10 potentially great horror films coming in 2011

The rest of 2011 will see a tidal wave of potentially great horror movies arrive in cinemas. Here are 10 that have caught our eye…

As we saw the other week, 2011 is shaping up to be an exciting year for science fiction movies, and as this list proves, there are some potentially great horror movies on the way over the next few months, too.

We’ve tried to pick out a broad selection of horror offerings for your delectation here, from atmospheric spine tinglers to gore-flecked comedies, the low-budget to the mainstream.

Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark

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The last time visionary director Guillermo del Toro produced a haunted house movie, the result was 2007’s fantastic The Orphanage, so we’re looking forward to this remake of a 70s TV movie with far more enthusiasm than we might otherwise.

Comic book artist Troy Nixey makes his directorial debut here, telling the story of a young girl (Bailee Madison) who discovers horrid creatures lurking in the home her father (Guy Pearce) and his new girlfriend (Katie Holmes).

Having seen the trailer, our first impression is of a visually stylish, suspense-filled horror that makes the most of its modest budget. Originally intended for a PG-13 audience, the MPAA ultimately slapped an R-rating on the film due to its “pervasive scariness”.

Luckily for us, del Toro and Nixey haven’t been tempted to water down their film for the lower certification, so we’ve every hope that, in spite of the title, we will be afraid of the dark. But in a good way, obviously.

Release date: TBA 2011Scream 4

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When the Scream movies got the horror comedy formula right, they were witty deconstructions of the slasher genre’s predictable trappings. By Scream 3, however, the series appeared to have run out of inspiration, with the franchise in danger of slipping into the mediocrity it parodied.

Having placed it aside for more than a decade, there’s a possibility that Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson can revitalise the series they originally began back in 1996. After all, Craven managed to inject a little more imagination and fear back into the flagging Nightmare On Elm Street franchise with 1994’s excellent New Nightmare.Scream 4 will see David Arquette, Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox reprise their roles, along with new potential victims Hayden Panettiere, Anna Paquin and Rory Culkin.

Release date: 15th April

Priest

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Yet another big-screen horror film to feature vampires, this one’s distinguished by a great cast, including Paul Bettany, Maggie Q, Karl Urban, Christopher Plummer and Brad Dourif.

Based on a Korean comic of the same name, Priest is set in an alternate universe of warring human and vampire factions. Bettany’s the human protagonist, Priest, ably supported by Maggie Q as a warrior priestess in this mash-up of vampire, post-apocalyptic horror and western directed by Scott Stewart.

We’re not expecting this to be an award-winning classic, but its strong cast should provide some human interest between the scenes of action and gore, and its premise sounds a little like the cult anime classic, Vampire Hunter D.

Release date: 11 May

Fright Night

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Remakes of much-loved 80s movies don’t ordinarily get us overwhelmingly excited, but the quality of Fright Night’s writer and cast give us some hope that this one won’t be a quick cash-in on a great 80s horror.

The great Anton Yelchin will take over from William Ragsdale as schoolboy Charley Brewster, Colin Farrell replaces Chris Sarandon as the vampire next door, while David Tennant assumes the role of the TV host Peter Vincent, memorably played by Roddy McDowall in the original.

Most encouragingly, Fright Night 2011’s writer is Marti Noxton, who wrote some superb episodes in Buffy, Angel and, most recently, Mad Men. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a really decent vampire-based comedy horror movie – the original Fright Night, Vamp and Lost Boys are the three that really stick in our minds – so we’re hoping that this remake will live up to its pedigree.

Release date: 2 September

The Woman In Black

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A post-Potter Daniel Radcliffe stars in this big-screen adaptation of Susan Hill’s 1983 novel. Already the subject of a 1989 television special (which I remember as being extremely scary) and a popular stage production (which, I’m told, is even scarier), The Woman In Black has been adapted by Kick-Ass and Stardust writer Jane Goldman, with the director of Eden Lake, James Watkins, at the helm.

Given the popularity of both the book and its stage adaptation, it’s a little surprising that it’s taken so long for a movie version to appear. Fittingly, the revivified Hammer Films has co-produced, and with a surprisingly respectable budget for a British horror film (a reported $27 million) and a great cast, including Ciarán Hinds, we’re hoping it’ll be worth the wait.

Release date: 28th October

Sector 7

Some remarkable films have emerged from the shores of South Korea of late, including Park Chan-wook’s Vengeance trilogy and Bong Joon-ho’s The Host. Little is known about director Kim Ji-hoon’s Sector 7 other than the fact that it’s about a monster stalking terrified workers on an oil rig, and that it’ll be presented in 3D.

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Kim Ji-hoon’s last film, called May 18, was an acclaimed account of the Gwangju massacre of 2008, and Sector 7’s been in production for two years, with designers quietly working away on its vicious monster.

Could Sector 7 be South Korea’s Earth-based answer to Alien? If not, we’re hoping it’s at least the equal of George Pan Cosmatos’ endearingly daft undersea horror, Leviathan, which saw Peter Weller, Ernie Hudson and Richard Crenna at the mercy of a hideous mutagen lurking in a bottle of vodka.

Release date: TBA 2011

Red State

Kevin Smith takes an unexpected diversion into the horror genre in his forthcoming Red State, an intriguing and potentially controversial genre thriller. From what we’ve seen so far, Smith hasn’t pulled any punches in his depiction of religious fundamentalism in America’s south, and the fact that the writer/director is also distributing and marketing the film himself suggests that he’s made something quite individual here.

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Reactions to early viewings of Red State have been mixed, but we’re nevertheless intrigued by what Kevin Smith’s put together, and excited to see John Goodman’s performance, which some have said is his finest in years.

Release date: October 2011The Bay

Barry Levinson returns to the director’s chair for this environmental disaster horror, formerly known under the name Isopod. The production team is the very one behind the Paranormal Activity series, so unsurprisingly, The Bay’s horrors will be related via video and camera phone footage and news reports.

Christopher Denham, Michael Beasley and Kether Donohue are among The Bay’s modest cast, and will no doubt play second fiddle to the film’s rampaging parasites, who take over minds and bodies in a quiet seaside town.The Bay has a familiar premise, but the presence of Levinson alone makes this one worthy of attention.

Release date: TBA 2011The Cabin In The Woods

Another potentially excellent horror movie lurking under a generic premise, The Cabin In The Woods earns a place on this list thanks to the presence of writer Joss Whedon, who’s penned the script with director Drew Goddard, who makes his feature debut here.

The geek credentials of Whedon are already well documented, while Goddard has the distinction of writing some of the best episodes of Buffy, Angel and Lost to his name, as well as the script for Cloverfield.

Little is currently known about the Cabin In The Woods’ plot, other than the familiar horror setting suggested by its title, but we do know that Thor star Chris Hemsworth’s among the cast and that the movie’s been shot in 3D. It’s also been completed for some time, and has been sitting on the shelf awaiting the resolution of MGM’s financial woes. Which now appear to have been resolved…Release date: TBA 2011

11-11-11

We’re quite intrigued by this oddly named movie from the director behind Repo! The Genetic Opera and the Saw movies two through four, which looks at the terrifying events that occur when an evil entity takes over the world on the title’s date.

It’s a premise that could yield an extremely scary film or an extremely daft one, though, and the jury’s currently out on which side 11-11-11’s coin will fall. Joel Schumacher’s thematically similar The Number 23 was widely described as the worst film of 2007, so we’re hoping writer/director Darren Lynn Bousman’s movie doesn’t share the same fate.

Burlesque’s Michael Landes, Wendy Glenn and Timothy Gibbs star.

Release date: TBA 2011Also out in 2011: The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), Paranormal Activity 3, Final Destination 5

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