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Best Horror Movies to Watch this Halloween

Photo from Universal Studios

By Emma Burns 

With All Hallows Eve, the most ghouly time of the year, right around the corner, horror movies are all the rage with many looking to get their yearly dose of jump scares before the holiday concludes. However, the big question is: which ones are worth your time to watch? If you are looking for a list of tried and true recommendations for movies that can scare your socks off, these 4 films are sure to give you a fright-filled Halloween. 

Cabin in the Woods (Rated R)

The Cabin in the Woods, directed by Drew Goddard, takes the stereotypical clichés of an 80s slasher film and turns it into a sendup of classic horror movies and mythology. Five archetypal college students (played by Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchinson, Fran Kranz, and Jesse Williams) set off for a party weekend in a remote cabin, with unknown horrors lurking in the shadows. Each of the victims slowly fall prey to backwoods zombies, but there seems to be more than pure happenstance at play. Two scientists (played by Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford) stand behind the scenes, and act responsible for  the ghoulish plot. This parody of the cookie-cutter elements of horror flicks features lots of gore-filled satire. As the body count rises, the viewer discovers there is more at work than meets the eye.  

Us (Rated R)

Us, directed by Jordan Peele, is a home-invasion horror flick that flashes back and forth between a little girl’s traumatic experience in 1986, and a seemingly innocent family on vacation (played by Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, and Evan Alex) in the present day. The family’s peaceful night is disturbed by a set of trespassers lined up across their driveway: dopplegangers of their family. The film explores some existential terrors, including an individual’s evil clone. Clad in matching red coveralls and wielding large scissors, the doppelgangers resemble funhouse-mirror visions turned nightmares. Similar to Peele’s other works, Us allows the audience to develop their own interpretations of the motifs and multidimensional narratives scattered throughout the plot. This masterfully crafted extended metaphor will have you shaking in your boots while thoughtfully contemplating the intricacies of modern society. 

Conjuring (Rated R) 

The cult classic horror film The Conjuring, directed by James Wan, creator of both the Saw and Insidious franchises, features a ghost story that will send shivers down your spine. Set in 1971 at a 150-year-old Rhode Island Farmhouse, the film is based on the real lives of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farminga). After moving into their new home, Carolyn and Roger Perron (played by Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston), along with their five daughters begin to experience disturbing events. The family invites Ed and Lorraine over to investigate the situation, which eventually climaxes into a grand-standing in the form of full blown exorcism. Filled with frightful jump scares and a confrontation with a demon, these real-life events will immerse you into the Conjuring Universe.

Split (Rated R) 

Writer and director M. Night Shyamalan’s Split is a mind-bending horror film with a sinister final twist. The story begins with the abduction of 3 girls after a birthday party Claire, Maria, and shy, quiet Casey (played by Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula, and Anya Taylor Joy respectively), were kidnapped by a man named Kevin (played by James McAvoy), who is perpetually juggling two-dozen distinct personalities. The fundamentally frightening element of this scenario is how the various personalities interact with each other and whether there’s an even more fearsome force gaining strength. Although the movie is filled with its dark moments, it allows the audience to see Kevin’s perspective through interactions with his psychologist Dr. Fletcher (played by Betty Buckly) who believes that Dissociative Identity Disorder is a reflection of the brain’s vast potential, rather than a disability. Their conversations provide a welcome source of kindness amid the horror and gore. If you are a fan of any of M. Night Shyamalan’s other works, then you are sure to enjoy this rollercoaster of a story that will leave you questioning everything you seem to know about the characters themselves. 

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