Last year the silver screen was once again dominated by sequels and re-makes with seven of them (including Toy Story 3, Alice in Wonderland, Iron Man 2 and of course Harry Potter) populating the world’s highest grossing list.

Independent and lesser financed efforts, however, still made their mark with strong representation coming from Britain. Chris Morris’ dark comedy Four Lions, the Banksy documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, among others, as well as claustrophobic war drama Lebanon and sci-fi love story Monsters pulled in high critical acclaim from across the waters.

This year kicks off with I Am Number Four (18 February), a supernatural drama where a teenager (Alex Pettyfer in the evocative title role), with extra-ordinary powers, is hiding his true identity by posing as an ordinary high school student. Only for the arrival of a deadly enemy forces him to abandon his newly found comfortable surroundings.

Expect some stunning visuals and minimal clothing throughout.

Battle: Los Angeles (11 March) is another sci-fi spectacular where Michelle Rodriguez and her platoon of marines face off against a hostile alien invasion intent on destroying the city.

Zack Snyder is looking to extend his already impressive résumé with his fantasy dream-based, blood ‘n’ babe’s action fest Sucker Punch (1 April). Expect some stunning visuals and minimal clothing throughout.

The majority of the surviving cast return for Scream 4 (15 April) where once again Sydney Prescott is terrorised by a ghost-faced killer. Director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson are back on board to re-boot the 90s franchise.

The amusingly titled Cowboys and Aliens (12 August) finds rope-slingers Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford standing in the way of an alien takeover of the Wild West in 1873. Jon Favreau (Iron Man) directs.

A prequel to John Carpenter’s horror classic The Thing will reveal the events that directly preceded the battle at the American research facility in Antarctica, with Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s graduate student encountering the shape-shifting monster of the re-used title (released 14 October).

Sci-fi and horror aplenty this year, and with recognised names attaching themselves to these underrated genres, will this be the year they flourish?

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