By Keahi Akina | Staff Writer
Horror movies are a good option all year long. But there’s no day more appropriate to binge four or five of them in a row than on Halloween. This Sunday open up your favorite streaming service and watch some scary, shocking, traumatizing and bonkers horror movies.
“Hereditary” (2018), 2 hours, 6 minutes
Stream on Amazon ($2.99), Apple TV ($3.99) or Showtime with a subscription.
“Hereditary” is the most unnerving, uncomfortable film you’ll ever see. It sits beside you when the lights are on and crawls across the ceiling when the lights are off, you can not get away from it. Toni Collette gives a haunting rendition of the best-worst attempt at motherhood, brutally affecting her children as she self-destructs. Alex Wolff cements himself as an actor-to-watch. Pawel Pogorzelski’s cinematography and Colin Stetson’s score work together to create an ominous tension that never lets up. Director Ari Aster released the best horror film of the year with Hereditary.
“Train to Busan” (2016) 1h 58min
Stream on Amazon ($1.99), Apple TV ($1.99) or Prime Video with a subscription.
Sang-ho Yeon constructs a masterful zombie horror film. The confines of the train create a boxed-in look that is scary because it is a small space with so many zombies. Some of the effects look pretty dated for 2016, but the character development is great and viewers will find themselves hooked and rooting for characters to survive. The pacing is good, the acting is consistently likable, the sound is monstrous when it needs to be and subtle when appropriate. It uses all the familiar tropes of a zombie film but in a way that feels fresh. The chase scenes are exciting and expertly crafted so that they fill the frame without overtaking the camera movement.
“A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984) 1h 31min
Stream on Amazon ($3.99), Apple TV ($3.99) or HBO Max with a subscription.
Please do yourself the favor and watch this 1984 original. Freddy Krueger doesn’t come out to kill you in the day, he haunts you at night in your dreams. It is a slasher movie done to absolute perfection. It’s cleverly written, shot and boundary pushing. It holds a place in the Horror Hall of Fame and rightfully so. Plus, Johnny Depp is in it.
“Get Out” (2017) 1h 44min
Stream on Amazon ($3.99), Apple TV ($3.99), or FX Now with a subscription.
It’s a meet-the-parents weekend getaway gone so wrong. Actually, it’s much more than that. It’s “Get Out”, a genre-changing horror movie that is both beautifully conceived and expertly directed. Jordan Peele cements himself on arrival as one of the greatest directors of the last decade.
“Contagion” (2011) 1h 42min
Stream on Amazon ($3.99), Apple TV ($3.99), or YouTube ($3.99).
It’s a pandemic horror movie that is filled to the breaking point with star talent. It kills off Gwyneth Paltrow in the first 15 minutes! It’s mostly scientifically accurate, it’s tense, it’s timely and it’s entertaining. Is it the best movie ever? No. Could it have been worse? So much worse. It’s entertaining to watch such a big and impressive cast.
“Paranormal Activity” (2007) 1h 26min
Stream on Amazon ($2.99), Apple TV ($3.99), or Starz with a subscription.
This movie is perfectly fine. It takes the found-footage formula out of “Blair Witch Project” and places it into your middle-class household. It did a lot with a small budget and it does create a certain paranoia of the mind. Some people like movies like this, maybe you will too.
“The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993) 1h 15min
Stream on Amazon ($3.99), Apple TV ($3.99) or Disney+ with a subscription.
Is it a Halloween film? Is it a Christmas film? Both? Neither? The plot doesn’t seem so important when you’re watching “The Nightmare Before Christmas” because it is so beautiful that a better story would have gone unnoticed. It’s Tim Burton doing the Tim Burton thing and it’s the most rewatchable film on this list (even more than twice a year when you ask yourself if it’s more apt to watch it near Halloween or Christmas and opt for both). It’s good for background noise and family movie nights.
“Midsommar” (2019) 2h 28min
Stream on YouTube ($2.99), Apple TV ($3.99) or Prime Video with a subscription.
Ari Aster’s sophomore film follows a young American couple, the health of the relationship unstable to say the least, to a Swedish midsummer festival. It’ll remind viewers of “Wicker Man.” It’s even more beautiful than “Hereditary,” and certainly more grand. It’s not as scary as it is beautiful but it is horrific in abundance.
“The Babadook” (2014) 1h 34min
Stream on Amazon ($2.99), Apple TV ($3.99), or Direct TV with a subscription.
An Australian film that relies more heavily on a genuinely moving plot that examines the difficulty of being a single mother than the named monster, the “Babadook,” which finds its way into the household within the confines of a children’s book. Spooky, quirky and unlike the horror movies you’ve seen in the past.
“The Silence of the Lambs” (1991) 1h 59min
Stream on Amazon ($3.99), Apple TV ($3.99) or YouTube ($3.99).
The quintessential psychological thriller. Jodie Foster, as FBI agent Clarice, is confident and capable. It’s unnerving to watch her unravel when confronted with Hannibal Lector, played by Anthony Hopkins, in the best performance of his career. Buffalo Bill is creepy, unhinged, and the perfect killer. It’s a slow burn that keeps your attention.
“Malignant” (2021) 1h 51min
Stream on Amazon ($19.99), Apple TV ($19.99) or HBO Max with a subscription.
“Malignant” is weird. James Wan is back to horror and the horror genre is grateful. It’s thrilling though not particularly scary. It’s so out there that those moments make one ask, “Is this movie bad?,” followed up quickly by the answer “Yes. And it’s on purpose.” It’s fun, requires your attention, and has a bonkers twist at the end. What else can you ask for?