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10 films we can't wait to see this fall

By Kristy Puchko
Joker TIFF

School has started. The air is growing crisper. Film festival season has turned prestigious and contentious! All signs fall is upon us. But don't fret, genre fans! Just because summer's over doesn't mean there'll be any shortage of sensational sci-fi, phenomenal fantasy, or heralded horror coming your way!

Here at SYFY FANGRRLS, we've searched the upcoming theatrical releases to pick out the must-see movies most likely to make you geek out — and we've got a bit of everything. Whether you're craving Stephen King-level terror, cryptid-centered adventures, a wacky Taika Waititi fix, or a twisted new take on the clown prince of crime, this fall offers something strange and spectacular.

01. It Chapter Two

"For 27 years, I dreamt of you. I craved you. I've missed you."

Following the smash success of Andy Muschietti's 2017 adaptation of Stephen King's It, here comes the frightfully anticipated sequel that picks up with the Losers Club 27 years later. But these fear-stricken survivors aren't the only ones returning to Derry. Pennywise the child-killing clown in on the rise again. Bill Skarsgård and his kiddie co-stars are joined by Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Xavier Dolan, James Ransone, and Isaiah Mustafa. Ready to be scared by a big red balloon, again?

It Chapter Two opens September 6.

02. Freaks

"You opened the door. You almost got us killed."

This scrappy little indie has been picking up praise on the festival circuit, and now it's finally coming to theaters. But here's the thing: there's a secret at the center of Freaks. To know is to know you need to see it. But to give it away is to do a disservice to co-writers/co-directors' Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein's outstanding film. So maybe don't watch the trailer. Maybe just trust us that this coming-of-age tale of a little girl and her mysteriously smothering dad is something every sci-fi fan should seek out before the secret's out.

Freaks opens September 13.

03. Abominable

"When Yi sets her mind on something, nothing is impossible."

Did you ever dream of having a yeti buddy of your very own? That incredible experience is what happens to Shanghai teenager Yi (Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Chloe Bennet). And that's just the beginning of her adventure as she and her pals try to get their new furry friend home to his family with a quest full of action, magic, and giant, rampaging blueberries. Plus, written and co-directed by Jill Coulton, Abominable is first female-led, major-studio animated film with a central female character. Which yay! And also HOW DID THAT TAKE SO LONG!?

Abominable opens September 27.

04. Joker

"All I have are negative thoughts."

Sure to be one of the most talked-about films of the year, Joker re-imagines the classic Batman baddie in a standalone drama that's one part character study and one part supervillain origin story. Three-time Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix, two-time Oscar-winner Robert De Niro, and Deadpool 2's Zazie Beetz team with The Hangover Trilogy director Todd Philips for this uncomfortable and unconventional superhero movie that's polarizing critics in its ahead-release festival run. What will we make of Joker? We'll find out soon.

Joker opens October 4.

05. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

"Don't. Ruin. My. Morning."

After the runaway success of 2014's Maleficent, Angelina Jolie returns as the titular sorceress who's less villainous and more misunderstood. In this much-anticipated sequel, Maleficent and her goddaughter Aurora (Elle Fanning) will find their bond tested as new allies and foes come into their lives. And this high-flying fantasy is studded with fierce female stars, including Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Michelle Pfeiffer as the crossbow-wielding Queen Ingrith.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil opens October 18.

06. Zombieland 2: Double Tap

"You're welcome, America."

The zombie-comedy gets new life with this long-awaited sequel to the smash hit Zombieland. Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Abigail Breslin are back, reprising their roles as charismatic survivors making the best of the post-apocalypse. But as this undead-slaying quartet travels into America's heartland, they make some new friends--and frenemies — including Zoey Deutch, Avan Jogia, Thomas Middleditch, Luke Wilson, and Rosario Dawson. Also reuniting are Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer and its screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, who went on to pen Deadpool and Deadpool 2. So, you know this is going to be one wild and gory ride.

Zombieland 2: Double Tap opens October 18.

07. Jojo Rabbit

"Oh this guy's a lunatic. Oh, look at that psycho, he's going to get us all killed!"

Between making a string of critically adored indies (Boy, What We Do In The Shadows, Hunt For The Wilderpeople), the massive, fan-adored MCU marvel Thor: Ragnarok, and his penchant for eye-catching fashion and sassy social media posts, Taika Waititi has quickly become one of the most beloved directors working today. So what's he doing next? Playing Hitler, natch. But don't get it twisted. This genocidal maniac and his Nazi minions are the butt of jokes in Waititi's wildly unique anti-hate satire. Joining him is a star-stuffed cast that includes Scarlett Johansson, Rebel Wilson, Alfie Allen, Stephen Merchant, Sam Rockwell, and Thomasin McKenzie.

Jojo Rabbit opens October 18.

08. Terminator: Dark Fate

"When this is all over, I am going to kill you."

First he gave us the unhinged action of Deadpool. Now, director Tim Miller is taking on one of the most action-packed science-fiction franchise the world has ever known. And he's pulling some heavy hitters in for the ride. Terminator 2: Judgment Day's Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, and Edward Furlong reunite for a sequel 28 years in the making. Joining them is Mackenzie Davis as a new badass broad on a mission to protect a mysterious young woman (Natalia Reyes) from another ruthless Terminator (Gabriel Luna).

Terminator: Dark Fate opens November 1.

09. Doctor Sleep

"You're magic. Like me."

Horror auteur Mike Flanagan has been delivering one spine-tingling spectacle after another, giving us deeply creepy films like Oculus, Hush, and Ouija: Origin of Evil, as well as the critically heralded adaptations of Stephen King's Gerald's Game and Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. Now, this master of the macabre is taking on his most ambitious adaptation yet, tackling King's sequel to his 1977 classic The Shining. Ewan McGregor stars as a now-grown Danny Torrence, who seeks to protect a child with the eponymous supernatural power from a cult that would see her sacrificed. From the trailer, it seems Flanagan's vision will also pay tribute to Stanley Kubrick's iconic — though controversial — 1980 adaptation. Don't sleep on this one.

Doctor Sleep opens November 8.

10. The Lodge

"It's okay. Trust me."

The last time filmmaking duo Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz brought us a horror feature about a remote home, it was the stomach-churning tension fest Goodnight Mommy. So, when these co-writers/co-directors set their follow-up in a remote cabin further cut off from civilization by a merciless blizzard, we were sold from the title alone. But if you need more convincing, how about a cast that includes Richard Armitage, Alicia Silverstone, Riley Keough, and It Chapter Two's Jaeden Martell.

The Lodge opens November 15.