A Quiet Place II
The Abbott family returns for the anticipated sequel to 2018’s A Quiet Place, directed by John Krasinski. Following the deadly events that conspired, the Abbotts must now venture into the outside world where terror awaits them. Continuing to fight for their family’s survival, they quickly realise the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threat that lurks beyond the sand path.
The Invisible Man (2020)
Playing on a well-established property, Leigh Whannell – writer and director behind the Saw and Insidious franchise – brings fresh ideas to the classic Universal Movie monster, the Invisible Man. This time around, the Invisible Man is less the monster under your bed, keeping you well-alarmed at night and more so, a fear that leaves the film’s central character Cecilia Kass haunted and silenced at every turn.
Producing some of the best horror work, Thai films may be lesser known, but no less are they appropriate for spooky season as fans of the genre will have you know. These terrorizing films often recall J-horror and Buddhist traditions – 2004’s Shutter being most widely-recognised, receiving an English-language remake only four years after its release. Shutter tells the story of a young couple who drunkenly commit a hit-and-run only to find themselves unable to shake off the unnerving events that follow.
The Shining (1980)
Stanley Kubrick’s remake of Stephen King’s The Shining challenges viewers’ state of sanity, with madness and mayhem permeating through every scene. The stunning yet harrowing visuals of the ‘Overlook Hotel’ set the scene for the mental disintegration of Jack Nicholson’s leading character. His paranormally gifted son, Danny, predicts terrifying events involving his family with his telepathic talent, known as ‘The Shining’, as Nicholson grows increasingly more violent with Danny and his wife.
Heralded as the ‘big grosser’ of the summer of 1960, Psycho has earned its place at the apex of the horror film zeitgeist, spurring several sequels and spin-offs with Bates Motel (2013) as the latest addition to the franchise. A first-rate thriller, Psycho is gory and visually-shocking while being rooted in a realism that lends the film its armrest-clutching suspense. Famously, Paramount would close cinema doors once the film began, banning all admission for the sake of its complete enjoyment. As a critic wrote upon its first release, “No one will want to leave before it’s over.”
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Edward Scissorhands revolves around themes of solitude, where our main protagonist is isolated from the rest of society. Directed by Tim Burton, the fantastical artificial universe is designed in an array of candy-coloured pastels, standing in sharp contrast to Scissorhands’ drab, monochromatic appearance. Scissorhands experiences a cycle of emotions from societal rejection to love and acceptance before finally becoming an outcast once more, deemed guilty for crimes he did not commit.
Although easily brushed aside due to its nature as an animated film, do not be deceived – Coraline packs an eerie punch. The main protagonist, an adventurous young girl named Coraline, discovers a hidden door that leads to a parallel world where the grass appears to be much greener. The only odd thing is – her new ‘Other’ family have buttons for eyes. The sweet discovery of this alternate world quickly turns sour when Coraline uncovers some sinister secrets and has to escape back home, away from the terrors of this soul-sucking universe.
Get Out (2017)
A young Black photographer travels upstate with his Caucasian girlfriend to meet her family for a weekend getaway. What began as merely awkward family interactions quickly develops into something far more horrifying. Underlying racial tension running throughout the film is accompanied by a rollercoaster of emotions, from feelings of unease and apprehension, to spells of humour and a sudden profound understanding when everything comes together.
Ari Aster’s relationship with A24 continues with the folk horror film Midsommar, released in 2019. In Midsommar, a grieving young woman by the name of Dani, played by Florence Pugh in a breakout role, follows her boyfriend into the depths of a Swedish commune. The trip, taken with a group of anthropology students, quickly spirals into bizarre territories. But beyond this, Midsommar is a story about the ritual of grief, toeing the lines between cultish terrors and the triumph of an emotionally-wounded woman.
Parasite is a thrilling dark comedy with a gut-wrenching twist. Bong Joon-ho captivates viewers with light-hearted and jovial bouts of humour that underpin more serious issues of inequality and social class, depicted through the relationships that form between the Park and the Kim family. One by one, the Kim’s weasel their way into stable, high-paying jobs working for the Park family, much to their obliviousness. Events finally reach a climax when a disturbing discovery is made, and the facade that had been so delicately constructed comes crashing down.
Joaquin Phoenix displays his impressive acting skills in Joker. Phoenix brings the iconic villain to life and then some, imparting a compassionate quality to the Joker and grounding him in humanity before his subsequent deterioration to insanity. A downward spiral of events takes him down a crime-ridden path, where cruel and unfeeling bystanders fuel a darkness within him that he was already struggling to suppress. Finally, he comes face-to-face with his now infamous alter-ego, Joker.
Train to Busan (2016)
This film circulates around Seok-Woo, a divorced and overworked hedge-fund manager, his estranged daughter, Su-an, and their journey on a high-speed train from Seoul to Busan. A deadly disease is infecting train passengers at a rapid pace, with scenes that perfectly fuse blood and gore with thrilling tension and psychological conflict. Directed by Yeon Sang-ho, this apocalyptic thriller premiered at Cannes Film Festival 2016, and highlights humanity’s darker impulses through stunning special effects and creative direction.
The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) has been assigned to question Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), the infamous serial killer and cannibal, in order to better understand the current bizarre case of a murderer who skins his victims. However, Starling needs to make a choice on how far she will allow her own emotional integrity to be compromised during her interrogations with Lecter. Anthony Hopkin’s on-screen chemistry with Jodie Foster creates a gripping yet disturbing dynamic that leaves viewers in a state of intriguing discomfort.
Taking cues from its source material, Stephen King’s novel of the same name, Carrie (1976) is about the hellish experience of high-school. Still finding new generations of cinemagoers to scare the living daylights out of, Brian DePalma’s film adaption of Carrie, follows the shy titular adolescent, who by a force of the supernatural, possesses the power of telekinesis. An added dimension of satire, comedy rooted in its original 70s release slate and the good, old-fashioned tension between a daughter and her repressed Evangelical mother, Carrie is assuredly a cult-classic and that much more.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
A morbid and brooding film, Rosemary’s Baby highlights themes of paranoia and obsessive thinking. Based on Ira Levin’s novel, the film remake is taken next level with Roman Polanski’s incredible creative direction, as he gradually builds an underlying sense of imminent danger as relationships are developed between Rosemary and her bizarre neighbours. Following an unnerving and macabre series of events, Rosemary begins to grow suspicious of even her husband, as she slowly puts two and two together.
Sorry To Bother You (2018)
Boots Riley’s 2018 absurdist black comedy might not be a horror film outright, but its story of a Black telemarketer slowly compromising ethics for personal gain will creep up on you, haunting you in days after. Set in the dystopian near-future, where the perils of capitalism remain high, Cassius Green learns to code switch at the workplace. Insanity unravels, though it serves as a reflection of the times we live in.
EditorCarina Fischer and Rachelle Ma
CreditLead image: Midsommar