Summer may officially begin on June 20, but for movie fans it started with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Opening at $145 million domestically and $124 overseas, it looks to be the first summer blockbuster of the year. Kicking the summer off with a bang, fans can look forward to a summer full of superheroes, raunchy comedies and returning franchises.
Of course, it isn't all mainstream fare popping up at the cinema. Caped crusaders may top the box office, but there are plenty of options for the diehard fans of genre film. For people looking for something a bit grittier and off-center, there seems to be something new almost every week. So, before you grab tickets for Wonder Woman or get sucked into the terror of Alien: Covenant, here are 10 movies to keep your eye out for this summer.
1. It Comes At Night
- Release Date: June 9, 2017
- Director: Trey Edward Shults
- Stars: Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott
A mysterious threat is tearing the world apart. Safe and isolated from this post-apocalyptic world are Paul (Joel Edgerton), his wife and his son. Their lives are turned upside down with the arrival of a family seeking shelter. Things start out fine, but slowly, paranoia among the group leads to the situation imploding.
For the most part, theatrical #horror seems to be full of sequels (Alien: Covenant, Amityville: The Awakening), reboots (It, Flatliners) or strictly adhere to the Blumhouse-style of horror (Annabelle: Creation, Wish Upon). What makes #ItComesAtNight so unique is how mature it feels. It doesn't feel like a start of a franchise or aimed at teenagers like most of the summer fare; no pretty teenagers or attempts to kick off a cinematic universe. Instead, it mostly deals with the horrors of paranoia and mistrust (and whatever is out in the woods).
- Release Date: June 13, 2017 (home video), currently available on VOD
- Director: The Mo Brothers
- Stars: Iko Uwais, Chelsea Islan, Sunny Pang
Found washed up on the beach, an amnesiac with a vicious head wound (Iko Uwais) is taken in by his nurse Ailin (Chelsea Islan). Taking the name Ishmael, the amnesiac seems to find peace before the two are violently torn apart by the sins of his past. With no other choice, Ishmael must save Ailin from a past life he can’t even remember.
Not all of the best summer movies will be on the big screen. After a brief theatrical run earlier this year, this Indonesian action film is finally hitting store shelves. It's a unique blend of Iko Uwais's silat-based martial arts seen in The Raid and the brutal horror leanings of the Mo Brothers (Killers, Macabre). Featuring some of the hardest hitting fight scenes of the year, #Headshot is an absolute must-see for fans of action movies.
3. 47 Meters Down
- Release Date: June 16, 2017
- Director: Johannes Roberts
- Stars: Mandy Moore, Claire Holt
Having a blast vacationing in Mexico, sisters Lisa and Kate decide to go cage diving. Things seem to be going well when the cable connected to the cage snaps and they plummet to the ocean floor. Surrounded by sharks, the two terrified sisters must figure out how to reach the surface before their air runs out.
Thanks to the success of The Shallows there is a renewed interest in killer shark movies, and the first to hit is #47MetersDown. Neither going for over-the-top silliness (a la Sharknado) or cheesy jump scares, 47 Meters Down seems to be more focused on the terror of surviving such a harrowing situation. Part 127 Hours, part Open Water, this shark-infested movie seems to be the beach movie of the year.
4. The Bad Batch
- Release Date: June 23, 2017
- Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
- Stars: Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, Suki Waterhouse
Cast out by society, young Arlen (Suki Waterhouse) is sent to wander through the desert. Traveling a desolate wasteland, she finds herself meeting a mix of cannibals and fellow outcasts before living in a place simply known as Comfort. There, she meets a fellow wanderer known as Joe (Jason Momoa), who wants to see the kingdom of Comfort crumble.
Hot off the minimalistic A Girl Walks Home At Night, director Ana Lily Amirpour brings us the ambitious, post-apocalyptic world of #TheBadBatch. More on the arthouse-side of things, it looks to be Mad Max mixed with the visual ambition of Only God Forgives. If you are looking for something weird, stylish and totally unique, The Bad Batch looks to be up your alley.
5. Baby Driver
- Release Date: June 28, 2017
- Director: Edgar Wright
- Stars: Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, John Hamm
Using music to block out his severe tinnitus, Baby (Ansel Elgort) is the best getaway driver around. After meeting the woman of his dreams (Lily James), Baby finally sees his way out of a life of crime. Coerced into one last job for Doc (Kevin Spacey), his future, his love and even his life are put on the line when the heist goes bad.
Two years after his spat with Marvel over Ant-Man, Edgar Wright returns to the silver screen with Baby Driver. One of the most creative directors going today, #BabyDriver seems to be Wright's most creative film to date. Described as an "action-musical," he has gone on record saying the beats of the film are set to the songs Baby listens to. It's a unique approach to film that sounds perfect when mixed with Wright's comedic writing.
6. Lake Bodom
- Release Date: May 17, 2017 (on Shudder)
- Director: Taneli Mustonen
- Stars: Tommi Korpela, Mimosa Willamo, Nelly Hirst-Gee
In 1960, four teenage campers were stabbed to death at Lake Bodom. Fifty years later, four friends set out camping at the same spot. Believing the killer is still on the loose, Atte (Santeri Helinheimo Mäntylä) sets out to recreate the scenario — it turns out he is all too right.
With Friday the 13th seemingly abandoned and the constant retooling of Halloween and Leatherface only recently getting a release date, it has been a rough time for slasher movies. Thankfully, VOD services like Shudder are keeping it alive with foreign films like Lake Bodom. Receiving nothing but positive reviews, Lake Bodom is quickly getting recognized for its gory presentation as well as some killer acting. A mix of splatter and true crime films, this Shudder-exclusive looks like it can give slasher films the jolt the genre needs.
7. Atomic Blonde
- Release Date: July 28, 2017
- Director: David Leitch
- Stars: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Sofia Boutella
As the Berlin Wall comes down, spy Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) is ordered to dismantle an espionage ring. However, after losing her lover, she is out for revenge. Ordered to work with station chief David Percival (James McAvoy), the two uncover a bigger conspiracy that threatens to take down the Western intelligence community.
Another struggling genre seems to be spy movies. Aside from the Mission: Impossible franchise (which have more in common with Fast & Furious than Bond), the last great action-spy movie was 2012's Skyfall. That's where #AtomicBlonde comes in. Finally letting Charlize Theron lead as an action heroine, this film looks like the fresh take that cinematic espionage has needed for a while. With this being David Leitch's follow-up to John Wick, we are guaranteed a sleek and stylish action we'll all be talking about long after leaving the theater.
8. Death Note
- Release Date: August 25, 2017 (on Netflix)
- Director: Adam Wingard
- Stars: Nat Wolff, Willem Dafoe
An adaption of the anime of the same name teenager, Light Turner (Nat Wolff) comes into possession of a mysterious notebook. Supernatural in nature, it has the ability to kill people by writing their name down on the pages. Using it for good to kill criminals, Light is pursued by a mysterious detective only known as L.
What makes #DeathNote so interesting is Adam Wingard behind the camera. Well regarded in the horror community, he has a solid track record with movies like You're Next, V/H/S and The ABC's of Death. More importantly, he has shown an ability to not only scare but to show proper reverence to source material in 2016's The Blair Witch. While there is a bit of controversy adapting such a beloved anime, if there is anyone that could do it right, it's Adam Wingard.
9. Lucky Logan
- Release Date: August 18, 2016
- Director: Steven Soderbergh
- Stars: Channing Tatum, Daniel Craig, Adam Driver
Seemingly cursed, the Logan family have been living in the hills of West Virginia for nearly 90 years. Tired of the family's misfortunes, Jimmy (Channing Tatum) recruits his siblings (Adam Driver and Riley Keough) to steal $14 million from the Charlotte Motor Speedway during the Coca-Cola 600 Race.
After a brief retirement, director Steven Soderbergh (Magic Mike, Erin Brockovich) returns to the director's chair with #LuckyLogan. Similar in tone, this looks to be the inverse of the Ocean films (which Soderbergh also directed). No fancy gadgets, no fancy suits, it looks like low-fi ingenuity and a killer ensemble cast. Lucky Logan is looking to be a fun alternative to the bigger Ocean's 8.
10. It Stains The Sand Red
- Release Date: Summer 2017
- Director: Colin Minihan
- Stars: Brittany Allen, Juan Riedinger, Merwin Mondesir
Leaving Las Vegas with a checkered past, Molly (Brittany Allen) is lost in the desert as the zombie apocalypse begins. Drifting through desert, she is pursued by a single zombie. While it seems easy to avoid at first, she quickly realizes the peril she is in when she realizes not only how lost she is, but that one of the undead is right behind her. With seemingly no end in sight, she must do whatever she can to get to safety.
At this point, zombies feel a bit passé on the big screen. Every conceivable zombie scenario has made it to the big screen. We've had zombies take over the world, start World Wars and fall in love, but what happens when a single zombie is chasing you through the desert? Survival seems easy enough, but the undead are not only deadly — they don’t need to stop or rest. It's a simple concept that has tons of potential. If the trailer is anything to go by, director Colin Minihan (Grave Encounters) could be the one to bring the undead back to life.
The Other Side Of Summer
Summer is like one long Christmas for movie fans. It seems like every week, audiences get one blockbuster after another. As exciting as these may be, it is important for people to remember there are just as many under-hyped gems also being released. For every Marvel film, there are movies like these just waiting to be discovered. So, before you buy your ticket, look at the listings one more time. You just might find the hottest movie of the summer.
What movies are you most excited to see this summer? Share what you're most excited for in the comments section below!