As a follow-up to my post on recommended horror podcasts, I wanted to offer a list of my horror picks to stream on Netflix this October, or anytime for that matter! I tried not to include many picks that made my list last year, and I tried to highlight international and independent films.
The Witch (2015): This is one of my favorite horror movies of the last five years. Set in 16th Century Puritan America, this film is a slow burn, filled with unsettling, bleak imagery. At its heart, The Witch has a lot to say about female empowerment and uses the trope of witchcraft/fear of the female to do so. Oh, and it has Black Phillip! Director Robert Eggers is likely to be a staple in the horror world for years to come. His next project is another horror film entitled The Lighthouse, and he’s working on a remake of Nosferatu.
The Wailing (2016): Netflix has a few solid Korean horror films. The Wailing tops my list. It is loaded with biblical imagery, and even though it’s nearly three hours long, it never feels bogged down. The film takes its time establishing its world and characters, but it gradually builds to a horrifying conclusion. It also has one of the best exorcism scenes.
Raw (2016): It’s fair to say that the horror genre still needs more female directors. That can probably be said about film in general. Director Julia Ducournau is on my list of young horror directors to watch. Raw borrows a lot from the French Extremity films of the early 2000s, namely in the way that it uses gore and color. This is a film to watch more than once, if you can stomach the cannibalism. Is it a metaphor for rape and survival? A female coming of age story? I don’t have all the answers, but I know that I enjoy this film more each time I see it.
Veronica (2017): Based on a true story about a teenage girl who was allegedly possessed, Veronica is directed by Paco Plazo, who also directed REC and REC 2. Watch them if you haven’t. So far, this has generally been a polarizing film, but I really enjoyed it. You generally feel for Veronica, especially when she’s burdened with taking care of her siblings, due to her absentee father and an overworked single mom.
Hush (2016): This made my list last year, but I’m including it again. The film centers around a deaf woman who is stalked and terrorized by a masked intruder for no apparent reason. What this film does with sound is the most unique aspect of the film, thus making it stand out from other home invasion horror flicks. Oh, and this was directed by Mike Flanagan, who directed “The Haunting of Hill House” series for Netflix, which has been all the buzz and streams later this month.
Under the Shadow (2016): Set in a 1980s, war-torn Iran, the story focus on a mother and a son who confront an evil invading their home. This film is heavy in its imagery and metaphors regarding war. It’s one of my favorite films of the last few years.
The Transfiguration (2017): This takes a lot of classic vampire tropes and flips them on their head. It also references what came before, including Let the Right One In, Dracula, and Martin. The film follows a troubled teen named Milo who thinks he is a vampire. Eventually, he forms a bond with another loner, Sophie. What’s reality and fantasy blurs as the film progresses.
Train to Busan (2016): Another Korean horror film makes my list. This is about zombies. zombies on a train! It doesn’t totally reinvent the zombie flick, but it does have characters that you give a damn about, and the setting makes for some unique and creative kills. James Wan plans to produce an American-made remake. We’ll see how that pans out…
The Ritual (2017): A British Netflix horror film based on a novel by the same name. What I really like about this film is its setting, the woods that engulf the group of friends who reunite after the tragic death of a friend. Oh, and the monster that comes in the final act is pretty cool, too.
Classics available to stream on Netflix: Hellraiser, It Follows, The Babadook, Children of the Corn, The Descent, Tucker & Dale v. Evil, The Conjuring, The Sixth Sense, The Strangers, Cabin Fever, Teeth, Seven, Interview with the Vampire