Horror is currently thriving and unavoidable. This is the kind of content we crave. The Exorcist franchise has made a triumphant return after almost two decades, raking in $107 million with just a $30 million budget. And that’s not all – two more films are in the works. The Nun II has remained in the top 10 for seven weeks since its release. Five Nights at Freddy’s is projected to open at the top of the box office this weekend, with an estimated $40 million – the second-highest earnings of the fall, just behind Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour. This year has also seen the release of new installments in the Scream, Insidious, and Saw series. Critics have been raving about the bone-chilling adaptation of Stephen King’s The Boogeyman and the breakout indie hit Talk to Me. You’ve likely seen or at least heard of these movies. But if you’re looking for more thrilling flicks to get you in the Halloween spirit, we’ve got nine recent gems that may have slipped under your radar but are absolutely worth a scream stream.
When Evil Lurks
When Evil Lurks takes the concept of demonic possession to a whole new level. It features disturbing and taboo imagery, reveling in its most twisted moments. Imagine the darkly humorous gruesomeness of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead, but with a bleaker tone akin to John Carpenter’s apocalyptic trilogy. This movie unfolds in an impressive and exciting manner, with excellent pacing and a meticulous world-building approach. It gradually reveals information, introducing a set of rules and teasing out the impending threat. The characters know far more than the audience, and the movie immerses you in its narrative without any explanations being spoon-fed. Brace yourself for a wild ride! When Evil Lurks is currently playing in theaters and can also be streamed on Shudder/AMC+.
It’s a shame that Sick, a fantastic collaboration between iconic screenwriter Kevin Williamson (known for Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer) and director John Hyams, was quietly released on Peacock. This movie would have been an absolute blast to experience in a packed theater! Set at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sick taps into the anxieties we all felt during that specific time. However, it goes beyond that, delivering a tightly crafted slasher film that pays homage to the likes of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer while maintaining its own unique identity. Hyams skillfully directs the intense and thrilling sequences, and there’s a particularly memorable horror set piece within the film. Even the jump scares feel earned. True to Williamson’s style, Sick also offers biting satire alongside its thrills. Sick is now available to stream on Peacock, and you can also purchase it on digital platforms and DVD.
How far would you go to save your child? That’s one of the questions raised by Birth/Rebirth, a darkly funny exploration of pregnancy and motherhood. It’s a twisted take on Frankenstein or Re-Animator, anchored by superb performances from Judy Reyes and Marin Ireland. In this movie, a mother and a morgue technician reanimate the body of a young girl, leading to disastrous consequences. Birth/Rebirth delves into grotesque body horror and subverts societal expectations surrounding the female body. The film concludes with a clever twist that lingers in your mind long after the credits roll. You can stream Birth/Rebirth on Shudder/AMC+ or rent and purchase it on digital platforms.
Influencer stands out as the first truly exceptional social media horror film. It’s reminiscent of The Talented Mr. Ripley for the influencer generation, featuring a fantastic and terrifying lead performance. The protagonist, or perhaps antagonist, navigates a cleverly crafted plot with an unpredictability that keeps viewers on edge. As with all the movies on this list, less is more when it comes to discussing Influencer. It’s now available to stream on Shudder/AMC+ and can be rented or purchased on digital platforms.
Soft & Quiet
Set in real time, Soft & Quiet follows an elementary school teacher who organizes a mixer for like-minded women. However, an altercation with someone from her past sparks a chain of volatile events. The opening reveal will undoubtedly pique your interest, so I won’t spoil it here. This movie is an intense and unrelenting horror experience that aims to shock and provoke. While it may not be for everyone, its unique and unflinching perspective shines a light on the pervasiveness of white supremacy in everyday life. Soft & Quiet is now streaming on Netflix and can also be purchased on digital platforms.
In The Harbinger, a woman breaks quarantine to assist a friend plagued by terrifying nightmares. Unfortunately, she soon discovers that the unsettling dreams are contagious. This film delivers genuine scares and is the best COVID-related movie I’ve seen so far. Director Andy Mitton effectively taps into the uncertainty and dread of the pandemic, creating an atmosphere that feels like stepping into someone else’s nightmare. The Harbinger is now streaming on Tubi and available for purchase on digital platforms.
While not technically a horror film, Falcon Lake played at the Brooklyn Horror Festival and quickly became one of my favorites of the year. Directed and co-written by Charlotte Le Bon, this French-language movie tells a coming-of-age story with a haunting undercurrent. It revolves around a shy boy’s transformative summer vacation and his unexpected bond with an older girl. However, you’ll soon realize that there’s a presence lurking beneath the surface. Falcon Lake skillfully merges a loss-of-innocence narrative with elements of a ghost story, creating a hauntingly beautiful film that invites multiple viewings. You can purchase Falcon Lake on digital platforms.
For those who consider The Blair Witch Project the scariest film ever made, The Outwaters is a must-watch. However, if found-footage horror isn’t your thing, steer clear! This movie presents the lost tapes of a group of kids who vanished in the Mojave desert. With a shoestring budget, The Outwaters manages to deliver spine-chilling terror through suggestion and sound design alone. It’s a cosmic, Lovecraftian nightmare that impressively captures horror’s essence despite limited resources. Not everyone may appreciate it, but those who do will be enthralled. Watch it with headphones late at night for maximum effect. The Outwaters is available to stream on Tubi, Screambox, and The Roku Channel. You can also rent or purchase it on digital platforms.
Just in time for Halloween, MGM released Dark Harvest on VOD. Based on the novel from 2006, this movie is set in a small Midwestern town where an annual ritual turns deadly. The mythical nightmare Sawtooth Jack rises from the cornfields, challenging the town’s teenage boys to a battle for survival. Dark Harvest captures the essence of the 1960s with its broad performances and archetypal characters. It’s a charming period piece that commits to its pumpkin-headed, candy-stuffed monster and its gruesome tradition of scalping the town’s children. Director David Slade’s visual style shines through, immersing audiences in a macabre world. Dark Harvest is the perfect seasonal treat and is available to rent or purchase on digital platforms.
Don’t miss out on these hidden horror gems. Give them a watch for a thrilling Halloween experience unlike any other.
Olivia Carter revs up excitement in the world of NASCAR. As a dedicated motorsports enthusiast, she covers race results, driver profiles, and the latest developments in the NASCAR world, keeping fans on the edge of their seats.