Halloween is upon us once again and I am here to ease those Netflix Horror woes. There’s so much choice, but is there anything good? Well yes, yes there is. There is a whole lot of bad too so get stuck into the list below of my 10 picks and find yourself something to put that Netflix and Chill down your spine this All Hallows’ Eve.
Note: So, trailers kinda suck, they give too much away, but you kinda have to put them in. Watch at your own risk.
Recent Critical Successes:
Netflix boasts some recent critically acclaimed thrill rides that are most definitely worth checking out. Now, I’m not going to contest where the genre thriller ends and a horror begins but these choice picks will certainly leave you feeling unsettled.
The Gift (2015) Dir. Joel Edgerton
Well didn’t Mr. Edgerton surprise everyone. Already well known for his acting capabilities (Warrior, Zero Dark Thirty, Black Mass), The Gift is Edgerton’s directorial debut as well as writing, co-producing and starring in the feature. The Gift sees a married couple played by Jason Bateman (Arrested Development), in a rare non-comedic role, and Rebecca Hall (Vicky Christina Barcelona) as they try to settle into a new home. All is going swimmingly well until they bump into Gordo (Edgerton), an old acquaintance of Simon (Bateman). Gordo’s incessant pop-ins and gifts start to make the couple feel a little uneasy and try to call things off. Let’s just say that this doesn’t go down too well. With a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 93% and critical acclaim across the board, The Gift might just satisfy the uneasiness you were looking for.
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Hush (2016) Dir. Mike Flanagan
If you thought that The Gift’s 93% RT rating was pretty impressive, Hush boasts a clean 100% on the review aggregator after 13 reviews. The movie has been labelled “a modern slasher movie classic that’s not to be missed” and even Stephen King tweeted about it earlier this year writing ”Up there with Halloween and, even more, Wait Until Dark. White knuckle time.”
Hush portrays the horrifying and psychological torment of a masked killer’s attack on a cottage-bound young deaf and dumb writer. Proper Halloween viewing for you right here. Due to the lack of dialogue an almost audible silence just hangs over you for the entirety of this movie. Sometimes less is more and Flanagan nails this.
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The Invitation (2015) Dir. Karyn Kusama
If it’s dread and paranoia you’re after this Halloween look no further than Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation. Far removed from Kusama’s past works, Jennifer’s Body and Æon Flux, The Invitation has garnered critical acclaim for its atmospheric, edge-of-your-seat tension and unsettling nature.
Invited around for a lavish dinner party by his ex-wife and her new husband, two years after the accidental death of their son, Will (played by Tom Hardy lookalike Logan Marshall-Green) soon begins to suspect that there may be ulterior motives at play. Chock full of suspicion, suspense, mis-direction and more, The Invitation is a thriller that will last with you long after dessert is served. (Because, you see it’s a dinner-party…dessert…yeah, I went there)
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1996 – What A Year
Two modern classics came to being way back when, in 1996 – 20 years on, they are a pair of my personal Halloween favourites and perfect viewing for the night that’s in it.
The Craft (1996) Dir. Andrew Fleming
A wee bit of cheesy nostalgia is nothing to be sniffed at, even on horror’s big night. The Craft is not a perfect movie by any means but it is a cult classic and a lot of fun. As new girl Sarah (Robin Tunney, The Mentalist) joins a new school she finds solace in the company of three self-declared outsiders; Nancy (Fairuza Balk), Rochelle (Rachel True) and Bonnie, played by my favourite Halloween Scream Queen, Neve Campbell. Witchcraftery ensues and soon gets a little out of hand.
The Craft is a perfect mix of high school hi-jinx, coven craziness and other alliterative fun. With plenty of 90s throwbacks, cheesy dialogue and 1970s-esque graphics, The Craft is a classic for those not in the mood for too much unease (apart from the occasional cringe).
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Scream (1996) Dir. Wes Craven
An uncontested instant classic, Scream is the quintessential slasher movie in modern cinema. I’m not too sure how it stands up with today’s youth and their desensitised horror expectations where unless it is an actual scare-a-second gore-fest with a Japanese child as the antagonist they can’t get behind it, but back in my day Sonny, let me tell you; auld Ghostface was a freaky-ass dude you did not want calling your house phone. If you’ve seen it before you can bask in the knowledge of knowing how it all turns out but on first watch, Scream is a fantastic mystery movie as well as a fantastic horror. I could go on and on but I think you’re best to take the facts from the experts in the matter: Graham Connors wrote a fantastic feature on the film two years ago, and it was also Louise Bruton’s topic of choice for her Juvenalia Podcast. Oh, and did I mention Neve Campbell is in it? Yass!
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