6 Movies You Can Feel Good About Watching This Halloween
Halloween is a holiday of excess: candy, costumes, parties and horror movies as far as the eye can see. It is tempting to stuff ourselves full of tried and true slasher films, gross out horror and torture porn if we plan on staying in to hand out candy, but there are plenty of intelligent scary movies out there that you will not regret watching the next morning (save your post-Halloween guilt for all those Kit-Kats you will inevitably eat). Below I will present to you six movies that are perfect for Halloween, but will also leave you with chills and plenty to ponder once the credits roll.
The Babadook may be the best horror movie released this decade. It derives its scares not from the monster lurking in the home of a single mother grieving the death of her husband and the son who swears he sees monsters, but rather from the psychological terror that there is a darkness lurking in all of us. Essie Davis is astonishing as Amelia, who swings between being a harried mother and a broken soul with such ease it is almost imperceptible. The chilling tale is kicked off with Amelia’s son discovering a horrifying and graphic children’s book about The Babadook, a monster who once you let in, you can never get rid of. To say more would be spoiling. Sadly, The Babadook will not be released in American theaters until November 28th, but DirecTV subscribers can watch the movie from the comfort of their own home tonight on demand.
The One I Love is not a horror movie in the traditional sense. There are no monsters and no serial killers, just a marriage dying in front of our eyes and a guest house where something unexplainable is taking place. Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass play a couple who go on a retreat at the advice of their marriage counselor only to stumble into a scenario that would make Rod Serling proud. This intelligent and darkly comedic film will challenge everything you think you know about your significant other, remind you what it is like to fall in and out of love and give you a few goosebumps for good measure. Catch it on demand, in theaters and through all of those fancy movie buying apps– trust me, this is $6.99 you will not regret spending.
Good ghost stories should never rely exclusively on jump scares. After all, every spirit from beyond the grave was a physical being once and there is real pathos in the idea that they might linger in the shadows among us. The Awakening, a British gem from 2011 starring Rebecca Hall and Dominic West, has all of the trappings of a classic ghost story from a desolate boarding school to a character set on debunking the very existence of spirits. While the film plays within the bounds of the genre’s tropes, it also features characters and story brimming with melancholy and heartbreak. The result is a film that is both spooky and emotionally rewarding.
Honeymoon is my favorite movie of 2014 thus far. The film is feminist horror at it’s best. Starring Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway, Honeymoon begins as the story of a young couple who are slowly coming to terms with what it means to be husband and wife. For many people, the idea of becoming a couple can also be associated with a loss of one’s sense of self. This feeling can also be coupled with the fear of the person you love becoming someone you no longer recognize as the relationship wears on. Honeymoon takes these typical phobias and twists them into a brilliant, shattering piece of psychological terror. The movie starts out slow, but that is only so it can make you fall for the central couple before the madness begins creeping in.
The World’s End is not my favorite of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright’s Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, but it is the most mature film of the bunch. The story tackles taboo issues like religion, suicide and adulthood with the raging, genre-loving spirit we have come to expect from the core trio. The World’s End is frightening, funny and surprisingly liberating. It’s a movie about choices, endings and new beginnings. Plus there are androids. The World’s End is proof that horror movies can be smart, have something to say and still make you laugh your ass off.
Slow burn horror is my favorite kind of horror, and for much of its running time The Innkeepers is all atmosphere and good conversation. Then the second half happens and the scares become all too real. It’s the naturalistic approach of the film’s beginning that gives its ending such a punch. Director Ti West has perfected the art of marrying fear with the mundane to create genre movies unlike anything else out there.
I hope you will choose one of these creepy, intelligent genre films to watch this Halloween. Share your thoughts on these films or suggest your own horror movies you can feel good about watching in the comments.
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