Halloween is coming up fast, and one of the best ways to celebrate this time of year, aside from shoving candy in our faces, is to scare the pants off ourselves. There aren’t many better ways to check this box on the seasonal “To Do List” than to turn out the lights, bundle up under the covers, and throw on a scary movie. So, in honor of the holiday season let’s delve into some options available out there that could help make this Halloween an enjoyably frightful occasion…
A Quiet Place (5 Stars)
Released in 2018, A Quiet Place is the gripping story of a post-apocalyptic world where a family is forced to live in silence in order to survive monsters that hunt with ultra-sensitive hearing. Lee and Evelyn Abbott (John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) must be constantly on alert as they attempt to keep their children safe in this terrifying world. The script deftly balances thrilling monster encounters with quieter moments of character development, all the while keeping the plot driving forward with excellent pacing. Attention is paid to these layered individuals, resulting in the viewer truly caring about their survival. Suspense is a highly effective way to elicit scares, and this film is as successful at establishing that tone as any to come before it. An atmosphere of anxiety is generated early on in the story, with tension continuously building throughout and culminating in a heart pounding climax that thrusts the audience to the edge of their seats. The clever premise, along with some wonderful performances by Krasinski (who wrote and directed it) and Blunt create a thrilling ride that is as much a family drama as it is a creature feature.
~Available on Hulu and Amazon Prime
The Conjuring (3.5 Stars)
Released in 2013, The Conjuring follows Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), paranormal investigators who are called on to assist a family being terrorized by a dark presence in their Rhode Island farmhouse in 1971. The supernatural premise combines with solid pacing and tone to form a well-crafted ghost tale that layers on the suspense. Impressive attention to detail is incorporated into recreating the time period, as well as following the real-life accounts. The supporting performances fall slightly flat, but Farmiga rises above the rest as the standout of the movie. She brings an emotional weight to her portrayal, elevating the material with her gravitas. Effective jump scares are mixed in throughout and while the story falters slightly on the landing, the journey to that point is well worth it.
~Available on Netflix
Scream (3 Stars)
Released in 1996, Scream tells the story of a psychotic killer who goes on a murderous rampage in the quiet town of Woodsboro, California. As the body count continues to rise an ambitious reporter (Courteney Cox) tries to get to the bottom of what’s going on with the help of a local officer (David Arquette). The slasher subgenre is a well-worn path taken in horror movies, but this one is cleverer than most. The story is modernized, as the characters in the film are quite aware of scary movie tropes and actively comment on them throughout. The resulting product is a slasher flick that propels the audience into the thrills right from the start, providing excellent humor and some decent scares. The climax leaves much to be desired, but the performances are entertaining and the film overall provides a solid watch.
~Available on Netflix