Four to Watch for Fright Night

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With Halloween right around the corner, reviews on the most essential horror movies are in to perfect a night of jumpscares, candy and popcorn. Graphic contributed by whatsageek.com

Halloween is what some may call the most exciting time of the year: jack o’lanterns, crazy costumes and candy are key features for this favorite of holidays. But if you’re a horror buff like me, it is the many nights of jumpscares that make this holiday so special. 

Halloween wouldn’t be the fear-filled holiday it is today without the frightful contributions from the film industry. With Westport having its own horror-film contributions with  “The Last House on the Left” and “Friday the 13th,” it is only right to honor the industry that has filmed scenes in our very own town. That’s why I’m giving you the top four terrifying films to binge this year.

Those familiar with the horror industry likely know the name Jordan Peele. Known for his disturbing creativity and psychological appeals, Peele has been glorified since his debut, Academy-Award-winning, “Get Out” film. “Get Out” landed Peele on the grid primarily, as previously mentioned, due to its disturbing absurdity. 

Following an interracial couple visiting inlaws, the black boyfriend slowly finds himself increasingly disturbed by the robotic actions of fellow black residents. Peele, perfecting the slow burn, ultimately reaches the climax of this film with help from hypnosis and the inability to get out. Terrifyingly psychological, I would recommend this movie to anyone interested in how horror has evolved today, specifically in terms of social justice.

Halloween wouldn’t be the fear-filled holiday it is today without the frightful contributions from the film industry.”

— Elle Vail ’23

The second horror film I have to recommend is just as psychological, yet twice as gory. Starring Florence Pugh and directed by Ari Aster, “Midsommar” is beautifully mind-bending. Contrasting dark themes with a consistently fluorescent and elegant setting, “Midsommar” follows college students’ travel to a festival in Sweden where the sun never sets. Quickly accelerating, the students find themselves in a community of traditions incorporating both psychedelics and malicious acts. Caught in a world where survival is all, the students quickly turn on each other leading to an incredibly morbid and thought-provoking ending. Not for the light-hearted, “Midsommar” can be appreciated by anyone who can recognize good directing. That being said, the mind-bending experience of watching it is not for those sensitive to gory nor for a casual watch with friends. “Midsommar” is gripping, and truly more of an experience than a movie.

As for more classic horror, I could not forget “The Ring.” Through Gore Verbinski’s directing, this movie has become one of the most iconic thriller films of today. Verbinski’s idea is truly unforgettable, primarily following a young boy who’s television becomes absurdly possessed one day. Appealing to classic horror themes, the boy has one week to live after seeing a glowing ring of light on his television. Disturbing, fear-filled and only slightly predictable, “The Ring” is a perfect watch to split popcorn over on the night of Halloween.

Last is perhaps my favorite: “The Blair Witch Project.” A turn for the horror industry, “The Blair Witch Project,” directed by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez, was the first film to increase fear-factor using solely hand-held cameras. Involving three college students researching their findings on the Blair Witch for a thesis project, this classic horror film left me avoiding the woods months later. Freakily realistic and personal, “Blair Witch” is beautifully detailed and raw, even creating hysteria prior to its release through publicizing missing flyers for the main characters. Originally released as a documentary (despite the plot being entirely fictional), the questioning of the reality of it all leaves viewers on their toes. Terrifying and incredibly acted, “The Blair Witch Project,” appeals to all, although I would not recommend hiking the day after.