Five Horror Films for Your Socially-Distanced Halloween

Plans for Halloween may be a bit more toned-down this year, but that does not mean they cannot be just as fun. This year, try curling up with a big bowl of popcorn and a couple close friends for a spooky movie night. The following is a list of five excellent horror movies that are all, with the exception of Halloween, accessible for free with a Netflix or Amazon Prime subscription.

Halloween (2018)

All photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
The 2018 11th installment in the Halloween film franchise marked the 40th anniversary of the original 1978 film.

A Halloween horror movie list would not be complete without a good ol’ slasher film. This 2018 eleventh installment of the “Halloween” franchise from director David Gordon Green marks the 40th anniversary of the original film as serial killer Michael Meyers escapes from prison once again. The film follows Meyers as he stalks a much older Jamie Lee Curtis who has hardened over the years and is ready to end Michael’s spree once and for all. The film includes the needed nostalgia of trick-or-treating in between the more gruesome scenes. “Halloween” is available for rent on Amazon Prime for $1.99.

Content warnings for Halloween

Vivarium (2019)

Vivarium was shot in different parts of Belgium and Ireland.

This 2019 film from director Lorcan Finnegan is more of a slow burn and tells the story of a young couple who are looking to buy a house, portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots. Their realtor takes them to view House #9 in a newly built neighborhood called Yonder, but while viewing the house, the couple realizes the realtor has disappeared and they are in the house alone. Slightly spooked, the couple tries to leave the neighborhood only to find that they cannot leave and every corner and streat they turn leads them directly back to House #9. As a haunting look into suburbia and gentrification, the film gnaws at the viewer right until the very end as a feeling of dread grows exponentially. The film is available to stream for Amazon Prime subscribers.

Content warnings for Vivarium

The Platform (2019)

The Platform critiques both capitalist and socialist societal models and systems and the uneven wealth distribution seen in both.

This 2019 Spanish thriller from director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia explores wealth distribution under capitalism in a deliberately peculiar way. “The Platform” tells the story of a man named Goreng who volunteers to spend six months in a prison in exchange for a diploma. The prison has the structure of a tower in which all of the cells are stacked on top of each other with a gaping hole in the center. Once a day, a platform descends through the hole in the center of the cells that contains food. The cells nearer to the top always take more food than those below them and the food usually runs out around the 30th to 40th levels, resulting in the starvation of the many, many cells below. The film is a thought-provoking illustration of the reality of wealth distribution under capitalism and leaves the viewer to mull through the corruption in their own governments. “The Platform” is free for Netflix subscribers.

Content warnings for The Platform

Super Dark Times (2017)

Super Dark Times received generally favorable reviews upon its release in 2017 and currently has a 89% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

This 2017 psychological thriller from director Kevin Phillips centers around a group of four teenage boys and each of their mental downward spirals after tragedy strikes in an unfortunate incident involving marijuana and a katana. The film explores the underdeveloped psyches of the boys as the attempt to deal with guilt, fear and secrecy. Not much can be said without revealing spoilers, but the building dread and rather incendiary ending are equally as satisfying as unnerving in this film. This film is available on Netflix. 

Content warnings for Super Dark Times 

The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020)

Photo courtesy of IMDB.
The Haunting of Bly Manor is loosely based around the 1989 Henry James novella The Turn of the Screw

Last on the list is not technically a film, but this still deserves a spot. As an effective sequel to Netflix’s 2018 series “The Haunting of Hill House,” this series features a few familiar faces from the first season while telling the story of an entirely different haunted house. The series is a loose adaptation of Henry James’ 1898 psychological horror novella “The Turn of the Screw” and tells the story of governess Dani Clayton who is hired to care for the two children of Bly Manor.  Chocked full of ghosts and things of that ilk, “The Haunting of Bly Manor” is a beautifully complex story of both lingering past trauma and love and how both can extend beyond the grave.

Content warnings for The Haunting of Bly Manor

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