This week, IndieWire will be rolling out our annual Summer Preview, including offerings that span genres, niche offerings for dedicated fans, a closer look at festival favorites finally headed to a theater near you, and plenty of special attention to all the new movies you need to get through a jam-packed summer movie-going season. Check back throughout the week for a new look at the best the season has to offer, and clear your schedule, because we’re going to fill it right up.
Today — a look at five horror offerings well worth your time and movie-going dollars.
“Revenge,” May 11
If you love New French Extremity films like “High Tension” and “Martyrs,” and have been yearning for a grisly, blood-soaked heroine, have we got the film for you. “Revenge” stars Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, who transforms from sex kitten to a badass on a mission to seek revenge against the men who wronged her. Jen (Lutz) is taken on a getaway by her lover, a married man, but is surprised when two of his friends also show up on the trip. The men have sinister intentions, but Jen isn’t going down without a fight and the men have a big surprise waiting for them, as Jen morphs into a defiant Final Girl for the ages. Bloody, brutal, and unforgettable, “Revenge” is a great way to kick off the summer horror season. —JR
Netflix’s latest zombie offering is a clever twist on “Train to Busan” set in the Australian Outback. Martin Freeman stars as Andy, an infected father who must protect his daughter from the dangers lurking in the Outback, and from the danger that is threatening to take him over. As everything around him begins to change, Andy bands together with a young Aboriginal girl, who has suffered her own losses, and who is the key to survival for Andy and his daughter. Packed with social commentary on environmentalism and Australia’s own fraught history with its Aboriginal community, “Cargo” is a refreshing twist on a familiar genre trope, filled with big scares and tearful moments. —JR
“Hereditary,” June 8
A24 have been at the forefront of some of the best indie horror releases in past years thanks to “The Witch” and “It Comes at Night,” and “Hereditary” looks to continue that tradition. After taking Sundance by storm earlier this year, “Hereditary” seems poised to conquer the summer horror box office, and rival “A Quiet Place” as one of the year’s best horror movies. After the death of her mother, Annie (Toni Collette) and her family discover dark secrets about their ancestry, but they soon discover you cannot outrun the things you have inherited, especially when they are sinister. Filled with chilling images (seriously, that man on fire!), a powerhouse performance by Collette, and one eerie little girl, “Hereditary” is sure to terrifying audiences, and be an unforgettable experience at the movies this summer. —JR
“The First Purge,” July 4
To call “The Purge” our finest ongoing horror franchise may seem an insult to such venerated enterprises as “Annabelle” and “Insidious,” but it’s true. The rare series to improve upon its first chapter, this dystopian vision of a near-future in which all crime is legal for 12 hours a year has wisely leaned into the fact that its premise no longer seems that outlandish. (Can you honestly say with 100% certainty that Donald Trump wouldn’t think this is a good idea?) After writing and directing the first three entries, James DeMonaco is allowing newcomer Gerard McMurray to helm “The First Purge,” a prequel in which the state-sanctioned bloodshed takes place in one secluded community as proof of concept before being implemented nationwide. What better way to spend the Fourth of July? —MN
“Slender Man,” August 24
To be sure, “Slender Man” doesn’t look like an especially good movie. Depending how you feel about making a movie based on an internet meme–turned–urban legend that inspired two 12-year-old girls to stab a classmate 19 times (she survived), it might even be considered an exploitative one. But its existence does attest to the power of online apocrypha in an era when it should be easier than ever to debunk such hoaxes. Now more than ever, people want to believe — so much so, perhaps, that they’ll go see this movie. —MN