There’s a chill in the air, the leaves are falling off the trees, and I can’t find my way home from a 6:30 lecture without a needing a torch. That’s right, it’s officially stay-in and watch a horror movie season. Here are my favourite horror picks for everyone to watch this Halloween!
It Follows (2014) – director David Robert Mitchell.
It Follows is about an STD (sexually transmitted demon) as it stalks and tries to kill a carefree teenager, Jay. The demon has very specific rules, it can’t run, no one else can see it, and once it’s killed you, it will return to its previous person. The idea of being constantly stalked by a monster, who will not stop until you are dead, really gets into your head, resulting in a fantastic horror film. This one will definitely have you checking over your shoulder for a while and might dissuade you from hook-ups too.
Jennifer’s Body (2009) – director Karyn Kusama.
Gloriously camp, Jennifer’s Body is in the process of becoming a horror cult classic. Without spoiling anything, Jennifer’s Body follows high schooler Jennifer (Megan Fox at her most iconic), as she seduces and murders her way through the boys at school. Endlessly quotable, Jennifer’s Body is Halloween-horror perfection. However, if a more serious approach to horror is more your taste, then check out Karyn Kusama’s next film after Jennifer’s Body, The Invitation (2015), a deeply unsettling and claustrophobic thriller featuring a dinner party going horribly wrong.
Raw (2016) – director Julia Ducournau.
Who amongst us hasn’t started uni, gone crazy on the newfound freedom, and given into cannibalism? Raw follows innocent college freshman, Justine, as she breaks from her vegetarian lifestyle for the first time, and soon discovers that it’s not animal flesh that she’s craving. Raw is a French film, so if subtitles are something that’s going to turn you off, it may not be the film for you. It’s also incredibly violent, so much so that paramedics were called during its screening at the Toronto Film Festival, due to people collapsing, which I see as an endorsement rather than a negative.
Hereditary (2018) – director Ari Aster.
Every family has demons, it just turns out that some are more literal than others. Steering away from cheap shocks that have flooded the horror genre recently, Ari Aster builds the tension to a breaking point in his family driven horror, Hereditary. The fear is largely psychological, Hereditary is as much a drama about how grief and trauma can destroy us, as it is a horror film. This is Ari Aster’s directorial debut which is surprising given that it is so accomplished. Toni Collette and Alex Wolff also deliver award-worthy performances. If you haven’t seen it yet, the campus cinema is doing a screening on the 28th of October, and for those who have seen it, try clicking your tongue loudly in public and seeing who reacts.
Get Out (2017) – director Jordan Peele.
Of course, any list of horror movies was going to end up including Get Out. Jordan Peele’s directorial debut managed to be nominated at pretty much every award show of 2017 (there is literally a whole Wikipedia page dedicated to Get Out’s accolades, and it goes on for miles). Get Out represents the absolute best of what horror can be, a masterful balancing act of razor-sharp satire and genuine terror. I love Get Out so much that I would have put it on this list three times if I could.
Hopefully my favourite horror films have given you some ideas for a good Halloween film night, and a chance for you to discover some new favourites of your own. Happy Halloween!