By Grace Hogsten
Halloween is just over the horizon and watching a scary movie with friends is the perfect way to celebrate the season. While everyone has watched their fair share of iconic slashers and cheesy Halloween flicks, so many great movies still remain criminally underappreciated.
Here are five movies released in the last five years that are perfect for a Halloween movie night and deserve more love from viewers.
“The Invitation” is a captivating horror thriller that follows Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel), a young woman with no living family who accepts a wedding invitation from her newly discovered wealthy English relatives.
Even as she attends glamorous pre-wedding parties, stays in an extravagant, fully-staffed mansion, and flirts with handsome friend of the family Walter De Ville (Thomas Doherty), Evie cannot avoid the ominous sights and sounds convincing her that something more sinister than a wedding is on the way.
The film, available to stream on Netflix, is a fantastic Halloween movie because of its gothic aesthetic, supernatural plotlines, and scary scenes that might make you jump and spill your popcorn.
“Renfield” stars Nicholas Hoult as the titular devoted servant to Nicholas Cage’s Dracula. After years of service, Renfield grows tired of his half-life and starts unpacking his toxic relationship with his supernatural boss. However, Renfield’s quest to free himself from codependency is fraught with obstacles presented by his bloodthirsty companion.
The film is an entertaining comedy with touching, emotional scenes alongside violent action sequences featuring spurting blood reminiscent of the “Kill Bill” movies. According to Screen Rant, “Renfield” was a box office flop, likely because of its unfortunate April release date. However, now that it is October, “Renfield” makes for a great Halloween movie with supernatural elements that are not too scary, as well as a heartwarming message.
“Renfield” is available to stream on Peacock.
“We Have Always Lived in the Castle”
Based on the Shirley Jackson novel of the same name, “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” is a dramatic, ominous film telling the story of two sisters, Constance (Alexandra Daddario) and Merricat (Taissa Farmiga). They are social pariahs due to the mysterious circumstances surrounding their parents’ deaths.
Constance and Merricat struggle to retain their livelihood and what little social standing they have, facing potential threats from their town and from their newly-arrived, suspicious cousin Charles (Sebastian Stan).
If you love movies that investigate dark family secrets and have an old-fashioned aesthetic, “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” is the perfect fall watch for you. The film is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video and Peacock.
“The Wonder” is a 2022 period piece and psychological thriller starring Florence Pugh as Lib Wright, a nurse investigating the case of a young girl purported to miraculously survive without eating. As Lib uncovers shocking secrets the family is keeping, she struggles to balance her devotion to the truth with her desire to keep the girl safe. According to Pan MacMillan, “The Wonder” tells a fictionalized version of the true story of nineteenth century “fasting girls,” who were praised for their alleged ability to survive without food due to religious devotion.
The film is a “tale of two strangers who transform each other’s lives,” according to the International Movie Database. It is full of hushed conversations in the shadows and long, significant stares by the fireside that make it the perfect combination of drama and thoughtful, emotional scenes to watch on a chilly fall night.
“The Wonder” is available to stream on Netflix.
This film follows Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) as she accompanies a devoted foodie named Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) to an extravagant fine dining experience. However, as the guests progress through the menu, Margot realizes that head Chef Slowik (Ralph Fiennes) has more than dinner prepared for the night.
“The Menu” is a somewhat unconventional Halloween watch. Instead of battling a supernatural foe, its protagonist must face the horrors of capitalism. The thriller captivates viewers and keeps them on the edge of their seats, which makes it fitting for a scary movie night.
Viewers can stream the film on Hulu or Max.
While many of these films provide the perfect atmosphere for a spooky movie night, you and your friends could also venture to the movie theater during October to catch a new flick. The much-anticipated sequel “Sax X” is currently in theaters, while “The Exorcist: Believer” comes out Oct. 6. For those looking for more campy fun, “Five Nights at Freddy’s” comes out at the end of the month on Oct. 27.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Photo Caption: Academy-Award nominee Florence Pugh stars as a nurse in the Netflix original film “The Wonder.”