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10 genre films we can't wait to see this winter

By Kristy Puchko
Black Christmas

Can you hear that? Something's in the air, and it's not just the nipping promise of snowfall. Listen closely. It's not the crunch of ice underfoot or the crackling of gift wrap or the jingle of Santa's sleigh bells. Something stranger is sounding off out there. Cats are cavorting. Teen girls sing torch songs. Badass heroines scream in terror and revolt. Captain America yells, "Eat sh*t!" And blasters go pew-pew.

Winter movie season is upon us. To celebrate, SYFY FANGRRLS is toasting glasses of hot cocoa to our most anticipated genre movies of the coming months. This list includes something for everyone, from twisted thrillers, to frightening fairy tales, to out-of-this-world adventures, to curious creatures, to a ferocious and feminist reinvention of Harley Quinn.

Knives Out

"You all love twisting the knife into each other."

Between Brick, Looper and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, writer/director Rian Johnson has proven himself a master of genre reinvention, be it neo-noir, sci-fi Westerns, or the most beloved franchise set in a galaxy far far away. With his original whodunnit Knives Out, he pays tribute to the legacies of mystery-writer Agatha Christie and master of thrillers Alfred Hitchcock. With a cast that boasts SYFY faves like Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Craig, Michael Shannon, LaKeith Stanfield, and Toni Collette, this is one winter ride you won't want to miss!

Knives Out opens November 27.

Knives and Skin

"Girls just wanna have fun."

After scoring rave reviews on the film festival circuit, writer/director Jennifer Reeder's magical, musical neo-noir is coming to theaters. It begins with a girl gone missing, then follows her friends and family as they grapple with grief, regret, and hope as they search for her. Along the way, Reeder gives a unique perspective on such pain by painting a trippy and tender world where T-shirts talk, secrets are slipped over bathroom stall walls, and heartbroken girls break out into song. Specifically, they sing out their agonies through soulful covers of '80s hits like "Our Lips Are Sealed" or "Girls Just Want to Have Fun." With a surreal and splendid blend of genres, Knives and Skin isn't just twisted fun. It's one of the most exciting films of the year.

Knives and Skin opens December 6.

Black Christmas

"You messed with the wrong sisters."

The classic 1974 slasher is getting a rad remake, courtesy of some fantastic female filmmakers. So don't go thinking you know what's inside this holiday-horror gift. Writer April Wolfe has shared her love of horror for over 100 episodes of her podcast "Scissor Sisters." Now, she's teamed with Sophia Takal, the fiercely feminist writer/director behind the mind-bending thriller Always Shine and the frenemies-gone-feral Into The Dark entry New Year, New You. Together, they're about to make Yuletide a bloody good time. Imogen Poots, Brittany O'Grady, Lily Donoghue, and Aleyse Shannon star.

Black Christmas opens December 13.


"A new day has begun…."

It's the trailer that set Twitter on fire. Whether you're an earnest fan of this Andrew Lloyd Webber classic musical or were just jaw-dropped over the digital fur technology of this daring adaptation, Cats is coming to thrill you. Academy Award-winning director Tom Hooper helms a star-packed ensemble that boasts Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, James Corden, Jennifer Hudson, Jason Derulo, Francesca Hayward, and Idris Elba. Come for whatever reason you like; stay for the music that's delighted Broadway audiences for generations.

CATS opens December 20.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

"Taking one last look, sir, at my friends."

Are you ready for Episode IX? The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams returns to the George Lucas-created franchise for the final chapter of the Skywalker saga. As the Resistance faces off once more against The First Order, we'll witness Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, and Kylo Ren on a new adventure sure to be packed with action and drama! Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong'o, Mark Hamill, and Billie Lourd star in one of the last films from the late, great, and beyond brilliant Carrie Fisher.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens December 20.


"We drilled to the bottom of the ocean and we don't know what came out."

Deep-sea adventure just got way hotter thanks to an ensemble cast that includes Mamoudou Athie, Vincent Cassel, John Gallagher Jr., Jessica Henwick, and a bespectacled Kristen Stewart with a bleached buzzcut that's basically catnip to us queer girls. When an earthquake damages their subterranean laboratory, a crew of aquatic researchers must fight for their survival. But drowning isn't the only thing to fear. Remember, at the bottom of the ocean, no one can hear you scream.

Underwater opens January 10.

The Turning

"The children are very special, Kate. They're thoroughbreds."

With this funky horror film, director Floria Sigismondi (The Runaways) gives a modern spin to Henry James' novella "The Turn of the Screw." Mackenzie Davis (Black Mirror, Terminator: Dark Fate) stars as Kate, a young governess tasked with caring for two creepy orphans, played by The Florida Project's Brooklynn Prince and Stranger Things' Finn Wolfhard. Between the gothic atmosphere, the incredible cast, and the teasing of some supremely spooky setups, The Turning promises to bring tantalizing terror to the new year.

The Turning opens January 24.

Gretel & Hansel

"A fairy tale has a way of getting into your head…"

You might think you know the tale of Hansel and Gretel. Think again. From Oz Perkins, the director of The Blackcoat's Daughter and I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, comes a ferocious fairy tale about feasting, famine, witches, and worse. It Chapter Two's Sophia Lillis stars as Gretel, a destitute girl who guides her young brother Hansel (Samuel Leakey) into the woods in search of food. There they meet Holda (Alice Krige) and discover depths of evil they could never before imagined.

Gretel & Hansel opens January 31.

The Rhythm Section

"Even if you succeed, it won't be worth it."

Reed Moreno brought us a bold new vision of The Handmaid's Tale by helming the first three episodes of the acclaimed series. Now, this celebrated cinematographer turned director is bringing an original tale of mystery and murder with The Rhythm Section. Hot off her dark double-act in A Simple Favor, Blake Lively stars as Stephanie Patrick, a woman desperate to uncover the truth of the plane crash that killed her family. Smoldering masters Jude Law and Sterling K. Brown co-star.

The Rhythm Section opens January 31.

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

"I wasn't the only dame in Gotham looking for emancipation."

Margot Robbie reprises the role of Suicide Squad's Harley Quinn in this glitzy, gonzo spinoff/sequel. Inspired by the DC superhero team, Birds of Prey sees this kick-butt villainess team with Huntress, Black Canary, and Renee Montoya to rescue a young girl from a ruthless crime boss. Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Rosie Perez, Ali Wong, Chris Messina, and Ewan McGregor star in this sure-to-be-fantabulous superhero movie, helmed by Cathy Yan and penned by Christina Hodson. It's all good stuff. But they had us at Harley.

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) opens February 7.

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