Horror month – my top picks

When it comes to the genre of horror it is probably my least explored genre besides musicals. Partly because I’ve never been a fan of gory violence and that makes up for a large portion of the genre.

What I do like with a horror movie is a story and tension. I lean more towards the paranormal/ psychological as these typically are less of the mindless hack and slash that, probably, made the genre so popular following the likes of Saw, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Scream around.

This month I’m making an effort to catch up on some horror movies that are meant to be worth watching that I have missed. I’ll even include one I ticked of recently that was great!

Sinister

To begin with is probably my favourite horror movie of them all. Sinister. This film is probably the first horror movie I watched that gave me the chills. What I loved about it is the way it is so upfront about when the scares are coming but you’re still tense for them.

Sinister follows a writer that for some reason moves into the houses in which horrific crimes have happened, in this case the murder of a family. While in the house he comes across some films that were left over. In his curiosity he watches them to find that they a the recordings of brutal murders.

Determined to find out what went on we see how the events pan out for the previous families and his own.

The tapes in question will have you watching through your fingers or behind a cushion. The music is chilling and creepy enough to make you want to watch with subtitles. But generally it’s a well played out story. Blumhouse were in the middle of a line of excellent films when they released this one.

Available on Netflix (UK)

The Conjuring

The Conjuring is the film that brought to life the stories of the Warrens, famed paranormal investigators.

Responsible for the story at Amytyville, The Conjuring told another one of their stories based on a family haunted by a dark presence in a secluded farmhouse. What makes these even more chilling is they are accounts of true stories.

James Wan took to the helm of this one and did an excellent job. From world building to score, acting to narrative the film strikes in each area. What is key is the way Wan is able to bring the scares to us through the music and cinematography.

The Conjuring has some very genuinely scary moments and does a good job to remind you it did happen in real life. There’s also a nod to the Warren’s other works including the infamous Annabelle doll.

Available on Netflix (UK)

Hereditary

I’ll confess that I have only just recently watched this one, but I’m glad I had. I was consistantly seeing how good it was as a film but cautious given the genre it sits in.

I also had only watched 1 other production from A24, Uncut Gems, which was trash. Driven my Toni Collettes performance Hereditary deserved a chance.

It follows a story of dealing with grief within a family. As the film starts we are in attendance of the Grandma’s funeral. We learn that in life she wasn’t close with the family and to put it bluntly a bit of an odd one.

Since the Grandma’s passing, things are a little bit weird. The daughter of the family was closest to her and seems to be the most impacted and has some strange behaviour. We start to learn how the whole family isn’t the slightest bit normal, whether in behaviour or illness.

The tension just build and builds throughout this film. It constantly asks you question and keeps you guessing where the next turn and scare is going to come from. This type of story telling is so well executed that you can barely take your eyes off the screen, however much you’re certain its going to jump out at you.

Toni Collettes performance is excellent as is Alex Wolff’s. It isn’t filled with as many scares as you would find in the likes of The Conjuring but it probably keeps you on edge for longer.

Available on Netflix (UK)

Get Out

Get Out I feel is one of the most iconic horror/ thriller movies out there. The poster of Daniel Kaluuya’s shock staring down into the camera is recognisable anywhere.

The film that made us aware of Jordan Peele’s talent is absolutely worth a watch. It follows a weekend trip to Chris’s (Kaluuya) girlfriends parents house. Before arriving Chris just gets the feeling that something isn’t quite right but isn’t prepared for the truth of it.

This film isn’t filled with jumps or scares but what Peele does excellently is make us feel as isolated as Chris feels and as on edge he truly becomes to be as the weekend moves on.

Final Destination 2

I feel that I have to include this film as I only ever would watch the Final Destination films when I was younger, with 2 being my favourite.

It does go against some of the things that I like when I watch a horror film as it leans more on the violence side of things than it does the tension or story.

For those that have never heard of a Final Destination film its all about what happens if you cheat death i.e. avoid an accident that was supposed to kill you. The idea is that death will come and Final Destination aims to do that in imaginable ways.

I think part of it is that I was just grossed out or amused by the ways in which they chose to kill off the characters, I was also intrigued as to how they would beat the grim reaper but it has never developed into a story worth watching. I think 2 is the best as it learnt from the first film and halted before it got silly.

Honourable Mentions

The Grudge – Not that I remember much, but I do remember that I liked watching it. A typical horror with a creepy villain that creeps you out. It has all the normal tropes you’d like to find in a horror.

Midsommar – Another one I watched recently. Not for me, but if you like a different type of horror, this is the one for you. It’s bright and colourful but filled with some shocking content. Available on Amazon Prime

Paranormal Activity – the film that gave me my first jump scare. The found footage film started a trend when it came out. Following a paranoid couple that set up camera’s in their house to catch a ghost it really does wait to get scary. Available on Prime.