What is it within us that drives us to watch movies and TV shows that are specifically created to prey on our fears? Why do we want to scream whilst we stream?
We’ve given a quick 20-second review for each of these, our favourite fear-feeding Netflix Halloween snacks.
Parental guidance on all the below is strongly advised.
Final Destination 5
The Final Destination film series has a lot to answer for. We can’t get in an elevator without imagining at least five ways we could get decapitated. It’s the reason we check our nutri-bullet is unplugged and off at least seven times before we attempt to clean it. We still can’t drive behind any lorry on the motorway that’s carrying timber or scaffolding. Nope, lane change thank you very much. And then there’s the grizzly demise of the careers from the original movie’s reasonably talented cast.
Number five is the final installment of the saga, and actually received pretty decent reviews (compared to the rest of the franchise). Watch through spliced fingers as the show’s plucky protagonists attempt to take on death itself. Good luck with that.
This Oscar-winning horror riffs with racial tensions in modern America, it’s a superbly crafted directorial debut from Jordan Peele (one half of comedy duo Key & Peele). The intensity bar gets set sky-high from the onset and continues up an anxiety Everest from there. We’d go as far as saying this is the best all-round horror story so far this century. Go ahead. Change our mind.
Last year’s post-apocalyptic thriller used the deprivation of sight as its fear joust, The film begins with Malorie Hayes (played by Sandra Bullock), floating down a river in a small boat – with two children – all clad in blindfolds, which, if they’re removed, she tells them, they’ll die. Tough love parenting in its purest form. Malorie is trying to protect the children from evil entities, that when looked at, drive you insane. Seeing people change lanes without indicating has the same effect on us tBH. If nothing else it makes a nice change to see the people in the horror movie rocking in the fetal position with their eyes closed as well as us. Makes us feel less lonely.
This film is essentially a thriller genre MVP sandwich. Written by horror godfather Stephen King, directed by the mack daddy of suspense – Stanley Kubrik and starring one of the greatest character actors to ever grace the silver screen, Jack Nicholson. It’s 144 minutes of nerve-jangling bleakness, a ghost story told with microscopic attention to detail. Arguably unstable man moves family to spooky hotel built on an ancient Native American burial ground, so he can work on his own scary novel. Weird stuff starts to happen. REDRUM, twins, blood, room 237. The rest is cinematic history.
The Conjuring 2
Ready to never sleep again? Based on a true story. Or at least sort of. It’s a story woven around reported tales of the ‘Enfield Poltergeist’ in London, England. A pair of young sisters were the subject of a huge amount of media coverage back in 1979, after claiming they were in contact with a malevolent spiritual entity. Many reports were made of supernatural activity, and whether or not you believe these girls were making it all up (*spoiler* they almost definitely were) – the source material laid the framework for one harrowing, award-winning movie.
Clowns and dolls. Both inherently terrifying. Both painted liberally on our collective childhoods. Why parents? Why? Annabelle is actually a prequel to the first Conjuring movie and was again ‘based around events reported to be a true story.’ 10 second plot description? Possessed soul-craving porcelain doll, makes life extremely inconvenient for new parents.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
If you’re as ancient as we are, you might remember the original Melissa Joan Hart Sabrina (The Teenage Witch) series. Salem, the acerbic wise-cracking cat – was probably one of the most underrated TV characters of the 90s, we highly recommend a quick Google of “Salem cat quotes”. This reboot sees the half-human, half-witch Sabrina balancing two worlds: the standard day to day dramas of teen life and her family’s legacy, the Church of Night.
If you <3 a good ghost story, chances are you’ll <3 this series. Real people sit down with friends and family to share chilling true (meh) stories from their past, re-created through frankly terrifying re-enactments. Because who needs to sleep right?
The Haunting of Hill House
Flashing between past and present, a family confronts haunting memories of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it. Strong elements of psychological thriller intermesh seamlessly with classic horror ‘wtf was that?’ moments. It’s a well-written story performed by a strong cast, that sadly leaves very little room for sarcasm.
A nice little hiking trip in the Swedish wilderness anybody? What could possibly go wrong? This, this is exactly what could go wrong which is precisely why you are making a good decision by staying home and watching Netflix.
There’s a reason you should always collect references for potential babysitters. Sometimes they exhibit patterns of tardiness, sometimes they have a habit of falling asleep when they’re supposed to be watching the little ones. And sometimes, as demonstrated in this classic horror movie, they’re part of an evil cult intent on enslaving humanity. Interview wisely parents.
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House
Matthew Lillard famously set out the rules for surviving a horror movie in the original ‘Scream’ film. You never say “I’ll be right back” and you absolutely never ever ever, go to investigate a strange noise. In this film, a nervous nurse with a delicate disposition finds herself caring for an ailing horror novelist in a house with some appropriately scary secrets and plenty of strange noises.
This movie comes straight from the pen of Mr Stephen King. A farmer writes a confession confessing to his wife’s murder, but her death is just the beginning of a this disturbing yarn. Reminds of that story Marty tells about the priest in Seven Psychopaths (which is also great, you should probably check that out too).
Not a documentary about the Pier 7 venue. Things aren’t going particularly well for Hollywood A-lister Martin Freeman. He becomes infected with a stubborn case of the zombie plague that’s ‘been going round’ – father to a young infant girl, he must wander the Australian outback, and either find a cure or somebody capable of protecting his daughter before the sniffles become something rather more sinister.