2021-2022 have been filled with so many thrilling new horrors. From creepy child abductors, to finding strange large eggs in the middle of the woods or trying to escape crazed killers wielding chainsaws yet again, here are a few of my favorite new horror movies that I enjoyed that will get you in the mood for Halloween!
Full disclosure, when I started reading the novel, I struggled with the first chapters because I found present Ani to be too fixated on looks and appearances, especially when it came to clothes and her views on marriage (when I read the book I was still unmarried and was annoyed that the character could be so judgmental on what was the perfect age to be married by). It wasn’t until we got to meet teen Ani (then known as TifAni) that I warmed up to the character and could feel like we actually had more in common than I would’ve anticipated. Having said this, at the time I really enjoyed the novel so when the film hit Netflix last week I quickly viewed it.
Maybe because the author, Jessica Knoll has written three books since Luckiest Girl Alive, but I felt like the screenplay for the film (also written by the author) managed to convey a powerful punch to the gut, in a way that the book didn’t (I much prefer the film’s ending than the book ending). The writing was raw, sharp, and went for the jugular, in other words, it doesn’t aim to please, rather it aims to seize what is rightfully theirs, without shame.
The movie, much like the book has us meet present Ani – who seems to have it all, impressive journalist career, rich fiancé, and is on her way to becoming an editor for The New York Times. And yet, she’s plagued by an incident from her past that’s linked to personal trauma as well as collective trauma. Mila Kunis skillfully brings this complex character to life in the present timeline, while Chiara Aurelia portrays teen Ani is a stark contrast to her present self, as teen Ani is curvaceous with unruly hair who desperately wishes to be accepted by her blue blood rich classmates at her posh private High School. Present Ani is impeccable in looks, but when her fiancé Luke steps away from the table at the restaurant, we see her scarf down two slices of pizza with a hunger that the viewer knows that there’s something brewing instead of Ani that wishes to unleash itself. That she isn’t being her authentic self because present Ani thinks the only way she can move on from her past is to deny everything she was as a teen.
This is a very harrowing yet powerful movie, and if you’re a woman it’s one you don’t want to miss because finally there’s a character that is both complex and messy and yet manages to honor her younger self in the end by doing something that her teenage self would’ve approved of. The way in which Mila Kunis delivers the most eloquent fuck you in the final scene will make you think that that fuck you is one that many women can stand behind
Sure, ghosts and demons can be very frightening, but what are the chances that they will happen to us in our lifetime? Some horror movies are scary because the chances that they could actually happen are high. Here are three realistic horrors that will chill you to the core.
Kristen (Liv Tyler) and James (Scott Speedman) are expecting a relaxing weekend at a family vacation home, but their stay turns out to be anything but peaceful. First, a mysterious and dangerous woman arrives at the door while James is out on an errand. When he returns, he accidentally kills his friend Mike (Glenn Howerton), mistaking him for an intruder. And then real danger does show up — in the form of three masked torturers, leaving Kristen and James struggling for survival.
Scare Factor: 10/10 Home invasions are scary, and sadly very probable!
SPEAK NO EVIL
On a vacation in Toscana, a Danish family instantly becomes friends with a Dutch family. Months later, the Danish couple receives an unexpected invitation. It doesn’t take long before the joy of reunion is replaced with misunderstandings.
Scare Factor: 9.5 – strangers that turn out to be crazier than anticipated is very frightening and makes you understand why summer friends should never be seen outside of holidays.
A chilling, factually based story of three road-trippers in remote Australia who are plunged into danger when they accept help from a friendly local. Kristy, Ben and Liz are three friends in their twenties who set out to hike through the scenic Wolf Creek National Park in the Australian Outback. The trouble begins when they find that their car won’t start and they run into a local bushman named Mick Taylor.
Scare Factor: 10/10 Who doesn’t like to hike? And who doesn’t find themselves enthralled by the help of friendly strangers? This movie will make you wary of strangers forever.
Spooky season is almost upon us and there are already a few movies coming out prior to October. Here are my top three that I can’t wait to see!
If you haven’t checked out X yet, then do it now! Pearl is a prequel to X and explores the titular villain from the first film. Set in 1918 during the era of the Spanish Flu pandemic and World War I. The events take place prior to the previous film and explore how the cabin where the massacre of X takes place was once used as a boarding house during the war. Pearl feels trapped at the isolated family farm, and she’s tasked with attending to her comatose father and dealing with her cruel mother. But she lusts after a glamorous life she’s seen depicted in Hollywood movies, and her yearning sets off some devastating events.
The first movie was deliciously gory in all the best ways possible! After mutilating sole survivor Victoria Heyes and committing suicide upon police confrontation. Art is resurrected by a sinister being a year later and begins to hunt for two unsuspecting siblings on Halloween night.
MY BEST FRIEND’S EXORCISM
I loooove Grady Hendrix novels because they’re both terrifying and hilarious. One can already see from the trailers that the movie is gonna be faithful to the book as much as possible and I’m here for it. The year is 1988. High school sophomores Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fourth grade. But after an evening of skinny-dipping goes disastrously wrong, Gretchen begins to act…different. She’s moody. She’s irritable. And bizarre incidents keep happening whenever she’s nearby. Abby’s investigation leads her to some startling discoveries-and by the time their story reaches its terrifying conclusion, the fate of Abby and Gretchen will be determined by a single question: Is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?
Typically, it’s always a challenge to have a movie with only two actors carrying the film for a good portion of it, especially when the setting doesn’t change. From the very beginning, a couple, Kate (Kate Bosworth) and Mikey (Emile Hirsch) are contestants in a strange game in which they agree to spend 50 days living in a white room. If they manage to do that, the couple will win $5 million dollars, if for some reason one of them chooses to leave the room prior to 50 days, the prize money drops to $1 million.
The room has the chilly aesthetic of a chic art gallery, and with no form of entertainment whatsoever, the couple must learn to live with boredom for 50 days. We soon learn that Kate views the money as a means to put her mind at ease after spending a life worrying about her finances, while Mikey comes from a wealthy family and it’s still unclear why the money would mean much to him other than to be supportive of his girlfriend. For most pre-lockdown people, staying in a room for 50 days would’ve seemed like an easy feat, but as lockdown made us all realize, being confined is actually much harder than it looks.
Hirsch is animated as Mikey, as he explains what he would do with the money if he were to win, or how to kill boredom he begins to read the tag on his shirt in different accents. Bosworth’s performance is more contained as her character Kate tries to keep herself together with daily affirmations. It isn’t until the addition of external people that she gets triggered and her balance begins to tilt. The couple’s shut-in world begins to shake the moment Simone (Ashley Greene Khoury) enters the room, which sparks jealousy and tension to rise between the couple. It doesn’t take long for the ugly emotions to surface for it to bring things to a head.
The film begins with a study on boredom and if it’s possible to be driven mad by it, but it quickly devolves into the malice of greed and how far would one go to keep the prize in question. Again, for being a film that focuses mostly on two characters and one location, the script was interesting, although this film is less Squid Games than I had anticipated and ends on a positive note.
Whenever I was little my go-to whenever I was sick was Gatorade, saltines, chamomile tea, Archie Comics, and campy horror movies. My parents would always rent me some new campy horrors and buy me new comics, and I’d always feel marginally better afterward. So, if you ever find yourself stuck in bed and need a way to kill a few horrors with some campy horrors, don’t worry! I have you covered.
Intergalactic assassins converge on a small town after two siblings unwittingly resurrect an ancient alien overlord.
EVIL DEAD 2: DEAD BY DAWN
The second of three films in the Evil Dead series is part horror, part comedy, with Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) once again battling horrifying demons at a secluded cabin in the woods. After discovering an audiotape left by a college professor that contains voices reading from the Book of the Dead, Ash’s girlfriend Linda (Denise Bixler) becomes possessed by evil spirits that are awakened by the voices on the tape. Ash soon discovers there is no escaping the woods.
AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN PARIS
A group of carousing American tourists is taking in the cultural landmarks of Paris when a chance encounter results in sightseer Andy McDermott (Tom Everett Scott) saving the life of Parisian Serafine Pigot (Julie Delpy). While on a date at a nightclub with Serafine, Andy is suddenly attacked and bitten by a werewolf. The next day he discovers that Serafine is also a lycanthrope, and that he is beginning his own grueling, hirsute transformation into one of the fanged beasts.
By the time this post will be live, Nightmare Alley will have been nominated for Best Picture for 2022. Now, as a horror fan, it always excites me whenever I see a horror film on the Academy Awards ballot, so of course, I’m thrilled to see it there. At the same time, I don’t feel like this film was Del Toro’s best. This film was a remake of the 1947’s Nightmare Alley, in which Tyrone Power played the lead, but also was the one to insist for the film to be made in the first place. Having watched the original film, it’s very difficult to enjoy Bradley Cooper attempting to be the leading noir man when despite his best efforts at being a good actor, simply lacks the charisma of a true leading man (especially when you compare Power’s stage presence with his).
The film is adapted from the bestselling novel of the same name by William Lindsay Gresham. The plot is a fascinating one: a man down on hi luck joins a traveling carnival. The man in question is Stanton Carlisle (Bradley Cooper) and he quickly grows fascinated with wanting to learn the tricks to become a mentalist (mind reader). He believes he can outsmart the average man and in doing so can make money off of their stupidity and hope.
That is until he meets Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett) a psychiatrist with wealthy clients. The two team up to try to schill money out of the wealthy, but Stanton makes the mistake of thinking that he’s more powerful and cunning than he actually is.
Of course, Del Toro excels in depicting the perfect noir film scenes and the pacing is excellent, and the cast’s saving graces are Cate Blanchett and Toni Collette. But with a movie that runs over two hours, it’s difficult to root for a leading man that we don’t care anything about (in the 1947 original we do feel sorry for Tyrone Power’s Stanton) in this remake, we can’t help but be happy for Bradley Cooper’s Stanton to get exactly what he deserved.
If you haven’t watched the original you may enjoy this version more than I did, or if at least you don’t expect much from your leading men other than being “easy on the eye,” as Toni Collette’s Zeena tells Stanton in the very beginning, then you may overlook this miscasting. Other than that, I recommend the film because the plot is interesting and has a very bold message: Can we truly outrun our real nature, or will we ultimately befall what we really are? I’d also say to read the book because it’s excellent.
In the past couple of years, female directors have truly flexed their predilections for all things scary and creepy, and have managed to create some true gems. Here are some amazing films directed by female directors that will be sure to keep you up at night and leave you questioning a few things about yourselves and others (as all excellent horrors do).
TITANE (2021) DIRECTED BY JULIA DUCOURMAU
A woman who has a titanium plate fitted in her head embarks on a bizarre journey involving her fetish for cars.
CENSOR (2021) DIRECTED BY PRANO BAILEY-BOND
A British film censor links a disturbing horror movie to her sister’s mysterious disappearance.
For decades, the housing projects of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green were terrorized by a ghost story about a supernatural, hook-handed killer. In present day, an artist begins to explore the macabre history of Candyman, not knowing it would unravel his sanity and unleash a terrifying wave of violence that puts him on a collision course with destiny.
12 HOUR SHIFT (2020) DIRECTED BY BREA GRANT
Bodies start to pile up when a drug-addicted nurse and her crazed cousin try to find a replacement kidney for an organ trafficker.
BLEED WITH ME (2020) DIRECTED BY AMELIA MOSES
During a winter getaway at an isolated cabin, a self-destructive young woman becomes convinced that her best friend is stealing her blood.
I’ve enjoyed Edgar Wright films ever since he began with Shaun of the Dead. Now, Last Night In Soho doesn’t have time to be witty or funny as it’s drenched in dread and blood.
This film has everything I personally love, London, 60’s music, and a badass chick in the form of Sandy (Anya Taylor-Joy). But the true breakout star of this movie is shy Eloise played by the superb Thomasin McKenzie. Eloise has fashion designer aspirations and when she’s over the moon when she’s accepted to a fashion school in London. Only she finds out real quick that London isn’t as amazing as it seems when she fails to fit in with her college peers and seeks refuge in Soho where she rents a room from Miss Collins.
The moment Eloise enters the room, she begins to have visions of the past. Every night when she goes to sleep she mysteriously enters the world of 1960’s London and sees the night life from the eyes of aspiring singer Sandy. Initially, Eloise is smitten to enter the world she always wanted to inhabit. In her waking life, she tries to emulate Sandy, by her looks, haircolour, and speech. But she soon discovers that all the glitz and glamour isn’t as it seems especially when she witnesses a brutal murder. Soon, she’s being haunted even in her waking life, and the fine line between reality and fiction weave in a terrible fever dream that comes to a brutal head in the final act.
This film will leave you speechless in the final act but also with a smirk.
I really enjoyed the first film in this franchise and am curious about the interesting plot in the sequel:
Leena, a murderous sociopath who looks like a child due to a medical condition, escapes from an Estonian psychiatric facility. Leena impersonates the missing daughter of a wealthy family but becomes pitted against a determined mother.
A legendary monster called October Boy terrorizes residents in a small Midwestern town when he rises from the cornfields every Halloween with his butcher knife and makes his way toward those who are brave enough to confront him.
Not much is known about this film plot-wise, but it’s Jordan Peele and there’s a mushroom cloud in the sky, so I don’t know if it’ll be a horror movie inspired by atomic bombs?
DON’T WORRY DARLING
A 1950’s housewife living with her husband in a utopian experimental community begins to worry that his glamorous company may be hiding disturbing secrets.
A young gymnast who tries desperately to please her demanding mother discovers a strange egg. She hides it and keeps it warm, but when it hatches, what emerges shocks them all.
WHAT ARE SOME HORROR FILMS YOU’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS YEAR? LET ME KNOW!