When choosing a movie for date night, a high proportion of couples tend to go for romcoms. They’re looking for something frothy and bubbly, a caper to bring a smile to their faces, and where, despite the ups and downs, the lead characters end up walking into the sunset together, hand-in-hand. But for some, whether you’re in a long-term relationship or have just met on a dating site like this, the only way to go is horror: the more darkness, gore, and jump scares the better.
A scary movie can make the perfect backdrop to any romantic night in. Whether it’s the shared sense of suspense or the frequent excuses to wrap yourself in each other’s arms as you flinch, here are some of the most recommended.
The Shining (1980)
Stanley Kubrick’s chiller, based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel, has gone down as a landmark in the suspense genre. The basic premise seems unremarkable enough. A caretaker (Jack Nicholson) and his wife (Shelley Duvall) and son (Danny Lloyd), head off to spend the winter looking after an isolated hotel during the closed season. But the atmosphere grows colder than the deepening snows outside, as supernatural forces slowly send the caretaker over the edge into a homicidal madness. Perfect for snuggling close to your loved one as you flinch from the progressively scary scenarios.
John Carpenter’s slasher movie traces a murderous spree by a mysterious masked killer. The anticipation of who’s next to fall victim to Jason’s lethal blade will get you huddling ever nearer your partner on the couch. It also features an early outing for Jamie Lee Curtis, but one of the most notable aspects of this horror classic is the enigmatic soundtrack.
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
This film starts off in familiar territory. Young, fresh-faced US college students head into a log cabin to spend time chilling. Then they face all manner of adversaries, including zombies, werewolves and ancient Gods! The film is a hugely entertaining romp, somewhere between a traditional gory horror and, as it is revealed the victims are actually being manipulated during a game show, The Truman Show. You’ll laugh and you’ll jump. Either way, just make sure you don’t spill your popcorn.
The Descent (2005)
This is a genuinely disturbing movie for date night. Cave systems are bad enough in their own right – the claustrophobia, the threat of floods or cave-ins, the possibility of getting lost. But these female potholers face the additional fear dimension of being stalked in the stygian darkness by underground mutant cannibals. This film will certainly test your resolve, and make you grateful you have a companion to cling onto when the nasty subterranean troglodytes claim their latest victim!
Starring Neve Campbell, Wes Craven’s slasher movie is a homage to so many previous films, as the killer in the eponymous ‘ghostface’ mask stalks his victims, aping the crime sprees from the likes of Friday the 13th and Halloween. Part black comedy, part a subversion of existing scary movie cliches, this is made even more perfect for date night because there are strong female characters.
The sight of the angelic blonde kid touching the TV screen, then matter-of-factly remarking, ‘They’re here,’ is still one of the most spine-tingling moments in horror film history. Written by Steven Speilberg and directed by Tobe Hooper, what then unfolds is a rollercoastering tale of paranormal possession and supernatural malevolence, as an unfortunate suburban family are assailed by everything from animated clown toys to huge underworld demons. This is another movie you and your partner can ‘enjoy,’ perhaps with a bottle or two of suitable ‘Dutch courage’ to hand!