Review | These six streaming horror movies will keep you up all night

Filmmakers like Luca Guadagnino and Ari Aster number are included in this list of Amazon Prime frights.


Toni Collette stars in “Hereditary.” Still courtesy of A24.

Although hybrid classes are back in full swing, there will always be time to fit a few films into a screen-lit schedule.

Movies can be an outlet to tune out the world around us, for better or worse. Sometimes you don’t need a movie to lift your spirits; you need a movie to drag you through the dirt. These six flicks, all available via Amazon Prime Video, are sure to hit the cynical spot.

‘The Cabin in the Woods’ (2011) 

Courtesy of Lionsgate.

Overall Score: 4.7 or 93%

Four conventionally attractive college-aged kids walk into a cabin. Yeah, that’s about it. Nothing else to see here. Promise.

PLOT DEVELOPMENT: 5 – It has a twist! And I would say it is one of the best twists in any 2000s movie, if not any horror movie. The rest I’ll keep to myself.

ORIGINALITY: 5 – “The Cabin in the Woods” is the “I’m not like other girls” of horror movies. It spins the viewer around in a series of cliches only to then sit you down and debrief you on your misconceptions. Though no film on the list is contrived, this one is certainly the most original of the bunch.

IMAGERY: 4 – Though not as grisly as an A24 film, and with just the pleasing amount of cheesy CGI animation, this film makes all of its kills worth the payoff. It leads you on like a slasher flick until you realize there is no ‘slasher.’ Maybe the cheesy CGI has a purpose in being so cheesy. It might just make you think.

Midsommar’ (2019)

Courtesy of A24.

Overall Score: 4.3 or 87% 

Neopagan cults, one taxidermy bear turned folk costume and a woman dealing with the loss of her dead family are just a few of the dilemmas that crop up in this pastoral gore fest. 

PLOT DEVELOPMENT: 4 – “Midsommar” is a slow burn, much like 2018’s “Hereditary,” but I tended to like the pacing more in the newer model. Director Ari Aster makes protagonist Dani’s loss a focal point, and the way she deals with her grief through denial is underscored by the film’s tempo.

ORIGINALITY: 4 – Despite its uncommonly bright European backdrop, the conceit of “Midsommar” isn’t anything particularly new. Fans of the trope of tourists entering a country where the hospitality leaves something to be desired should try out “Hostel” (2005) and “The Green Inferno” (2013).

IMAGERY: 5 – A24 proves no jumpscares are necessary in a film filled with grotesque and soul-stirring symbolism. Not to spoil anything, but the viewer is left to stomach scenes involving self-immolation and cliff-jumpers whose untimely ends are punctuated with mallets to the head. 

‘Hereditary’ (2018) 

Overall Score: 4.3 or 87%

Courtesy of A24.

This movie is, of course, the A24 release that shot Ari Aster into indie director stardom. And who among us didn’t believe in this film’s success when we heard one of the guys from the Naked Brothers Band was being cast in one of his first serious roles?

PLOT DEVELOPMENT: 3 – Critics might disagree with me, but I shudder at the length of this film as I do “Suspiria,” which appears further down this list. I’ll wager that my disinterest isn’t because I have a shortened attention span—“The Wailing,” also further down, holds a similar runtime that didn’t deter me. I just wish it would pick up the pace when it needs to, and by ‘it’ I mean the entire first act. 

“Hereditary” is definitely a journey, but that’s the whole point of watching a movie, and this one will absolutely make you wonder and question. Therefore, I will end my soapbox rant and give it a passing score.

ORIGINALITY: 5 – The house is haunted, which is pretty straightforward. But a mother who’s overly protective, a nonchalant elder son and a recently deceased daughter seem to be the perfect recipe for disaster. It’s emotional mayhem in all the right places. 

IMAGERY: 5 – I cannot begin to go over the overwhelming number of gut-twisting deaths in this movie, but I am sure we all can recall when the internet broke following the beheading scene. I will not say whom, but just know it is in there, and it’s just as disturbing as everyone says it is.

’28 Days Later’ (2002) 

Courtesy of Fox Searchlight.

Overall Score: 4 or 80%

Nothing feels bleaker than an abandoned London—unless a London teeming with the living dead is also in the mix.

PLOT DEVELOPMENT: 4 – As with any post-apocalyptic world created by an antagonist determined to erase all life, it’s a bit of a relief when a handful of folks survive. Hope keeps the viewer watching with excruciating anxiety—the hope that your favorite character will make it to the end. 

ORIGINALITY: 4 – “28 Days Later” is a quintessential undead flick featuring the jarring but now not-so-unusual sprinting variety of zombie. The premise is nothing new, but the sinking dread inspired by the opening of the film is impressively hard to get over.

IMAGERY: 4If the idea of a zombie bite weren’t bad enough, think about a drop of infected blood falling right into your unsuspecting eye. Trust me, you won’t be in the mood to eat for a while.

‘The Wailing’ (2016) 

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

Overall Score: 4.7 or 93%

Western cinema, take notes. This film might be better classified as a suspense or mystery film, but who’s counting, right? Either way, this one is for the true crime lovers.

PLOT DEVELOPMENT: 5 – You would think after the cult classic “The Exorcist,” we would be immune to the trope of kids being the scary ones. There’s something about childlike innocence turned on its head that is viscerally upsetting, and “The Wailing” is no exception to the rule.

ORIGINALITY: 4 – While “The Wailing” is filled to the brim with common scenarios seen in prior films, it adds just enough new perspective to the amalgamation to make it stand out on its own. 

IMAGERY: 5Aside from the main antagonist being otherworldly – or underworldly – the magnitude of missing and ‘infected’ children is enough to make any detective run away.

‘Suspiria’ (2018) 

Courtesy of Amazon Studios.

Overall Score: 3.7 or 73%

Anyone who’s only seen the “Fifty Shades of Grey” saga and left it unimpressed with Dakota Johnson owes it to themselves to see her in “Suspiria.”

PLOT DEVELOPMENT: 3 – You really root for these girls as they uncover the mystery that lies at the heart of their tight-knit Berlin community. And as they are picked off one by one, you know it’s too late. This one’s a heart-sinker.

“Suspiria” is not for the faint of heart or viewers with an aversion to blood, as fragments of the final half hour are bathed in nothing but red. However, this film suffers from the same fate as “Hereditary,” with the film smoldering a little too long in the first act. You’ll want to start this one as soon as you get your food delivered; the runtime comes in at an whopping two hours and 33 minutes. 

ORIGINALITY: 3 – Yes, we have a remake on our hands. And while “Suspiria” is not as good as its 1977 predecessor, it certainly fills the 40-year gap with enough substance to hold fans over. I’m already looking forward to the 2058 version.

IMAGERY: 5 – A movie about dancing is going to be obsessed with the human body, even if that means body horror. There are a lot of contorting limbs to be seen here, either moving to music or for more nefarious purposes. Stay on the coven’s side, and you might survive. Or die in the name of the academy. Either fate is gruesome, and you will have to watch every second of it.