Tonight, I have chosen several more sinister shockers guaranteed to keep you screaming in the dead of night.
When horror aficionados define the genre, the word dread is often thrown about, and with good reason, too. Dread is trying to flee a monster in your nightmare but your legs are stuck in a vat of gooey disobedience. The film Vivarium is like that. An international co-production between Ireland, Denmark, and Belgium, it stars the delightful talents of Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg. They are the perfect lovebirds seeking to up their relationship by purchasing a bit of the American dream. But then, there’s that vat of gooey disobedience throwing an ominous wrench into the mix. Freaky, eerie, and quite emotionally scarring, Vivarium (google the word) lingers long after the credits roll—enjoy.
Director: Lorcan Finnegan
Screenplay: Lorcan Finnegan (story by), Garret Shanley
Cast: Imogen Poots, Danielle Ryan, Molly McCann
Hoping to find the perfect place to live, a couple travel to a suburban neighborhood in which all the houses look identical. But when they try to leave the labyrinth-like development, each road mysteriously takes them back to where they started.
Gretel & Hansel (Amazon Prime)
I loved every delicious frame of this taut retelling of Grimm’s famous cannibalistic fairytale. The mood is pure dread and aided by stellar performances from Sophia Lillis as Gretel and Alice Krige as the Witch. And oh, what a sinister witch she is. Director Perkins, who chilled us with I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House, offers yet another eerie slow-burner but with a few added character spells, bells, and morbid spices. Fair warning, you might want to watch on an empty stomach. Or not.
Director: Oz Perkins (as Osgood Perkins)
Screenplay: Rob Hayes
Cast: Sophia Lillis, Samuel Leakey, Alice Krige
When their mother descends into madness, siblings Gretel and Hansel must fend for themselves in the dark and unforgiving woods. Hungry and scared, they fortuitously stumble upon a bounty of food left outside an isolated home. Invited inside by the seemingly friendly owner, the children soon suspect that her generous but mysterious behavior is part of a sinister plan to do them harm.
Lost Child (Amazon Prime)
This was an unexpected gem. It’s a drama with dread keeping you in the horror-sphere throughout the entire film. And it works, too, playing mind games so that even when you think you know the answers, you don’t—which is exactly what director Ramaa Moseley was trying to achieve. An emotionally deep performance from Leven Rambin, Lost Child satisfies both as an intimate drama and psychological horror film.
An army veteran returns home to the Ozarks to search for her brother and finds an abandoned boy in the woods. As she searches for answers about who the child is, she discovers a mysterious world of folklore, clan rules, and lies.
Director: Ramaa Mosley
Screenplay: Tim Macy, Ramaa Mosley
Cast: Leven Rambin, Jim Parrack, Taylor John Smith