Horror highlights (be)heading your way this September

Matt Glasby previews the month ahead in horror – including cinema releases as well as movies that you can find playing… from inside the house.

From unholy orders to demons in a jar; gouge-your-eyes-out sequels to the ultimate wiener schnitzel, here’s what to watch—and what to watch out for—among this month’s releases.

Matt Glasby is the author of The Book of Horror: The Anatomy of Fear in Film, available here.


Hyped as the next Talk to Me, Cobweb is the feature debut of director Samuel Bodin, who worked on TV’s spooky but underseen Marianne. It concerns eight-year-old Peter (Woody Norman), a bullied little boy with weird parents (Lizzy Caplan and Antony Starr), a creepy house and less-than-ideal bedroom acoustics. One night he hears a tapping noise coming from inside his wall, but is it just in his head, or is something more sinister going on? Well, clearly it’s the latter, otherwise there wouldn’t be a movie.

The pre-release buzz stems from the fact that Chris Thomas Devlin’s script was included on the 2018 Black List, a collection of excellent as-yet-unproduced screenplays, but perhaps Scott Derrickson’s The Black Phone is a better reference point.

The Nun 2

The ninth film in the Conjuring franchise, hitting its tenth anniversary this year, has very little to lose. The sequel to the series’ worst entry, it’s directed by Michael Chaves of The Curse of La Llorona (aka The Curse of the Weeping Woman), the series’ second worst entry and The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, which sits somewhere in the middle.

Still, the first Nun made $365M off a $22M budget, so at least the figures add up. This time it follows Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga) to boarding school in France, where she’s dismayed to discover the wimpled demon Valak (Bonnie Aarons) haunting the corners of the frame, only to jump out just when the music drops.

It Lives Inside

Joining the—surprisingly swollen—ranks of excellent “It” films, Bishal Dutta’s It Lives Inside was produced by the folks behind Get Out, and shares similar themes. Samidha (Megan Suri) is an ordinary Indian-American high schooler torn between tradition and fitting in. She’s grown apart from her best friend Tamira (Mohana Krishnan), which is hardly surprising seeing as the latter creeps around feeding meat to an evil being she keeps in a jar. “There’s something in here,” Tamira explains. “It lives inside!” At which all fans of the trailer-friendly title drop should drink.

Obviously, I’m not telling you exactly what lives inside, but it’s related, rather cleverly, to the shame of not belonging. “We’ve got to look after our own Sam,” says kindly teacher Joyce (Betty Gabriel), also from Get Out. The result should strike a chord for anyone struggling to assimilate, and losing themselves in the process.

The Tower

Guillaume Nicloux’s French survival horror is bleak AF. Also known as Lockdown Tower, it’s a metaphor for those barren pandemic months during when nobody was allowed out, unless they were Tories. The residents of a high-rise awake to discover the building is shrouded in black, and they can’t leave. “What’s going on outside?” asks one. “There is no outside,” says another.

Bar the odd severed foot, this all-consuming darkness proves a pretty cheap villain, but the real baddies, of course, are the humans. A great cast, lead by Angèle Mac, isolate, segregate, then start doing terrible things to each other. Like Andy Mitton’s The Harbinger, it deals with pandemic traumas in a smart, memorable way. Unlike The Harbinger it features graphic scenes of dog cookery.

Saw X

Set between the first and second films in the Saw-niverse, this victory-lap sequel brings back John Kramer/Jigsaw (Tobin Bell), who should have sprung his last death trap approximately seven hundred sequels ago. Directed by series regular Kevin Greutert (Saw VI and Saw 3D) and heralding the return of Jigsaw’s apprentice Amanda Young (Shawnee Smith), it follows Kramer to Mexico to see if the doctors there can cure his cancer. Spoilers: they can’t. You can probably guess who he goes after next.

Fans know exactly where they are with this series, which stands and falls not on the strength of its story, but on the ingeniousness of its traps. One of the best sees the victim forced to drill out his own brain. The reviews should write themselves.