Weekend Watchlist | The Monster Is Man

By The Pitt News Staff

Well, we’re here. Halloween is right around the corner, so the Pitt News Staff is wrapping up this monster mash with movies where other people might just be scarier than the monsters crawling in the dark.

Us (Hulu) // Sinéad McDevitt, Digital Manager

“Us,” Jordan Peele’s second foray into horror after “Get Out,” is a tense thriller about a family fleeing a set of evil doppelgangers called the “Tethered.” All the actors put in impressive dual performances, especially Lupita Nyong’o, as Adelaide and Red. The rest of the cast includes Winston Duke as Adelaide’s husband and Evan Alex and Shahadi Wright Joseph as their two kids.

Of course, The Tethered only exist because the American government created them to control the population and kept them in a series of underground tunnels throughout the continental United States. We’re responsible for our own downfall, to the point where the tethered are killing their mirrors all over the country. Peele constructs a gripping narrative that draws you in and comments on our own lived experiences as you hope for our main characters to survive.

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Hereditary (Hulu) // Mera D’Aquila, Staff Writer

It has been over three years since its release, and “Hereditary” is still the most terrifying piece of horror cinema I have ever watched. Sure, the supernatural forces at play — with the demon-king Paimon taking center stage — may seem like the elements that heightened the film’s intense fear factor. But, hear me out — the true monster in “Hereditary” is the grieving family.

“Hereditary” served as Ari Aster’s directorial debut, immediately defining him as one of the great pinnacles of horror filmmaking with its palpably chilling visuals and skillfully executed buildup of suspense. It tells the narrative of a family wrought with the loss of its matriarch, Ellen Leigh (Kathleen Chalfant). Annie Graham (Toni Collette) — who had a strained relationship with her “odd” mother growing up — and teenage daughter Charlie Graham (Milly Shapiro) have a particularly difficult time dealing with Leigh’s passing. In fact, it is almost as if the deceased woman’s presence perpetually haunts them.

In a series of unexpected and shocking revelations, Leigh’s past as leader of the cult of Paimon is uncovered, and the Grahams find themselves twisted in this dark piece of the family tapestry. Submitting herself to the madness, Annie Graham consults a disturbed member of her support group for the bereaved (Ann Dowd) to teach her to perform a séance.

As you can imagine, invoking the spirit of the dead matriarch only intensifies the horrific experiences of the Graham family, as demonic forces torment them. This development creates an incredibly poignant metaphor for “Hereditary.” As the family falls deeper and deeper into a black hole of insanity, it becomes apparent that what we are witnessing is a representation of dealing with loss — and all of its tragic and sinister effects.

Grief, as Aster argues with his film “Hereditary,” is even more capable of dismantling a family’s functionality than the evil forces in the employ of a demon king. It is an all-consuming entity, with the power to conjure a dark cloud that looms over the home of any family.

28 Days Later (Hulu) // Sinéad McDevitt, Digital Manager

People might disagree as to whether “28 Days Later” counts as a zombie movie, since the mindless “infected” chasing the characters are neither slow nor dead, but whether or not it’s a true zombie flick, it is a great watch.

The film takes place in England after a virus has spread through the island, sending people into a mindless rage that causes them to attack whomever they come across. The viewer is introduced to this new reality along with Jim (Cillian Murphy), who went into a coma before things went to hell and woke up 28 days later, as per the title. Jim joins up with other survivors, but the final act of the film doesn’t feature them facing off against a horde of infected. 

Instead, Jim and company have to escape from a Major Henry West (Christopher Eccleston) and his soldiers holed up in a house in the countryside.

The film is tense and heartbreaking, and you won’t be able to look away.