January is usually a mixed bag of new releases at the box office. The holiday blockbusters are often still performing well, and most of the major studios will wait for the back-to-school season to start before releasing their new tentpoles. This January is unusually stacked with horror movies and thrillers, giving fans of the genre something new to see almost every weekend. In the past, dramas and sci-fi tales have flooded into the openings left behind from the major studios, but this year, the horror season continues with half a dozen wide releases.
“The Grudge” (January 3rd)
Sony Pictures is rebooting “The Grudge” this year with director Nicolas Pesce. The new version stars Andrea Riseborough, Demián Bichir, John Cho, Betty Gilpin, Lin Shaye, and Jacki Weaver. Like the previous films in the franchise, the reboot is based on the film “Ju-On: The Grudge” written and directed by Takashi Shimizu. This adaptation was produced by Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, and Taka Ichise. This is actually the third film in the franchise, not including the original work, but Sony Pictures is starting back at the beginning. The 2014 version featured Sarah Michelle Gellar, and the movie opened at the top of the box office with a $39.1M debut before grossing over $187.2M worldwide. “The Grudge 2” released in 2006 and featured Amber Tamblyn, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Sarah Roemer, and Teresa Palmer. The sequel failed to top the original and made $20.8M on its opening weekend before grossing $70.7M worldwide. Watch the trailer.
“Underwater” (January 10th)
William Eubank directed this action-thriller, which stars Kristen Stewart, T.J. Miller, Vincent Cassel, and John Gallagher Jr. The story follows a crew of underwater researchers who must scramble to safety after an earthquake devastates their subterranean laboratory. This will be Stewart’s big follow-up to “Charlie’s Angels,” but she will be returning to the big screen in 2020 for the romantic-comedy “Happiest Season” from director Clea DuVall. Stewart is co-starring with Mackenzie Davis in that project. Watch the trailer.
“RUN” (January 24th)
With “Dolittle” and “Bad Boys For Life” fighting it out on January 17th, the horror-thriller genre skipped a week and is offering twice the screams on January 24th. Aneesh Chaganty directed “Run” from a script he wrote with Sev Ohanian, and the story follows a home-schooled teen that starts to believe her mother is keeping dark secrets hidden away. Sarah Paulson, Pat Healy, and Erik Athavale star in this domestic thriller.
“The Turning” (January 24th)
Floria Sigismondi directed this adaptation, which is inspired by Henry James’ novel The Turn of the Screw. The movie stars Mackenzie Davis, Finn Wolfhard, Joely Richardson, and Brooklynn Prince. The official description reads, “The Turning takes us to a mysterious estate in the Maine countryside, where newly appointed nanny Kate is charged with the care of two disturbed orphans, Flora and Miles. Quickly though, she discovers that both the children and the house are harboring dark secrets and things may not be as they appear.” Watch the trailer.
“The Rhythm Section” (January 31st)
Blake Lively, Jude Law, Sterling K. Brown, and Max Casella star in this mystery-thriller, which was directed by Reed Morano. The movie is another adaptation, this one based on the novel by Mark Burnell. In the film, Blake Lively stars as Stephanie Patrick, an ordinary woman on a path of self-destruction after her family is tragically killed in a plane crash. When Stephanie discovers that the crash was not an accident, she enters a dark, complex world to seek revenge on those responsible and find her own redemption. Watch the trailer.
“Gretel & Hanzel” (January 31st)
That’s right, you get two stars of “IT” featured in horror movies this month. One week after Finn Wolfhard hits theaters with “The Turning,” Sophia Lillis is starring in “Gretel & Hanzel.” Osgood Perkins is directing the movie, which stars Lillis, Sammy Leakey, Charles Babalola, Alice Krige, and Jessica De Gouw. The film’s official description reads, “A long time ago in a distant fairytale countryside, a young girl leads her little brother into a dark wood in desperate search of food and work, only to stumble upon a nexus of terrifying evil.” Watch the trailer.
Those aren’t the only horror movies and thrillers set to debut this winter. Riley Keough, Richard Armitage, Jaeden Martell, and Alicia Silverstone are starring in Neon’s “The Lodge” in February, along with the “Fantasy Island” adaptation with Maggie Q, Portia Doubleday, Michael Peña, and Lucy Hale. Later in the month is the release of “Brahms: The Boy II,” which features Katie Holmes, Ralph Ineson, Owain Yeoman, and Christopher Convery. Universal Pictures is ending the month with “The Invisible Man,” a horror-thriller based on the iconic character from the old monster universe, which features Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Aldis Hodge, and Storm Reid.
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