Halloween is only a week away and Netflix is punting the classics – Friday the 13th, The Shining, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and so on. For those of us looking to mix it up, I have compiled a list of alternative horror and thriller movies for you to get your teeth into if you’re sick of cycling through the same handful of films. Personally, I don’t tend to go for all out terrifying gore, as it’s a bit much for me. So the films I’m suggesting lean more towards the thriller end of the spectrum.
This film is set in Australia, where a young widow raises her troubled son, Samuel. Six-year-old Samuel is a bit of an outcast who enjoys building weapons, and his mother is forced to remove him from school when he uses one of his weapons on his classmates. One night, Samuel insists his mother read him one of her books, Mr Babadook. Following this, Samuel begins to see Mr Babadook all around the house. Initially, his mother dismisses his claims, but as things begin to go awry in their home, the tall humanoid’s presence seems more and more likely. At the climax of the film, the Babadook possesses Samuel’s mother and commits some gory acts (not for the faint hearted). Personally, I was a little frustrated by this film. I hated Samuel’s character. I thought he was a little brat, making it difficult for me not to sympathise with the big scary monster I was supposed to be afraid of. I did some reading around the film after watching it and found some interesting theories about how the Babadook was a manifestation of the mother’s grief, which seems rather interesting. Overall, I’d rate it 3 out of 5 spooky ghosts.
This 2016 slasher film sees a young deaf woman (played by the breathtaking Kate Siegel) who lives alone in the woods, forced to fight for her life against a home invader. Without the use of dialogue, this film utilises silence to create suspense throughout. The cat-and-mouse style game that plays out between the main character Maddie and her attacker builds and builds tension as the young girl learns to adapt and survive in this dangerous, life threatening situation. This one isn’t for those that don’t like a jump scare. I watched it from behind a pillow, but loved it none the less. 4.5 out of 5 spooky ghosts.
Truth or Dare
This one’s a bit controversial. It didn’t get great reviews online, and it certainly doesn’t live up to the likes of classics such as Silence of the Lambs, but if you’re looking for a spooky, silly film to watch in the run-up to the 31st, I would recommend you give it a try. This 2018 thriller is about a group of college friends who travel to Mexico and meet a stranger on a drunken night out and end up playing a game of Truth or Dare with him. Playing this game awakens an evil demon that possesses each of the kids, compelling them to share their darkest secrets or face their biggest fears. If they refuse to participate in the game after their initial turn, something tragic happens to them and they turn up dead. Like I said, it seems harmless. Besides the goofy CGI used when each of the characters is possessed, as well as some questionable script writing (which is to be expected from a movie of this budget), I wouldn’t say this film deserved the criticism it received. It certainly spooked me a little when I watched it, and it made me laugh at points too. The perfect mixture, of comedy and thriller. 2.5 out of 5 spooky ghosts.
[Carrie MacNeill – she/her – @carriemac97]