An underrated Guillermo del Toro film hits Netflix, an overlooked family adventure lands on Disney+, and a pair of new Shudder exclusives arrive to conjure up some fresh scares
‘The Banishing’ (Shudder)
From acclaimed director Chris Smith (Creep, Severance, Triangle) comes The Banishing, which tells the true story of the most haunted house in England. A young reverend (John Heffernan) and his wife Marianne (Jessica Brown Findlay) and daughter (Anya McKenna-Bruce) move into a manor with a horrifying secret. When a vengeful spirit haunts the little girl and threatens to tear the family apart, the reverend and his wife are forced to confront their beliefs. They must turn to black magic by seeking the help of a famous Occultist…or risk losing their daughter.
The film is a classic period haunted house movie, but one that takes its story into far more interesting directions than most. Combined with some genuinely strong performances from its cast, The Banishing is a solid new edition to the current slew of British horror.
‘Crimson Peak’ (Netflix)
Crimson Peak is both an underrated haunted house flick and one of the most underrated Guillermo del Toro films. With his distinct fantastical style, the filmmaker blends Gothic horror with romance to tell a moving ghost story. It’s gorgeous to look at while chilling you to the bone at the same time with its eerie atmosphere.
After marrying the charming and seductive Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), young Edith (Mia Wasikowska) finds herself swept away to his remote gothic mansion in the English hills. Also living there is Lady Lucille (Jessica Chastain), Thomas’ alluring sister and protector of her family’s dark secrets. Able to communicate with the dead, Edith tries to decipher the mystery behind the ghostly visions that haunt her new home. As she comes closer to the truth, Edith may learn that true monsters are made of flesh and blood.
‘Dark City Beneath the Beat’ (Netflix)
The city of Baltimore has a rich musical history, and this latest documentary to hit Netflix takes the city’s reputation into its own hands. By showing how Baltimore is more than its darkest aspects and how it rises above them, the film is a joyous and rousing celebration.
Social and economic turmoil serve as the backdrop for the birth of a vibrant community that finds commonality in its music. You’d be hard pressed to find a more instantly enjoyable film this week.
Knuckledust is a vicious action thriller with a sharp sense of humor, and its fights sequences are killer and sure to satisfy anyone just looking for some cool thrills. When a special police task force kick open the doors of elite underground fight den – Club Knuckledust, they find seven underground levels of hell, filled with the dead bodies of countless fighters, assassins and goons from all around the world. Only one man, beaten to a pulp, barely breathing, is still alive: Hard Eight (Moe Dunford).
With the government en route to take him away, Chief Inspector Katherine Keaton (Kate Dickie) and her team have ninety minutes to interrogate Hard Eight to find out if he’s the lone survivor or a multiple murderer. The film keeps you guessing at the same time its occupied kicking ass.
‘The Last Drive-In With Joe Bob Briggs’ (Shudder)
The hit original series returns for its third season with Briggs, the world’s foremost drive-in movie critic, presenting eclectic horror movie double features, interrupting the films to expound upon their merits, histories and significance to genre cinema. The show’s hashtag, #TheLastDriveIn, has trended in the top 10 on Twitter in the US during the premiere of every episode and special, often reaching No. 1.
The television personality previously hosted MonsterVision for over four years on TNT, and his series have always highlighted relatively unknown and often bizarre horror older horror movies. Briggs will be joined by none other than Eli Roth
‘The Master’ (Netflix)
The Master is one of the greater works of acclaimed filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, and it features three of the greatest performances from three actors with packed resumes – Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. It’s a masterful drama that pulls you in over and over again with drama and psychological rabbit holes.
The film follows a World War II navy veteran named Freddie Quell (Phoenix) whose experiences make it difficult for him to adjust back into society. He eventually meets the leader of a cultish religious group, a man named Lancaster Dodd (Hoffman), who takes a liking to Freddie and mentors him as he travels with his wife (Adams) and followers to spread their influence.
A romantic comedy like no other, Brian Duffield’s Spontaneous leans more into a darker sense of humor thanks to its silly premise. When students in their high school begin inexplicably exploding, seniors Mara (Kathryn Langford), Dylan (Charlie Plummer) and others navigate in a world where each moment may be their last. As spontaneous explosions continue unexplained, an unexpected romance blossoms between Mara and Dylan, who discover that when tomorrow is no longer promised, they can finally start living for today.
The film marks Duffield’s directorial debut, but he previously wrote the screenplays for Love and Monsters, Underwater, The Babysitter, Jane Got a Gun, and The Divergent Series: Insurgent.
‘The McPherson Tape’ (Shudder)
Known for being a pioneer in the found footage genre, this film centers on a typical fall evening in 1983 when a young man (Dean Alioto) videotapes his niece’s 5th birthday party. As the night’s strange occurrences take place, he keeps his video camera running, recording the entire event. Alioto also wrote, directed, and produced the film.
Coming out back in 1989, the movie was well ahead of its time with the way it made itself seem unnervingly real enough to trick some people into believing that it actually was. It’s impossible to watch and not see its obvious influence on later found footage and extraterrestrial films.
‘Infinity Train (Book 4)’ (HBO Max)
Infinity Train comes from the mind of Owen Dennis, who previously wrote for Regular show. It’s set on a gigantic, mysterious and seemingly endless train traveling through a barren landscape, whose cars contain a variety of bizarre, fantastical and impossible environments. Passengers on the train complete challenges as they proceed from car to car which help them resolve their psychological trauma and emotional issues.
Every season of the show follows its own storyline and set of characters, although they are all set in the same universe and some characters appear across different seasons. Each new season has featured a minor character from the preceding season as one of its main characters. Book 4 is the final season of the critically acclaimed series.
‘The Kid Who Would Be King’ (Disney+)
Directed by Joe Cornish, The Kid Who Would Be King was one of the most underrated films of 2019. King Arthur stories may have gotten a bit tiresome, but this modern spin on the classic tale has all the elements of a new classic. Funny and exciting, especially for the children this film is aimed at, the film breathes new life into an old legend.
Cornish, who helmed Attack the Block and was a writer for both The Adventures of Tintin and Ant-Man, perfectly captures the wonder and magic that the best children’s movies have. He also imbues the story with a topical sense of urgency; the looming threat of fascism and Brexit can be found throughout.
CONTINUED WEEKLY EPISODES:
‘Invincible’ (Amazon Prime Video)
Invincible is based on the groundbreaking comic book from Robert Kirkman, the creator of The Walking Dead. The story revolves around 17-year-old Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun), who’s just like every other guy his age — except his father is the most powerful superhero on the planet, Omni-Man (J.K. Simmons).
The hour-per-episode series also stars a powerhouse cast that includes Sandra Oh, Zazie Beetz, Gillian Jacobs, Zachary Quinto, Jason Mantzoukas, Melise, Mark Hamill, Mahershala Ali, Seth Rogen and more. The first eight episodes are now streaming with the final two premiering on April 23rd and April 30th. The season finale will be written by Kirkman himself.
‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ (Disney+)
After the very different style of WandaVision, the next Marvel Studios Disney+ series returns to the more familiar look and feel of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The series takes place mere months after the events of Avengers: Endgame, and puts the spotlight onto Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) following the retirement of their friend and leader Steve Rogers.
The pair are tasked with taking on a seemingly dangerous group known as the Flag Smashers, but the new government-appointed Captain America, John Walker (Wyatt Russell), is determined to bring them to justice himself. With only one episode remaining and the lines between what is morally right and wrong have become further blurred, the finale is sure to a world changing showdown.
The classic horror anthology series by Stephen King and George A. Romero was finally brought back from the dead in 2019 thanks to Shudder, delighting fans and capturing the spirit of the original films.
Executive produced by showrunner Greg Nicotero, who is best known for his work on The Walking Dead, Creepshow’s second season features guest stars Kevin Dillon, Iman Benson, Josh McDermitt, Keith David, Molly Ringwald, Barbara Crampton, Justin Long, and D’Arcy Carden, among others. The first three episodes are now streaming with the final three premiering in the coming weeks.
Also streaming now:
Netflix – ‘The Stand In’, ‘Dad Stop Embarassing Me’, ‘Rush’, ‘Synchronic’
Hulu – ‘Desierto’, ‘Paranormal Activity 4’, ‘Fly Like a Girl’
Shudder – ‘Alex de la Iglesia Double Feature’
HBO Max – ‘The Nevers’
Disney+ – ‘Rio’
COMING THIS WEEK:
Netflix – ‘Miss Sloane’, ‘Oloibiri’, ‘Stowaway’, ‘Shadow and Bone’
Hulu – ‘Thelma’, ‘Sasquatch’, ‘The Place of No Words’
Shudder – ‘Boys From County Hell’, ‘The Stepfather’, ‘Thale’, ‘The Conspiracy’, ‘Housebound’
HBO Max – ‘Mortal Kombat’, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, ‘A Black Lady Sketch Show (Season 2)’
Disney+ – ‘Secrets of the Whales’, ‘Baby’s Day Out’