It’s September, and you know what that means. Our favorite time of the year is only a month away! October is almost upon us, and if you’re anything like us, you’ll already be working out your horror movie schedule and planning your costume parties to mark the occasion. Halloween isn’t complete without a classic horror movie or two to get the scares going, and no matter how many times you’ve seen your favorite chiller flick, it never hurts to watch it one more time. This year, however, Amazon is going to give us something new to watch – and when we say ‘something,’ we mean ‘four things.’
During the month of October, Amazon will be airing four brand-new horror films as part of a series named ‘Welcome to the Blumhouse.‘ There’s a very big clue in the name there about who Amazon has hooked up with to provide us with this frenzy of frightening delights. Blumhouse will make all of these new Amazon Prime-exclusive movies, and that’s a promising sign for fans of the horror genre. Everything we know about Blumhouse tells us that we’ll be in for a (trick of) treat when the first movie in the series airs.
If, somehow, you’re unaware of Blumhouse’s horror pedigree, allow us to give you a quick crash course. Blumhouse is the same film company that produced “The Purge.” It’s also the same film company that produced the “Paranormal Activity” series of films, of which a seventh is scheduled for release in 2021. “Paranormal Activity” has arguably been the most successful horror movie franchise in recent years, amassing a huge following and spawning a series of spin-offs, including an official “Paranormal Activity” online slots game, which does big business at online slots websites. It’s not alone in this achievement; we’re also aware of popular and entertaining online casino based on “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th,” but it’s the only recent horror movie we’re aware of that’s made it to online slots websites. That makes it a pop culture phenomenon!
These four new Amazon Prime films by Blumhouse will have to go a long way to match the success of “Paranormal Activity,” but let’s cast our eyes over them and see if they have the potential to do so.
We’re starting with “The Lie,” because this is the film we have the lowest expectations of when it comes to classic horror goodness – although we’d be happy to be proved wrong! We’re basing our assessment on both the official trailer, which dropped a few days ago, and the short promotional brief that accompanied the trailer. The plot revolves around a teenage girl who spontaneously kills her best friend one day for reasons we don’t know. Knowing that her life will be ruined if she’s convicted, her parents help her to cover up the crime – but things go wrong, and strange things begin to happen around the family. That sounds more like a crime drama than a horror, but the trailer may just be misleading. The always-welcome Peter Sarsgaard is in this one, with Joey King in the lead role as the murderous teenager. Veena Sud was in the director’s chair for the movie’s production, and also wrote the script.
This creepy-looking film has been promoted as the first movie produced by Blumhouse in collaboration with Amazon – although we don’t know why, because it’s being released on October 6th at the same time as “The Lie.” Perhaps it was made first. What we do know is that Sydney Sweeney of “Euphoria” fame is the star of “Nocturne,” which is set within the walls of a snobbish arts academy. The plot, written by Zu Quirke (who has also directed the film), sees Sweeney play the role of a shy, retiring music student who’s easily bullied by those around her and out-achieved by her twin sister until she stumbles across a notebook that once belonged to a former classmate of hers. The classmate, by the way, is dead. There’s a slightly pretentious vibe to the trailer, but if you ever wanted to see a horror version of “Whiplash,” your ship just came in.
The lead character of “Black Box,” as played by Mamoudou Athie, has recently suffered a car accident in which his wife passed away, and he lost his memory due to trauma-induced amnesia. He’s now a single father, and he has no memory of his child being born. Not to worry, though, his doctors have found a revolutionary experimental treatment that could restore his memory. What could possibly go wrong? Well, this is a horror film, so the answer to that question is ‘everything.’ The more our lead character finds out about himself, the more he has to face up to a past that he can’t remember and doesn’t recognize. This has been described as being akin to an episode of “Black Mirror,” and that can’t be a bad thing.
“Evil Eye” is listed last in our article only because it’s the last of the films to be made available by Amazon. The other three come out on October 6th, but this one won’t start streaming until October 13th. Has Amazon saved the best for last? If the screenplay does justice to the original award-winning Audible production that this is based on, there’s a solid chance that they have. Madhuri Shekar’s script sees Sarita Choudhury play a mother who is at first happy to see that her daughter has a new boyfriend and is living a happy, settled romantic life until she starts to suspect that the boyfriend is somehow connected to a part of her past that she’d rather forget about. We won’t say any more than that, but if you’re a fan of the Audible original, you should be very excited about this film.
That’s our round-up of Amazon’s Halloween offerings complete, and we have to say that we’re thrilled to be presented with such gifts. The ball is now in Netflix’s court to respond. That’s the best thing about these ongoing streaming wars; when one company does something, the other has to come up with an equivalent or risk being left behind. Come on, Netflix, show us your Halloween wares!