Meeting your partner’s parents for the first time is scary. Saying goodbye to a friend is scary. Moving on from a big life event is scary. This month at the cinema, films in many forms and genres are exploring how we are born from our experiences and how the only way to live life is by being a little bit afraid.
Corin Hardy’s The Nun (6 Sept) opens the month with a traditional horror movie. In the latest entry in the undying The Conjuring franchise, demon nun Valak (Bonnie Aarons) is haunting a monastery (as you do) and poor Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga). YouTube pulled one of the film’s trailers for being too scary, and we know this franchise has a history of getting you down on your knees to pray.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post (7 Sept) stars Chloe Grace Moretz, giving the performance of her career as the titular teen attending gay conversion camp in 1993. Director Desiree Akhavan lets the horrors of this experience unfold with stark realness, but she also lets life flow through the frames as Cameron finds love and friendship with her fellow campers. Sasha Lane and Forrest Goodluck provide support, and the film won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.
A more traditional monster can be found when Shane Black lets The Predator (13 Sept) loose. Starting his career as a writer and actor in the first Predatorway back in 1987, the director horrifyingly sets the action in suburbia. The cloying false perfection of this setting is an ideal hunting ground and is a fresh twist for a franchise that was increasingly riffing off the Alien franchise. Starring Boyd Holbrook, Olivia Munn and Keegan Michael-Key, this ensemble is primed to utter Black’s banter and be killed in imaginative ways.
Meeting your partner’s family can be terrifying, and domestic box office hit Crazy Rich Asians (14 Sept) drills into this anxiety when NYU professor Nick Young (Henry Golding) introduces fellow NYU professor Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) to his mother, Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh). Ticking the requisite rom-com boxes, Eleanor is hostile to Rachel, who must prove she and Nick belong together. The film is a hallmark for representation and all the performers, including Ken Jeong and Awkwafina, know how to entertain.
The Rider (14 Sept) is a challenging and offbeat movie that plants a flag for its director Chloé Zhou. Zhou creates a stirring tale about modern America with her story about a brain-damaged rodeo rider trying to find the courage to ride again. Untrained actors lend the tale a devastating truth.
Lucky (14 Sept) is a film Culturefly loved when it played at last year’s LFF, and it’s great and sad that we can finally share Harry Dean Stanton’s last performance with you.
Love him or loathe him, there is no denying a new Gaspar Noe courts attention and with Climax (21 Sept) he deserves it. Dancer Sofia Boutella’s party becomes a hallucinatory nightmare when her sangria is spiked with LSD. A musical-horror movie that probes the common insecurities young people have, this is something only Noe could create and that alone makes it exciting.
Director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Spy) made his name with studio comedies, and after his excellent Ghostbusters reboot, he is trying something new. A Simple Favor (21 Sept) is a twisted story about Stephanie Ward (Anna Kendrick) investigating the disappearance of her mysterious friend, Emily (Blake Lively). Kendrick and Lively have had an intoxicating chemistry during the press round, so we hope it translates on screen. Crazy Rich Asians’ Henry Golding also stars.
The Little Stranger (21 Sept) is Lenny Abrahamson’s follow up to the Oscar-approved Room, and the Irish chameleon is switching genres once again, opting to adapt Sarah Waters’ haunted-house story. He uses the ghosts to explore how Britain surges forward after a catastrophic event, adding a stinging modern relevance to the tale. Domhnall Gleeson reunites with the director while Will Poulter and Charlotte Rampling jump at the opportunity to join in. The real star is Ruth Wilson whose performance pulses through the film.
Even studio comedies deal with fear and Night School (28 Sept), Malcolm D Lee’s follow-up to the riotous Girls Trip, follows Teddy (Kevin Hart) a high school drop-out who doubts his future and is forced to attend night school to get his GED. He thinks it’ll be a breeze until he meets his teacher, Carrie (Tiffany Haddish). Hart vs. Haddish is an all-star comedic battle you won’t want to miss.