Véra Clouzot and Simone Signoret in Henri-Georges Clouzot's Diabolique
The temps just drastically dropped here in Kansas City, and all I want to do is curl up under a quilt and get the good kind of movie shivers. I’m a sucker for screen suspense. There’s nothing like getting so caught up in a story that you find yourself clutching the person/dog/pillow next to you and yelling at characters who never take your advice: “Don’t! Go! In! There!”
That said, I’m pretty picky about my sources of celluloid scares. I like my goosebumps delivered artfully. I’d rather be creeped-out than grossed-out. And I want there to be a why behind the whoa. Put simply, I want horror with a heart and suspense with a story. Here are several examples you can stream right now over Netflix or Hulu Plus. And if you’re too scared to watch alone, come over to my place. I’ll have a quilt waiting for you.
I watched the first season of The Wire several years ago and have been meaning to complete the rest of the epic Baltimore-based series ever since. Simon had a previous life as a Baltimore Sun crime-beat reporter, and it shows in the series’ uncompromising realism.
Not to be confused with the Stephanie Meyer novel or its film adaptation coming out next year (side note: which the audience audibly scoffed at during the trailer at The Hobbit midnight showing I saw), this The Host is a Korean monster movie that came out in 2006 and was hailed by some to be one of the best of the genre. Ever. Originally titled Gwoemul, The Host is written and directed by Joon-ho Bong, who’s also responsible for another film in my queue, the highly-rated crime drama Mother. The Host has a super-fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes (93%) and tells the story of a river-dwelling monster and the family who fights it. Critics called it “ingenious,” “ambitious,” “imaginative,” “outrageous,” “bizarrely delightful” and a “must-see.” Which is why I put it in my queue. Sad I haven’t gotten to it yet!
I put this visually imaginative thriller from 2000 into my queue after seeing director Tarsem Singh‘s The Fall. I was enamored with Singh’s surreal dreamscapes, saturated color and artfully composed shots. Along with these delicious visuals was a multi-layered story that had emotional heft.
I don’t know much about The Cell, but the movie stills suggest that the film similarly moves through competing realities and places a premium on eye-popping sets and costumes. I’m hoping for Out of Sight- level Lopez and a window into how Singh developed his signature style. (The Cellwas Singh’s debut feature.)
DVD 447. The Do-Deca-Pentathlon 2012. Written and directed by Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass, starring Mark Kelly and Steve Zissis
I saw this DIY film by the Duplass Brothers (Cyrus, Jeff Who Lives at Home, The Puffy Chair) last year at SXSW and immediately fell in love with their poignantly hilarious storytelling style. The story of two estranged brothers who restage a childhood athletic competition, Do-Deca inspired a Duplass Netflix spree and is definitely worth a repeat viewing. Yes, the Mark Duplass who co-directs this film is the same Mark Duplass who stars inSafety Not Guaranteed and Your Sister’s Sister.
This famous film won four Oscars in 2005 (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Leading Actress), but somehow I shamefully missed it. Maybe I was too busy watching Jack and Rose in The Aviator and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind that year.