By Patrick Hunter
It's that time of year again; when the leaves start to fall, when we can start enjoying all of the pumpkin spiced things and of course, watch some great horror and thriller movies with Halloween right around the corner! I wanted to look at ten movies and shows that I feel deserve to be watched by anyone who considers themselves a fan of the genres. Some of these you might've seen already and some you might not have ever heard of, either way enjoy!
1. I Saw The Devil (2010)
From director Jee-woon Kim (dir. of other hit films like A Tale Of Two Sisters and The Good, The Bad, The Weird), this 2010 South Korean psychological thriller has some of the most intense and pulse raising scenes I think I've ever seen in a film. Now be warned, this isn't a movie that'll lift your spirits watching it, there's quite a bit to take in with so many truly horrible and dark themes that involve decapitation, rape and insanely raw and brutal violence. With such a heavy story, well written characters and truly great performances including the incredible Min-sik Choi as the psychotic and hysterical antagonist that reels you in with such curiosity and disgust. There's a lot to marvel and enjoy about this film.
2. The Void (2017)
Oh man, what can I even say about this one? It's an absolute trip and the last probably 20 minutes give me the most "wait..wha....wtf" moments that I've had in a while. With themes of horror, sci-fi and true mystery, I had a great time watching this movie and slowly watching everything unravel with the characters. I know there's a lot of things in the movie that'll turn people off, including an ending that's pretty open ended and left up for discussion more than anything, but I appreciated the film for what it was and enjoyed how it basically just let goes of reality and does what it wants. One last thing I have to say is that the makeup in this film is so well done and the overall atmosphere the movie has is extremely effective, this one isn't a masterpiece but, nonetheless, still an enjoyable and off the rails horror film.
3. Oculus (2013)
Now here is a movie that truly feels like a lot of heart and thought really went into it, and that's probably because the writer/director Mike Flanagan originally made this idea as a 30 minute short film in 2006 with a whopping budget of $2,000. So almost a decade later with production companies, a distributer, a full cast and crew, and a budget of $5,000,000; it's probably safe to say that Mike got to make the movie he had originally envisioned and I have to say that it's a great film. A great concept with good acting (including the always lovely Karen Gillan), and story with so many mind bending turns and twists, there's a lot to enjoy and keep your brain spinning when watching Oculus.
4. Holidays - Fathers Day (2016)
This is another anthology horror film in the vein of movies like The ABC's of Death and the V/H/S series, but this features eight different segments, each of which revolves around a certain holiday. So like the other horror anthology films, Holidays only has one or two notable segments that are actually good. That being said, I specifically want to talk about the segment "Fathers Day". At only 13 minutes long, this short is truly special and is honestly one of the most captivating and completely spellbinding stories I have ever experienced. From the get-go I was absolutely entranced by this film and out of all of the suggestions on this list, I would have to recommend this one and #10 the most. There's such an overall sense of dread and everything feels so ominous that it's still shocking to me how much I thought about this short after I had finished it; everything about it just works so well together and is pushed forward by its simplicity. So do yourself a favor, ignore the rest of Holidays and watch Father's Day by itself.
5. Get Out (2017)
Earlier this year when it was released, Get Out was making headlines, breaking records and gaining praise left and right; and let me tell you it deserves every single bit of praise it receives. Written and directed by Jordan Peele, who is known mostly for his comedy acting and writing, who has done such a magnificent job of creating a downright terrifying and suspenseful horror film with moments of black comedy that not only break the tension for the viewer but make the horror that follows that much more effective. There are a lot of things I really want to say about this film but I suggest that you go into it as blind as possible, like I did, and enjoy every second of it. I, like the rest of the world, am extremely excited to see what Jordan Peele has in store for his next film.
6. Black Mirror (2011 - Present)
Heaven is a place on Earth and Black Mirror knows how to make you think Earth is everything but. While Black Mirror isn't a show that's genre is "horror", it has effectively given me some of the most dreadful and appalling feelings both while watching and when thinking about it after. To me personally, this show is one of the greatest series to ever exist and there are so many thought-provoking and shocking moments that reel you in and keep you hooked. This show is an anthology and it works perfectly; each episode is written and directed by different people but they all have the premise of "the future, but not so distant future". And with that premise and so many different themes of social commentary, it makes the show that much more intriguing and effective. Each episode leaves you thinking about it for days and I haven't enjoyed discussing a series with peers this much since Breaking Bad ended. I will suggest though that you don't binge watch this for more than probably two episodes at a time, because after two separate sessions of watching three/four episodes in succession, I was emotionally exhausted; and honestly that just goes to show how well written these episodes are. There's nothing traditional about Black Mirror and watching the show is an emotional roller coaster, but it's the best roller coaster I've ever been on.
7. It Follows (2014)
Just going to throw it out there, I believe It Follows is one of the best horror films ever made and deserves to be up there with the masterpieces of the genre. Every element of this film works together flawlessly and sucks in the viewer more and more with each scene. Complete with some of the most well thought out and executed cinematography in recent years, a gripping soundtrack that does nothing but provoke mystery, and a truly gripping story that keeps you focused and invested. It Follows is a marvelous experience from start to finish.
8. Split (2016)
Never in my life would I have ever believed you if you told me "Hey M. Night Shyamalan has a new movie and it's amazing", but sure enough, here we are and honestly...Split is in fact, amazing. This is Shyamalan's best work since 2000's Unbreakable and I would actually say that this might be my favorite movie from the director. I had a lot of fun watching this film mainly because of how well written James McAvoy's character was. He brought so much life to this movie and as someone who usually doesn't care for McAvoy, I have to say that his performance is easily the best part of Split. In a time where original horror screenplays seem to be getting more rare by the year, a well written and executed film like Split is a great breath of fresh air. A great note to add is the cinematographer for It Follows, Mike Gioulakis, also worked on Split and I think the specific shots he brings to horror films makes them that much more effective and scary.
9. Dead Alive (1992)
What if I told you one of Peter Jackson's (yes, the same Peter Jackson that directed the Lord Of The Rings series) very first movies was a horror comedy full of completely over the top gore, violence and shlock? Well that movie is very real and it's one of the best film experiences you can ever have. Dead Alive pairs perfectly with films like Evil Dead and Re-Animator, complete with so many completely nonsensical and ridiculous ideas and moments that keep a smile on your face the entire time. Like with Oculus, you can tell there was a lot of ambition and love put into this film; so I say share the love, watch this one with a group of friends and laugh the night away.
10. Martyrs (2008)
Martyrs is truly a special film full of some of the most disturbing, tense and shocking scenes that can be experienced in a film. I remember thinking about this movie for a week after I saw it for the first time. Every friend I've ever showed this to has had such a strong reaction to watching and I can always relate to the uneasy feeling they express once the credits roll. Martyrs is a movie that is so unique, so moving and so effective in every sense of the word. If you haven't seen it, I implore you to do what you can to avoid seeing anything about it, even just the plot synopsis, and by all means don't even think about watching the god awful 2015 American remake. I feel this movie is one of the greatest examples of cinema with one of the most enthralling and existential stories ever told.
And that's my list of ten movies/shows that I think you should check out in preparation for Halloween this year! Let me know which one's you've seen, which ones you think are completely terrible and what movies I should check out as well!