Now that October has officially arrived, movies fans who are looking to get into the spirit of the season seek out dark and scary tales to creep them out, so long as they are available to stream to your home instantly. Luckily, there are plenty of services out there with films that can scratch that spooky itch and delight you with stories featuring things that go bump in the night.
While there are countless options to choose from when it comes to recognizable horror titles, it's tough to know what movies you should check out that future generations will consider classics. Luckily, there are more than a few films that have already set themselves apart from the competition and have offered audiences compelling new perspectives and shocking narratives to ensure they'll go down as some of the best horror films of the decade.
'It Follows' - Netflix
Some of the earliest slashers, most notably the Friday the 13th series, served as allegories for what could happen when teens imbibe in premarital sex. With It Follows, the allegory is interpreted in an all-new way, while also embracing a nostalgic tone.
After Jay sleeps with a boy she's seeing, she is quickly alerted to the fact that he was merely using her as a way to delay a tragic demise. The boy lets her know that the only way to get a supernatural being to stop following (and ultimately killing) her is to sleep with someone else, who will become the new target. While it appears nothing can kill the being, the best one can hope for is to slow it down by sleeping with enough people and always being aware of your surroundings.
The premise might sound like a public service announcement advocating about the dangers of sex, yet the scares are much more unsettling unsettling as we are shown a killer that simply cannot be stopped, reminding us of our own mortality. Its synth-driven score pulsates through the whole narrative, evoking a familiar feeling we had watching '80s slashers but through a fresh lens.prevnext
'Kiss of the Damned' - Hulu
For decades, Hammer Film Productions delivered audiences gothic romance tales that took place in castles surrounded by beautiful landscapes. Kiss of the Damned evokes that same sense of gothic romance, and tragedy, with its tale of two vampires in love.
Djuna and Paolo meet at a video store and immediately strike a connection, even if Djuna has to keep him at arms-length as to avoid corrupting him. Once Paolo accepts what could happen if he becomes a vampire, the two embrace and start a seemingly perfect life. As Djuna's rebellious sister Mimi shows up, their perfect life is shattered as the trio are forced to embrace their primal vampiric behavior.
Narratively, Kiss of the Damned doesn't contribute much new to the table, but writer/director Xan Cassavetes captures the lovelorn creatures of the night in a much more effective way than the Twilight series, with much more blood to boot. This film is a can't-miss for all vampire fans.prevnext
'Raw' - Netflix
Going away for school the first time can be a difficult transition for anyone, made all the more complicated when you're a vegetarian and your campus doesn't entirely accommodate your beliefs. The more time Justine spends in veterinary school, the more she feels a hunger for flesh in ways she's never felt before, until she ultimately realizes the only sufficient meat must come from a human.
Writer/director Julia Ducournau takes a coming-of-age story to a new level with Raw, immersing viewers in the horrors and beauty of adjusting to a new lifestyle, whether it be horrifying or just different from the norm. From the striking camerawork to the hip soundtrack to the charming performances, Raw will likely set the standard as one of the most unique cannibal films of the decade.prevnext
'V/H/S/2' - Amazon Prime
The anthology format of filmmaking is a tried and true method of delivering audiences a variety of horrors which, even if you don't like, can be consumed quickly before moving on to the next story. V/H/S/2 manages to both honor the classic structure while embracing new manners of filmmaking.
The concept behind the franchise is that a variety of VHS tapes have been discovered which all contain mysterious and horrifying events. Whether it be a zombie infestation, an alien abduction, or investigation into a cult, viewers are delivered diverse and equally horrifying experiences from some of the most promising contemporary horror filmmakers.
What makes V/H/S/2 feel so fresh is that all of the stories are depicted in the found footage style, totally immersing the viewer in the terror. The stories might be timeless, but the filmmaking approach gives viewers a new perspective and inspired countless imitators who thought they could recreate the successful formula.prevnext
'The Invitation' - Netflix
Slashers in the '80s and the Saw films in the '00s caused a depressing stigma that the main reason horror films get made is to offer audiences blood, gore, and nudity, a stigma which many films desperately try to escape. If a deliberately-paced paranoid thriller is more up your alley, then The Invitation has got your covered.
After years of relative seclusion, a couple throws a dinner party and invites all of their old friends, alerting them to the fact that they've joined an "organization" that, for all intents and purposes, is a cult. The partygoers aim to discover whether this cult has ulterior motives or if the followers are just misunderstood, leaving audiences guessing until the final scenes what the truth behind the organization truly is.
A masterclass in tension, The Invitation focuses on story and characters over unsettling violence. Despite lacking the gore of its peers, the film manages to disturb and surprise you in ways that'll stick with you longer than seeing practical effects tear a dummy in half.prevnext
'The Girl With All the Gifts' - Amazon Prime
With The Walking Dead and its depictions of zombies being one of the most popular things in all of pop culture, it's difficult to find new ways to explore the subgenre. Luckily, The Girl With All the Gifts takes the familiar tropes to deliver viewers a compelling exploration of how technology would respond to a zombie infestation.
Most audiences know what happens to people who are bitten by zombies, but what happens when a mother is bitten and manages to give birth to a half-zombie child? Well, the child is studied in hopes of finding a cure to the outbreak, of course! Unfortunately, that's easier said than done, with a horde of zombies overrunning a medical facility, forcing a promising subject and a military squad to roam the countryside to find the necessary equipment to stop the spread of the disease.
Falling in between the dystopic narrative of Day of the Dead and the group of charismatic characters traveling the English countryside of 28 Days Later, this film manages to honor the past while paving the way for the future with the ways storytellers can still find new ways to tell stories within seeming constrictions.prevnext
'The Void' - Netflix
In the wake of the slasher craze of the '80s, the horror genre aimed to get more sophisticated and also use burgeoning special effects technology like CGI to tell their story. With The Void, fans will feel like they discovered a forgotten classic from the '80s that is too bizarre to have ever been made.0comments
When a stranger emerges from the woods in a panic, a police officer takes them to the local hospital that's about to be shut down. The stranger doesn't explain what happened, but as individuals circle the building while wearing white cloaks adorned with black triangles on their faces, clearly they aren't there to send their well wishes.
At the crossroads of H.P. Lovecraft, Assault on Precinct 13, and Lucio Fulci, The Void combines body horror with fantasy in an ambitious thriller that will give you faith in filmmakers embracing the joys of practical effects and spraying gallons of blood across the screen.prev