The best horror movies of 2021 to watch for Halloween

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A television. Illustrated | iStock

As the box office made a comeback in 2021 following the closure of theaters in the event of a pandemic, horror films regularly draw audiences. And that makes sense, because there is nothing quite like this common experience of being petrified while surrounded by strangers, all tense together before uttering cries in unison.

This demand has resulted in some major horror hits this year, and there have also been plenty of ideal under-the-radar releases to watch as the spooky season draws to a close. A few more intriguing films are yet to come, including Drink, Paranormal activity: next of kin, and that of Edgar Wright Last night in Soho, which all start this Friday. For now, however, here are some of the best viewing options for Halloween 2021.

Halloween kills (Peacock + theaters)

Halloween kills is a messy – and sometimes unintentionally silly – follow-up to its top 2018 predecessor. But there’s nothing quite like a Michael Myers movie to set the mood for Halloween, and this one still ranks above- above much of the series. The second chapter of a new trilogy, Halloween killsThe main problem is that he doesn’t focus enough on one character in particular, dismissing Jamie Lee Curtis and mixing up various sons and protagonists thanks to his obsession with bringing back minor actors from the 1978 film. would volunteer to hunt down Michael Myers is also a bit silly, and the film generally feels like it’s spinning its wheels to postpone more substantial developments until the trilogy finale, Halloween ends.

But Michael remains terrifying, and the slasher dogs will be delighted with some horribly gruesome deaths – although the violence may go too far in a few scenes. At the heart of the film is also an interesting, albeit heavy, thesis on mob justice. Kill works best when it extends a key point from the 2018 film made by reuniting Michael Myers and Laurie Strode to no longer be siblings: the lack of a specific reason for Michael to attack Laurie only makes his killing spree more haunting. Here is hoping Halloween ends brings these themes home in a satisfying way, and that Kill being less polished than the last movie doesn’t mean this series goes off the rails again.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (HBO Max)

This third part of the main Conspiracy The series, centered around paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, is the first in the trilogy without the directing of James Wan, and the result is that his fears never fully impress us with their creativity like countless moments have. in the two previous films. Still, this chapter still works by drawing on the dynamite chemistry of Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, and Ed and Lorraine’s love story remains refreshingly pure in an often cynical genre.

The sequel also mixes things up admirably, playing out more like an episode of X files instead of offering another haunted house story, as the Warrens attempt to prove the innocence of a man who claims he was possessed when he committed a murder. Stick to the first two ConjuringIt’s for something that’s really going to cause nightmares, but for those who invest in the Warrens, spending time with these crazy kids as they uncover a mystery is a ton of fun.

V / H / S / 94 (Shudder)

After a terrible third entry in 2014, V / H / S / 94 brings the horror anthology franchise back to life. This fourth installment follows a SWAT team as they raid a cult warehouse filled with TVs streaming a constant stream of disturbing and bizarre videos. As usual, this narrative framework is just an excuse to present a series of stories of sequences found to be self-contained, and, as usual, some segments are better than others.

The first two are by far the most powerful, making the most of the fact that the footage is designed to look like it’s being viewed on VHS tapes; poor video quality often increases fears by obscuring what is hidden in the dark. But the show still hasn’t quite figured out how to make wrap-around storytelling interesting, and this one seems particularly pointless. Still, two great horror stories and two pretty solid ones aren’t a bad balance, and with a fair amount of variety in her fears, V / H / S / 94 is a pleasant haunted house attraction.

The Stylist (Video on demand)

The Stylist certainly knows how to get the public’s attention. Its opening scene follows an informal conversation between a woman and her hairdresser, who then brutally cuts her client’s scalp and wears it on his own head. This psychopathic hairdresser lives vicariously through other people, so much so that she pretends to be her victims while wearing their bloody scalps. After helping a bride-to-be before her wedding, she develops a disturbing obsession.

The film’s scalping scenes are delightfully gruesome, and Najarra Townsend excels in the lead role although she often has to act without anyone else. The plot gets a bit repetitive, but the gnarled killings and solid performances elevate it, as does a dark, hilarious ending. As the final moments arrive, we realize that much of the film seems to have been a long setup for a murderous punchline.

A Quiet Place, Part II (Paramount +)

John Krasinski’s original A quiet place was an unbearably tensioned monster movie that refused to stop for even a second. Tracking doesn’t keep pace, instead slowing down to flesh out its world – a post-apocalypse filled with creatures that kill whatever makes noise – and examines questions of whether the people who did the right thing to survive are always worth fighting for.

As Emmett, Cillian Murphy skillfully fills the void left by Krasinski’s character. The relationship between him and Regan (Millicent Simmonds) anchors the film, which also has one of the most memorable opening sequences of any film this year. Plus, what’s not to love about a monster movie that knows exactly the right time to wrap up without overwhelming its welcome?

The night house (Video on demand)

Rebecca Hall gives one of the best horror performances of the year as a Spiral Wife after her husband’s shocking suicide in The night house. Struggling with questions about the enigmatic note left by her late partner, Beth is wary that he was leading a double life after discovering a photo on his phone of a woman who looks eerily like him.

The film thoughtfully delves into the existential terror and pain that comes with knowing there may be nothing after death, and director David Bruckner creates inventive fears by harnessing the way our minds can play tricks on us, seeing faces in empty spaces. While functioning as a metaphor for grief and depression, The night house isn’t afraid to be somewhat ambiguous, hesitant to explicitly explain the mechanics of what happens most often. Dark and emotionally resonant, The night house maybe not filled to the brim with jerks, but it still sticks in my memory.

Smart (Video on demand)

If any movie on this list looks set to become a cult classic, it’s James Wan’s. Smart, a film difficult to describe without using the word “crazy”. Annabelle Wallis stars as a woman with visions of gruesome murders. Beyond that premise, the sheer craziness of its plot is hard to convey without spoilers, but suffice it to say that the film is by no means another. The Conjuring Where Insidiouscooler style.

From its exaggerated opening sequence to a deranged third act revelation, Smart is the kind of savage horror movie that only someone with the allure of Wan’s industry could even convince a studio to fund. It’s clear he’s very much aware of the silliness of the plot, playing things straight before he finally lets go at the end – although having fun requires patience. But if you managed to avoid Smart spoilers, make it a priority. Watch with friends ready to go crazy for the last half hour that has to be seen to be believed.

Censor (Hulu)

In this bizarre psychological horror thriller, amid public outrage at the violent exploitation “villainous” films of the 1980s, a British cinema censor whose sister has mysteriously disappeared loses her grip on reality after watching a film evoking memories of his past. The film appears to be based on actual events from his childhood, and upon seeing it, Enid (Niamh Algar) sets off on a disturbing path. In a brutal final act, Censor cleverly changes its aspect ratio to bring us into the world of a shoot, contrasting the fictional world being created with a much darker reality.

The intriguing mystery keeps us hooked during the first two slow-burning acts, and the payoff is well worth it. Censor is full of ideas about grief, unresolved trauma, and how we tell ourselves stories to face painful truths we don’t want to face, all in under 90 minutes.

Candy (Video on demand)

Nia DaCosta Candy is the ideal revival of the franchise, expanding its mythology to modernize the main themes of the original while retaining the spirit of what came before it.

In the original film, Candyman was the vengeful ghost of Daniel Robitaille, the son of a slave killed in the 1800s. But in the DaCosta update, there are several versions of the legend of Candyman, including a more modern one in which the killer was an innocent black man beaten to death by racist policemen. DaCosta emphasizes how racist violence against blacks is a never-ending cycle, rather than a singular event. Of course, the film is sometimes too brutal to convey this idea. But it’s still a powerful experience filled with haunting imagery, heart-wrenching body horror, and effective scares that make great use of reflections. Hopefully DaCosta won’t be too busy with Marvel superhero blockbusters in the years to come; we need a horror follow-up from him, pronto.

Holy maud (Hulu)

A nurse at a Catholic hospice begins caring for a dying woman she tries to convert in A24’s slow burning nightmare. Director Rose Glass creates a captivating atmosphere of terror while exploring the potential horrors of extreme religious devotion. She is inspired by Taxi driver all the while following Maud’s Descent into Madness (Morfydd Clark), and much of the film feeds off the ambiguity as to whether Maud is simply going mad or whether an otherworldly presence could legitimately be involved.

While he’s usually more interested in maintaining a grim mood than scaring us, Holy maud Still delivers the scariest scare of the year so far quite easily, as well as the most nightmarish, brilliantly edited end of 2021. It is a film that you can only watch once and whose last moments remain etched in your memory for the rest of your life.

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