Welcome to #ScaryMovieMonth, the perfect time of year to binge-watch macabre media. As always, we’re here to point you in the right direction when it comes to streaming the spooky stuff. Here are our Netflix picks for October!
Gerald’s Game (2017)
Dir. Mike Flanagan. Starring: Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Chiara Aurelia.
Synopsis: When an attempted sexual game goes wrong, a woman is left handcuffed to a bed in a remote cabin — but she is far from alone.
When you’re in the mood for: Psychological horror; family horror; body horror; isolation horror.
When Jessica and Gerald Burlingame retreat to a remote cabin in an attempt to save their failing marriage, Jessica learns some unsettling new things about her husband’s sexual fantasies. Handcuffed to the bed, she watches in horror as he dies of a heart attack, leaving her helpless and trapped in what may become her deathbed — unless she can push through her terror and formulate a method of escape.
Read our Now Playing review of Gerald’s Game here.
My rating: Loved it.
We Are Not Alone (No estamos solos) (2016)
Dir. Daniel Rodriguez Risco. Starring: Marco Zunino, Fiorella Diaz, Zoe Arévalo.
Synopsis: Blended family tensions and paranormal disturbances collide when a woman named Mónica moves with her fiancé Mateo and his young daughter Sofia into a home haunted by a dark presence.
When you’re in the mood for: Paranormal; haunted house; family drama; exorcism; international.
Despite her best efforts, photographer Mónica finds little success when trying to bond with her fiancé’s daughter, Sofia. When she, Sofia, and Mateo move to an estate outside of Lima, the family tensions begin to be overshadowed by something far more sinister as both Sofia and Mónica begin to experience unexplained and increasingly disturbing things.
While the plot follows the same formula of many other haunted house films, stylish and engaging camera work and lovely cinematography keep the film visually interesting and set it apart from the pack. The film’s effects budget is low, but tastefully and effectively deployed to create some genuinely creepy sequences and frightening imagery.
My rating: Really liked it.
The Devil’s Candy (2015)
Dir. Sean Byrne. Starring: Ethan Embry, Shiri Appleby, Kiara Glasco.
Synopsis: An artist starts to create disturbing paintings after moving into a new house and tapping into the same evil that haunted its previous occupant.
When you’re in the mood for: Family horror; metal culture; stalking; slow burn; rock horror.
After moving to a seemingly-perfect new home with his family, sensitive metalhead and talented painter (Ethan Embry) begins to have bizarre and disturbing visions which manifest in his work, hinting at a terrible danger poised to devastate his world. Embry shows off his robust acting chops in this intense horror film, while Shiri Appleby and Kiara Glasco are more than up to the task of filling out the rest of the terrorized family. Glasco especially shines in the role of daughter Zooey, a brooding outsider who becomes an unfortunate target in this tale of inexplicable evil and its deadly influence on those susceptible to it.
Like Byrne’s prior horror effort, the outstanding The Loved Ones, The Devil’s Candy is a film that makes heavy use of music to build and enhance both atmosphere and character, while also creating striking visual mises-en-scène.
My rating: Really liked it.
ABCs of Death 2 (2014)
Dir. Various. Starring: Julian Barratt, Dana Meinrath, Simon Barrett.
Synopsis: 26 segments each explore a short story based on a word starting with a letter of the alphabet, resulting in various combinations of funny and macabre.
When you’re in the mood for: Anthology; shorts; horror-comedy.
26 different directors (or director teams) each tackle a letter of the alphabet, choose a word starting with that letter, and craft a tiny tale of terror tied to that word. While the results are somewhat mixed, there is more good than bad in this anthology, and many of the shorts are minor gems. Expect a lot of laughs — many of the entries lean more heavily on the comedy side of the horror-comedy designation, and that lends this anthology a certain infectious breeziness. With so many letters to cover, the segments are very brief — the less-impressive entries pass by painlessly while the superior segments leave you gleefully awaiting the next.
My rating: Liked it.