As the winds get chillier and the days shorter, October brings with it a slew of horror movies in the run up to Halloween.

Among them, is the typical ‘friends go to a forest (always a good idea) where a menacing creature awaits’ storyline in The Ritual. The Saw franchise returns with its eighth instalment, in which it seems as though that pesky Jigsaw killer could be back to his old tricks. Michael Fassbender stars as detective Harry Hole in The Snowman, about another serial killer, this time one who hides his victims’ bodies in – you guessed it – snowmen.

If horror isn’t your cup of tea, then awards-season contenders – such as The Mountain Between Us, The Glass Castle, Breathe and Sundance breakout Call Me By Your Name – might be more appropriate. If you’re starting to miss big summer blockbusters, Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok is wrapping up a great year for Marvel. Even after all that, there’s still a lot to look out for this October.

Blade Runner 2049 – 5th October

Call me crazy, but there seems to be a lot of love for the 80s at the moment – what with Stranger Things, the Star Wars sequel trilogy, the new It, and Ready Player One, to name a handful. Adding to this is Denis Villeneuve’s sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi classic.

Upon discovering a long-concealed secret, a new Blade Runner (Ryan Gosling) must find former Blade Runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) who has been missing for thirty years. You could say that Gosling is the Rey to Ford’s Luke…

Let’s hope that Villeneuve manages to mix audience expectations with his own brand of originality well enough to serve up a batch of existential, sci-fi goodness.

School Life – 13th October

Formerly known as In Loco Parentis, School Life is definitely at the other end of the film spectrum. This low-budget documentary about a boarding, primary school in Ireland follows teachers John and Amanda who must come to terms with their impending retirement. Having spent nearly fifty years nurturing countless children, they contemplate the meaning of life after work, and how the school and the children they’re leaving behind will manage without them.

This may not be the most well-known of the bunch, but if the trailer is to be trusted, this looks to be full of honesty and heart – an antidote to all the horror out there, fictional or otherwise.

The Party – 13th October

After five years, Sally Potter – the director behind Ginger and Rosa and Rage – returns to the big screen with The Party, a true ensemble piece.

Having recently been appointed as the shadow minister of health, Janet (Kristen Scott Thomas) hosts a small gathering of her friends to celebrate. However, it soon becomes clear that tensions are running high when terminal illness, adultery and drug abuse amongst other things, cause this oh-so sophisticated group to unravel.

A superb cast – including Timothy Spall, Emily Mortimer, Cillian Murphy and Patricia Clarkson – keeps this Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?-esque comedy afloat.

Happy Death Day – 20th October

In this sinister take on a similar concept to Groundhog Day, Tree (Jessica Rothe, taking a step out of the aesthetically pleasing world of La La Land) is murdered by a masked killer on the night of her birthday, only to wake up and relive the same day again and again, with a different version of the same gruesome end. To break the cycle of waking and dying, she must solve her own murder – a task made all the more difficult when she doesn’t know who to trust.

I know you’re not meant to judge a book by its cover, but initially this title put me off. However the stamp of approval from Blumhouse Productions (the company behind several horror films including this year’s mega-hit Get Out) makes me curious as to whether this will be any good. We’ll just have to watch and see.

Marshall – 20th October

This awards-hopeful film about the early career of Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Hidden Figures in shedding light on forgotten history to critical and commercial success.

When Joseph Spell (Sterling K. Brown) is accused of the rape and attempted murder of a white woman (Kate Hudson), Marshall (Chadwick Boseman) must join forces with an insurance lawyer (Josh Gad) in order to gain support from the jury, if he is to win the case for his client.

As a big fan of Brown’s (who is coming off back-to-back Emmy wins for This is Us and another courtroom drama, The People V. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story) it will be exciting to see how this story is told – especially given the film shares its cinematographer, Newton Thomas Sigel, with 2011’s Drive.

The Death of Stalin – 20th October

Although Veep fans may have mourned the departure of its showrunner at the end of season 4, Armando Ianucci’s return to the big screen should be enough to placate them.

Following the death of Joseph Stalin, his subordinates – including Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor), Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi), Vasily Stalin (Rupert Friend) and Zhukov (Jason Isaacs) – scramble to become his successor.

Considering Ianucci’s track record for political comedy – past work includes the aforementioned Veep as well as The Thick of It and its spin-off film, In the Loop – there’s a lot to live up to with this. If early reviews are to be believed, Ianucci’s got another hit on his hands.

Sarah Quraishi

Featured image courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures via IMDb.

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