It’s this time of year again! And although going door to door to fill your bag and belly with candy, or to that costume party Helen from accounting invited you to (and you said yes, even though you won’t know anyone there) sounds like a lot of fun, it’s OK from time to time to just stay home, turn off the lights so no one bothers you with their “trick or treats”, and spend Halloween night watching scary movies under a blanket while stuffing your face with all those sweets you initially bought for the kids waiting desperately outside your apartment.
Strong advocates for horror movie nights on the couch, whether alone or among friends, we’re here to give you some inspiration as to what to watch (and yes, it includes stuff on Netflix, so put down the wallet!) to take the spooky holiday to the next level!
There’s nothing like a good old horror movie classic, we’ll give you that. But if we’d only stick to those on Halloween, the special day would eventually feel pretty repetitive and, well, not so special anymore, don’t you agree? The ’80s aren’t the only decade that brought groundbreaking scary feature films. Initiated in 2010, James Wan and Leigh Whannell’s Insidious series gave birth to a new, terrifying universe where 2 dimensions — one called the Further and the other our own world — collide.
For the most part boasting an experimental edge, the movie’s paranormal events open the way for some pretty crazy stuff! So get ready to jump off the couch more than once, ’cause you’ll be in for a spooky ride! And if you’re feeling brave, check out the movie’s follow-ups ( Insidious 2 and 3) and its other, more or less related features ( Annabelle, The Conjuring, The Conjuring 2, Annabelle: Creation). That should be enough to keep you on the edge of your seat all night!
Curious about the story?: After Josh (Patrick Wilson) and Renai (Rose Byrne) moved into a new house with their children Foster (Andrew Astor) and Dalton (Ty Simpkins), the latter inexplicably falls into a coma. In the months that follow, paranormal activity begins to occur in their home where some strange and invasive figures come to visit at night. Soon the couple gets in touch with demonologists Elise Reiner (Lin Shaye), who rapidly senses a horrifying presence, result of Dalton’s rare ability to mentally travel to a place inhabited by the tortured souls of the dead…
Although it won’t get an official digital release on iTunes and Amazon Video until November 21, nothing keeps you from spending Halloween in theatre to (re)discover the much-talked-about Andrés Muschietti’s remake of Stephen King’s classic. (Actually, many other great horror movies will return to the silver screen for the occasion, so why not check them out?).
Directed with a clear understanding of the current ’80s nostalgia and the essence of what truly frightened King’s millions of readers about the original story, It has lots of scary surprises in store. (Just when you thought remakes usually are unoriginal, money-making productions…) Of course, praises also go to Bill Skarsgård for reinventing the infamous evil clown through his petrifying new portrayal.
Curious about the story?: The year following his little brother’s disappearance, Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher) and his group of friends decide to explore their city’s sewer to find out if the missing boy ended up there. In the course of their research, the gang will soon discover that the town has actually been plagued by unexplained tragedies and children going missing for centuries caused by a mysterious entity dressed like a clown. The worst part? It’s back.
Nothing comes quite close to a classic serial killer story to get your blood pumping. And if you’re in the mood for browsing the oldies section, look no further than Wes Craven’s 1996 slasher. Not only the first film to satirize the clichés of horror productions, Scream was even credited with revitalizing the genre.
It’s probably unlikely that you or your friends won’t already have seen the movie and its 3 sequels, but the point of Halloween can also be to indulge in the familiar to bring back memories from a time when we were younger, handsomer, and, hm, more easily scared.
Curious about the story?: Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) tries to deal with the first anniversary of her mother’s murder when a mysterious masked attacker goes on a killing spree in her hometown and threatens her life and those of her close friends.
Not exactly a horror movie per se, The Babadook is about more than just the story of a monster haunting a mother and her kid. Available on Netflix (yay!), the film, directed by Jennifer Kent, explores the dark corners of the human mind throughout a woman’s struggle to cope with her husband’s death and difficult relationship with her unique child.
Psychologically disturbing, this is a perfect choice if you’re not afraid of those strange noises in the house and dark figures watching over your bed at night…
Curious about the story?: Amelia Vanek (Essie Davis) is a single mother who faces difficulties raising and understanding her troubled six-year-old son Samuel (Noah Wiseman). When the young boy starts obsessing about an imaginary monster and brings her a mysterious book about him called Mister Babadook, Amelia has to convince Samuel it isn’t real. After many attempts to get rid of the creepy book, the mother begins to have strange visions of the terrifying Babadook all over the house.
Horror movie sensation of 2017, Get Out is about as creepy as it gets. A true success that proves that you can approach highly sensitive topics and be a big hit at the same time, the film tackles racism in a modern America via the most unexpected movie genre.
By now, you would have understood that the movie is not for the faint-hearted. But if you think you can make it through terrifying and twisted scenes, a little bit of blood, violence, and even some humor (look out for Rod, Chris’ friend, played by Lil Rel Howery), then it should be on top of your list!
Curious about the story?: Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), a young and talented photographer, is about to meet his girlfriend (Allison Williams)’s parents for the first time. Worried about the fact that they have no idea he’s African-American, Chris starts the trip with apprehension, unaware that the horrifying events he will have to face go way beyond racial biases…
Looking for something that will totally take you by surprise? Then Alejandro Amenábar’s The Others is the movie for you! Not only featuring a great performance by Nicole Kidman and a few spooky kids, the production is a serious ghost story that will keep you awake at night and question your sense of reality.
Curious about the story?: In the aftermath of World War II, Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman), a devout, strict catholic woman, tries to keep her children’s life as normal as possible in their enclosed home as they suffer from an uncommon disease called photosensitivity, meaning they are extremely sensitive to sunlight. After she hires new servants to help her around the mansion, her kids begin to report strange things. Refusing to believe them, Grace tells her employees not to believe everything they say. But then she begins to experience odd events as well, fearing the presence of other people claiming that the house belongs to them.
Want a movie that will not only give you nightmares but also make you wonder every second what the hell you’re watching? Look no further than the weird and obscure The Witch! Dark, mysterious, and — let’s be honest — pretty messed up, Robert Eggers’ period film goes deep into the origins of paranormal by setting the story in Puritan 17th century New England, when witches were the most feared creatures around.
Ultra realistic (it was only filmed with natural lights) and thought-provoking, The Witch slowly builds a terrifying atmosphere surrounding a family’s descent into religious madness in a universe where what you can’t see is more horrifying than what’s right in front of you.
Curious about the story?: After being banished due to a difference in interpretation of the New Testament, the members of a modest family start a new life in a farm by the edge of a large, secluded forest. When their newborn disappears, it is revealed that he was kidnapped and killed by a witch. Devastated, the father, William (Ralph Ineson), decides to hunt the evil woman. Then begins a series of strange events that will torment each member of the family — and especially the eldest daughter, Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy).
The Blair Witch Project
Talking about a witch… Here’s another classic that will bring back the scared teen in you. And if you mostly like playing the this-really-happened game, The Blair Witch Project is the perfect choice. Trust us, you’ll never go on an innocent walk into the woods without a rolling feeling in your stomach again!
Filmed with (at the time) unknown actors and a set of cheap cameras, Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez’s 1999 movie is at the origin of the infatuation for the found-footage film technique.
Curious about the story?: In October 1994, a group of film students traveled to Burkittsville, Maryland in order to make a documentary about the fabled Blair Witch, a legendary sorceress who is said to have lived in the woods and kidnapped children in the ’40s. Deciding to go for the full experience, the young friends camp in the said woods for a few days. That’s when things turn out much more real than they expected.
Just a simple look at that messed up little girl’s face is enough to freak you out for days! Named the scariest film of all time by Entertainment Weekly in 1999 and many more publications after that, The Exorcist still tops the same list. Filled with disturbing images, a freaky possessed child that will convince you not opening the door to all those hungry kids outside was the right choice, and cinematic techniques more realistic than all the CGI in the world, William Friedkin’s film will make you want to find refuge in a church ASAP.
Curious about the story?: In the early ’70s, actress Chris MacNeil (Ellen Burstyn) lives with her 12-year-old daughter Regan (Linda Blair) in Georgetown. After playing with a Ouija board and contacting a supposedly imaginary friend, Regan begins acting strangely, constantly using an obscene language and behaving badly. After asking many doctors to find out what’s wrong with her daughter, Chris asks priest and psychiatrist Father Damien Karras (Jason Miller) to perform an exorcism on Regan, who’s becoming more and more violent.
If you haven’t had the chance to check it out in theatre, M. Night Shyamalan’s Spilt will be available on HBO from October 28, just in time for Halloween! Featuring an incredible performance by James McAvoy (or should we say, performances), the movie revolves around a mysterious man suffering from dissociative identity disorder. Although it starts like a classic kidnapping thriller, Spilt rapidly turns into a shocking monster production in which none of its characters are safe.
Curious about the story?: Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy) is a peculiar man who has multiple personalities. One day, he kidnaps 3 teenage girls, including Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy, who also stars in The Witch), a shy, withdrawn young woman with a traumatic past. Kept in a cell, the friends will quickly discover they have to deal with not just one but 23 different assailants in one person, and later on, a 24th terrifying entity called ‘The Beast’.
Available on Netflix since last month, Gerald’s Game is another of Stephen King’s novel adaptations. Amid the current growing affection for the author’s work, the movie comes at no better time to please every fan’s curiosity and admiration.
What begins as a twisted love game between a married couple rapidly turns into a race against the clock to survive. Even though the story of a woman chained to a bed for an hour and a half might sound pretty dull, the magic of King’s imagination quickly brings a totally different and terrifying aspect to the situation. Between visions, a hungry dog, memories of childhood abuse, and a very creepy visitor, there are plenty of elements in Gerald’s Game to raise your heartbeat.
Curious about the story?: Gerald (Bruce Greenwood) and Jessie Burlingame (Carla Gugino) decide to retreat to an isolated family lake house in an attempt to spice up their strained marriage. When Gerald, who enjoys being dominant, handcuffs Jessie to a bed, the wife starts to panic. Not ready to let her go, the husband suddenly suffers from a heart attack and leaves her all alone with no one to help her. Then begins a set of long, horrifying hours during which Jessie will have to confront horrors from the past and present in order to break free.
Marking the debut of Spanish filmmaker J. A. Bayona, who later directed The Impossible, A Monster Calls, and more recently Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Orphanage is a type of movie we’d like to see more. Preferring to create a genuine sense of place and character to going head first into cheap scares, the 2007 film dissociates itself from more common horror productions. Supported by a fantastic performance by actress Belen Rueda, who brings a crucial emotional dimension, the film, just like The Babadook, has more to offer than just a series of thrills.
Curious about the story?: Laura (Belén Rueda) returns to the now closed orphanage, where she was adopted as a child, with her husband (Fernando Cayo) and 7-year-old son Simón (Roger Príncep) with the prospect to make it a home for disabled children. Over the weeks, Simón claims to have made a mysterious new friend named Thomas. When the young boy discovers that Laura is not his biological mother, the 2 argue, leading Simón to hide from his adoptive mother. After looking for her son everywhere, Laura starts to have visions of children around the orphanage as she begins to unveil its darkest secrets.
In a not-so-different category, the orphan from other Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra is alive and ready to scare de crap out of parents. Portrayed brilliantly by Isabelle Fuhrman (who was just 12 at the time), the young Esther from Orphan will soon become your worst nightmare.
With a story that viciously plays with your mind, just like it does with its main characters, the terrifying movie demonstrates that screenwriters are far from running out of ideas when it comes to finding new ways to scare audiences. Plus, you probably won’t see the end coming…
Curious about the story?: Kate (Vera Farmiga) and John Coleman (Peter Sarsgaard)’s marriage has had better days. After Kate lost their 3rd child at birth, nothing has been the same for the couple, who has been struggling with adultery and alcoholism ever since the tragedy. When they decide to adopt 9-year-old Esther, they believe life will give them a second chance at happiness. But Esther begins to exhibit a weird and insolent behavior, which soon makes Kate suspicious of the little girl. She has no idea how dangerous the child she just let into her house actually is…
Originally published at https://spotlightonline.co on October 26, 2017.