Netflix has added a variety of movies in the month of January. Here are the scariest.
The Shining (1980), dir. Stanley Kubrick
There aren’t many films more terrifying than Stanley Kubrick‘s unforgettable adaptation of Stephen King’s novel about an isolated haunted hotel, a psychic boy, and a family man’s descent into madness. And now that The Shining is on Netflix, we can all sit comfortably on our couches and stream it forever – and ever and ever and ever. Or at least until it’s not on Netflix anymore.
Sinister (2012), dir. Scott Derrickson
A true crime novelist (Ethan Hawke) moves into a new house with his family, where he discovers a box of disturbing home videos that lead him down a terrifying rabbit-hole. Sinister is dark, eerie, twisted and gruesome and features a memorable (and scary) villain. What’s not to like?
It Follows (2014), dir. David Robert Mitchell
A teenage girl is followed by a supernatural entity after a sexual encounter with a stranger. The only way to get rid of it is to pass it on. It Follows isn’t your run-of-the-mill, jump scare kind of horror movie. It’s a strange, unsettling film that uniquely harnesses the horror of inescapable dread. While it’s been widely praised by critics (97% at Rotten Tomatoes), general audiences seem to mostly either love it or hate it. I’m in the “love it” camp. Like the mysterious curse at work within the story, It Follows slowly but terrifyingly creeps on you, following you around even after the movie ends.
Under the Shadow (2016), dir. Babak Anvari
This Persian-language film was submitted by Britain as its foreign-language Oscar entry for 2016 – a relatively rare honor for a horror movie. While it didn’t make the final list of nominees, it’s still a great (and spooky) movie. Set in 1980’s Tehran, the film centers around the anxieties of a mother living in a repressive, war-torn society – anxieties which culminate in a haunting by a powerful and terrifying Djinn. Under the Shadow has aptly drawn comparisons to both The Babadook and Poltergeist. The tension and dread build over time, and when the scares arrive, they are both surprisingly inventive and incredibly chilling. I liked Under the Shadow enough to give it the #1 spot on my “Best Horror Movies of 2016” list.
Clinical (2017), dir. Alistair LeGrand
A psychiatrist (Vinessa Shaw) experiences a traumatic event involving one of her patients. Later, against the advice of her own psychiatrist (William Eitherton), she decides to accept a new patient with his own traumatic past and things get creepy from there. Clinical is a new “Netflix Original Movie,” and one of only a few original films they’ve released so far that sort of fit in the “horror” category (I am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House and Spectral being the others). What Clinical lacks in terms of overall slickness and cohesiveness (there a couple of unintentionally laughable moments), it makes up for with an intriguing (and disturbing) plot and decent level of suspense. Sometimes, that’s all you really need. If you’re into psychological-thrillers and are looking for something new – maybe on a Wednesday night, with a glass of wine or two, give Clinical a chance.