Scary movie night: here’s your Halloween hit list

Samara Weaving stars as the unfortunate bride running for her life in Ready or Not
SHARE:
Not sure what to watch this Halloween? Entertainment editor Kayla Willson gathers the top films, no matter your scare threshold.

Many of us have a love-hate relationship with horror. It’s intriguing, fun, and even a little bit thrilling to be scared. But of course, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

Whether you’re a scaredy-cat or a paranormal junkie, this list has a little something for everyone.

Never done before: Ready or Not (2019)

Ready or Not is the scariest game of hide-and-seek you’ll ever see.

Grace (Samara Weaving) has just married into the highly unstable Domas gaming family. Following family tradition, whenever someone new joins the family, Grace is invited to play a game.

Unaware that she’s drawn the worst available option, Grace must play a high stakes game of hide-and-seek— and if found before sunrise, she’ll be killed.

What follows is a nerve-wracking hour and a half of cheering her on while thinking up possible ways for her to escape.

Highly rated: Us (2019)

Scary movie night: here's your Halloween hit list
Jordan Peele’s Us is one of the most highly rated horror films of recent years.

The reviews of Us don’t lie. Jordan Peele’s breakout horror film deserves all the praise it has received over the past few years.

Following the Wilson family on their vacation, Us asks viewers the oddly specific question: What would you do if there was a doppelganger threatening to replace you?

The film uses a blend of subtle and obvious scare techniques, not to mention the sound design is eerily beautiful.

Some horror films can be cheesy, or the intended effect fails because we’ve become desensitised to a good old jumpscare, but Us is actually scary.

Psychological thriller: Split (2016)

Scary movie night: here's your Halloween hit list
McAvoy plays 23 different characters in Split.

Split acts as the second part of M. Night Shyamalan’s series, following on from Unbreakable (2000), but can easily be watched as a stand-alone film.

Split follows Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy, The Queen’s Gambit) as she tries to figure out a way to escape after being kidnapped by Kevin (James McAvoy).

Kevin is suffering from dissociative identity disorder and has 23 alter egos. While some identities are friendly, there are others that intend to harm both Casey and the other girls Kevin has kidnapped.

McAvoy’s performance is truly unforgettable, somehow managing to play 23 distinct characters in one film. Split is unsettling the whole way through, providing audiences with an overall thrilling atmosphere.

Classic: Scream (1996)

Scary movie night: here's your Halloween hit list
One of the most iconic movie masks.

What’s your favourite scary movie? Mine’s Scream. Scream is the movie you hear about every Halloween, and most of us would recognise the mask and iconic first scene.

If you haven’t seen it yet, then this is the year to do so before the revamped version hits cinemas early next year.

The film has an all-star cast, including young Courtney Cox and Skeet Ulrich, which is great for those Friends and Riverdale fans.

Plot twists are hard to do well, with most often being predictable from a mile away. Scream, however, has one of the most memorable and well-done twists in horror.

Comedy: The Cabin in the Woods (2011)

Scary movie night: here's your Halloween hit list
The Cabin in the Woods pokes fun at horror movie tropes.

Flicking this on randomly one night, I didn’t expect to see what I did.

With roots in every single horror stereotype, The Cabin in the Woods pokes fun at what we’re all thinking – why are people in horror movies so dumb?

It might start out like any other horror film until The Cabin in the Woods reveals that the real threat is those controlling and manipulating the unfavourable situation. They even go as far as to place bets on who will survive.

Despite a questionable and somewhat confusing ending, The Cabin in the Woods is a great film to watch with friends. You can even join in on the twisted fun by placing bets of your own.

This film also receives bonus points for casting Chris Hemsworth as the handsome jock.

If that’s up your alley, this film is for you.

Paranormal: Pulse (2001)

Scary movie night: here's your Halloween hit list
Don’t open the taped up door.

Paranormal films can be hard to enjoy, especially if you don’t believe in ghosts or the supernatural. Pulse, the original Japanese version, is a slow burn.

Defined as a “techno-horror” film, it’s the most fitting movie to watch this Halloween, seeing as we have all spent the past two years relying on our computers and phones for almost everything.

The film follows three different storylines that eventually converge. It can be hard to follow at times, especially since it’s in Japanese with subtitles.

The first half is executed perfectly, with things hidden in shadows and strange, unnerving sounds played at random times.

Pulse is not your traditional horror film, but it’s unexpected, and that’s what makes it so enjoyable.

Visual masterpiece: The Shining (1980)

Scary movie night: here's your Halloween hit list
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

The Shining is full of iconic imagery, from the costumes to the maze and even the carpet.

Over the years it’s been referenced in many films and tv shows (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Simpsons, Ready Player One), so even if you haven’t watched the film, you know of it.

Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) and his family move into an isolated and very haunted hotel. Secluded atop the mountain during the snow season, Jack starts to lose his sanity, posing a threat to his family members.

Serving as just another example of his great work, Stanley Kubrick creates bold visuals and a sound design that stays with you forever (cue Midnight, the Stars and You on repeat).

And if one spooky hotel movie isn’t enough, Doctor Sleep (2019) is the follow-up film and takes you back there 40 years later.

Put on in the background: It (1990)

Scary movie night: here's your Halloween hit list
It you didn’t like clowns before watching It, you’re definitely not going to like them afterwards.

It is another Stephen King classic, following seven children as they face their fears, and Pennywise, the shapeshifting clown that brings nightmares to life.

Technically a drama mini-series, the original It film is not as scary as the recent reboot (2017-2019), but does demonstrate how far movies have come since the ’90s.

Obviously, special effects back then weren’t as advanced as they are now, and Pennywise’s final form is evidence of this.

While it’s longer than most movies, it’s a good background option to put on if you’re having friends or family over. You can look away and come back later, with a rough understanding of what’s going.

While the reboot is much scarier with Bill Skarsgård at the helm, it’s still interesting to see how the original paved the way for movies to come.

Most of these films are NOT on streaming services and require a small fee to watch/rent.