Just in Time for Halloween: Recommended Horror Movies in the Redbox Kiosks
It’s low-key but utterly suspenseful. Bloody in parts but not exploitative. Retro-fitted for the ’80s but masterfully original. Terrifying but also rich in character and plot development. So when people tired of gross-out slasher remakes or torture porn complain that “nobody makes good horror movies anymore,” well here you go. Here is a very, very good horror film from Ti West, a budding master of the genre whose name you’ll be hearing a lot more in the future.
Last year when we were talking scariest moments on film, I mentioned the climax of The Ring as totally freaking me out, but I dismissed the rest of the film. I was wrong–a return visit to Gore (Pirates of the Caribbean) Verbinski’s remake of the Japanese Ringu reminded me of just how fantastically, gloomily crafted The Ring is. The chilling parts are still chilling, the horrifying parts still horrifying, the steadily creepy build up still very creepy indeed.
Pet Sematary‘s rarely mentioned among the “great” Stephen King film adaptations, but man does it hold up 20-some years later. Sure, Mary Lambert’s direction is “workmanlike” (er, “hacky”), but King’s gut-punch of a story and those classic King touches (the “good” ghost, the darkly prophetic catch phrases, the deep digs into any parent’s worst nightmare) really carry the film along. You may intend to laugh at some of the more dated bits, including the climactic showdown, but you’ll be chillingly surprised at how out-right scary Pet Sematary remains.
Breck Eisner’s direction of this remake of the 1973 Romero film is smart and nuanced, and Timothy Olyphant is terrific as always. But best of all, The Crazies is a film of and for its time: It preys on fear of infection, fear of the government, and most of all fear that our friends and neighbors are all going slowly mad and that the near future could devolve into a chaotic bloodbath in the streets. This is what the best horror films do: scare the bejeezus outta us by holding up a mirror.
- Reserve a copy from redbox.com
- Read my full review and my interview with The Crazies co-star Radha Mitchell
I’m no big fan of the Saw series and its reliance on one-upsmanship torture traps. However, I admire this nasty little piece of gruesome work–originally conceived as a prequel to Saw, but eventually produced as a stand-alone story. (It’s written and directed by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, the Project Greenlight winners for Feast, who’ve gone on to write much of the Saw franchise.) If torture-porn isn’t your thing, stay away–but the tightly wound Collector shows how it can be done well.
No, the first Friday the 13th movie isn’t “good”–on the bonus features even the film’s makers say they only did it to make some quick cash off Halloween‘s success. And no, the masked, machete-wielding Jason Vorhees we know and love doesn’t appear. But the then-unknown Kevin Bacon shows up to have premarital sex and smoke weed–two things sure to get you fatally punctured in the twisted Puritan world of Camp Crystal Lake. And it’s fascinating to see what passed for “extreme gore” then, and how from such crass, commercial motivation a genuine pop-culture horror icon was birthed.
Come on, you know you’re curious… It’s okay, go ahead… read my review, check out the “how-to” diagram, rent the movie, see the “ewww” for yourself!
Need more horror? Check out my Spooky Movie redbox roundup from last May, many of which are still available for rent.