Do you ever feel like you’re drowning … but you haven’t even left your couch? Welcome to the Great Content Overload Era, where there are so many new films and series being released on streaming platforms every day that it can feel hard to keep your head above the zeitgeist waters. To help you navigate the choppy digital waves, here are The Globe’s best bets for weekend streaming. This Halloween weekend: presenting the best horror films of the year, ready to terrify you at home right now.
1. Barbarian (Disney+ with Star)
Zach Cregger’s horror film arrived with the faint whispers of a twist. Turns out that there were several loud, unexpected turns in this nasty little thing. Matters start with a fairly conventional premise: A young woman encounters a slightly creepy guy after the pair are accidentally double-booked into the same Airbnb unit. But then there are some genre flips, including one of the funniest cut-to-the-next-scene edits in recent cinematic history, and things get wild. Hilarious, disgusting, surprising and blessedly original from start to end, Barbarian is this year’s Malignant: a movie that must be seen, ideally with a crowd, to be believed.
2. Saloum (Shudder)
After making its debut at last year’s sorta-virtual Toronto International Film Festival, Jean Luc Herbulot’s wild Senegalese thriller, Saloum, is finally making its way out into the non-festival world. An unpredictable, high-energy concoction that tosses The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Assault on Precinct 13, Beasts of No Nation and From Dusk Till Dawn into a blender and hits “pulse,” the film is a pure ride from beginning to end.
3. Prey (Disney+ with Star)
Rewinding the Predator timeline back a few hundred years to 1719 – it’s not a big deal, given that the other films treat continuity as bendable as Yautjas treat the human spine – Prey takes place in the Northern Great Plains, pitting the alien against the Comanche Nation. More specifically, the young Naru (Amber Midthunder), who desperately wants to prove herself, especially to brother and fellow warrior Taabe (Dakota Beavers). Such an opportunity arises when a Predator is dropped off on Earth, similarly eager to show fellow hunters that the Yautja has what it takes to hunt with the best of them. Series-wise, this sits somewhere between the fist-pumping theatrics of the original film and 2010′s under-loved and excellently cast Predators.
4. We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (Hoopla, Apple TV)
I have already seen and forgotten so many movies that debuted at the virtual-only 2020 Sundance Film Festival. But Jane Schoenbrun’s screen-life horror experiment, We’re All Going to the World’s Fair, has stuck, irrepressibly and impressively. A horror movie that relies less on jump scares than the existential terror of falling down an internet rabbit hole, the film follows a young teenager who digitally befriends an older man who may or may not have ill intentions. A contemporary folk tale that weaves together creeps and cautionary instincts, the film displays a tremendous confidence in its storytelling, and a keen sense of visual wit. Watch it on your own laptop screen for ultimate effect.
5. X (Prime Video)
The first, and so far best, of Ti West’s planned nu-horror trilogy – the prequel Pearl followed a few months later – X would have made this list for its title alone, a clever shorthand for sex, violence and general low-class genre antics. But indie veteran West knows that you need a visceral hook to satisfy today’s gore-hounds, and he finds it in this story of a porn crew from the 1970s looking to make their big break. Unfortunately, they up-and-comers have picked exactly the wrong rural farmhouse to shoot their shot, resulting in all manner of goopy, slick terror. Mia Goth gives a dual performance for the ages, as both victim and terrorizer.