October, for me, is synonymous with horror movies. As a fan of the genre, I’m pretty sure you’re obliged to spend the full 31 days watching horror, horror and more horror. The lead up to Halloween is just a month-long movie marathon of anything scary and spine-tingling!
I regularly try to convince my partner, Ryan, to watch something with serious horror/thriller vibes with me so you can imagine how excited I was when he actually suggested that we spend the whole month watching and reviewing frightening films that are new, or new to us.
We made a list of movies that we wanted to watch throughout October and have worked our way through them, throwing in some highly recommended picks alongside some random selections. We didn’t commit ourselves strictly to the horror genre, but rather picked anything that seemed sinister or spooky, so you might find some movies that fall into the thriller category.
Whether you’re looking for comic or creepy, tense or terrifying, there’s a great selection of macabre movies below that are perfect for your Halloween watch!
We’ve both shared our thoughts on the films plus scores out of 5 on the Jack-o-meter! 🎃 (Note: half scores are marked by a carrot 🥕, for no particular reason). We’ve also shared where we watched the movies; the information is correct at the time of posting.
It Follows (2014)
It Follows is an American psychological thriller with a touch of the supernatural. It tells the story of a young woman who, after sleeping with her boyfriend, learns that she is now cursed. Taking the form of different strangers, this curse appears anywhere and everywhere and will follow her until it can reach her and kill her.
Watched on: BBC iPlayer
Hannah: I’d heard mixed reviews of It Follows so I went in optimistic but weary of expecting too much. Despite thinking the pass-it-through-sex link was tenuous, this film was a solid offering. I thought it would be an easy-watching kind of movie, but slowly found myself gripping harder on the settee and pulling the blanket over my eyes. There’s some fantastic shots which perfectly built the tension and some very creepy characters. Anxiety-inducing and weird, I would definitely watch It Follows again!
Ryan: I love this film for the fact it uses something so simple to generate full “I can’t watch but I can’t not watch” vibes. I agree with Hannah in that the sex-chain-letter idea was a bit loose, and there were some other parts which fell by the wayside, but it’s an anxious, tense watch with some great performances. It’s nowhere near as gruesome as some of the films on this list, but it’s one that definitely left a mark. Some great shots and imagery, combined with a genuinely freaky threat.
What Keeps You Alive (2018)
This Canadian thriller sees a queer couple celebrating their first anniversary in a cabin in the woods (because, as we all know, that always works out well). Jules starts to sense something strange is going on with her wife, Jackie. And well, things quickly take a dark turn.
Watched on: Netflix
Hannah: As soon as I realised this film had a queer couple at its centre, I was sold. I enjoyed the story’s premise even if it did feel a little messy at points. The main saving grace of this movie is some amazing cinematography. There’s a host of really interesting and creative shots which I love to see in a horror movie.
Rating: 🎃🎃🎃 🥕
Ryan: Picture-postcard landscapes torn up by psychopathy. It felt a little like the creators had an idea, but grasped a little too desperately to pull it into a coherent story. Some of the shots were great – the use of horizons and POV cams was particularly good – but it felt a bit “style over substance”. The characters’ stories needed more fleshing out for me, as did the main plot, but it was good to see queer representation on screen.
Vampires vs. The Bronx (2020)
Is the neighbourhood becoming gentrified or do you have a horde of vampires moving in on your town? This American comedy horror film sees a group of teenagers fighting to protect each other and their neighbourhood when a large group of blood-suckers try to take over the Bronx.
Watched on: Netflix
Hannah: Although I loved the idea behind this film, it fell a bit flat for me. I thought the cast were great, especially the main characters and I enjoyed the vampires (vampires are the coolest ghouls, right?) but the story seemed to lack a bit of depth. I feel like it could have gone into a bit more detail, to expand on the relationship with the neighbourhood. Similarly, the conclusion of the movie was a bit anti-climactic and went out with more of a fizzle than a bang. A fun watch, but I wouldn’t watch again.
Ryan: This was fun romp through a classic vampire trope with the stab at gentrification very welcome, if a little bit on the nose. The trio leading the charge had great chemistry and stood out as performers, but this film felt a bit more Spy Kids than Lost Boys. Shout outs for the “Don’t Fuck With The Bronx” message and the costume department, which combined the best of the 30 Days of Night and From Dusk ‘Til Dawn vampires – but it’s not one we’ll be digging out next October.
The Decline (2020)
Another Canadian thriller! The Decline is a French-language which follows a group of participants at a remote survivalist training camp. When a fatal accident shakes the group, the ensuing panic leads to a brutal and all-too-real fight for survival.
Watched on: Netflix
Hannah: I really enjoyed this film! It’s my perfect kind of horror / thriller which comes in at under 1 hour 30 minutes, has a simple but effective premise and some great shots. Set in Canada, the backdrop of this movie is as much as character as any of the people you meet. It’s bloody, kept me fully engaged until the very end and I loved the clever fight scenes. Also, the atmospheric credit music (‘Soon This Space Will Be Too Small’ by Lhasa De Sela) is one of the most perfect, sombre soundtrack choices I’ve heard. It was certainly the cherry on top of an already great movie.
Ryan: Posing the old “what would you do if the world went to shit?” question hid this film’s plot really well, making what unfurls all the more despairing and brutal. There have been a few films like this where there is never a scene wasted (A Quiet Place is a great example) and with it clocking in just shy of 90 minutes, every minute counts. There is a shift in focus that I WANT TO TALK ABOUT BUT CAN’T – ah, just watch it. Best tense watch I’ve had for a while.
The Babadook (2014)
The Babadook is an Australian Psychological Horror which tells the story of a single mother struggling with the loss of her husband and her son’s relentless fear of an imaginary monster lurking in their home. But as the paranoia creeps in, she will soon learn that you can’t get rid of the Babadook.
Watched on: Amazon Prime
Hannah: Considering I spent the majority of this film watching through the spaces between my fingers, I think The Babadook did exactly what it set out to do. Relying more on tension than jump-scares, this movie perfectly builds an ominous, terrifying level of suspense which left me with my heart beating in my throat and a stress headache that didn’t let up until the very end. If you want something creepy, dark and nerve-jangling, I recommend The Babadook (but perhaps make a wise move, like we did, and watch it in the middle of a sunny day – and not late at night!).
Ryan: Nope nope nope nope nope nope. I’m avoiding talking about this film sensibly because the suspense and threat was so good, felt so real, that I’m reluctant to re-live/re-watch it out of fear. But hey, isn’t that what makes a great horror film?
The Babysitter: Killer Queen (2020)
This American comedy horror is a follow up to the 2017 film, The Babysitter. Two years after defeating a satanic cult, Cole struggles to convince everyone that the events that night really happened. That is until he’s drawn back into the world of demons, when old enemies rear their heads and he’s forced to fight for his life again.
Watched on: Netflix
Hannah: This film sits firmly in the ‘dumb horror’ category. I really enjoyed the first film, The Babysitter, and its fairly simple premise but this seemed a little messy and convoluted. That said, it was a fun, silly watch with some great comedic moments. I’m not sure I’d watch again but it’s a fair choice if you’re into more comedy than horror.
Ryan: Having not seen the first film, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. From what Han has said, that’s probably for the best, as I enjoyed its sharp editing and puerile humour (in parts) without having to compare it to the “better” prequel. The Scott Pilgrim-esque edits, combined with “millenial” humour that is probably more “how do you do, fellow kids?” than I realise (I don’t know, ask someone who has TikTok) really did it for me. A fun, dumb yet self-aware watch that has it’s fair share of gore.
Ready or Not (2019)
Ready or Not is an American comedy horror that follows a newlywed who finds herself being hunted down as part of twisted ritual by none other than her new spouse’s family. Think hide and seek gone very, very wrong.
Watched on: Now TV
Hannah: I cheated a little with this as I originally saw it in the cinema so I knew what to expect, but I found that I enjoyed the movie more second time around. I love a horror film with a simple premise that’s done well, and this ticks both boxes. It’s funny, witty and packed with drama and gore. This is a great survival meets an inverted kind of home-invasion feel movie and Samara is a great final girl.
Ryan: Samara Weaving is outstanding in this. With humour so dry you want to mix it with a tonic, Ready or Not is one of those films that doesn’t ask much of it watchers, but generously rewards them anyway. I’m not sure whether it’s because Knives Out was being advertised at the same time or the gaudy country house décor, but it had the same “light relief vs. very serious” plus murderous rich folks vibe, multiplied by gore. Yep, definitely give this one a go.
The Invisible Man (2020)
The Invisible Man is an Australian-American sci-fi psychological horror and a clever, updated take loosely based on the novel by H. G. Wells. After staging his death, a scientist uses his expertise in the field to become invisible and stalk his ex-girlfriend. As you can imagine, people don’t take the threat she’s facing seriously and Cecilia has to take matters into her own hands.
Watched on: Amazon
Hannah: I enjoyed The Invisible Man and its terrifying depiction of partner violence, which is powerfully introduced from the very opening scenes of the movie. Elisabeth Moss is fantastic and there’s some incredible shots that had me shouting at the TV and jumping out of my skin. The ending felt a little over-done and there were some plot points that seemed unnecessary, but on the whole it was tense watch that put an important, modern spin on the ‘humans are the real monsters’ trope.
Ryan: A Silicon Valley reimagining of Hollow Man (which I think I watched as a kid when it was doing the rounds on ITV2, so can’t really remember much of), the power in this film is its depiction of a coercive, controlling relationship resonating with viewers. You feel every ominous peer over the shoulder and every action that’s imperceptible to those outside of the relationship. The last act throws away subtlety for an all-guns-blazing crescendo, but this was an engaging watch and a smart update of the original.
What will you watch next?
We’d love to hear if you decide to watch any of these films and what you think of them! Have you seen any of these movies before?
I’m definitely keen to watch The Decline and It Follows again, they’re probably my stand out picks from this selection. But, I’m hoping to convince Ryan to keep watching more horror/thrillers with me. Wish me luck!