Since 1973, various horror films have tried to replicate the shock of the prototypical human sacrifice movie, The Wicker Man (not to be confused with its gonzo 2006 remake, starring Nicolas Cage, which is perhaps best remembered for the immortal, memeified line, “Not the bees!”) Even the late Robin Hardy, director of the original Wicker Man, went back to the well in 2011 with The Wicker Tree. Most movies, including that one, have failed to recapture the terror of the iconic moment when the protagonist turned sacrificial victim burns alive, surrounded by cult members. However, the 2010s have been bookended by a number of interesting horror films, each of which has managed to reframe the Wicker Man model in different ways.

One of those films, Midsommar, hits Blu-Ray on October 8. Writer-director Ari Aster has called Midsommar “an apocalyptic break-up movie.” Speaking with Empire, he talked about how he tried to avoid The Wicker Man‘s influence, saying, “I think what [Midsommar] tries to do is point to The Wicker Man and set up expectations native to that film, then take a left-turn from there and go somewhere surprising.”

That’s a quote that could apply to other films on this list, too. Of course, this man made of wicker is not escaped easily. In some ways, he’s like the Gingerbread Man: every horror movie that deals in similar tropes seems to be chasing him. Here, we’ll chase The Wicker Man back through his own movie, then back through Midsommar and five other horror films of the 2010s. How have recent fright flicks approached the timeless subject of secret cults and human sacrifice?

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Private Life Review

David, Jeff, Devindra feast on Netflix content and cover the violence of Apostle, the fear of House on the Hill, and the awkwardness of Big Mouth.  Jeff gets a sneak peek at Steve McQueen’s new film Widows.

Be sure to check out Katie Hasty’s interview with David Lowery, Mike Ryan’s review of The Old Man & the Gun, and S. I. Rosenbaum’s interview with Tamara Jenkins on Private Life.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Also, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.

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Apostle Review

With The Raid and its sequel, director Gareth Evans established himself as one of the most exciting action directors working today. With Apostle, which is currently streaming on Netflix, Evans has established himself as one of the most exciting folks making horror movies as well. In other words, anything with his name on it is worthy of your attention.

Apostle is a throwback to old school English horror, with Dan Stevens playing a damaged and dangerous man who infiltrates an island cult to rescue his sister. However, it’s not all cheeky Wicker Man references – Evans fills this film with dread and gore and sequences of horrible intensity that demand to be barely watched from behind your hands. It’s perfect Halloween viewing.

I sat down with Evans following the world premiere of Apostle at Fantastic Fest last month and we spoke about the film’s period setting, why he made this instead of The Raid 3, refusing to hide the story’s supernatural elements, directing scenes of extreme violence, and what great horror movies you should marathon alongside his movie. We also debut a very cool new poster for the film, one that perfectly captures the movie’s macabre tone.

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Best Movies Streaming october 11

(Welcome to Now Stream This, a column dedicated to the best movies streaming on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and every other streaming service out there.) 

It’s that time again! I’ve gathered some not-so-obvious streaming options for you to enjoy this upcoming weekend, and beyond, because I’m just that kind of person. When I put together Now Stream This, I strive to pick titles that might not jump out to you normally. Are movies like Jaws streaming? Of course they are – but you’ve already seen Jaws. In fact, I bet you’ve seen it dozens of times. And that’s great! But if you’re looking for something new and different, that’s where this column comes in.

These are the best movies streaming right now. Let’s get streaming!

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Apostle Review

Stepping out of his signature style of riveting action-thrillers, Gareth Evans delivers a delightfully diabolic tale centered around a religious cult in his new film, Apostle. The Welsh filmmaker is known primarily for his fight choreography by way of Indonesian martial arts, yet he presents audiences a slower, more atmospheric horror story filled with a menacing score that supports the brutal mentality and withered imagery of the early 1900s. Read More »

Fantastic Fest 2018 Recap Day 2

(Welcome to The Fantastic Fest Diaries, where we will be chronicling every single movie we see at the United States’ largest genre film festival.)

Welcome to Fantastic Fest, day two. In this diary entry: a deranged stop-motion allegory, an unpredictable thriller from the writer of Let the Right One In, a new horror movie from The Raid director Gareth Evans, quite possibly the best comedy of 2018, and a horror movie with an auspicious title.

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Apostle Trailer

The Raid director Gareth Evans shifts from action to horror with Apostle. The upcoming Netflix film finds Dan Stevens going up against a religious cult that has kidnapped his sister. The film will premiere at Fantastic Fest this month before hitting Netflix in October. Watch the Apostle trailer below.

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Holmes and Watson movie

Summer is almost over, and you know what that means: Entertainment Weekly is here with a 64 page fall movie preview! We dug through all of them and borrowed a few images that will surely interest you, including new looks at Gareth EvansApostle, Damien Chazelle‘s First Man, our first look at Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in their Holmes and Watson movie, and more. Read More »

apostle poster

Director Gareth Evans is back with his first film since The Raid 2, and it sounds amazing. Apostle is described as an “occult fable” and stars Dan Stevens as a man attempting to rescue his kidnapped sister from sinister religious cult. See the Apostle poster, and scope the full synopsis, below.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

In the decade or so that I’ve been attending Fantastic Fest, I’ve watched this Austin-based genre film festival grow from a scrappy operation dedicated to showcasing weirdness from around the world to a major destination for Hollywood premieres. And this year’s edition finds two heavy-hitters making their debut: director Julius Avery‘s Bad Robot-produced World War II horror movie Overlord, and Apostle, the latest film from The Raid and The Raid 2 director Gareth Evans.

Of course, those big premieres exist alongside dozens of smaller and stranger and wilder movies from around the globe and you can see the first wave of film announcements below. Many more titles will be announced, but this is already looking like a killer year.

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