Movie Review

31 Days of Halloween: Lights Out (2016)

A lot of people are afraid of the dark. Darkness makes you feel vulnerable because you can’t see any danger that might be lurking about. Just the trailer for Lights Out made me uneasy, and it took me a while before I decided to actually watch it. But once I did, I loved it, and that’s why it’s my Day 15 pick for 31 Days of Halloween.

Lights Out Poster

IMDB’s Description: “Rebecca must unlock the terror behind her little brother’s experiences that once tested her sanity, bringing her face to face with a supernatural spirit attached to their mother.”

This movie was so much more than a typical haunting. The backstory of the malevolent force was truly interesting. Also, there was so much about the family dynamic of those being haunted that was fascinating to unpack too. Yes, there are a lot of jump scares, but this wasn’t the surface-level horror I expected it to be. There’s a lot about family and friendship as well.

Movie Review

31 Days of Halloween: Saw (2004)

There’s a whole spectrum for serial killers and a large range of motivations. But the truly terrifying villains, in my opinion, are the ones who just enjoy the chaos of torturing others. I think that’s why Saw was so scary, and it’s one of the reasons that it’s my pick for Day 14 of 31 Days of Halloween.

Saw Poster

IMDB’s Description: “Two strangers, who awaken in a room with no recollection of how they got there, soon discover they’re pawns in a deadly game perpetrated by a notorious serial killer.”

This is the movie that launched a very large serial killer franchise and inspired other filmmakers to be more grisly. Jigsaw, the antagonist of the movie, is really twisted. He isn’t just content to kill, he has to play with his victims first through unsettling puzzles and forcing them to make horrifying decisions. It was a unique movie experience that I think most horror aficionados can appreciate.

Movie Review

31 Days of Halloween: The Descent (2005)

For Day 13 of my 31 Days of Halloween, my pick is The Descent. This is a truly heart-pounding movie that will definitely make you feel extra claustrophobic.

The Descent Poster

IMDB’s Description: “A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators.”

This was such a good movie. As the spelunkers get trapped in the cave, you’ll feel trapped too. Visually, most of the movie is very dark since they’re in a cave, and it feels both disorienting and claustrophobic. Once it’s clear that they’re also being pursued by something or someone deadly, the terror really gets going. This was one of the only horror movies that made me feel physically off as I was watching it because there were times where I literally felt stuck and like it was difficult to breathe. I definitely recommend this one!

Movie Review

31 Days of Halloween: The Shining (1980)

For Day 12 of my 31 Days of Halloween, I have another movie based on a Stephen King novel: The Shining. Adapted and directed by Stanley Kubrick, this has become one of the most iconic horror movies ever.

The Shining Poster

IMDB’s Description: “A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.”

While the movie has a lot of differences from the book, it is still fantastic. There’s something really terrifying about being isolated, and that’s exactly where this family is at. Is this madness cabin fever or something even more sinister? Overall, this is a visually stunning movie with lots of frightening moments.

Movie Review

31 Days of Halloween: Misery (1990)

Sometimes, realistic things are the scariest. While vampires and werewolves might be fictitious, psychopaths and the deranged definitely are real. I think that’s why Misery was such a great movie (and book!) This is my pick for Day 11 of my 31 Days of Halloween.

Misery Poster

IMDB Description: “After a famous author is rescued from a car crash by a fan of his novels, he comes to realize that the care he is receiving is only the beginning of a nightmare of captivity and abuse.”

First, Kathy Bates is a fantastic actress, so this is worth seeing just to watch her in this role. Also, this is one of the least scary movies on my list, but I wanted to include it because it’s just psychologically interesting. Real people can be every bit as horrifying and damaged as this woman. It’s a fascinating analysis of what might constitute a number 1 fan of something. Sometimes, people just break loose from reality in their mind and there can be terrifying results.

Movie Review

31 Days of Halloween: The Conjuring (2013)

I love a good ghost story! Any sort of haunted house tale excites me, and I remember racing to the theaters to see The Conjuring when it came out. This fascinating story, inspired by true events, is my pick for Day 10 of 31 Days of Halloween!

The Conjuring Poster

IMDB’s Description: “Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse.”

Again, this description seems pretty typical for any sort of haunted house tale, but this was a pretty unique movie. First, I loved the general atmosphere of the movie – it was creepy and reminiscent of horror movies from the 60s and 70s. Also, jump scares were used judiciously in order to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. Knowing that this was based on a real case from the Warrens who were actual Vatican-sanctioned demonologists made it all the creepier. This is one I’ve watched multiple times, which I think speaks volumes since I typically only watch a horror movie once (maybe twice) since movies become a lot less scary when you’re certain of what happens next.

Movie Review

31 Days of Halloween: The Blair Witch Project (1999)

For Day 9 of my 31 Days of Halloween, I have picked a movie that I’m sure everyone has heard of: The Blair Witch Project. This was one of the first iconic found-footage movies. I remember when it came out. I was only 7, so I didn’t watch it at the time, but I remember people talking about it being real. For so long, my friends and I thought this was a true story, and this made it extra scary when we were finally allowed to watch it.

The Blair Witch Project Poster

IMDB’s Description: “Three film students vanish after traveling into a Maryland forest to film a documentary on the local Blair Witch legend, leaving only their footage behind.”

One of the scariest things about this movie is the unknown and the feeling of being trapped. Rather than relying on jump scares and haunting visuals, it focuses on creating an eerily familiar atmosphere and the sensation of feeling lost. This worked so well, and I think it’s this believable quality that truly terrified so many moviegoers when it came out. If you haven’t seen this one yet, do so right away!