Your Halloween Netflix Horror Guide 2016

Following Andrew Carroll’s analysis of Kill List is Paddy O’Leary, who this Halloween will guide you through some of the best Horror films on Netflix.

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.

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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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International (Trick or) Treats:

If you like your horror from the shores of a different country here are two international inclusions for your viewing pleasure.

Sennentuntschi (2010) Dir. Michael Steiner

Sennentuntschi is a 2010 Swiss film based upon an eponymous Alpine fable. With its alternating chronology and mythological beginnings, Sennentuntschi (try saying that quickly 3 times when your full of Halloween punch) is definitely not your everyday horror film. Based from a fable of a young woman being created from a broom some hay and a couple of rags, whose only purpose is to please her masters, the film deals with some unsettling themes and imagery. As the genre always goes, folklore is not something to mess around with and the titular being finds herself seeking revenge on her heinous masters. It’s not the most difficult to follow but with the chopping timelines it may not be one to finish a horror marathon on. Visually the movie is stunning with impressive direction from Steiner.


Battle Royale (2000) Dir. Kinji Fukasaku

Likened to the outrage in the 70s following A Clockwork Orange, Battle Royale is one of the most controversial cult classics of the noughties. Set in a dystopian reality where the BR Act is in place in which a class of Japanese students, aged around 15, are taken to a remote island and are given three days to hunt and kill each other until there is only one survivor. One winner. With gratuitous violence throughout and mass murder of teenagers it is fairly obvious why this movie was so controversial. But it is also so damn good. The actors, all also around 15 years of age, at times mesmerise the viewer with the pure fervour in attack. A must watch at any time of the year, really.

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Have a Laugh:

Who said you can’t have an auld giggle on Halloween? For those of you who aren’t looking for the spine-tingling thrillers or horrors above, I have a few alternative picks.

The Voices (2014) Dir. Marjane Satrapi

Probably best known for her big screen adaptation of graphic novel Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi directs the wonderful black comedy The Voices starring Ryan Reynolds. Jerry (Reynolds) is a mild-mannered guy with an innocent, child-like demeanour, the only problem is he hears voices. These voices manifest themselves through Jerry’s pets; Bosco and Mr. Whiskers. Just as in real life, Bosco the adorable dog is man’s best friend and tries to keep Jerry on the straight and narrow while Mr. Whiskers, his cat, is unwavering in his dislike for the useless humans in Jerry’s life and vocalises Jerrry’s more violent subconscious. For any fans of dark comedy, this is a treat. You really feel for Jerry. Sure it’s not his fault – it’s all that bloody Mr. Whiskers at the end of the day.

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The Wicker Man (2006) Dir. Neil LaBute

“NOT THE BEES, NOT THE BEES”

Look, in all seriousness, this is a dreadful movie. One of the worst films of all time perhaps. But man, I do love a good terrible film every now and again. If you don’t mind the movie being ruined on you, watch the best bits below. Comedy gold.

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Side Note: If you can get your hands on the original (1973, starring Edward Woodward and Christopher Lee) for Halloween, watch that instead. It’s actually great.


Hotel Transylvania (2012) Dir. Genndy Tartakovsky

Halloween is a big day for those little ones too and if you are struggling to find something to throw on pre or post trick-or-treating then look no further than Hotel Transylvania. Sure there are better animations out there and it doesn’t stand up to the quality coming from Pixar, but I personally really enjoyed this on a flight somewhere once. I enjoyed it again with my Mam a few years later. It’s enjoyable, that’s what I’m getting at.

Count Dracula invites all the usual suspects for a break away from the humanoid world and to celebrate his 118th birthday in peace, but when 21 year old back-packer Jonathan shows up looking for a place to stay Dracula will have to keep him away from his guests and his enamoured daughter. Funny and perfect family entertainment.

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