The Most Anticipated Genre Movies of the Summer

Our genre experts pick the films they are most excited about seeing.

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By Erik Piepenburg, Devika Girish, Elisabeth Vincentelli, Robert Daniels and Dina Gachman

From web-slinging diversions to archaeological excursions, this summer movie season is stacked with releases across a variety of genres. Our writers who seek out the most interesting picks in horror, international, science fiction, action and children’s movies each month scoured the summer calendar to come up with the films that have their attention.


“Host,” Rob Savage’s terrifying 2020 found-footage movie about a possessed online séance, will go down as a defining pandemic-inspired horror film.

That’s why I’m looking forward to seeing what the British director does with a bigger budget and a Stephen King short story as inspiration, when his new film, “The Boogeyman,” opens in theaters on June 2. Sophie Thatcher stars as a young woman who battles a home-invading supernatural entity that feeds on the suffering of its victims.

As much as I wish Patrick Wilson would come back to Broadway — he would nail “The Right Girl” from “Follies” — I’m excited to see that he’s returning to horror with “Insidious: The Red Door,” the fifth film in the franchise, which opens in theaters July 7. Not only is Wilson reprising his role as Josh Lambert, father to a now college-age son, but he’s also making his directing debut. Color me curious. — ERIK PIEPENBURG


This summer will see the release of new films from some masters of world cinema — I recommend Christian Petzold’s “Afire,” Claire Simon’s “Our Body” and Pietro Marcello’s “Scarlet” — but I’m also waiting with bated breath for a couple of debut features arriving after garnering accolades at film festivals.

“Falcon Lake” (June 2), by the Canadian actress Charlotte Le Bon, is a new entry in the best summer genre: the coming-of-age movie. The film adapts “A Sister,” the acclaimed graphic novel by Bastien Vivès, about a teenager who has his first brushes with desire and grief during a vacation.

“Girlfriends and Girlfriends” (June 28), by the Spanish filmmaker Zaida Carmona, promises a boldly queer riff on another classic seasonal theme: breaking up and making up (several times with several people, going by the sensuous trailer). What better to do in the heat and idleness of summer than find love, and maybe yourself, too? — DEVIKA GIRISH

Science Fiction

It’s hard to be interested in science fiction and not be curious about how the particular — in every sense of the word — filmmaker Wes Anderson is going to approach the genre in “Asteroid City” (June 16).

Set in 1955, the film brings together students and parents attending a Junior Stargazer/Space Cadet convention in a desert town on Asteroid Day. The occasion is the annual commemoration of a meteorite hitting the area thousands of years earlier — a possible fragment was long thought to have been from “the hypothetical planet Magnavox-27.” Nothing much has leaked about the rest of the plot, but “Asteroid City,” shot in fantastically sun-bleached colors, appears to offer a humorous take on the 1950s fascination with flying saucers and visitors from outer space. And of course, it looks very Andersonian in that it’s art-directed to the max and packed with stars having a lark. What’s out there? I can’t wait to find out this director’s answer. — ELISABETH VINCENTELLI


From his boundless charisma to his rugged presence, Harrison Ford is our greatest action star — and the hunky archaeologist Indiana Jones, with his bullwhip and fedora, is his greatest role. As a man who’s always on the right side of history, he manages to embody the idealization of the American spirit while critiquing its difficult reality.

While the series showed Jones retrieving supernaturally powerful holy relics from the Nazis in its first film, and revisited that theme in “The Last Crusade,” the fourth installment abruptly shifted to being about aliens and the Red Scare. That quick turn makes the latest, “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” (June 30), a fascinating opportunity: Will the director James Mangold continue down the previous movie’s otherworldly path? Also, how will Ford conclude this character? With a deep ensemble including Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen and Antonio Banderas — and a trailer boasting a surprisingly realistic de-aging of Ford — this return should be a ride into the sunset worth taking. — ROBERT DANIELS

Children’s Movies

I’m a firm believer that Miles Morales is cooler than Peter Parker, so “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (June 2) is a sequel I have been eagerly awaiting. The Oscar-winning “Into the Spider-Verse” was the first feature that held my son’s full attention. If it entertains a rambunctious preschooler, you know there’s some sort of magic alchemy happening onscreen.

Typically a remake of a movie inspired by a theme park wouldn’t inspire me to sprint to a theater, but Disney’s “Haunted Mansion” (July 28) is directed by Justin Simien (“Dear White People”), and the cast is solid. It might be a tad scary for little ones who don’t appreciate stories about ghosts, but for kids who love some Disney-level scares, this looks promising. Also, I will watch anything that LaKeith Stanfield is in. No matter how the rest of the movie shakes out, you know he’ll be riveting. — DINA GACHMAN

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