Arts & Entertainment

Our Halloween Plans Are to Netflix and Thrill With These Horror Movies

Our region’s Netflix has classics to revisit and new ones you might not have seen yet.
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If there were just one weekend in the year to convince your friends or your significant other to run a horror movie marathon with you, this weekend would be it. While a lot of people will no doubt be caught up in the second season of Stranger Things, there’s a lot of other legitimately frightening horror movies you can catch instead. If all you have is Netflix, consider these titles, which are all available in our region:

Under The Shadow
Synopsis: “After Shideh's building is hit by a missile during the Iran-Iraq War, a superstitious neighbor suggests that the missile was cursed and might be carrying malevolent spirits. She becomes convinced that a supernatural force within the building is attempting to possess her daughter Dorsa, and she has no choice but to confront these forces if she is to save her daughter and herself.”
Watch it because: It has an unconventional but refreshing backdrop for a horror movie, and has been well-received by critics and even hailed as a “Babadook for war-torn Iran.”

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XX
Synopsis: “Filmmakers Jovanka Vuckovic, Annie Clark, Roxanne Benjamin and Karyn Kusama present four horrific tales of terror. In "The Box," a boy starts to display strange behavior after looking inside a mysterious gift box. In "The Birthday Party," a woman refuses to let an untimely death ruin her son's bash. In "Don't Fall," an innocent camping trip turns deadly, and in "Her Only Living Son," a mother must deal with the child from hell.”
Watch it because: It’s an anthology of four short movies in one sitting—all from the perspective of female filmmakers. That “yaaas” factor might make for a good pitch to your girl who doesn’t usually watch horror movies.

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I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House
Synopsis: Hired to care for a reclusive elderly author, a live-in nurse comes to believe her house is haunted.
Watch it because: It’s almost purely atmospheric in its horror. Not much of a story going on, but it’s chilling in its own artsy, sort of poetic way.

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Gerald’s Game
Synopsis: While trying to spice up their marriage in their remote lake house, Jessie must fight to survive when her husband dies unexpectedly, leaving her handcuffed to their bed frame.
Watch it because: Gerald’s Game is an adaptation of a Stephen King novel, like this year’s It.

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Dusk Till Dawn
Synopsis: “On the run from a bank robbery that left several police officers dead, Seth Gecko and his paranoid, loose-cannon brother, Richard, hightail it to the Mexican border. Kidnapping preacher Jacob Fuller and his kids, the criminals sneak across the border in the family's RV and hole up in a topless bar. Unfortunately, the bar also happens to be home base for a gang of vampires, and the brothers and their hostages have to fight their way out.”
Watch it because: Need a break from those heavier horrors? Put on Quentin Tarantino’s classic—a fun movie that’s still in the general vicinity of horror. You might remember this one for its Salma Hayek python scene, but Dusk Till Dawn is so much more than that.

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Fright Night
Synopsis: “Teenage Charley Brewster is a horror-film junkie, so it's no surprise that, when a reclusive new neighbor named Jerry Dandridge moves next-door, Brewster becomes convinced he is a vampire. It's also no surprise when nobody believes him. However, after strange events begin to occur, Charlie has no choice but to turn to the only person who could possibly help: washed-up television vampire killer Peter Vincent.”
Watch it because: While everyone’s doubling up on the ’80s horror homage phenomenon that is Stranger Things, get your fill of actual ’80s horror. Fright Night was one of the enduring classics from that decade and genre—and Netflix has the original (not the 2011 remake).

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Evil Dead
Synopsis: “Mia, a drug addict, is determined to kick the habit. To that end, she asks her brother, David, his girlfriend, Natalie and their friends Olivia (Jessica Lucas) and Eric to accompany her to their family's remote forest cabin to help her through withdrawal. Eric finds a mysterious Book of the Dead at the cabin and reads aloud from it, awakening an ancient demon. All hell breaks loose when the malevolent entity possesses Mia.”
Watch it because: While it isn’t the original Evil Dead from the ’80s, this 2013 remake is not a bad adaptation. It certainly takes itself more seriously, and even the jump-scares don’t feel cheap.

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Hostel
Synopsis: “Best friends Josh and Paxton decide to spend the summer after college graduation on an all-out backpacking trip across Europe. While stopping in Amsterdam to indulge their tastes for drugs and sex, they meet Oli, a like-minded traveler from Iceland. When the three bachelors set off to investigate enticing rumors of a Slovakian hostel in a city populated by lusty women, they find themselves drawn unwittingly into a deadly game.”
Watch it because: Hostel was likely one of your first forays into the gore-and-torture subgenre of horror. The sequels weren’t all that good, because they didn’t really have anything going for them once the novelty of blood and guts started to wear away. But at least for the nostalgia, the first Hostel is worth revisiting. (Netflix also has parts two to four, in case you feel the need to binge on what might be the goriest movie franchise you can stream).

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The Host
Synopsis: “Careless American military personnel dump chemicals into South Korea's Han River. Several years later, a creature emerges from the tainted waters and sinks its ravenous jaws into local residents. When the creature abducts their daughter, a vendor and his family decide that they are the only ones who can save her.”
Watch it because: You might have a taste for monster horrors that denounce Western imperialism. Also, The Host is an earlier work of Okja director Bong Joon-ho, and is in its own way, a twisted version of this year’s Netflix breakout.

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The Shining
Synopsis: “Jack Torrance becomes winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in Colorado, hoping to cure his writer's block. He settles in along with his wife, Wendy, and his son, Danny, who is plagued by psychic premonitions. As Jack's writing goes nowhere and Danny's visions become more disturbing, Jack discovers the hotel's dark secrets and begins to unravel into a homicidal maniac hell-bent on terrorizing his family.”
Watch it because: It’s one of the greatest thriller movies of all time—a Kubrick opus that does well to cap off your horror movie marathon.

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All these films are available for streaming on Netflix in the Philippines.

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Miguel Escobar
Assistant Features Editor for Esquire Philippines
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