When the world feels like a scary place, some people will choose to consume as much lighthearted content as possible to distract them from their fears, while horror fans know how much of a relief it can be to tune in to a much more horrifying narrative to take comfort in immensely intense storylines to offer catharsis from our real-world stress. Even if relieving stress isn't something you require, with the number of public spaces currently closed, plenty of us are finding ourselves with hours of free time and we'll likely be turning to our favorite streaming services this weekend to keep us entertained.
Luckily, the launch of HBO Max brings with it a number of exciting films to check out, including genre classics that are worth a revisit and under-seen indie hits that might have flown under subscribers' radars.
Scroll down to see some of our picks for what to watch on HBO Max this weekend and hit up Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to share your own recommendations and thoughts about the films!
Deep Blue Sea (1999)
Steven Spielberg's Jaws is one of the greatest movies of all time of any genre, with many films trying to recreate the formula for shark-themed horror movies. Other than both featuring sharks, Deep Blue Sea has little in common with Jaws, but that doesn't stop it from being a highly entertaining thriller.
In hopes of finding a cure for Alzheimer's disease, a group of researchers experiments on sharks by attempting to increase the regeneration of their brain cells. The treatments are successful, but the sharks become super-smart and, when a rogue storm frees the beasts, the researchers are faced with the monsters they created.
The concept is silly and the dialogue is hokey, but this B-movie from filmmaker Renny Harlin is a schlocky good time.
The Brood (1979)
David Cronenberg has been delivering audiences ambitious and inventive horror films for decades, with The Brood being just as strong an example of his blend of surreal and grounded horrors as any other project from his career.
While a woman undergoes an experimental form of psychotherapy, her daughter begins to be terrorized by mysterious creatures, all while unexplained deaths are taking place around the family. The film builds towards a shocking reveal, the likes of which could only be accomplished by Cronenberg, serving not only as a horrifying horror narrative, but also making for a frightening allegory about becoming a mother.
Ready or Not (2019)
On the night of her wedding, a new bride is subjected to the absurd traditions of her new family, which includes participating in a seemingly innocent game that proves to be a deadly test to see if she has what it takes to stay in the family, and to stay alive.
Actress Samara Weaving gave genre fans a star-making performance as the bride who was in over her head, as the film itself took a bizarre concept and injected it with enough self-reflexive humor and heart to become one of the more surprising successes of the year. Additionally, the filmmakers have been tapped for the new Scream, with this film giving audiences a taste of what's in store for the slasher series.
After a reporter believes she has witnessed a murder, she alerts the authorities of the situation, only for there to be no evidence that the event took place. Accusing the woman of the crime results in her being caught in the crossfire of a deadly and bizarre sibling rivalry, leading to a shocking and unexpected conclusion.
Acclaimed filmmaker Brian De Palma's first foray into the world of horror is just as stylish as you would imagine, displaying his compelling visual flair as seen in later works like Carrie, The Fury, and Blow Out, made all the more compelling by Margot Kidder's starring performance.
The Frighteners (1996)
Michael J. Fox stars as a paranormal investigator who has the genuine ability to see and interact with ghosts, though he exploits those gifts to scam customers by clearing houses of fake hauntings. After witnessing a ghost whose death resembles the manner in which his wife was murdered, the investigator realizes that the grim reaper is eradicating spirits to another realm, proving that even death can't stop a killer instinct.
Fans of director Peter Jackson's low-budget horror films will surely appreciate what the filmmaker accomplished with his first studio film, while those familiar with his work on the Lord of the Rings films are sure to appreciate his inventive visual storytelling and blend of genres.
Crimson Peak (2015)
In hopes of obtaining funds for his corporation, a failing businessman woos the heir to a massive empire, marrying her and bringing her back to his estate in which his sister also resides. Upon arrival, the heiress begins to notice odd behavior from her new husband and begins to learn surprising information about him, all of which he attempts to explain. The more time she spends at the estate, dubbed "Crimson Peak" for the red clay upon which it sits, the heiress must uncover the truth of her husband's history, thanks to some suggestions in a supernatural form.
One of the best gothic romances of the decade, not only does Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak offer audiences both heartwarming and heartstopping moments, but we also get to see one of Doug Jones' most frightening performances as various ghouls appearing throughout the manor.
Debuting at a time when sci-fi films were more fantastical in nature, Alien went on to set the standard of what could be accomplished with survivalist horror films.0comments
On their way home from a routine mission, the crew of the Nostromo is awoken from their hibernation due to a distress call from a nearby planet. During their investigation, a crew member is attacked by a parasitic creature that latches onto his face, only for it to mysteriously detach days later. Tragically, an even more frightful creature emerges, causing a living nightmare for everyone on board.
Between riveting performances, masterful direction, and gruesome imagery, Alien is just as powerful today as it was 40 years ago.