Eight movies to watch this Halloween


Greta Boelling

Content warning: This list contains discussions of sex, violence and spoilers.


1. Get Out (2017) – R


What seemed to be a story suggesting racial inequalities and harmful stereotypes within a biracial couple turned into so much more in Jordan Peele’s Get Out. Rather than an average weekend meeting your girlfriend’s parents, Chris Washington ends up fighting for his life as he escapes the family’s cabin. 

Daniel Kaluuya being casted as Chris was superb, his performance intense and emotional. Allison Williams’ portrayal of Rose Armitage, Chris’ emotionless and cold-blooded girlfriend deserves much praise and admiration.

This thriller is complex and keeps the audience’s eyes glued to the screen in suspense. Peele, being the genius that he is, gives so many subtle clues about the real meaning of the story that audiences would have to watch a second time to catch. 

Sound plays a major role in telling the story through the point of view of Chris, the main character. The recurring sound of rain throughout the movie lets viewers know that one particular moment is triggering Chris’ trauma, which leads him to make choices he will end up regretting. 

Get Out is perfection, it would be a mistake to exclude it from this list. Kaluuya’s excellence alongside Peele’s deserves to be seen by everyone at least once. 


2. Hereditary (2018) – R


Ari Aster’s Hereditary is a tragic story following the life of Annie Graham as she grieves the loss of her close family members: Taper Leigh, Annie’s mother, and Charlie Graham, Annie’s young daughter. 

Ellen had a complex and twisted life, as she was part of a cult.

After Ellen’s funeral, her 13-year-old granddaughter Charlie tragically dies in a car accident. The rest of the movie revolves around Annie desperately trying to reconnect with Charlie in the afterlife.

Instead of summoning Charlie, Annie welcomes a sinister presence into her home.

Hereditary has so many unexpected plot twists and depressing elements, and it was so beautifully executed. From the long shots of footage to the insanely suspenseful score, this movie is a gem and deserves so much praise. 

Toni Collette’s performance of a mother grieving the loss of her young daughter is unforgettable, which is supported by the rest of the incredible cast. 

This movie proves that to be a horror or thriller film, writers and directors do not need to rely on special effects for haunting stories. They can simply play on a compelling plot and complex characters to get a reaction out of their audience. 


3. The Babadook (2014) – Not Rated 


The Babadook is just the right amount of disturbing, gory and heartwarming. 

This movie follows a troubled seven-year-old boy, Samuel, and his mother, Amelia. Amelia is doing her best to support her son whilst dealing with the trauma of losing her husband. Their lives begin to become unsettling as paranormal incidents occur after Samuel discovers a pop-up book called The Babadook. The book tells the story about a monster who trespasses in peoples’ homes and marks it as their territory. 

The most disturbing part of this film is watching Amelia become almost possessed by the Babadook and attempt to kill her own son. The dull and dim cinematography throughout the movie skillfully reflects the horrors the mother and son duo were living through. 

The Babadook demonstrates a creative way to show how depression navigates its way through a person’s mental stability. 

“You can’t get rid of The Babadook,” Samuel tells Amelia. His line is a great way to describe how the trauma of Amelia losing her husband never really leaves her; she is unable to ignore or bury it.

This is the first horror/thriller I have ever seen where a person is possessed by another form of being without mention of religion or demonic entities. Unlike other paranormal movies, The Babadook did not have to rely on religion or the bible to scare the audience. 

The Babadook is a fascinating story with a gripping and eerie plot and should be seen by anyone who loves a good paranormal movie.  


4. Us (2019) – R


Jordan Peele never disappoints. Us is one of the best examples of his brilliance. This movie follows a family of four fighting for their lives as their doppelgangers submerge into the real world from abandoned underground tunnels, seeking revenge for the privileges the humans above ground have taken for themselves. 

Peele is a master of hiding easter eggs throughout his films, and this one is no exception. From references from the bible to major charity events in the 80s, this film is full of hidden clues about the story.

Us is the perfect edge-of-your-seat thriller. The scariest part is that it’s realistic, a dystopian that does not feel far fetched and everybody ends up a victim. 

Lupita Nyong’o’s performances as both Adelaide and Red were incredible and her dedication to her roles is honorable. Nyong’o was supported by her other cast members’ remarkable performances, especially the young actors Shahadi Wright Joseph as Umbrae and Zora and Evan Alex as Pluto and Jason.

Michael Abels’ rendition of “I Got Five On It,” is chilling as it plays throughout the movie. The song begins at a normal pace during the start of the movie and as the plot escalates, the beat and words become slowed down and distorted, emphasizing the thickening plot. 

Us is one of the few movies that still haunts me, years after seeing it for the first time, I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a thriller and an unpredictable plot. 


5. Midsommar (2019) – R


Midsommar is a brilliant showcase of the emotional ride of a messy breakup. The intense contrast between the disturbing plot of the movie and the setting and cinematography is part of the reason why this movie stands out from all other movies on this list.

Dani, astoundingly portrayed by Florence Pugh, finds herself stuck in a cult and a toxic relationship after her family was tragically killed by carbon monoxide poisoning. Pugh’s performance of a vulnerable woman finding comfort in a Pagan cult is haunting and unsettling.  

The physical and emotional rawness of the movie makes it stand out from all of the rest of the horrors and thrillers on this list. Ari Aster, the director behind the film, left little up to the imagination when it came to the visual aspects of the story. Nearing the end of the movie, the intimate sex scene between Christian and Maja is so uncomfortable and out of the ordinary for thrillers, making this film unlike any others I have ever seen. 


6. The Conjuring (2013) – R


The Conjuring is the perfect paranormal movie, setting the standard for paranormal movies released after it. After seeing The Conjuring countless times, it is easy to get paranoid of ghosts and demons. 

The love story of the two main characters, Ed and Lorraine, throughout the series of the other Conjuring and Annabelle movies alone could keep an audience interested in the franchise. 

Director James Wan utilizes a variety of angles to convey a suspenseful and mysterious story. Because of the suspense, this is one of the best hide-under-the-blanket movies of all time. 

The climax of the movie is concise, to-the-point and intense. It is always hard to watch a parent actively trying to kill their child. The plot is very simple to follow while building on the subplots. Anyone who enjoys a good jump scare movie will love The Conjuring


7. It (2017) – R


One’s deepest fears becoming reality is a terrifying concept for a story–and executed brilliantly by director Andrés Muschietti. 

It, based on the Stephen King novel, follows a group of troubled 11-year old-boys and the token girl, fighting for their lives against a clown. Pennywise the Clown’s only purpose is to torment children and use their fear as his fuel to stay alive and relevant.

This movie raises major anxiety about the outcome of the kids’ lives as they try to escape the trauma from their families, classmates and Pennywise. The special effects and performances from all of the young actors, especially Jaeden Martell who plays Bill Denbrough, make it difficult to take your eyes off of the screen.

What puts this movie on my list is its ability to condense a thriller, comedy and coming-of-age story with so many overlapping subplots into two hours and fifteen minutes. There truly never is a dull moment. 


8. Carrie (1976) – R


This movie is strangely empowering for girls, what with Carrie getting back at her bullies and her mother, Margaret who always tried to hold her down. 

Margaret convinced herself that Carrie is the literal Antichrist and was born as punishment for Margaret having sex with her husband.

As Margaret had forced Christianity onto Carrie her whole life, the mirroring of Jesus’ crucifixion onto Margaret was a crucial moment for Carrie. A “take this!” message to her mother.

This movie had a slow start, but that can be easily put aside because of the strong climax and resolution. Carrie’s revenge on her mother and the girls at school was a long time coming and pleasing to watch. Any other movie would be hard to match the harsh and gory climax. 

Carrie is a classic must see movie for anyone who enjoys watching high school drama and psychological thrillers.