Halloween has finally arrived, and with that comes the perfect time to sit back, turn off all the lights and put on one of your favorite horror movies. With access to a variety of streaming services, this has become easier than ever. Even if you only have Netflix or Hulu, there are still hundreds of movies and shows to choose from. Here are some great choices to watch before all the Halloween festivities are over.
I saw “Oculus” when it came out in 2013, and it has stuck with me ever since. At its core, ”Oculus” is all about the relationship between a brother and a sister. The siblings had a very rough childhood and were always tormented by a supernatural force that they believed was coming from a large mirror in their house. After many years have passed, the older sister, Kaylie, is able to reclaim that long-lost mirror as an adult and returns with her brother to the house where it all happened to try to prove that the mirror was evil. This movie has a very interesting way of telling its story by constantly jumping from past and present, and slowly unveiling all that happened to the siblings as children. The scares in this movie are very well thought out, and, rather than just relying on cheap jumpscares, there is a lot of unsettling imagery and tension used to cause a feeling of fear and unease. “Oculus” has a lot going for it and would be a solid addition to any horror movie lineup this season.
“Train to Busan” (Amazon Prime)
With the rise of Korean cinema around the world in shows and movies like “Squid Game” and “Parasite,” it felt only natural to put one of South Korea’s other phenomenal movies on this list with “Train to Busan.” This movie is a fresh twist on the zombie apocalypse genre that differentiates itself with its style and heart. Almost all of this film takes place on a single train, posing a set of circumstances completely unique to this movie. The choices characters would normally make are vastly different due to being stuck in a tightly enclosed area with little resources to defend themselves. This movie isn't all that scary, but if you're looking for a suspenseful emotional thrillride, “Train to Busan” will not disappoint.
“Hereditary” (Hulu, Showtime)
“Hereditary” is a pretty controversial movie, as much as I love it. Almost every single person I have shown it to has hated it, but even so I will still recommend “Hereditary” because I believe it is worth a watch. At its core, this movie is about the stress put on a family, mainly the mother, and how the great amount of horrible things that can happen to a single person can make them susceptible to making bad decisions and listening to the wrong people. Without spoiling anything, let’s just say this movie can be disturbing, particularly one scene in the middle which has turned a lot of people off, but I believe if you can get past that, you can experience one of the most solid horror movies in recent years. After years of watching horror movies, most don’t scare me anymore or even leave a long-lasting impression, but that was different with this movie. The performances are so real, and the movie does such a good job of making you feel stressed and horrified by what is happening to this family. The more times I see this movie, the more things I can catch in the background and the more I like it. I definitely recommend “Hereditary” if you are a fan of horror.
“Frailty” is one of the less talked about horror movies, but it has always been one of my favorites. This movie was the directorial debut of the late Bill Paxton, and it stars Paxton and Matthew McConaughey as two members of the Meiks family. The film begins with a strange man (McConaughey) walking into a police station and recounting a story about the “God’s Hand Killer.” The Meiks family consisted of a father and two sons, Adam and Fenton Meiks, who lived somewhat normally in the countryside. One night, the father receives what he believes to be a message from God tasking him to seek out and destroy demons living among them. This leads to conflict between the family on whether or not the people he is killing are actually demons, or if the father is just looking for excuses to fulfill his dark urges. The acting in this movie is all fantastic; audiences buy Paxton as a crazed father who believes he is doing God’s work, and the children both do a great job selling their performances. With the way the film is structured, you really don’t know what to believe, and you're forced to pick a side in this conflict as the tension rises to a boiling point. The religious aspect of this movie is handled very well, and it adds more to think about and unpack as you are watching it. This film can really get under your skin, but it makes you think about the psychology of what can make a person do these kinds of things, and it was able to leave a lasting impression on me.
“The Promised Neverland”: S1 (Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max)
I wanted to sneak at least one show on this list and I thought nothing would be better than one of my favorite shows: “The Promised Neverland.” This show is a 12-episode horror-thriller anime that hooks you from episode one. I want to try my best to avoid any spoilers because the show is best experienced going in almost completely blind. The general premise of the show consists of a group of about 50 children located in a remote orphanage, with this being the only life any of the children have ever known. The children have a caring mother, and everyone is happy, but something sinister seems to be going on behind the scenes that no one is aware of. This show has such a great mystery and is a thrilling journey that even those who don’t watch anime will love. It has great characters and twists that will shock you; the show also has one of the best season finales of any series. This show does have a second season that is not on Netflix, but viewers only need to watch the first season to watch and enjoy. By itself, season one works great just as a stand-alone story, and if you haven’t seen “The Promised Neverland” already, be sure to check it out.
With so many great horror movies and shows, it was hard to pick only five, but if you are looking for something new to watch this season, these are a great place to start. Happy Halloween