OCTOBER 9 ― With Halloween arriving at the end of October, the whole month has always been used as an excuse for horror fans to indulge in their passion for scary movies.
New horror flicks have traditionally been jam-packed for release throughout the month of October, and now that cinemas are still just coming out of lockdown mode, it’s up to the many streaming services to hold the fort and satiate our never-ending thirst for new horror movies.
Amazon Prime has got their package deal with Blumhouse coming up, with two movies (Bingo Hell and Black As Night) already released last week and two more coming out this week (The Manor and Madres) as part of their second annual edition of the Welcome To The Blumhouse anthology of horror flicks that are presented as Amazon Prime Originals, while Peacock will be streaming the month’s hottest title, Halloween Kills, on October 16.
Shudder of course has got a whole slate of films new and old scheduled throughout the month, the highlight for me being the just released V/H/S/94 (which I haven’t got time to check out yet) and Thai movie The Medium scheduled for release on October 14.
And of course, the world’s leading streaming platform Netflix also has its own roster of new and exclusive horror content for their subscribers to binge on this month, with a bunch of them arriving at the end of September so we can spend the early part of October enjoying most, if not all, of them.
Here are some that I’ve managed to check out.
Horror auteur Mike Flanagan (of The Haunting of Hill House and Doctor Sleep fame) returns with this seven-episode series that has elicited highly polarising responses, with very few middle ground reactions.
Being a champion of Flanagan ever since his little indie horror flick Oculus wowed me with its scares, emotions and expert craftsmanship back in 2014, I have nothing but love for this new series.
Kind of like a deeply Catholic version of Salem’s Lot, this is a refreshingly different take on vampire movies. Flanagan chooses to focus his (and the audience’s) attentions on the many different ways that people use and let religion into their lives.
Yes, there’s a vampire (and eventually vampires) involved, so that’s the horror part of the whole series sorted, but the real evil and scares here come not from supernatural sources, but more from the deepest and darkest parts of our hearts.
Internet chatter surrounding the series has more or less concentrated on the shockingly long monologues that each of the major characters go into, of which we usually get one or two per episode, with the naysayers pointing to these as a weakness and the champions lauding them as exactly the thing that made this show special.
For me, clearly these “monologues” are intentional on the filmmaker’s part as, in keeping with the whole Catholic theme of the series, these are a form of “confessions” by the characters, in which they seek to get their sins forgiven.
Whether these sins are forgiven, and what they try to do to atone for their sins, are part of the rich tapestry that’s woven throughout these seven episodes.
So if you’re willing to excuse some slow burn in the first two episodes, you’ll be rewarded with a punishing, enraging and ultimately beautiful experience.
No One Gets Out Alive
Also released at the end of September, No One Gets Out Alive is a meaningful, decently suspenseful, but ultimately average exercise in trying to breathe life into the haunted house horror subgenre by slipping in socially relevant issues like immigration.
The film starts with an undocumented immigrant finding out that she’s not alone in her run-down apartment, meeting her demise shortly after.
We’re then thrown into the presence of another undocumented immigrant, Ambar, who will eventually end up at the same boarding house that we saw earlier, and who will face the same kind of threats that the previous and unnamed victim faced.
The realist immigration part of the movie was done quite well, giving us glimpses of the trials and tribulations that they face daily in a convincing manner, which makes the film watchable enough.
But it’s in the supernatural parts and the scares that the film just doesn’t manage to carve out enough of a personality to stick in your mind, resulting in a passable time-waster should you need something to pass the time with for 90 minutes.
Last year’s outstanding His House would’ve been a much better pick if you need to see something like this.
There’s Someone Inside Your House
Finding out that this modern-day slasher flick is directed by none other than Patrick Brice (of Creep fame) definitely got me excited, but other than the wonderfully gory kills, there really isn’t much here that will get even the most hardcore slasher fan excited.
A blend of Black Christmas (the Blumhouse version), Haze and quite clearly cribbing from I Know What You Did Last Summer, this is nothing more than your typical 90s teen slasher movie updated with characters from Generation Z.
Yes, there’s progress being made when the main characters here are inclusive enough to include a non-binary protagonist, a few 20somethings of colour and a gay football player, but when all of this is just in service of yet another story about a masked killer (this time killing kids with “secrets”) running around town killing people, executed so blandly that there are times that the whole thing is not even suspenseful, one must ponder whether being “of the moment” is enough of a reason for a film to exist.
I certainly don’t think so.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.