Once again, here is a collection of movies for the spooky season. And if you want a wider pick, feel free to check out the 2022 edition.
The Blackening (Starz)
The Blackening is firmly planted in the Scream meta-genre, and it succeeds both tonally and satirically. The film builds on the tropes of Black characters in horror—traditionally the ones killed off first, hence the movie’s tagline, “We Can’t All Die First.” It’s a funny, scary, and even poignant watch.
Scream VI (Paramount+)
It’s starting to feel a bit stale now, the Scream franchise, but this sixth entry is a step up from the fifth. The humor is sharper, and the actors seem more invested in the material. If you’ve watched the other movies, you might as well keep on going—though The Blackening does the same meta-genre schtick better.
Doctor Sleep (Director’s Cut) (Amazon)
Stephen King hated the adaptation of his novel, The Shining, a movie that routinely sits high on “best movies of all time” lists. So, how do you adapt the second book in the series while simultaneously making a sequel to the film? I’m not sure how Mike Flanagan did it, but Doctor Sleep succeeds on both counts. If you like The Shining, you’ll like the downright disturbing—and emotional—Doctor Sleep.
Caveat: Make sure you watch the Director’s Cut, which is easier said than done. Only Amazon has it for rental/purchase, as far as I can tell.
The Fall of the House of Usher (Netflix)
Speaking of Flanagan, his mini-series based on the writings of Poe is a must-watch. As is The Haunting of Bly Manor, which plays heavier on the somber notes than scares.
No One Will Save You (Hulu)
Releasing a no-dialogue alien-abduction movie in 2023 is a bold move, but that is what No One Will Save You is. And it works, the cat-and-mouse chase between the aliens and protagonist Brynn, which is anything but quiet, thanks to a booming soundscape.
Come True (Shudder)
Come True is a semi-surreal sci-fi that follows a teen participating in a sleep study whose dreams turn increasingly disturbing. And as they start manifesting in her waking state, her concept of reality slowly becomes challenged. Read my full write-up of this eerie movie over at One Star Classics.
Satan’s Slaves 2: Communion (Shudder)
The creepy sequel to the Indonesian haunted-house classic relies both on tense psychological horror and the relief of humor. Yet again, check out my One Star Classics write-up for more.
Elevator Game (Shudder)
It’s not necessarily an instant classic, but Elevator Game serves as a good “haunted elevator” scare with roots in the Bloody Mary-style “online phenomenon” (their words). Tap the “right” combination of keys in the elevator, and the ghost will appear. You know the type of story. Not original but entertaining.