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What to watch on Netflix this Halloween

The old monster flick, slasher or Disney Channel Original Movie not doing it for you? Thankfully, we always have Netflix to turn to in times of need. The streaming service has recently released a few new horror efforts just in time for your spooky movie nights.

"The Babysitter"

Curious about what teenagers do after dark, Cole (Judah Lewis) sneaks out of his bedroom to spy on his babysitter Bee (Samara Weaving) and her friends, only to discover they are members of a cult in the midst of a ritual sacrifice. When he is discovered, Cole must fend for his life and try to stop their plot.

Built off a tried-and-true narrative device -- the kid crushing on his babysitter -- "The Babysitter" plays with the trope in a ridiculous fashion. The movie starts innocently, but takes a sharp turn after Bee murders her victim for the sacrifice. While light on scares, "The Babysitter" works as a horror-themed action-comedy, as Cole is hunted, chased and even shot at, finding ways to outwit the teenage cult members one by one, with a consistently ridiculous tone throughout.

Bolstered by stylish direction by McG, "The Babysitter" zips along its 85-minute run time. It doesn't break new ground cinematically, and it won't win any awards, but it's an easy watch and a fun time. If you're looking for something new to watch with friends this Halloween, you could do a lot worse.

3.5/5 Stars

"Gerald's Game"

Trying to rejuvenate their marriage, Gerald and Jessie Burlingame (Bruce Greenwood and Carla Gugino) head to their lakehouse in Alabama and attempt to spice up their sex life. Gerald handcuffs Jessie to the bed, but before he frees her, he has a heart attack and dies. Left alone, Jessie must find a way to get out of the handcuffs while slowly going crazy. Worse, there may be an unwanted visitor in the cabin.

Part of the recent wave of Stephen King adaptations (including "It" and Netflix's other new release, "1922"), "Gerald's Game" is a well-crafted and nerve-wracking film. As opposed to "The Babysitter," "Gerald's Game" is a slower and more psychologically tense experience. While there are a few true scary moments, director Mike Flanagan primarily opts for suspense, an approach that works brilliantly. Thanks to standout performances from Gugino and Greenwood, every scene crackles with intensity and the fear that the worst could happen.

With strong performances, a smart script and wicked suspense, "Gerald's Game" had me on the edge of my seat throughout. Some of the content is potentially upsetting, but the movie works overall. It may not be the perfect Halloween flick, but it should definitely earn consideration from King fans and skeptics alike.

4/5 Stars


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Naive and introverted vegetarian Justine (Garance Marillier) arrives at veterinary school for her first session of classes. Unbeknownst to her, there are a series of extensive hazing rituals that take place the first week. After one goes awry and she's forced to eat meat, Justine finds her tastes rapidly changing and becoming more and more gruesome.

"Raw" isn't for the faint of heart (or queasy of stomach), as Justine's awakening leads her into some violent and bloody territory. But the gripping narrative flies along, with each new day of rush week finding Justine growing and changing in new ways. I can't say much as to how, exactly, she changes, for fear of giving away the plot, but it held me to the final frame. The film rests on the shoulders of Marillier, who gives a knockout performance as her character changes from innocent to almost animalistic over the course of the film.

The debut feature film from French writer-director Julia Ducournau, like the rest of the films on this list, is not a straight horror movie. Instead, Ducournau subverts coming-of-age stories by introducing horrific elements. If you're interested in checking out some non-American horror, or looking for something that's less scary but just as grisly, "Raw" may be perfect for you.

4/5 Stars