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Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024
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Halloween Watchlist: Horror & psychological thriller movies in time for Halloween

Movies to get you into the holiday spirit

Halloween is sneaking up on us, and October, often deemed “spooky season,” necessitates viewing some scary movies. If you’re looking for the perfect Halloween marathon, prepare to be disturbed by the following films.

Midsommar” (2019)

“Midsommar,” starring Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor, is a folky psychological thriller about a deeply traumatized woman tagging along with her boyfriend and his friends on a trip to Sweden. Things quickly take a turn for the worse as the vacation becomes psychedelic and cultish. From there, the film features multiple deaths and strange occurrences within the Swedish cult, forcing Dani (played by Pugh) into a breakdown. The pace quickens, accompanied by Nordic folk music, as the cult aims to find the year’s May Queen through haunting ceremonies.

“Midsommar” is available to stream on Paramount Plus via SHOWTIME and Apple TV, Prime Video and Roku Channels.

Hereditary” (2018)

Ari Aster, the director and writer of both “Hereditary” and “Midsommar,” has mastered the art of portraying women slowly losing their minds. “Hereditary” is a supernatural horror film that depicts the life of the Graham family and hones in on Annie, the mother, played by Toni Collette

The film opens with Annie’s mother’s funeral, and as the plot progresses, the family’s grief is never-ending. The symbolism Annie’s job provides as a miniature artist makes “Hereditary” all the more interesting. Even if you have watched this movie before, as it was the highest grossing A24 film until “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” it is even more exhilarating on the second go-around as each rewatch allows viewers to notice little hints as to what comes next. Themes of demonic possession and religious cults make this the perfect Halloween watch.

“Hereditary” is available to rent or buy on Amazon Video and Apple TV.

X” & “Pearl” (2022)

“X,” and its prequel, “Pearl,” are slasher films starring Mia Goth, who plays both Maxine and Pearl. In “X,” aspiring adult film stars venture to a guest house in rural Texas to shoot a pornagraphic movie. Though the dialogue makes the film, its southern accents and egotistical perspectives on sex work, the creepiness of the old couple, Howard and Pearl and renting the guest house curates undeniable fear. After watching “X,” “Pearl” is a must-watch to understand how the film’s namesake comes of age into her murderous ways.

Both “X” and “Pearl” are available to stream with premium subscriptions on Paramount Plus via SHOWTIME, as well as Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.

Jennifer’s Body” (2009)

“Jennifer’s Body,” a horror comedy starring Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried, is narrated by Seyfried’s character Needy, who looks back on the events that led to her admittance to solitary confinement as an inmate in a mental health facility. 

Needy’s longtime best friend, Jennifer (played by Fox) goes on a killing spree during which she kills and eats boys at their high school. The reasoning behind Jennifer’s killings and the revenge that Needy gets makes the film well worth the watch. Compared to other traditional horror films, though quite graphic, “Jennifer’s Body” is much more comedic and ironic.

“Jennifer’s Body” is available to stream with premium subscriptions on Max and Hulu.

Get Out” (2017) & “Us” (2019)

Both written and directed by Jordan Peele, “Us” and Academy-Award winner “Get Out” are not similar, but the two films accompany each other well with Peele’s unique writing and directing styles and his exquisite taste in talent. “Get Out” stars Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams, who play a recently formed couple going to visit Rose’s (Williams) parents . Chris (Kaluuya) expresses his worries about being Rose’s first Black boyfriend early on, and a concerning spiral of events occurs when they arrive at the house. The film contains themes of racism and vulnerability. 

Even scarier is “Us,” a film in which doppelgängers of each of the film’s characters arrive early on and are called the Tethered. These doppelgängers are forced to live the same lives as the human to which they are tethered, with some terrifyingly gruesome exceptions. The promise of nearly perfect twists at the end of both films is enough to move both to the top of your spooky season watchlist. 

“Get Out” and “Us” are both available to stream on Netflix Peacock. Both films are available to rent or buy on Apple TV and Amazon Prime Video. 

Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled psychological in the headline. The article has been updated with the correct spelling.  

Edited by Bailey Hobbs, Patricia McGee and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis and Charlie Mennuti.

 Hosts Sara Winick and Sydney Hsu introduce themselves and talk about their favorite TV shows. This episode includes fun facts, recommendations and personal connections. 

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