October is not only a month of Halloween-related films, it’s also the beginning of the independent and Oscar-buzz film season. The summer season hosts film festivals, and fall releases those films to the general public, although some are limited releases making it more difficult for folks in smaller cities to view them. Here is a short list of October releases, some of which fit the horror season with a little creativity and originality, that have gained attention through their festival circuits.
Release Date (Limited): Oct. 10
Incredibly excited for this film starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons by writer/director Damien Chazelle. Andrew Neyman is a jazz drummer and is now a part of one of the top jazz bands led by Simmons’ character, Terence Fletcher. At first Neyman feels on top of the world, but after practicing with Fletcher, it becomes quite clear that this new opportunity comes at a price.
Why see this movie? Miles Teller has been showing his talent and versatility ever since his performance in “The Spectacular Now,” and doesn’t fail with this performance as Andrew. The story captivates, and frightens the audience mentally in a much different way than any other horror film could coming out during the Halloween season.
Release Date (Limited): Oct. 17
This movie is chock-full of stars, from Michael Keaton to Zach Galifianakis, to Emma Stone and Edward Norton. Writer/Director Alejandro González Iñárritu has created a film about a man famous for his role as the comic book character Birdman who now struggles with his new direction towards Broadway. A black comedy, the film bounces between reality and the imagination of Keaton’s character, Riggan Thomas, as he struggles with his life. As of now the film stands at a 9.2 on IMDB, and has earned 94 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Why see this movie? For its absolute absurdity, and being very much a one of a kind film. It has a big cast and big ideas. Similar to “Whiplash,” the film’s horror comes through in its mental instability and conflict, making it a fitting October release, but distances itself from the typical slasher or ghost story.
Release Date: October 24th
Unlike the two previous films, both of which hold a mentally challenging, serious tone, “Laggies” adds some lightheartedness to this list of October films. Located in Seattle, Keira Knightly, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Sam Rockwell star in this film directed by Seattle’s own Lynn Shelton (Shelton also used local musician Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie to compose the soundtrack). The story follows Knightly’s character as she struggles with the realities of adulthood after her boyfriend proposes to her and she flees, claiming she has a business trip to attend to. There she befriends a teenager, Moretz, and the two take life day by day until Knightly is ready to face the challenges of her age.
Why see this movie? Because as a twenty-something, we are consistently treading water in a pool of uncertain feels and questioning our paths and futures. It is always comforting to see others having similar struggles, whether fictional or not. Also, holiday season is upon us, and we all need a little comfort as we head into that stress.
Release Date: Oct. 31
Jake Gyllenhaal leads this film, written and directed by Dan Gilroy, as a young man who stumbles into the world of Los Angeles crime journalism. His extremism towards the job guides him through this mentally unstable storyline. Gyllenhaal proves again just how versatile of an actor he can be.
Why see this movie? The movie is a mental thriller, just like “Whiplash” and “Birdman” but different in that it’s all self-driven mental instability and little reflection on the implications of the direction he is going in. Perfect for the October, thrill season.
Release Date: October 31st
Daniel Radcliffe, ladies and gentlemen, in the not-most-popularly-received film, but still worth seeing because it’s Daniel Radcliffe showing versatility. After the death of his girlfriend, Radcliffe’s character suddenly sprouts horns, giving him unusual behaviors to help find the real killer. Director Alexandre Aja has previously worked on horror movies such as “The Hills Have Eyes” and “Mirrors.” It’ll be interesting to watch Radcliffe expand his horror career with “Horns,” based on a book written by horror writer Joe Hill.
Why see this movie? Daniel Radcliffe. And because it is indeed an October movie, but tackles the scary season with a more creative approach. It’s not a jump-out-and-scare-you sort of film, rather it’s a revenge, satan-ish, violent, comedic film with a small bit of nudity.
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