What is it about horror movies in the summertime? There’s something irresistible about escaping from the heat by going into a dark, air-conditioned movie theater and enjoying a shine-tingling scare. Luckily for us, we don’t need movie tickets to experience our own chilly horror nights. All we need is a Hulu subscription and some A/C to enjoy the theater experience at home. Plus, you don’t have to drop $20 on drinks and a large popcorn! There’s no shortage of horror offerings on Hulu, so we’ve sorted out our 10 favorites from the queue. Did yours make the cut? Read on and find out!
10. Knock Knock
(image: Lionsgate Premiere)
Eli Roth’s nasty home invasion thriller is more than meets the eye. Knock Knock stars Keanu Reeves as married man Evan Webber, who is stuck home alone for Father’s Day weekend after his wife and kids go to the beach. But Evan isn’t on his own for long, as two women, Genesis (Lorenza Izzo) and Bel (Ana de Armas) knock on his door. It’s pouring rain, their phones don’t work, and they’re lost on the way to a party. Evan invites them in, and the cat and mouse game begins. Knock Knock offers a campy reversal of the “woman in peril” horror film, as the ladies quickly turn the tables on Evan. The film is an update of cult horror classic Death Game from 1977, but the remake is decidedly modern in its sexual politics and use of social media. CW: this film does have a sexual assault scene.
9. John Dies at the End
(image: Magnet Releasing)
Horror fans will know director Don Coscarelli from his cult hits like the Phantasm series and Bubba Ho-Tep. But you won’t want to miss his 2012 mindbender John Dies at the End. The trippy horror comedy follows David (Chase Williamson) and his friend John (Rob Mayes), who has taken a new street drug called Soy Sauce, which propels users into alternate dimensions and timelines. When David accidentally gets injected with Soy Sauce, he discovers that anyone coming back from their drug trip brings a monster from an alternate dimension. The movie spins wildly into different worlds, times, and plotlines, but never loses its sense of humor or WTF vibes. JDATE also features cameos from Paul Giamatti, Doug Jones, and Clancy Brown. Don’t miss one of the most original horror films of the last decade.
(image: Regency Enterprises)
Steven Soderbergh’s 2018 psychological horror film Unsane follows Sawyer (Claire Foy) as a woman who is being tormented by a stalker (Joshua Leonard). Unable to get help from the police, she talks with a counselor at Highland Creek Behavioral Center, where she unwittingly signs a voluntary admission committing herself to the psychiatric hospital. But the hospital isn’t what it seems, as Sawyer discovers from her fellow patient Nate (Jay Pharoah). The film, shot entirely on an iPhone 7 Plus, offers a disturbing look at how the American healthcare system and law enforcement fail women, and the systemic sexism that allows stalkers to continually abuse their victims. Because for many women, just existing is a horror movie in and of itself.
image: Allen Fraser/Hulu
Though it came out in 2020, Run is very much a throwback film, evoking the slow-building psychological tension of a Hitchcock movie. Directed by Aneesh Chaganty (Searching), Run follows bright teen Chloe (Kiera Allen) and her overly doting mother Diane (Sarah Paulson). Chloe is paralyzed from the waist down, and has asthma, diabetes, and heart problems. Diane homeschools her and the two live a relatively isolated and off-the-grid lifestyle. But when Chloe begins applying to colleges and plans to leave the nest, the two engage in a tense battle over Chloe’s future. It’s a star-making turn from Allen, who is disabled in real life. The film doesn’t define Chloe solely by her disability, making it merely one facet of her layered character. It’s a stunning performance in a stylish, tightly wound movie. If you haven’t watched Run yet, you’re missing out.
image: Sundance Institute
Dating can be pure murder, and few films embody this idea better than Mimi Cave’s Fresh. After a string of terrible online dates, Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones) has a meet-cute with handsome doctor Steve (Sebastian Stan) at the grocery store. Noa is quickly swept away by Steve for a romantic weekend getaway … until she wakes up to find herself chained up in the basement. Steve’s interest in Noa turns out to be less romantic and more…culinary. Steve is a cannibal who seduces women, butchers them, and sells their parts to the cannibalistic elite. A darkly comedic indictment of dating, Fresh is a film that will stick with you.
5. Little Monsters
Between her performances in Little Monsters and Jordan Peele’s Us, Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o is quickly claiming the title of modern day scream queen. In Abe Forsythe’s Australian horror comedy, she plays Miss Caroline, a beloved kindergarten teacher who takes her students on a field trip to a farm that is overrun with zombies. Caroline proves as adept at slaying zombies as she is at singing the kids Taylor Swift songs while playing the ukulele. Caroline is joined by washed up rocker Dave (Alexander England) and bitter children’s performer Teddy McGiggle (Josh Gad), as they try to fend off the zombies. But it’s Nyong’o’s film, and she absolutely owns it.
image: 20th Century Fox
Fans of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1987 sci-fi monster classic Predator have long waited for the film as bombastic and fun as the original. But while there have been a host of sequels, spin-offs, and crossovers, few have measured up to the original (although the upcoming Prey looks promising). But I do have a soft spot for 2010’s Predators. Directed by Nimród Antal from a story by Robert Rodriguez, the film follows a group of trained killers as their abducted and dropped off on a distant alien planet. Unfortunately for them, the planet is a gaming reserve for two rival groups of Predators, and the group must fight to survive. The all-star cast includes Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Laurence Fishburne, Walton Goggins, Danny Trejo, Mahershala Ali, and Alice Braga. The film is a goofy, high energy blast from start to finish.
3. The Cursed
image: LD Entertainment
If you like historical horror and werewolf stories, you’re definitely going to enjoy The Cursed. This gothic horror film written and directed by Sean Ellis premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival under the title Eight for Silver. Set in rural 19th-century France, a supernatural force threatens a small village. John McBride (Boyd Holbrook), a pathologist, comes to town to investigate the mysterious attacks, and uncovers a history of brutality and violence within the community. While the film has its issues, its well worth watching for the moody atmosphere, the costumes, and the brooding vibe.
2. Let the Right One In
image: Sandrew Metronome
Swedish horror film Let the Right One In captivated audiences worldwide thanks to its tender storytelling and captivating performances from its two child leads. Tomas Alfredson’s film follows Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) a lonely 12-year-old boy who befriends his new neighbor Eli (Lina Leandersson). Oskar soon discovers that his pale little friend is a child vampire, with an adult protector who procures blood for her. Part coming-of-age, part childhood romance, the film received rave reviews and inspired an American remake, 2010’s Let Me In. And just last year, Showtime ordered a series adaptation starring Demián Bichir, Anika Noni Rose, and Grace Gummer.
1. Memories of Murder
image: CJ Entertainment
Before he swept the Academy Awards with 2019’s Parasite, Bong Joon-ho delivered this dark police drama based on the true story of Korea’s first confirmed serial murders, which took place between 1986 and 1991. 2003’s Memories of Murder follows Detective Park (Song Kang-ho) and Detective Seo (Kim Sang-kyung) as they hunt the killer. But the film also speaks to the larger themes of police brutality, male ego, and the military dictatorship running the country. While not strictly a horror film per se, the haunting movie will definitely chill you and make you think.
(featured image: Lionsgate Premiere)
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