Halloween block parties shut down early? Or maybe you’ve found yourself in a candy coma. Whatever the situation, MUSE offers some suggestions of scary movies to watch this frightening Friday.
The Orphanage (2007)
This moving 2007 Spanish ghost story is easily one of last year’s most sophisticated horror films. Produced by Guillermo del Toro (director of Pan’s Labyrinth, The Devil’s Backbone), The Orphanage is a melancholy ghost story that is just about as suspenseful as it is saddening.
The film tells the story of a mother’s search for her son throughout an old orphanage, full of empty rooms and door-lined hallways – its atmosphere makes what isn’t there just as scary as what is. And while the film avoids any gore, violence or torture sequences, it has its fair share of shocking moments, and the fact that there are so few makes them all the more effective. It’ll stick with you for a while.
— Justin T. Ho
If you feel the urge to veer from the established scary movie norm this Halloween, try a film that throws a monkey wrench into the classic horror movie archetype. Freeway is a black comedy from the ‘90s about serial killers, juvenile delinquency and prostitution in Los Angeles.
After her mom and stepdad get arrested for drug possession, foul-mouthed teenager Vanessa Lutz (Reese Witherspoon) must journey to her grandmother’s house to avoid child protective services. Her hitchhiking inspires a pre-“24” Kiefer Sutherland to stalk her as a repulsive modern-day Big Bad Wolf. Freeway is a fractured fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood meets Fear, but it’s a whole lot of fun along the way.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Everyone loves remakes. It’s what sells in Hollywood, in the music business and on TV. The Zack Snyder version of Dawn of the Dead – based on the 1978 George A. Romero original – is one hell of a gory remake. The film pits thousands of zombies against a few stranded people in a shopping mall. With its silly characters and over-the-top violence, Dawn of the Dead is everything Halloween should be: a little fear mixed with a whole bunch of fun. Plus, as the walking corpses relentlessly assault the mall, you might find yourself feeling some sympathy for their zombie-pain. Clearly, even the undead hate shopping.
Halloween just wouldn’t be complete without the classic cheesy horror flick marathons on cable TV. Poltergeist fulfills all the prerequisites: a creepy and clairvoyant child star (daughter Carol Anne, played by Heather O’Rourke), haunted houses and a clueless – but well meaning – MILF trying to protect her family. Plus, nothing says cheesy more than a trilogy series! Why not rent all three and make a night out of it?
— Rachel Filipinas
28 Days Later… (2002)
28 Days Later… is the perfect scary movie for people who don’t like scary movies (i.e. me). It’s adequately scary, but there are no pointless moments of suspense or excessive gore. Unless you consider zombies vomiting blood excessive.
Set in modern day England, the film begins when an animal-rights group accidentally unleashes a mysterious infection on the general population that transforms everyday blokes into flesh-eating zombies. Twenty-eight days later, Jim, a bicycle courier, wakes up from a coma to a deserted London. He eventually joins a group of three other survivors, and they attempt to find refuge and purpose in the post-apocalyptic world.
The soundtrack perfectly complements the frightening moments with heart pounding intensity and the peaceful moments with Eno-esque synths. Cillian Murphy delivers an excellent performance as Jim, the bumbling idiot-turned-badass. And he has very nice eyes. There’s a little something for everyone!