The best of Netflix right now if you're looking for... horror
If you're anything like us, you're confronted with that same question everyday. What will I watch on Netflix tonight?
Well we know when it comes to Netflix, mood is a major factor. Sometimes you're in the mood for something dark and brooding. Other times, you just want something light you can switch your brain off to. At times, you're in the mood for something new. Then again, you may want to re-watch an old reliable.
With that in mind, we're assembling a series of Netflix recommendations with plenty to choose from. Every week, we'll give our top picks of shows, films and specials with a different theme in mind each time.
With it being the month of Halloween and all that, we're looking at the best of horror on Netflix.
Mike Flanagan is going to be popping up a lot on this list, just so you're forewarned. It follows a deaf and mute writer who retreats into the woods to live a solitary life with her cat. However she must fight for her life in silence when a masked killer appears at her window. Made on a $1million budget it stars Kate Siegel, who's married to Flanagan and a regular to the horror genre. Her past credits include 'Oculus', 'Ouija: Origin of Evil', 'Gerald's Game' and 'The Haunting of Hill House'.
Blumhouse have developed quite a rep for producing low budget horrors with high returns. One of its more successful series are the 'Insidious' films and another is 'Sinister'. Starring Ethan Hawke, it portrays a true crime writer who discovers a box of home movies depicting grisly murders in the attic of his new house. Jump scares are aplenty, if that's your cup of tea.
Directed by John Krasinski, who also stars in the movie with real life wife Emily Blunt, 'A Quiet Place' took everyone by surprise. Working with a tightly-knitted script and a fascinating premise, Krasinski unfurls his gothic tale of a world gone silent with panache and style that marks him out as a talented director with a bright career ahead of him. It follows a family who go into hiding after monsters who attack sounds wipe off the planet.
Although the series has turned much more into an action franchise - including its latest installment 'Dark Fate' - the original 'Terminator', you have to admit, was pretty damn terrifying. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the Terminator, a cyborg assassin sent back in time from 2029 to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) before her son, who will one day save humanity, is born. There's a lot of love for 'Judgement Day' but sometimes there's nothing like the original.
"You like Huey Lewis and the News? Their early work was a little New Wave for my taste. But when Sports came out in '83, I really feel they came into their own. Commercially and artistically. The whole album has a crisp, clean sound of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost. He's been compared to Elvis Costello. But I think Huey has a far more bitter, cynical sense of humour. In '87, Huey released Fore! - their most accomplished album. I think their undisputed masterpiece is Hip To Be Square, a song so catchy, most people probably don't listen to the lyrics. But they should! Because it's not just about the pleasures of conformity. It's also a personal statement about the band itself. HEY PAUL!"
If you can't get enough of horror, to the point where you'd watch over ten hours of it, check out scary series 'The Haunting of Hill House'. It alternates between two timelines as we follow five adult siblings whose lives have been shaped by their horrifying paranormal experiences at Hill House. Slowly, we uncover the events that happened one night in the haunted home when the family were forced to flee its grounds. A second season titled 'The Haunting of Bly Manor' hits Netflix next year.
'Gerald's Game' is a truly haunting horror that gets stuck in your head for days after watching it. Based on a Stephen King novel, it stars Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood as a married couple whose trip away to a remote lake house goes horribly wrong. Directed by Mike Flanagan, who is also the man behind 'Hush', 'The Haunting of Hill House' (as aforementioned) and the upcoming 'Doctor Sleep', it's powerful but dark and graphic. The scariest parts are not what you'd expect.
A biologist named Lena (Natalie Portman) volunteers to go on a mission to the ‘Shimmer’, a baffling phenomenon that is spreading across the world, alongside a group of female scientists led by Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Like Alex Garland’s previous works such as 'Ex Machina', 'Annihilation' is both cerebral and thrilling. It’s more 'Alien' on crack, meticulously building an ambience of dread and wonder, to a super trippy, creepy, existentialist crescendo.
Not only a brilliant horror but just a brilliant movie in and of itself. From the twisted mind of Ari Aster (he who also brought us 'Midsommar' last year), is one of 2018's most warped movies, starring Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne, and one of production company A24's most profitable creations. When the matriarch of the Graham family passes away, her daughter Annie (Collette) and her family (Byrne, Milly Shapiro and Alex Wolff) begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry.
‘Veronica’ has gotten much praise for its scare factor. Set in early '90s Madrid and (supposedly) based on a true story taken from Madrid's police files, it relates the tale of its titular character, played by Sandra Escacena in her on-screen debut, who has to raise her younger siblings due to her mother always working and her father being dead. She happens upon a ouija board during a solar eclipse and decides to mess with it with her friends.
One of the few Oscars to ever go to a horror movie (excluding technical awards) was earned by Kathy Bates for her extraordinary lead performance in ‘Misery.’ The actress plays Annie Wilkes in the film, a mentally unstable fan of a book series based on a character called Misery. Annie imprisons and abuses the author of the books, Paul Sheldon (another terrific performance from James Caan), until he writes a finale to Misery’s story to her requirements.
Bram Stoker's Dracula
It's got its haters as well as die-hard fans. But no horror list would be complete without the Francis Ford Coppola classic. A centuries old vampire, Count Dracula (Gary Oldman), comes to England to seduce his barrister Jonathan Harker's (Keanu Reeves) fiancée Mina Murray (Winona Ryder) and inflict havoc in the foreign land. The take on the original Prince of Darkness is surprisingly romantic and beautifully shot, as well as having terrifying moments.
American Horror Story
Another series you can really sink your teeth into if you love spooky content is 'American Horror Story'. Each season of the anthology series follows a different set of characters and settings with some seasons apparently based on true events. The 'stories' vary in quality but most are excellent. Over the years, such actors as Jessica Lange, James Cromwell and Lady Gaga have cropped up and won awards for their performances.
An ominous presence is driving masses of people to commit suicide. Thus Malorie (Sandra Bullock) is forced to lock herself in a house with a group of strangers building a defense against the threat. Five years into the future, she makes her way down a river with two children, and all three are blindfolded. As far as horror-thrillers go, 'Bird Box' is fairly conventional, but it is entertaining and enrapturing with a great ensemble cast that include John Malkovich, Tom Hollander, BD Wong and Sarah Paulson.
'Orphan' arrives in the aftermath of the success of 'The Ring' remake when creepy child murderers were very in vogue. It sees a husband and wife (Vera Farmiga, another horror regular) take in a 9 year-old girl who isn't as innocent as she appears. Director Jaume Collet-Serra would go on to helm a number of collaborations with Liam Neeson including 'Unknown', 'Non-Stop', 'Run All Night' and last year's 'The Commuter'. His next gig is 'Jungle Cruise' with Dwayne Johnson.
Before James Wan took on 'Aquaman' and before 'Furious 7', his bread and butter was horror. 'Insidious' was one of his earlier horror franchises, and possibly his best. Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne are two parents who are struggling to understand their children's issues. Soon they realise it's much more than just imagination - it's demons. Far less gory than 'Saw', 'Insidious' works more on horror and scares being just out of frame. Which, as we know, is more terrifying than seeing something head on.
The Cabin in the Woods
Something of a comedy as well as a horror, 'The Cabin in the Woods' was written by Drew Goddard, who also directed it, and Joss Whedon. They'd collaborated previously on 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' so that gives you an idea of the degree of horror we're looking at. Five friends - including Chris Hemsworth and 'Grey's Anatomy' star Jesse Williams - go for a break at a remote cabin. They get much more than they bargained for.
There have been some really impressive Irish horrors of late and 'The Hole in the Ground', starring Irish actress on the rise Seana Kerslake, is one of them. Her character is a young mother who has recently moved into a house on the fringes of a rural town with her son. Strange things start to occur, particularly disturbing changes in her little boy. We warn you in advance, this is not one for arachnophobes...
If you can't get enough of your zombie TV series a la 'The Walking Dead' and 'Fear the Walking Dead', 'Black Summer', which is connected to Syfy series 'Z Nation', is worth checking out. Six weeks after the start of a zombie apocalypse, Rose is separated from her daughter, Anna. She embarks on a harrowing journey to find her, relying on a group of refugees who are complete strangers to help her.
Carolyn (Lili Taylor), Roger (Ron Livingston) and their five daughters have just moved into a new farm house, and it's not long before their plagued by paranormal activities. They call in Lorraine (Vera Farminga) and Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson), a couple who specialize in these types of investigations. They need to find physical evidence of a possession within the house before the Vatican will approve an exorcism of their home; and boy, do they find some evidence.
Hopes were super high for the rejuvenation of the 'Halloween' franchise. Thankfully it did not disappoint. Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Stribe in this direct sequel to the original 1978 horror. Set 40 years later, Laurie is still traumatised from the night Michael Myers murdered her friends and tried to kill her. Now he's back. 'Halloween' 2018 perfectly balances nostalgia with genuine fear factor, no easy task.