The best new movies coming in spring 2024 – Polygon

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Mark your calendars

Spring isn’t just a transitional time for the weather and for gardens — it’s a major transitional time for new movie releases. Studios usually devote January and some of February to wide releases of all the Oscar-bait prestige movies that got tiny awards-qualification releases in December, and to dumping the smaller movies they have no faith in. And by the beginning of May, the first round of summer blockbuster madness will hit.
But in between, there’s an anything-goes window for theatrical releases that often means some of the year’s most unpredictable films, whether it’s a horror movie about a 12-year-old vampire ballerina, a romantic sports dramedy featuring Zendaya in a three-way relationship, or a straight-faced but surreal picture about sasquatches frolicking in the Pacific Northwest. The next few months in movies are going to be strange. Here’s what Polygon is looking forward to most:
Release date: In theaters March 29
La Chimera follows a band of lovable hooligans in the hills of Italy in the 1970s, who sell statues they find in the country’s many random tombs to make their living. Beautiful, sweet, and surprisingly hilarious, La Chimera is one of the most interesting and unique movies of 2024. —Austen Goslin
Release date: On Netflix March 29
Henri-Georges Clouzot’s original The Wages of Fear is one of the most influential thrillers of all time, winning the Palme d’Or in 1953 and spawning multiple remakes and countless homages. The movie follows a group of truckers who are hired for a dangerous mission with deadly cargo. Chaos and tension ensues. This is the third remake, but the first to come from France, with action-thriller specialist Julien Leclercq (Braqueurs, Sentinelle) directing and compelling action star Alban Lenoir as one of the leads. —Pete Volk
Release date: In theaters March 29
My man Kong has a robot power glove. My homie ’Zilla has gone Super Saiyan Rosé. The Earth? She’s hollow, and bad things are pouring out of it. When Georges Méliès was out there in France, pushing the boundaries of cinema, this was the shit he dreamed of. Why wouldn’t you be there first day? —JR
Release date: On digital and Blu-ray April 2
My excitement for this movie is well documented. Baby Assassins was one of my favorite movies of 2022, and I have been waiting with bated breath for the sequel. The franchise follows two teenage assassins who alternate between expressions of angst and murder. It is delightful, and contains some of the best action you’ll find in modern movies. —PV
Release date: In theaters April 5
How much of your life have you lived before? The Beast is a sci-fi movie set in a world where emotions have become dangerous, but people can search their past lives to purge them of those deadly feelings. But when Gabrielle (Léa Seydoux) undergoes the procedure, she keeps finding a connection to the same man (George MacKay) over and over again in every life. —AG
Release date: On Apple TV Plus April 5
2020’s Boys State was one of that year’s best documentaries, following four participants in the Texas chapter of the American Legion event colloquially called Boys State: a weeklong program where high schoolers convene to build a representative government from the ground up. Girls State is directors Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine’s follow-up, moving from Texas to Missouri and following the complementary Girls State conference. (There are also co-ed Boys/Girls State versions held in some states; maybe that’ll be a third film?) Much like Boys State, Girls State promises to be a way to look at our political processes sideways, through the eyes of young people learning to participate in them. In an election year, it’s something worth looking at through fresh eyes. —Joshua Rivera
Release date: In theaters April 5
Dev Patel got tired of waiting for someone to ask him to kick ass in a movie, so he made one. Backed by producer Jordan Peele, Monkey Man sees Patel kicking ass in fight clubs, regular clubs, kitchens, and every other place one might throw hands as they look for revenge on the rich bastards bleeding their hometown dry. Here’s hoping the film hits hard and never lets up until the credits roll. —JR
Release date: In theaters April 5
After dubious and poorly executed revival The Exorcist: Believer, The First Omen looks like a breath of fresh air: a restrained, stylish psychological horror prequel that probably doesn’t need to exist, sure, but looks damn creepy. The premise is about as straightforward as it gets — an American woman off to Rome to become a nun (Nell Tiger Free) stumbles upon a plot to bring forth the Antichrist. Fortunately, plot isn’t really the star here, vibes are, and the vibes? They’re… well, if they were immaculate, it wouldn’t be the Antichrist, would it? —JR
Release date: In theaters April 12
By all accounts, Alex Garland’s latest provocation-as-cinema isn’t the movie you might think it is. A war film set against a backdrop that places a firm finger on American cultural pressure points, Civil War will likely inspire many arguments among those who see it, and hopefully more than a few of those will be worth having. The alternative is — well, that’s what the movie’s about. —JR
Release date: In theaters April 12
Advance reviews out of SXSW have warned Nicolas Cage fans to expect dialed-down, serious Cage from this post-apocalyptic horror movie, not manic, screaming Cage. That isn’t a bad thing, but it’s always best to set expectations before going in, since Cage’s modes are so different. In this case, he’s playing dad and protector to two teenage boys (Jaeden Martell and Maxwell Jenkins) after murderous creatures destroy most of life on Earth — or is any of that true? The initial trailer lands on an intriguing line somewhere between the breathless horror of A Quiet Place and the more psychological conundrums of Frailty. —Tasha Robinson
Release date: In limited theaters April 12, released wide April 19
Riley Keough, Jesse Eisenberg, Christophe Zajac-Denek, and Nathan Zellner star as a family of sasquatches in this surreal comedy. Amid the picturesque scenery of the Pacific Northwest, there’s also some Bigfoot sex in the trailer, so prepare yourself for that. —Petrana Radulovic
Release date: On Netflix April 19
What started as a Zack Snyder Star Wars movie has turned into a two-part original Netflix space opera, with a promised R-rated extended cut at some point this year. After the first part received largely negative reviews, here’s hoping the second part is an improvement. The good news: Trailers promise the climactic battle the first movie led up to. —PV
Release date: In theaters April 19
Guy Ritchie’s been on a bit of a heater recently. The Covenant and Wrath of Man are two of the very best projects he’s ever worked on, his TV version of The Gentlemen is way better than his movie of the same name, and I’ll even lightly defend the extremely silly Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre. Now Ritchie turns his sights to a period piece, with a World War II spy comedy featuring a star-studded cast and plenty of Nazi-killing action. What more could you want? —PV
Release date: In theaters April 19
A bloodthirsty vampire who also happens to be a 12-year-old girl and a ballerina just sounds like a good time. And she enjoys playing with (tormenting) her food! With a stacked cast including Dan Stevens, Melissa Barrera, Kathryn Newton, and Giancarlo Esposito, Abigail has a lot to play with… —PR
Release date: In theaters April 26
Zendaya Spring continues, with something very tonally different from her starring role in Dune: Part Two: a sports comedy slash love triangle slash maybe sex comedy? Zendaya plays a former tennis superstar turned coach who’s trying to pull her husband, Art (West Side Story’s Mike Faist), a celebrated player on a losing streak, out of his funk by pitting him against her ex, Patrick (The Crown’s Josh O’Connor) — apparently both on the court and in the sack, if the trailer’s tease of a threesome offers any clues. The latest from Call Me by Your Name and Bones and All director Luca Guadagnino looks pretty spicy, at least in terms of how it mixes up sexual competition and sports competition. —TR
Release date: In theaters April 26
Another of David Cronenberg’s children has moved into solo horror directing: Photographer and music-video director Caitlin Cronenberg makes her feature directorial debut with this dark satire where a global ecological collapse leads to a plan to euthanize 20% of the population. One rich man (Peter Gallagher) decides to enroll in the plan; his adult children have other ideas. The trailer feels arch and threatening at the same time, more like The Menu than most Shudder-sponsored horror. —TR
Release date: On Prime Video May 2
Is this movie actually Harry Styles fanfiction come to life? Maybe it is. Whatever the case, seeing Anne Hathaway in a romantic comedy is delightful and I simply want her to be happy. And hey, if that’s with Red, White & Royal Blue’s Nicholas Galitzine, then so be it! — PR
Release date: In theaters May 3
Fresh off Barbie buzz, what does Ryan Gosling do next? Why, an ode to stunt craftsmanship, directed by former stuntman David Leitch, of course! The Fall Guy looks like an absolutely delightful summer blockbuster anchored by two of our most charming movie stars (Emily Blunt stars opposite Gosling). —PV
Release date: In theaters May 3
Jane Schoenbrun’s first movie, the ultra-low-fi creepypasta-inspired horror movie We’re All Going to the World’s Fair, drew plenty of attention when it debuted in 2022, largely for the way it channels the queasy, dreamy feeling of being up way too late at night, finding a sense of community on the internet and not wanting to come back to the real world. Their follow-up feature feels like a more intense, action-oriented riff on the same idea, as two friends (Brigette Lundy-Paine and Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves co-star Justice Smith) obsess over a defunct late-night TV show that seems to offer a window into another world. As they dig deeper into the show, they find reality blurring around them. —TR
Release date: In theaters May 3
Euphoria’s Hunter Schafer stars in the latest Neon provocation, about a 17-year-old girl pulled into an uncomfortable and possibly untenable family situation in a remote German resort. The initial teaser is all nerve-shredding music and striking images, but the plot, which has Schafer’s character bristling over a seeming threat to her mute half-sister at their father’s mountain getaway, sounds intrigue-heavy and like it could go in any number of unpredictable directions. —TR
Release date: In theaters May 3
The official description of this horror movie centers on a group of friends that “recklessly violates the sacred rule of Tarot readings,” which is apparently “never use someone else’s deck.” As a result, the cards start showing dark fates that they struggle to avoid. Sounds like Final Destination with an occult twist, but the trailer has a much more Talk to Me vibe, with young people treating the supernatural as a party game, then facing the consequences. —TR
Release date: In theaters May 10
In this fourth iteration in the latest version of the Planet of the Apes franchise, the monkeys have finally taken over the world, and Freya Allan (The Witcher) is one of the few remaining humans left on Earth. The series has always had impressive action, and this new installment being a survival movie seems like the perfect direction for the series. —AG
Release date: In theaters May 17
A biopic on the tragic life of Amy Winehouse, Back to Black looks like one of 2024’s most devastating movies. But if the movie manages to celebrate the throwback singer’s tremendous talent and voice as well, then it could also be something incredible, too. —AG
Release date: In theaters May 17
Earlier in March, Lionsgate released Imaginary, a “mess of a horror movie” about an evil imaginary friend. Here is a very different take on the burgeoning “imaginary friend” genre, directed by John Krasinski and starring Ryan Reynolds. IF follows a young girl (Cailey Fleming) who can see people’s abandoned imaginary friends, and who bonds with a man (Reynolds) who has the same ability. —PV
Release date: In theaters May 17
Who knew a simple 2008 horror movie about a couple being menaced by masked slashers in a remote cabin had the potential to launch a cinematic universe? Brace yourself for a whole wave of Strangers content, starting with this prequel to The Strangers, helmed by Deep Blue Sea, Mindhunters, and Cutthroat Island director Renny Harlin. The simple premise sounds exactly like the first movie — isolated cabin, masked slashers, worried couple, etc. — but producer Courtney Solomon has promised that this film and Harlin’s sequels Chapter 2 and Chapter 3, both planned for later in 2024, will “really expand that world,” and focus more on psychological character study than just slashing. —TR
Release date: In theaters May 24
Even though the modern media landscape is filled to the brim with unnecessary prequels, sequels, spinoffs, reboots, and more, Mad Max: Fury Road was a certified masterpiece. So if we’re getting more of Furiosa and more of George Miller’s take on the Mad Max world, maybe this prequel will actually shine. —PR
Release date: In theaters May 24
Garfield is back, and this time he’s going on a heist with Odie. Chris Pratt voices the lasagna-loving cat (there are quite a few lasagna gags in the trailer), while Harvey Guillén voices Odie. Samuel L. Jackson, Nicholas Hoult, Ving Rhames, Hannah Waddingham, Cecily Strong, Brett Goldstein, Bowen Yang, and Snoop Dogg (playing Snoop Catt) round out a stacked voice cast. —PV
Release date: On Netflix May 24
Given how much horror and science fiction both reflect society’s current anxieties, expect a huge wave of fear-driven movies with AI antagonists or AI-centric plots to come rolling along in the next decade, as concerns over new uses of AI in every sector of society continue to spread. In this science fiction movie, Jennifer Lopez stars as Atlas, a data analyst who deeply distrusts AI, but may have to work with a renegade robot to survive. —TR
Release date: In theaters May 31
The mysterious fifth entry in this year’s Oscar for Best Animated Feature is only just getting a wide release. Without any dialogue, Robot Dreams tells a beautiful story of friendship between a lonely dog and his robot pal, showing how relationships change with seasons of life. It’s beautifully evocative and may just have you tearing up next time you hear “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire. —PR







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