, on digital and VOD on October 1, 2021.

SPECIAL RE-RELEASES

“Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes” (RiffTrax Live)

RiffTrax comedy stars Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett give their running commentary during the 1989 campy horror flick “Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes.” In this TV-movie (directed by Sandor Stern), priests try to defeat the evil spirit that’s taken over the notorious Amityville haunted house. The movie’s cast includes Patty Duke, Jane Wyatt and Fredric Lehne. Fathom Events will present the RiffTrax version of “Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes” in select theaters on October 21, 2021. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Beetlejuice”

Tim Burton’s classic 1988 horror comedy tells the story of deceased young couple Adam and Barbara Maitland (played by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis), who haunt their former home and try unsuccessfully to scare away the house’s new residents: Charles and Delia Deetz (played by Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O’Hara) and their moody teenage daughter Lydia (Winona Ryder). In desperation, the Maitlands conjur up the obnoxious ghost Betelgeuse (played by Michael Keaton) to enlist his help in terrifying the Deetz family into moving out of the house. “Beetlejuice” (which is rated PG) will have screenings at several movie-theater chains. Cinépolis will show the movie on October 13, 2021. The screenings for Alamo Drafthouse locations will vary by location.

“The Craft”

In this 1996 film, four teenage girls in high school find out that they have the power to practice witchcraft. Directed by Andrew Fleming (who co-wrote the screenplay with Peter Filardi), “The Craft” has a cast that includes Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, Rachel True, Skeet Ulrich, Christine Taylor and Breckin Meyer. The Alamo Drafthouse theater chain is showing “The Craft” (which is rated R), with the dates varying by location. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Dracula” (1931)

The original “Dracula” movie (starring Bela Legosi and directed by Tod Browning) will be shown as a double feature with 1931’s “Frankenstein” movie (starring Boris Karloff and directed by James Whale) to celebrate the movies’ 90th anniversary. Fathom Events will present this double feature (which is not rated) in select theaters on October 2, 2021. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

“The Evil Dead” (1981)

The 1981 supernatural horror film “The Evil Dead” established writer/director Sam Raimi as a filmmaker to watch. Bruce Campbell stars as Ash, who arrives at a remote cabin in the woods with his girlfriend Linda (played by Betsy Baker), his sister Cheryl (played by Ellen Sandweiss), and another couple named Scotty (played by Hal Delrich) and Shelly (played by Sarah York). When a mysterious occult book is found in the cabin, mayhem ensues. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of “The Evil Dead,” Fathom Events is bringing back the movie in select theaters, with an exclusive precorded introduction by Campbell, on October 7, 2021. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Exorcist”

The 1973 classic “The Exorcist,” directed by William Friedkin, is often ranked as the scariest horror movie of all time. In the story, Chris MacNeil (played by Ellen Burstyn) is distraught when she sees her 12-year-old daughter Regan (played by Linda Blair) begin to act strangely, such as speaking in tongues. When Regan starts levitating, Chris is convinced that Regan might be possessed by the devil. Chris asks a local priest named Father Damien (played by Jason Miller) for help. He then requests to perform an exorcism, and the Catholic Church sends an exorcism expert Father Lankester Merrin (played by Max von Sydow) to assist in the exorcism. “The Exorcist,” which is rated R, received 10 Oscar nominations (including Best Picture), and ended up winning two Oscars: Best Original Screenplay and Best Sound Mixing. The Cinépolis theater chain is showing “The Exorcist” (which is rated R) on October 23, 2021. More information and ticket purchases can be found here. The Alamo Drafthouse theater chain is showing “The Exorcist” (which is rated R), with the dates varying by location. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Frankenstein” (1931)

The original 1931 “Frankenstein” movie (starring Boris Karloff and directed by James Whale) will be shown as a double feature with 1931’s “Dracula” (starring Bela Legosi and directed by Tod Browning) to celebrate the movies’ 90th anniversary. Fathom Events is presenting this double feature (which is not rated) in select theaters on October 2, 2021. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

“Get Out”

In 2017’s “Get Out,” the horror of racism is on display when an interracial couple (played by Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams) go back to her family home so that he can meet her parents (played by Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener). Writer/director Jordan Peele made his feature-film directorial debut and won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for “Get Out,” which also stars LaKeith Stanfield, Betty Gabriel and Lel Rel Howery. “Get Out” also received an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, while Kaluuya got an Oscar nod for Best Actor. AMC Theatres will re-release “Get Out” on October 13, 2021. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Halloween” (1978)

John Carpenter’s “Halloween” is considered one of the most influential horror movies of all time, and certainly one of the top films representing the “slasher” subgenre of horror flicks. The mask-wearing, knife-wielding, mute serial killer Michael Myers has become a much-parodied and imitated horror icon, but at the time that “Halloween” was released, many of the terror-inducing elements of this movie were considered groundbreaking. The slow-burn suspense of “Halloween,” which spawned numerous inferior sequels, can be fully appreciated on the big screen, considering that most modern “slasher” movies follow a formula of someone getting killed every 15 to 20 minutes. Jamie Lee Curtis, as teenage babysitter Laurie Strode, made her movie debut in “Halloween,” one of many horror films in which she’s had a starring role, including the 2018 movie sequel of the same name and 2021’s “Halloween Kills.” Donald Pleasence also stars in the original “Halloween” as Myers’ psychiatric doctor, who doggedly tries to find his patient after Myers escapes from a psychiatric institution. The Cinépolis theater chain will have a screening of the original 1978 “Halloween” (which is rated R) on October 27, 2021. More information and ticket purchases are available here. The Alamo Drafthouse theater chain will have “Halloween” at various times and locations. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Halloween II”

In this 1981 sequel, Laurie Strode (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) and Dr. Loomis (played Donald Pleasance) return to do battle against serial killer Michael Myers, who wreaks havoc in a hospital. “Halloween II” was directed by Rick Rosenthal, in his feature-flm directorial debut. The Alamo Drafthouse theater chain will have “Halloween II,” which is rated R, at various times and locations. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Hotel Transylvania”

In the 2012 animated comedy “Hotel Transylvania” Count Dracula (voiced by Adam Sandler) runs Hotel Transyvania, where he has invited several monsters to visit. Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky (in his feature-film directorial debut), “Hotel Transylvania” (which is rated PG) has a voice cast that includes Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade and CeeLo Green. Alamo Drafthouse will show “Hotel Transylvania” at various times and locations. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

“The Howling”

This 1981 film, directed by Joe Dante, is about a TV journalist who goes to a remote mountain resort, only to find out the resort’s residents are werewolves. “The Howling,” which is rated R, stars Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee, Dennis Dugan, and Robert Picardo. Alamo Drafthouse will show a 4K restoration of “The Howling” at various times and locations. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

“Howl’s Moving Castle”

In this supernatural Japanese animated film from director Hayao Miyazaki, a wizard named Howl takes a quiet girl named Sophie on an adventure, but she is cursed by the Witch of the Waste and turned into a 90-year-old woman. Sophie must break the spell by going to Howl’s moving castle. The English-language voice cast includes Lauren Bacall, Christian Bale, Billy Crystal, Blythe Danner, Emily Mortimer and Jean Simmons. Fathom Events is presenting “Howl’s Moving Castle,” which is rated PG, in select U.S. theaters on October 24, 25 and 28, 2021. The October 24 and 28 screenings will be dubbed in English, while the October 25 screening will be in Japanese with English subtitles. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Invisible Man” (1933)

The original 1933 “The Invisible Man” movie (starring Claude Rains and directed by James Whale) will be shown as a double feature with 1941’s “The Wolf Man” movie (starring Lon Chaney Jr. and directed by George Waggner). Fathom Events is presenting this double feature (which is not rated) in select theaters on October 30, 2021. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

“Night of the Living Dead” (1968, in color)

George A. Romero’s zombie-invasion classic is often on people’s lists of the best horror movies of all time, and it’s considered the best of all the sequels, spinoffs and remakes that this original movie inspired. Filmed in black and white, 1968’s “The Night of the Living Dead” has a plot that is simple but executed to chilling effect: A group of strangers trapped in a rural Pennsylvania farmhouse try to survive an unexpected plague of zombies. Duane Jones and Judith O’Dea were among the cast of relatively unknown actors in the film. Alamo Drafthouse will present a 1986 colorized version of “Night of the Living Dead” at various times and locations. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

“A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984)

Serial killer Freddy Krueger (played by Robert Englund), who comes to life in people’s nightmares, is considered one of the all-time greatest horror movie villains. He was first introduced to the world in 1984’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” directed by Wes Craven. The movie, which also stars Heather Langenkamp and Johnny Depp, in one of his first film roles. The Cinemark theater chain will present “A Nightmare on Elm Street” on October 8, 2021. More information and ticket purchaes can be found here. Alamo Drafthouse will show “A Nightmare on Elm Street” at various times and locations. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

“Nosferatu”

The silent film “Nosferatu,” released in 1922, was the first movie based on the “Dracula” novel. Directed by F. W. Murnau and starring Max Schreck, “Nosferatu” is shown at Alamo Drafthouse locations every Halloween season, with a musical score by the Austin-based band the Invincible Czars. In 2021, “Nosferatu” will be screened at Alamo Drafthouse locations on October 29. According to Alamo Drafthouse: “The Invincible Czars have updated their soundtrack for ‘Nosferatu” in preparation to release a recording for the film’s centennial in 2022. This will be the debut of the updated score.” More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Phantasm”

Written, directed, produced and edited by Don Coscarelli, the 1979 supernatural horror flick “Phantasm” introduced the world to the villain The Tall Man (played by Angus Scrimm). Alamo Drafthouse will show a 4K restoration of “Phantasm” at various times and locations. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

“Possession” (1981)

In the 1981 psychological horror film “Possession,” Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani portray a Berlin-based international spy and his wife, who begins acting bizarrely after she asks for a divorce. Written and directed by Andrzej Żuławski, “Possession” also stars Margit Carstensen, Heinz Bennent and Johanna Hofer. Alamo Drafthouse locations will show a 4K restoration of “Possession,” which is rated R. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Rocky Horror Picture Show”

Do the time warp again as an audience member of the 1975 horror-comedy musical “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” which is based on the stage musical “The Rocky Horror Show.” This cult-movie classic, directed by Jim Sharman, has been a late-night staple at cinemas for decades. The movie tells the story of naïve, engaged couple Brad Majors (played by Barry Bostwick) and Janet Weiss (played by Susan Sarandon), who find themselves stranded at a mysterious mansion after their car gets a flat tire during a storm. At the mansion, they meet an eccentric bunch of people, including Dr. Frank-N-Furter (played by Tim Curry), a transvestite scientist who’s determined to make Brad and Janet lose their innocence. Screenings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” which is rated R, usually include audience participation and sing-alongs, so don’t expect people in the theater to be quiet during the movie. The Cinépolis theater chain will exhibit “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” on October 29, 2021. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

“Scream”

This 1996 classic film features a masked serial killer on the loose with an ultimate target: high schooler Sidney Prescott (played by Neve Campbell). The psycho also likes to call his victims before he murders them. Directed by Wes Craven, “Scream” has a cast that includes Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Skeet Ulrich and Drew Barrymore. Fathom Events is celebrating the 25th anniversary of “Scream” (which is rated R) by bringing the movie back in select theaters on October 10 and October 11, 2021. More information and ticket purchases can be found here. Alamo Drafthouse will show “Scream” on October 29, 2021. More informaton and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Shaun of the Dead”

The 2004 horror comedy “Shaun of the Dead” shows what happens when two best friends (played by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) try to survive during a zombie apocalypse in England. Directed by Edgar Wright (who co-wrote the screenplay with Pegg), the movie’s cast includes Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran, Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton. Alamo Drafthouse locations will have various screenings of “Shaun of the Dead,” which is rated R. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Silence of the Lambs”

The 1991 film “The Silence of the Lambs,” directed by Jonathan Demme, was the first horror movie to win an Academy Award for Best Picture. The movie tells the story of a determined police detective named Clarice Starling (played by Jodie Foster), who is on the hunt for a serial killer who calls himself Buffalo Bill. She enlsts the help of an imprisoned cannibal serial killer named Hannibal Lecter (played by Anthony Hopkins) to give her advice on how the mind of a serial killer works. “The Silence of the Lambs” also won Academy Awards for Demme (Best Director), Foster (Best Actress), Hopkins (Best Actor) and Ted Tally (Best Adapted Screenplay). To celebrate the 30th anniversary of “The Silence of the Lambs,” which is rated R, Fathom Events is having screenings of the movie in select theaters on October 17 and October 20, 2021. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Spirited Away”

Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 Japanese fantasy adventure “Spirited Away” is an Oscar-winning movie (Best Animated Feature) that tells the story of a 10-year-old girl named Chihiro Ogino who enters the spirit world after her parents are turned into pigs by a witch named Yubaba. Chihiro then works in Yubaba’s bath house to try and find a way to free her parents from the spell and get them back into the real world. To celebrate the movie’s 20th anniversary, Fathom Events is presenting “Spirited Away,” which is rated PG, in select theaters on October 3, 4 and 6, 2021. The October 3 and 6 screenings will be dubbed in English, while the October 4 screening will be in Japanese with English subtitles. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Thing” (1982)

In the original 1982 version of “The Thing,” which is rated R, 12 researchers at a remote Antarctic research station discover a deadly alien that had been buried in the snow for over 100,000 years. Directed by John Carpenter, the movie’s cast includes Kurt Russell R.J. MacReady, Wilford Brimley, T.K. Carter, David Clennon, Keith David, Richard Dysart, Charles Hallahan, Peter Maloney, Richard Masur, Donald Moffat, Joel Polis and Thomas G. Waites. Alamo Drafthouse will have screenings of the 1982 version of “The Thing,” which is rated R. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“Us”

In 2019’s “Us,” a family of four (played by Winston Duke, Lupita Nyong’o, Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex) are menaced by four people who look identical to them. Written and directed by Jordan Peele, “Us” also stars Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. AMC Theatres will re-release “Us” on October 15, 2021. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Velvet Vampire”

A vampire (played by Celeste Yarnall) sets her sights on an amorous couple (played by Michael Blodgett and Sherry Miles) in this campy 1971 film (also known as “Cemetary Girls”), directed by Stephanie Rothman. The results are a very bloody love triangle. Alamo Drafthouse will show a restored version of “The Velvet Vampire,” which is rated R, on October 27, 2021. More information and ticket purchases can be found here.

“The Wolf Man” (1941)

The original “The Wolf Man” movie (starring Lon Chaney Jr. and directed by George Waggner) will be shown as a double feature with 1933’s “The Invisible Man” movie (starring Claude Rains and directed by James Whale). Fathom Events is presenting this double feature (which is not rated) in select theaters on October 30, 2021. More information and ticket purchases are available here.

Universal Pictures becomes first major studio to break 90-day home-video embargo for theatrical releases

March 16, 2020

by Carla Hay

A scene from “Trolls World Tour” (Photo courtesy of DreamWorks Animation)

The coronavirus pandemic has drastically shifted how movies are going to be released from now on. On March 16, 2020, Universal Pictures announced that it’s releasing the DreamWorks Animation sequel “Trolls World Tour” on VOD (video on demand) on April 10, 2020, the same day it plans to release the movie in the shrinking number of U.S. theaters that are staying open in April 2020. This decision is unprecedented because major movie chains such as AMC Theaters and Regal Cinemas have fought against movies being released on video or streaming services within 90 days of their release in movie theaters, and these corporate-owned movie theaters have refused to carry movies that have this type of release schedule.

Universal also announced that for its movies released on video the same day that they’re released in theaters, there will be a 48-hour VOD rental period at a suggested retail price of $19.99 in the U.S. and the price equivalent in international markets.

Now that cinema giant Regal is out of commission until further notice (Regal announced that it’s temporarily closing all of its U.S. theaters, as of March 17, 2020), it was only a matter of time before a major movie studio took the bold step to release one of its movies on video on the same day it will be released in cinemas. (Independent film studios have been doing this for years.) Universal had been considering this release strategy for some of its movies in the 2010s, but Universal didn’t follow through with this plan because the corporate movie chains threatened to boycott the studio. That was then. This is now.

“Trolls World Tour,” the first sequel to 2016’s “Trolls,” will include returning voice actors Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake and James Corden. New cast members in “Trolls World Tour” include Rachel Bloom, Ozzy Osbourne, George Clinton, Mary J. Blige, Kelly Clarkson, Sam Rockwell, Icona Pop, Jamie Dornan, Anderson .Paak, J Balvin and Kenan Thompson.

Universal also announced that its movies that are currently in theaters (“The Hunt,” “The Invisible Man” and Focus Features’ “Emma”) will be available on VOD as early as March 20, 2020.

NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell commented in a statement: “Universal Pictures has a broad and diverse range of movies with 2020 being no exception. Rather than delaying these films or releasing them into a challenged distribution landscape, we wanted to provide an option for people to view these titles in the home that is both accessible and affordable. We hope and believe that people will still go to the movies in theaters where available, but we understand that for people in different areas of the world that is increasingly becoming less possible.”

A press release from NBCUniversal (the parent company of Universal Pictures) stated: “Given the rapidly evolving and unprecedented changes to consumers’ daily lives during this difficult time, the company felt that now was the right time to provide this option in the home as well as in theaters. NBCUniversal will continue to evaluate the environment as conditions evolve and will determine the best distribution strategy in each market when the current unique situation changes.”

Review: ‘The Invisible Man’ (2020), starring Elisabeth Moss

February 28, 2020

by Carla Hay

Elisabeth Moss in “The Invisible Man” (Photo by Mark Rogers/Universal Pictures)

“The Invisible Man” (2020)

Directed by Leigh Whannell

Culture Representation: Taking place in San Francisco, this reimagination of the 1933 horror classic “The Invisible Man” is a modern, female-oriented revamp, with a cast of white and African American characters who mostly represent the middle-class.

Culture Clash: A woman who escapes from an abusive boyfriend must convince people around her that he faked his suicide, found a way to become invisible, and is now out to get his revenge on her.

Culture Audience: This movie will appeal to horror fans who are looking for a well-acted suspenseful film that has an underlying but not preachy message about social issues, such as stalking and domestic abuse.

Aldis Hodge, Elisabeth Moss and Storm Reid in “The Invisible Man” (Photo by Mark Rogers/Universal Pictures)

It might seem hard to believe, but there’s a horror-movie remake that actually isn’t an embarrassment to the original film. The 2020 version of “The Invisible Man” takes the original 1993 “The Invisible Man” movie (which was based on the H.G. Wells’ 1897 novel) and makes it an almost entirely different film by telling the story from the perspective of the Invisible Man’s girlfriend.

The 1933 version of “The Invisible Man” was about a mad scientist in England named Dr. Jack Griffin (played by Claude Rains), who discovers a drug that makes him become invisible, and he goes on a killing spree in a sinister plot to take over the world. In the 2020 version of “The Invisible Man,” the title character is Adrian Griffin (played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen), a high-tech millionaire whose specialty is in optics. And for most of the movie, viewers don’t know much about him because his girlfriend Cecilia Kass (played by Elisabeth Moss) is front and center of the story.

At the beginning of the film, Cecilia is shown sneaking out of the bed she shares with Adrian at his oceanside mansion, which has an elaborate video surveillance system in place. The house also has a section that looks like a high-tech lab, with computers and mysterious body suits. Based on what’s shown in the next suspenseful 10 minutes, Cecilia has been planning this escape for quite some time. Cecilia has drugged Adrian, disabled the video surveillance, and packed the necessary items to leave Adrian for good.

There are a few scary close calls in Cecilia’s escape plan, but with the help of her younger sister Emily (played by Harriet Dyer), who drives the getaway car, Cecilia leaves Adrian behind with a mixture of relief and panic. Knowing that Adrian will look for Cecilia at Emily’s place, Cecilia hides out at the house of her close friend James Lanier (played by Aldis Hodge), who’s a cop and a single father to teenage daughter Sydney (played by Storm Reid), an aspiring fashion designer.

In the first two weeks after the escape, Cecilia is so traumatized that she acts like a recently released prisoner of war who’s become agoraphobic. Walking out of the house to the mailbox is big progress for her. It’s while she’s away from Adrian that Cecilia finally confesses to Emily and James the real reason why she has to take drastic measures to hide from Adrian. During Cecilia’s relationship with Adrian, he became more and more controlling and abusive. He would tell her what to do, when to eat, and what to think. And if she didn’t comply with his demands, he would hit her or do “something worse,” says Cecilia.

Cecilia is still afraid to come out of hiding, but then Emily (who’s an attorney) brings her some unexpected news: Adrian is dead of an apparent suicide, which has been reported by the local media. Not long afterward, Emily and Cecilia have a meeting with Adrian’s lawyer brother Tom Griffin (played by Michael Dorman), who is the executor of Adrian’s will. Tom tells them that Adrian left $5 million to Cecilia, on the condition that she’s proven to be mentally stable and she doesn’t get arrested for anything.

Feeling like the world’s weight has been lifted off of her shoulders, Cecilia starts to come out of her shell. As a gift, she gives $10,000 to Sydney so she can go to Parsons School of Design, and Cecilia promises more tuition money if Sydney wants to go to grad school. Cecilia also decides to resume her interrupted career as an architect, and she starts interviewing for jobs to re-enter her chosen profession.

But odd things happen during Cecilia’s job interview at an architect firm. The work samples that she had in a portfolio are not there when she opens up her portfolio. And then she passes out during the interview.

Other strange things keep happening. While cooking something in a frying pan, Cecilia briefly leaves the room and comes back to find the frying pan in flames, and it almost nearly causes a serious fire in the house. And then one night, Cecilia wakes up to find the blanket at the foot of the bed, and she sees a footprint on the blanket.

All of these  incidents might be explained away with logical reasons, but what sets Cecilia over the edge is when a prescription bottle, which she accidentally dropped during her escape from Adrian, shows up in her possession with a bloody fingerprint on it. Cecilia is convinced that it’s a sign from Adrian that he’s still alive, he’s invisible, and he’s taunting her. And things do indeed get much, much worse for Cecilia, as people around her question her sanity and she’s accused of something that could land her in prison for a very long time.

The 2020 version of “The Invisible Man” was written and directed by Leigh Whannell, who wrote the first two “Saw” movies and who created the “Insidious” franchise. (He’s written all of the “Insidious” movies so far.) “The Invisible Man” is his third movie as a director. It’s clear that he learned a lot from writing and directing the 2018 stunt-heavy film horror film “Upgrade,” because “The Invisible Man” has some heart-pounding stunts when people are fighting the Invisible Man.

Whannell’s “The Invisible Man” doesn’t rely too heavily on a lot of violence and gore for scares. (Although there is some bloody violence that will make people squirm.) Some of the most suspenseful moments in the film are the quietest moments or the claustrophobic moments, such as when Cecilia does some snooping in an attic where her invisible abuser might be hiding.

As the tortured Cecilia, Moss gives an excellent performance in making her an entirely believable character who might be losing her grip on her sanity. Hodge and Reid also give admirable performances by adding realistic emotional layers to what could have been generic supporting roles.

While a lot of modern horror films have been using hand-held camera techniques to induce scares, Whannell and cinematographer Stefan Duscio have gone against this trend by framing many of the shots with steady overhead angles, which make the scenes more terrifying. It’s why the 2020 version of “The Invisible Man” is the type of horror movie that should be seen on as big of a screen as possible.

The above-average acting and the modern reimagination of this classic horror story make up for the fact that “The Invisible Man” has some plot holes, especially with unrealistic police techniques and procedures. However, these minor flaws shouldn’t take too much away from the film.

“The Invisible Man” is the first of a series of remakes of Universal Pictures monster movies that Universal has assigned to Blumhouse Productions, whose specialty is horror, with franchises such as “The Purge” and “Insidious.” Universal’s classic monster movies include “Dracula,” “Frankenstein,” “Bride of Frankenstein,” “The Mummy,” “The Wolf Man” and “The Creature from the Black Lagoon.” Let’s hope that these remakes will continue what this version of “The Invisible Man” started, by bringing fresh ideas without tarnishing the quality of the original story.

Universal Pictures released “The Invisible Man” in U.S. cinemas on February 28, 2020.

UPDATE: Because of the widespread coronavirus-related closures of movie theaters worldwide, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has moved up the VOD release of “The Invisible Man” to March 20, 2020.

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