Fall is in full swing and tis the season! The season to be creeped out, that is. Halloween is only a couple weeks away and, scary clowns aside, Amy and I both enjoy a little spooky this time of year. It’s fun to break out a good movie and scare yourself silly. Now, we’re not talking about blood and guts horror films here. Chainsaws and machetes are inherently terrifying. So, sure, putting these weapons into the hands of a psycho and turning said psycho loose on a gang of less-than-bright teenagers at summer camp is utterly terrifying. Also pretty boring, though. Predictable. Possibly it’s the writer in us but we’d like some plot, please. And the cleverer the better. Make us think. Surprise us.
We thought we’d share a couple of our favorite scary movies that most spooktacularly fit this bill.
Amy ~ It Follows
Scary movies. I love to hate them. My family just plain LOVES them. My 12 and 14 year old watch every single horror movie they can find On Demand. Every time I go into the menu to search for a movie, all the terrifying ones are marked WATCHED. I know I didn’t watch them. My 16 year old is a little more like me. He likes the thrill of seeing one, but thinks about them way too much after watching. He and I are famous for turning on every light in the house after a good one. Because ghosts won’t jump out at you when the lights are on … duh!
I also tend to watch scary movies through my fingers. That way I can quickly cover my eyes if something horrible is about to happen. It works fairly well. This is how I watched the movie It Follows. It Follows is NOT heartwarming. The plot centers around “It”. We don’t know what “It” is except that it follows its victim until it kills him or her. “It” doesn’t run. “It” doesn’t look like a monster. “It” can be anyone. Even your mom if “It” wants.
Jamie is a young woman on a date with what seems like a nice guy named Hugh. He takes her to a movie but gets a little freaked out when he says he sees someone. Jamie doesn’t see anyone, but she leaves the theater with him. They end up having “relations” in the backseat of his car and she wakes up tied to a chair after getting knocked out by not-so-nice Hugh. This is where it gets a little nuts.
Hugh explains that “It” is coming. He tells Jamie that “It” can be anyone. “It” doesn’t move very fast but “It” never stops. “It” will keep following her until “It” catches her. A woman shows up and slowly walks toward them. Hugh continues to explain that the only way to stop being followed is to pass the curse on by sleeping with someone else. Only, she may not want to do it without explaining to the next person (a mistake he made) because once “It” kills whoever it’s following, “It” comes after the previous person on the list. He believes by giving Jamie all the information, she will have a better chance of surviving and therefore keep him out of danger a little longer. He takes her home and disappears.
The rest of the movie is about Jamie’s struggle to stay away from “It” while battling the biggest moral dilemma of all time. Does she sleep with someone and pass “It” along, basically sentencing someone to death, or does she find another way to stop “It”?
This movie reminds me of The Ring, which basically asked the same question. Would you put someone else’s life in danger to save yourself or someone you love? These movies freak me out the most because they make me scared of myself. What would I do? Would I curse someone else? What if my child was cursed? Would I pass it on to someone else to save my child? It’s this kind of psychological monster that keeps me up at night. I don’t need blood and gore. Just make me question my own goodness. It’s interesting how Jamie decided to handle it. The movie doesn’t tie everything up in a pretty bow but is satisfying nonetheless!
Carol ~ The Others
To say I’m very particular about scary movies would be a colossal understatement. But the reason I’m picky? It’s an absolute necessity. Put simply, I’m a ‘fraidy cat. I don’t do “evil” movies because they give me nightmares. Anything with possession and demons and exorcisms and I’ll need to be medicated, or possibly hypnotized, to rid myself of the after-effects. I don’t like slasher films because, in addition to above-mentioned predictability, they’re gross and make me nauseous. So that leaves me with ghost stories and psychological thrillers. The Others has both. This movie is a wonderful, old-fashioned, skin-prickling, hair-on-the-back-of-the-neck-raising ghost story.
It’s about a young widow named Grace Stewart, played by Nicole Kidman, who lives with her two children in a maze-like Victorian house in Jersey, England. The story takes place post World War II so the time period, the décor, and the costumes present a welcome spookiness as well. Grace’s children, Anne and Nicholas, have some kind of photosensitivity condition and have to avoid light. She has to be careful about keeping the kids contained and the curtains drawn. She has a set of keys reminiscent to a jailer that she uses to lock and unlock the doors to all the rooms. The children’s’ condition and the clattering of these keys enhance the urgent, edgy feel of the movie.
A bit about the plot: Enter the arrival of three servants and a mute girl named Lydia and the weirdness begins. The children begin to report sightings of “others” in the house. Anne draws a picture of them, but, of course, Grace doesn’t believe they exist at first. Not until she hears them herself. Strange hints of their presence unfold. One morning Grace wakes up to discover all the curtains have been removed from the house. She is outraged, but the servants don’t appear to be alarmed. Suspecting them of being involved, she banishes them from the home. Clues are revealed and eventually she discovers that the servants died 50 years ago. I know what you’re thinking, story over, right? But no, they are not the “others.” And if I tell you more I’ll be giving the story away. Suffice it to say, this movie will leave you white-knuckled on the edge of your sofa forgetting to breathe. There is a solid and creative story here along with a delightful plot twist and of well-placed scream-worthy moments – all without a trace of blood or demons.
If you liked What Lies Beneath, The Village, or pretty much any Alfred Hitchcock film, I think you’ll love The Others. The acting is incredible as well. Nicole Kidman earned a well-deserved Golden Globe nomination for this role. And the children are just perfect.
We'd love to hear your scary movie recommendations. But please, for the sake of our mental health, let us know the type of scary we're in for!
For more information about Amy Vastine or Carol Ross including their lists of books click here to visit their websites: