Who’s in it: Bill Skarsgård, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard
If you’re deathly afraid of clowns, you might want to multiply the scariness rating by 10. Pennywise the Clown, portrayed by Bill Skarsgård, lives up to his reputation as one of the horror genre’s creepiest characters. The movie follows seven young kids forced to confront their fears when an evil, shape-shifting monster emerges from the sewers. The monster returns every 27 years to prey on the children in the small suburban town of Derry, Maine. Only when the children are able to overcome their own personal terrors can they save themselves. The scenes with Pennywise are suspenseful and sure to make the audience jump, but it’s hard to say any one scene matches the terror of the film’s first 10 minutes when Georgie makes his acquaintance.
In between monsters, the film develops each kid fully. You understand their fears, the world they’re living in and the adults they’re going to become. A particular highlight is Finn Wolfhard, whom you might recognize from the popular series Stranger Things, as Richie. His raunchy quips steal almost every ensemble scene. The fun scenes are important; the film, which clocks at over two hours long, is driven by exposition as much as it is by horror. If you’re looking for a story that will keep you enthralled – and occasionally quicken your heart rate – this is the one for you.
Who’s in it: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfieffer
The newest film by director Darren Aronofsky, of Black Swan fame, won’t elicit as many physical reactions as mental ones. The movie follows a young woman, simply known as Mother (Jennifer Lawrence), whose tranquil life and peaceful marriage with Father (Javier Bardem) are disrupted by the arrival of a mysterious couple. Their personal drama and relationship with her husband quickly turn the household into a warzone. Serving largely as an allegory, the story plays with reality and the audience’s understanding, feeling at times more like a dream than a movie. Lawrence is loveable and relatable as the film’s protagonist and will leave audiences sympathizing with her emotional journey throughout the film.
If you walk in expecting a horror movie, you will probably be disappointed. The most horrific and disturbing elements don’t come into play until the end when it gets graphic and emotionally draining. However, if you’re looking for a movie to confuse you, play with your viewing experience and keep you on your toes, you won’t be disappointed.
Who’s in it: Nina Dobrev, Ellen Page, Diego Luna
This suspenseful reimagining of the ‘90s cult classic chronicles the harrowing journey of five medical students as they engage in a dangerous experiment that allows them to explore the afterlife. When the group discovers they can stop their hearts for brief periods of time, monitor their brain activity and alter their state of mind, they believe they’ve uncovered the cutting edge of neuroscience. However, the exhilarating experience quickly turns sinister when they become confronted with demons from their past in their current, waking life.
Flatliners puts a modern and macabre twist on the original, using a plethora of plot twists, jump scares and eerie flashbacks to leave viewers pondering the fragility of life and what lingers beyond. The movie’s characters are remarkably relatable, and audiences will surely find a part of themselves within them as they piece together their past and face their present fears.