It’s summer time, and the living is kinda miserable. Rather than go outside during the day, why not spend lazy, hot afternoon streaming some scary flicks and eating junk food? From classic scares to drama to comedy, there’s something online for everyone.
If you’re a fan of classic horror elements, Last Shift has pretty much all of them, packaged in a surprisingly convincing story about a rookie cop assigned to wait alone for a clean up crew at an abandoned police station. Surprise, the station was abandoned because it’s home to Something Evil. Juliana Harkavy (The Walking Dead) is alone on screen for a lot of the film, but she carries the film effectively to its terrifying show down. It’s on Netflix and it’s hella scary.
We Are Still Here
“Every 30 years or so, the goddamn place just wakes up, and it demands new blood!” This line from the trailer sums up the premise of We Are Still Here, a haunted house movie. Oh, it’s a rural New England house, recently moved into by some nice older white people who are going through some stuff. It’s a weird, gory, and well-crafted debut for director Ted Geoghagen, and it’s also pretty scary. You can stream it on Netflix.
If found-footage films are your jam, this one from Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass definitely lives up to the title. The story follows Aaron (Brice), a videographer who answers a Craigslist ad (uh-oh) from Josef (Duplass). It’s basically the worst Craiglist horror story you can imagine, but Duplass is riveting as the nice-on-the-surface guy who just seems off. It’s funny at disarming (and disturbing) moments and yeah, very creepy. You can watch it on Netflix.
Available on Netflix, this latest offering from Mike Flanagan is a taut home invasion thriller with a twist: the protagonist, played by co-writer Kate Siegel, is deaf and mute. She lives alone in the woods until (you can see where this is going) she is stalked by a masked psycho murderer. It sounds like well-trod territory, but Hush keeps it fresh and thrilling. While Flanagan nixed the early idea of having an entirely silent film, he sticks to low key ambient sounds and white noise while still effectively building a tense and intensely creepy film.
It would be just plain irresponsible to exclude a horror comedy pick from this list. Deathgasm is ridiculous and ridiculously gory film out of New Zealand about misfit teams who form a heavy metal band and accidentally summon a demon. An homage to metal and horror, it’s got that droll New Zealand humor, it’s funny and bloody in equal measure, and it goes at all these elements full tilt with a delightful manic energy. It’s streaming on Netflix
We’d also be remiss to exclude a so-bad-it’s-funny pick, so if that’s your poison, kill some brain cells with Zoombies — that’s zoo zombies. There’s literally not much else to say about it, other than it is weirdly insistent on playing off of Jurassic Park visually. Also found on Netflix.
He Never Died
In this Canadian supernatural action/horror/comedy, Henry Rollins plays a grouchy, immortal entity in the form of a grouchy, meathead human. Roger Ebert described the character as “the demonic love-child of the Terminator and Starman, a stranger from afar who is unaccustomed to, or perhaps just uninterested in human niceties.” He’s weird, and compelling to watch as he goes on a rampage to rescue his estranged teen daughter. It’s pretty bonkers, but charming at the same time. It can be streamed on Netflix.
Not quite as low budget as the rest, this one stars Kurt Russel and some other recognizable faces, like Patrick Wilson and Matthew Fox. It’s also not for everyone. A horror western, Bone Tomahawk revolves around a small town sheriff in search of a kidnapped woman, and it involves cannibals. It’s a slow build, with great dialogue and performances, leading up to a seriously fucked up conclusion. You can stream it on Amazon Prime.
Plague is a classic zombie apocalypse movie out of Australia. It’s quite beautiful for the low budget, filmed in muted tones in rural Australia, with lovely dramatic performances from local actors. It doesn’t bring anything surprising or innovative to the genre, but if you like zombie flicks, this is a quality little film with more character drama than gore and jump scares. It’s available on Netflix.
I may have only watched this vampire/zombie apocalypse hybrid because a guy I know was an extra, but it’s actually a very satisfying thriller. Set in a vampire apocalypse that has cause the collapse of civilization that is a surprisingly astute allegory for rural Americana, it follows a young orphaned boy who is taken in by a grizzled vampire hunter. They traverse a desolate and dangerous rural landscape trying to reach a rumored “New Eden”. It’s on Netflix.