(Welcome to Now Scream This, a column where horror experts Chris Evangelista and Matt Donato tell you what scary, spooky, and spine-tingling movies are streaming and where you can watch them.)
Matt: Valentine’s Day was last week, but why not present your sweetheart the greatest gift of all this week? A night of zero complications, pajamas, and streaming horror movies with an emphasis on love, crushes, and content that’d make Cupid cringe. Love as a monster, love as an escape, and most of all, love as the horror genre’s richest thematic destabilization. Don’t give into Hallmark’s greedy corporate brainwashing – stay in and celebrate true love the way you deserve!
Chris: Romance is in the air! What better way to reject Greeting Card and Expensive Chocolate Day than by cuddling up with the one you love, and watching some horror? After all, what can be a better aphrodisiac than fear? As Bela Lugosi says in Ed Wood, “The pure horror, it both repels, and attracts…Take my word for it. If you want to make out with a young lady, take her to see Dracula.” In honor of Valentine’s Day (which is this week, by the way, so I sure hope you got your loved one something), Matt and I are bringing you the following romance-tinged fright flicks.
My Bloody Valentine (2009)
Now Streaming on Netflix
Matt: Lionsgate’s My Bloody Valentine remake is proof that Jensen Ackles indeed has a career outside Supernatural. The film was one of at least five different horror remakes that released in 2009, and a splattery, enjoyable one at that. Maybe in a “dumb fun” kind of way, but genre crazies should appreciate a slasher update that wastes zero time carving into victims. Within the first fifteen minutes, you’ll gaze upon more mutilated corpses than a Halloween Horror Nights haunted maze (excellent practical effects work on the part of Gary J. Tunnicliffe). From there it’s love triangles, ripped out hearts, and Valentine’s Day bastardization with drive-in appeal. Oh yeah, and prime gruff-as-gravel Tom Atkins? All horror remakes aren’t created equal!
Chris: This movie is surprisingly gory, and fun. And Tom Atkins shows up wearing an ill-fitting t-shirt for some reason.
Let Me In
Now Streaming on Amazon Prime
Matt: Few can argue against Tomas Alfredson’s Let The Right One In when debating modern vampire masterpieces. Big shoes for Matt Reeves’ US remake to fill, but Let Me In doesn’t disappoint. Once again two outcast children find comfort in one another – Kodi Smit-McPhee as “Owen” and Chloë Grace Moretz as “Amy” – which translates into romantic undertones. All that gets even more complicated by the bullies who harass Owen daily, and the realization that Amy is an ancient vampire. Reeves does well by the film’s coming-of-age themes as well as bloodsucking darkness, no doubt heightened by Richard Jenkins’ caretaker/”serial killer.” As far as 2000s horror remakes go, well ahead of the pack. A replicant of what makes Alfredson’s original so tragic and heartwarming, fanged ferocity and all.
Chris: I know many people enjoyed this remake, but I just couldn’t get into it. The original is the one for me.
Now Streaming on Hulu and Shudder
Matt: I bring up V/H/S around Valentine’s Day because of David Bruckner’s “Amateur Night” – a found footage anthology segment where horny dudebros hope to lure an unassuming bar fly back for secretly recorded motel sex. What they find is “Lily” (Hannah Fierman), who turns out to be a winged succubus fixated on the recorder. Fierman’s performance is aces-high from her repetition of the phrase “I like you” to wide-eyed, aloof presence that certainly ensures something isn’t right. Bruckner’s work is so enthralling in the short timeframe that a feature-length film – SiREN – spawned from Lily’s backstory. Of course, there’s a reason I’m recommending the short over the adapted “sequel.”
Chris: “Amateur Night” is indeed one of the best entries in this so-so anthology film.
Life After Beth
Now Streaming on Netflix
Matt: Jeff Baena’s Life After Beth isn’t Warm Bodies good, but it also ain’t Burying The Ex bad. Maybe it’s a personal thing because actors Dane DeHaan and Aubrey Plaza have long been personal favorite performers. DeHaan playing the lovesick teen whose girlfriend rises from the grave, Plaza a once dead snake bite victim whose return progresses through stages of zombification. It’s a relationship dramedy (romzomdramedy?) about being able to move forward instead of dwelling on the past, using a zombie’s form to represent the pain and uselessness of being unable to let go. Nothing revolutionary from a metaphor standpoint, but DeHaan and Plaza are the reason you’re watching (plus support from John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Anna Kendrick and more).
Chris: I have a massive crush on Aubrey Plaza, but even that wasn’t enough to make me enjoy this film. It just felt a little too lopsided. Still, it has its moments.
Hounds Of Love
Now Streaming on Hulu
Matt: Ben Young’s Hounds Of Love is one of my favorite movies of 2017 that I’ll never watch again. Emma Booth and Stephen Curry play lovers who abduct, abuse, and murder teenage girls due to husband John’s (Curry) serial killer obsession. Evelyn (Booth) is manipulated by the man she loves, becomes destructively jealous when he plays with his toys, but always comes back when charms are turned back on. You’re in for one hell of a harrowing, perverse, downright dismantling true crime watch, but Young’s talent behind the camera *demands* to be witnessed. Tremendous work on technical and performance fronts – especially as Curry and Booth dance their psychologically monstrous Natural Born Killers tango – devastating on all thematic accounts. Happy f#&king Valentine’s Day!
Chris: One of the most unpleasant movies I’ve ever seen, and I don’t mean that in a negative way. This movie is Brutal with a capital B. (And hey, I just realized this is the first week where I’ve actually seen all the movies Matt recommended!)
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