Weekend Watchlist: Spooky movies

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"1922" promotional poster.

By Megan Williams & Ana Eberts, Staff Writers

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Halloweekend part one is upon us — now it’s really time to get spooky! Here are some of our favorite spooky movies available to stream to get you ready for Halloween.

The Witch (Netflix) // Thomas Wick, Senior Staff Writer

“The Witch” is perhaps the best horror movie of the past decade. It’s a methodical slow burn involving a family slowly deteriorating into misery — the result of a local witch cult cursing them. Like many great horror movies, “The Witch” doesn’t rely on cheap jump scares or obnoxious visuals to get a reaction from the audience — *cough* “IT Chapter 2” *cough* — but instead achieves this through an atmosphere of dread and chilling performances. Whenever I hear the name Anya Taylor-Joy I am reminded of her work in “Split” and her Oscar-robbed performance in “The Witch.” The rest of the cast is excellent, but Robert Eggers’ direction is what makes the horror come to life. Every aspect of horror is executed with utmost precision — lighting, framing, color, costume, you name it. This, combined with some intriguing mythological references, makes “The Witch” truly one of the best horror movies you can watch. Can’t wait to see “The Lighthouse.”

Hereditary (Amazon Prime) // Megan Williams, Staff Writer

From one of the most mind-bending modern horror directors, Ari Aster’s “Hereditary” breathed new life into a genre that was quickly being taken over by “Happy Death Day” and its jump-scare ilk. By centering the story on the themes of family and grief, “Hereditary” allows horror to creep in slowly along with ancestral secrets, cult-like practices and the brutal beheading of a child. Moreover, this story of confusing deaths and their causes is as much a mystery as a horror, a movie that challenges the very idea of fear. After all, what is scarier — ghosts and ghouls or guilt over the death of a family member? Led by Toni Collette — who gives one of the most legendary performances of her career — ”Hereditary” is the slow burn, family-centered horror that won’t just make you flinch for 90 minutes — it’ll stick with you for quite some time after you hear that final click, click, click.

1922 (Netflix) // Ana Eberts, Staff Writer

I’m not going to lie — I have not read the Stephen King novella “1922.” I did, however, watch Netflix’s 2017 adaptation written and directed by Zak Hilditch. For those who, like me, hate typical horror movies for fear of making a fool of myself, “1922” is delightfully free of jump scares with enough psychological thrill and distress to make your horror-loving friends happy as well. It tells the story of Wilf (Thomas Jane), his 14-year-old son Henry (Dylan Schmidt) and his wife Arlette (Molly Parker). Desperate to stay on his beloved farmland despite Arlette’s plan to sell the land and move to the city with Henry, Wilf convinces his son to assist him in murdering his wife. Jane’s stunning performance in conjunction with an ominous score and well-written dialogue kept me utterly engaged — and at times even sympathetic toward Wilf. It is most certainly a slow burn with a bit of a “Tell-Tale Heart” vibe. The film focuses less on the murder itself and more about Wilf’s and Henry’s slow descent into abject guilt and the consequences that eventually befall them both.

Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster (Amazon Prime) // Vikram Sundar, Staff Writer

If you’re like me and don’t want to be at risk of getting a stroke from constant jump scares, you can always retreat back to the childhood Halloween classics. One of my all-time favorite Halloween movies growing up was the cinematic masterpiece, “Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster.” In this iteration of the four campy teens and their talking dog, Mystery, Inc. travels to the Scottish Highlands to visit Daphne’s cousin, who is organizing a local Olympic games near Loch Ness. But alas, the games are interrupted by the horrifying Loch Ness Monster. Among the diverse and complex anthology of “Scooby-Doo” films, this one takes the cake as the most immaculately crafted when it comes to the visual design of the monster, the stunning shot composition and the baffling double-twist ending. But what really elevates this film from an enjoyable children’s cartoon to a cinematic surrealist nightmare is the infamous window jumpscare when Daphne’s cousin looks out the window and sees the large and terrifying beast masked in fog. That scene still gives me goosebumps to this day.

Coraline (Netflix) // Sinead McDevitt, Staff Writer

From director Henry Selick of “Nightmare Before Christmas” and based on the book by Neil Gaiman, “Coraline” is a stop-motion animation feature from 2009 about the eponymous Coraline (Dakota Fanning), a young girl who discovers the entrance to another world in her new house. There she meets her “Other Mother” (Teri Hatcher), a talking cat (Keith David) and fantastical alternate versions of her family and new neighbors. Unfortunately, not all is as it seems, and Coraline soon finds herself having to escape the Other Mother’s grasp. Don’t let the fact that it’s animated fool you — this film is creepy. The stop-motion animation works to give the sense that everything is a little off, which works to the film’s advantage. Laika, the studio that produced this movie, also produced “ParaNorman,” another perfect movie for All Hallows Eve. “Coraline” is scary, fun and perfect if you’re looking for some good spooks but don’t have the stomach for gorier affairs.

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