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Ready to get spooky? Friday the 13th is upon us once again and we’re already getting our favourite safety blankets ready for a night curled up on the couch re-watching our favourite scary movies — and we’re letting you in on our list. Don’t have the stomach for it? Worry not — we’ve got a few harmless ones to choose from, too.
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Knives Out (2019): If you haven’t seen ‘Knives Out’ yet, we can’t recommend it enough. If you’ve seen it, we think it’s high time for a re-watch. Rian Johnson won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for this wonderfully executed murder mystery, which sees a detective (Daniel Craig) investigate an eccentric family after their wealthy patriarch is found dead at a party. (More reasons to watch: it stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans and Evans’ sweatshirt.)
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Midsommar (2019): ‘Midsommar’ is writer-director’s Ari Aster’s second horror film in just as many years, following on 2018’s ‘Hereditary’. A troubled American couple travels to Sweden for an idyllic midsummer festival, but things get deadly when a pagan cult’s unsettling plan begins to unfold. This is 33-year-old Aster’s second full-length feature to date, but it’s already cementing him as a new master of horror.
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Us (2019): Is there anything scarier than coming face-to-face with your evil lookalike? We think not. In Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’, a family thinks they’re about to kick back and relax during a serene beach vacation, but their outing turns bloody after their doppelgangers begin to terrorise them.
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A Quiet Place (2018): While we wait desperately for the sequel to come out, we’re going back to one of our favourites from 2018. ‘A Quiet Place’ is a beautifully filmed, acted and conceptualised horror. Parents-of-three Lee and Evelyn Abbott (real-life couple John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) navigate a post-apocalyptic world where any noise can get you killed — and we all know how hard it is to keep one child quiet, let alone three. This high-stakes creature feature won’t keep you up at night, but it will stick with you after credits roll.
Image Credit: AP
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Get Out (2017): Jordan Peele blessed us with ‘Get Out’ three years ago, winning Best Original Screenplay at the Oscars — and for good reason. The horror and dark comedy follows Chris (Daniel Kaluuya), an African-American man, who visits the family of h is white American girlfriend for Christmas, only to realise they have really twisted plans for him. Filled with brilliant commentary on how insidious racism can be, ‘Get Out’ will be on our fave horrors list for years to come.
Image Credit: AP
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Freaky Friday (2003): If you don’t have the heart for horror, fear not: you can still make Friday the 13th your day. One of our favourite kooky fantasy films is the body swap classic ‘Freaky Friday’, starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan. The film is about a warring mother and her teen daughter, who wake up one day in each other’s bodies. As is typical for body swap movies, the two must learn a profound life lesson in order to switch back. Fun fact: The 2003 version is a remake of the 1976 film of the same name, where the protagonists switch bodies after getting into an argument on the eve of Friday the 13th.
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Stir of Echoes (1999): One of Kevin Bacon’s best and most underrated performances took place in ‘Stir of Echoes’, a supernatural horror that plays on a major human fear: opening up an unknown door in your own mind that you can’t shut. When Tom Witzky (Bacon) is hypnotised by his sister-in-law Lisa, he becomes haunted by terrifying visions that won’t let him go. ‘Stir of Echoes’ is a film that is likely to stick with you for all its creepy undertones.
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Sphere (1998): Any plot that involves an unwilling manifestation of one’s biggest phobias gives us the creeps, so psychological thriller ‘Sphere’ gets a spot on our watch list, despite being a critical flop two decades ago. The premise, taken from Michael Crichton’s book, revolves around a group of experts (Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone and Samuel L Jackson) who are sent to investigate an extraterrestrial force underwater, only to come into contact with a metal sphere that makes their worst fears seem real.
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Hocus Pocus (1993): Despite failing to achieve commercial or critical success, Disney’s ‘Hocus Pocus’ has become a cult classic over the years and is especially popular on Halloween. Directed by Kenny Ortega (‘High School Musical’ trilogy), the movie combines horror, comedy and fantasy. When teenager Max accidentally awakens three witches who were executed in the 17th century (Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy), he has to find a way to defeat them with the help of a motley crew. Perfect for those horror-phobes out there.
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Candyman (1992): Graduate student Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) unwittingly summons a one-armed homicidal entity with a hook for a hand (Tony Todd) through her research on superstitions. While several of the films on this list were based on novels (‘Sphere’, ‘Stir of Echoes’), ‘Candyman’ was actually inspired by the short story ‘The Forbidden’.
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Friday the 13th (1980): It’s been 40 years since this slasher classic released and it’s still as polarising as ever, with many critics finding it to be irredeemably hollow, while some fans consider it to be an all-time great. Camp counsellors attempt to reopen a summer camp that had once been the site of a child drowning, but a masked assailant keeps stalking and murdering them. The movie spawned a 12-film franchise. Despite being panned, it has been a box office success and is considered one of the highest-grossing slasher franchises of all time.