A new holiday horror hits Shudder, a powerful Western drama lands on Netflix and plenty more come to streaming for this first week of December
‘The Advent Calendar’ (Shudder)
Kicking off the holiday season in the best possible way, The Advent Calendar tells the story of Eva (Eugénie Derouand), who has been paraplegic for the past three years. When her birthday arrives, she receives a strange advent calendar as a gift. But instead of the traditional sweets, every day reveals something different; sometimes pleasant but often terrifying, and increasingly bloody. It’s going to be a very deadly Christmas this year. Written and directed by Patrick Ridremont, this bit of festive horror shows that’s it never too late to deliver some of the most gruesome sequences of the year.
‘The Power of the Dog’ (Netflix)
Based on the novel by Thomas Savage, this Western drama stars Benedict Cumberbatch as a wealthy, cruel, and mysterious rancher named Phil Burbank in the 1920s. Together with his brother George (Jesse Plemons), they’ve established a name for themselves out in Montana. But when George brings home a woman named Rose (Kirsten Dunst) and her son Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee) with the intent of starting a family, Phil turns into even more of a monster than before, and lives get turned upside down. The film is written by directed by esteemed filmmaker Jane Campion (The Piano, In the Cut), who won the Silver Lion award for the film at the Venice Film Festival. With astounding performances from its stellar cast and expert direction and cinematography, The Power of the Dog is one of the year’s best.
‘The Raid 2’ (Hulu)
After surviving a bloody fight with powerful gangsters, rookie Jakarta cop Rama (Iko Uwais) thinks he can resume a normal life. However, his exploits during that fateful incident have attracted the attention of criminals even more deadly than the last. His family at risk, Rama has no choice but to go under cover. He gets himself thrown in prison, where he befriends the son of a prominent crime kingpin. Rama must lay his own life on the line to finally destroy the criminal empire. Following in the footsteps of his game-changing predecessor, The Raid 2 showed the stylish and captivating hyper-violent action of this particular series was no fluke – it’s just as insanely intense as the first.
‘Jennifer’s Body’ (Amazon Prime Video)
Jennifer’s Body came out during the initial explosion of Megan Fox’s career, and when paired with costar Amanda Seyfried, the tale of a high school girl who goes around killing her male classmates seemed like a surefire hit. Sadly, this wasn’t the case – the film was met with mixed reviews and a poor box office reception, but it has seen a significant resurgence in popularity in the past couple of years, with many now considering it an underrated classic. Retrospective reviews praise the movie for its feminist themes and subversiveness, things that may have been lost on audiences at the time. For those looking to check out a genuinely unique and fun horror comedy that deserves newfound love, Jennifer’s Body is the one for you.
‘12 Strong’ (HBO Max)
A bit smarter but just as endearing and exciting as other military movies, 12 Strong is set in the harrowing days following 9/11 when a U.S. Special Forces team, led by their new Captain, Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth), is chosen to be the first U.S. troops sent into Afghanistan for an extremely dangerous mission. There, in the rugged mountains, they must convince Northern Alliance General Dostum (Navid Negahban) to join forces with them to fight their common adversary: the Taliban and their Al Qaeda allies. In addition to overcoming mutual distrust and a vast cultural divide, the Americans—accustomed to state-of-the-art warfare—must adopt the rudimentary tactics of the Afghan horse soldiers. But despite their uneasy bond, the new allies face overwhelming odds: outnumbered and outgunned by a ruthless enemy that does not take prisoners.
‘Lost in Space (Season 3)’ (Netflix)
A reimagining of the classic 1965 television series, Netflix’s Lost in Space is set thirty years in the future where the Robinson family has been chosen to start a new life in a space colony. On the way to what they believe will be a better world, the Robinsons’ ship is abruptly thrown off course and they are thrown into a dangerous alien environment. Now light-years from their original destination, they must forge new alliances and work together to survive. In the epic final season, the Robinsons’ survival instincts kick into hyperdrive as they race to reunite and protect Alpha Centauri from a robot invasion.
‘Mill of the Stone Women’ (Shudder)
This 1960 horror gem was the first Italian horror movie to ever be shot in color. A writer named Hans (Pierre Brice) arrives in a town near Amsterdam to write a story on the reclusive sculptor, Professor Wahl (Herbert A.E. Bohme) who lives on an island in the old mill house the locals call the Mill of the Stone Women. Hans meets the professor’s beautiful and seductive daughter (Scilla Gabel), and begins feeling passion for her despite his true love for Lisa Lotta. Slowly he becomes aware of the nefarious experiments being conducted by Wahl and his furtive assistant Dr. Bohlem (Wolfgang Preiss) and local women continue to disappear.
‘Blade II’ (HBO Max)
From director Guillermo del Toro, this sequel to the smash hit 1998 superhero movie sees Blade forced to team up with the very vampires he hates in order to overcome a new type of monster which threatens to eradicate both races. Vampires are a subject that del Toro is obviously very comfortable with, and his signature style bleeds through quite nicely. When combined with the star power and charisma of Wesley Snipes, Blade II is a worthy follow up. Marvel Studios is set to reboot the character and have him enter the MCU, played by Mahershala Ali.
‘Halloween III: Season of the Witch’ (Amazon Prime Video)
From Knotfest’s Ryan J. Downey as part of this year’s Halloween Horror Picks: “Season of the Witch is set in a different universe (Halloween even plays on a television in one scene), abandoning the slasher genre for a smoldering mystery involving the occult, androids, secret societies, Stonehenge (!), and the Celtic origins of Samhain. The movie’s greatest contribution to horror culture was arguably the three iconic masks – a lime green witch, a glow-in-the-dark skull, and a jack-o-lantern – which figure prominently in the movie’s plot. Tom Atkins (The Fog, Escape From New York, Creepshow) plays Dr. Dan Challis, who helps young Ellie Grimbridge (Stacey Nelkin) investigate her father’s murder. That investigation leads them to a small town supported by the Silver Shamrock Novelties factory and its mysterious leader, Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy).”
‘Brotherhood of the Wolf’ (Shudder)
In a rural province of France, a mysterious creature is laying waste to the countryside, savagely killing scores of women and children. Unseen, possessed of enormous strength and a human intelligence, the beast has eluded capture for years. Two unlikely heroes are called in to fight the evil (Samuel le Bihan & Vincent Cassel) – an unconventional team whose combined methods and capabilities may bring the beast down. But the true nature of the beast is not what anyone could have anticipated. This 2001 French oddity is a mix of…well, pretty much everything. Period drama, martial arts movie, swashbuckling adventure, and monster horror, Brotherhood of the Wolf is not to be missed. There’s nothing else like it.
CONTINUED WEEKLY EPISODES:
‘Behind the Monsters’ (Shudder)
This brand new documentary series dives into the making of and cultural impact of some of the genre’s most recognizable killers. For any horror aficionados looking to learn more about a few of the most important films and characters to hit the big screen, or for any newer fans looking for an interesting history lesson, Behind the Monsters is guaranteed to be an insightful look into how these things were brought to life. Written and directed by Gabrielle Binkley and Anthony Uro, the series will comprise of six episodes that’ll feature interviews with experts, the writers, directors and actors from the original films, producers, and other documentary filmmakers and horror historians. The episodes will focus on characters like Michael Myers, Jason Vorhees, Freddy Krueger and more. All six episodes are now streaming.
‘Succession’ (HBO Max)
HBO has knocked it out of the park once again with Succession, a show that tracks the lives of the Roy family as they contemplate their future once their aging father (Brian Cox) begins to step back from the media and entertainment conglomerate they control. The first two seasons of the series quickly garnered praise for being one of the best new shows on television and has been showered with awards. The third miraculously looks like it’s only getting better as the Roys continue to vie for their father’s assets. The first seven episodes of the new season are now streaming.
Former Avenger Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) has a seemingly simple mission: get back to his family for Christmas. Possible? Maybe with the help of Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), a 22-year-old archer with dreams of becoming a superhero. The two are forced to work together when a presence from Barton’s past threatens to derail far more than the festive spirit. The first three episodes are now streaming.
Also streaming now:
Netflix – ‘Blood and Bone’, ‘Body of Lies’, ‘Bordertown: Mural Murders’, ‘Chloe’, ‘Final Destination 3’, ‘The Final Destination’, ‘Final Destination 5’, ‘Fool’s Gold’, ‘Green Snake’, ‘Ink Master (Season 3-4)’, ‘Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure (Season 4)’, ‘Knight Rider’, ‘Knight Rider 2000’, ‘Law Abiding Citizen’, ‘Looper’, ‘Minority Report’, ‘Pet Sematary’, ‘Premonition’, ‘Soul Surfer’, ‘Sucker Punch’, ‘The Fourth Kind’, ‘The Legend of Zorro’, ‘Tremors’, ‘The Alpinist’, ‘The Whole Truth’, ‘Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous (Season 4)’, ‘Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas’
Hulu – ‘The A-Team’, ‘Alienator’, ‘All Is Lost’, ‘Armageddon’, ‘The Bank Job’, ‘Behind Enemy Lines’, ‘Con Air’, ‘The Crazies’, ‘Crimson Tide’, ‘Cujo’, ‘Friday the 13th’, ‘Her Smell’, ‘Hustlers’, ‘King Kong’, ‘The Manchurian Candidate’, ‘Ocean’s Eleven’, ‘Ocean’s Twelve’, ‘Ocean’s Thirteen’, ‘The Princess Bride’, ‘Sherlock Holmes’, ‘Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’, ‘Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow’, ‘Graveyard Shift’, ‘Thinner’, ‘Superbeast’, ‘Troll’, ‘The Warriors’
Shudder – ‘To All a Good Night’, ‘Brotherhood of the Wolf’, ‘House of Wax’, ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out’, ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation’, ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toymaker’
HBO Max – ‘A Perfect Murder’, ‘Cloud Atlas’, ‘The Haunting in Conneticut’, ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’, ‘Interview With the Vampire’. ‘The Incredible Burt Wonderstone’, ‘The Italian Job’, ‘Jack the Giant Slayer’, ‘Jackie Brown’, ‘Jupiter Ascending’, ‘The Mask’, ‘Max Steel’, ‘Mortal Kombat’, ‘Mortal Kombat: Battle of the Realms’, ‘The Muppets Take Manhattan’, ‘No Country for Old Men’, ‘Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters’, ‘R.I.P.D.’, ‘Rubber’, ‘Se7en’, ‘Troll Hunter’, ‘The Truman Show’, ‘The Wedding Singer’, ‘XXX’, ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’
Amazon Prime Video – ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’, ‘Edward Scissorhands’, ‘Halloween II’, ‘Pineapple Express’, ‘Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby’, ‘The Hunt for Red October’, ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’, ‘The Thin Red Line’, ‘The Usual Suspects’
Disney+ – ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’, ‘The Rescue’, ‘Million Dollar Arm’
COMING NEXT WEEK:
Netflix – ‘Voir’, ‘Saturday Morning All Star Hits!’, ‘The Unforgivable’, ‘Two’
Hulu – ‘World War Z’, ‘Swan Song’
Shudder – ‘Death Valley’, ‘Screams of a Winter Night’, ‘Devil Times Five’, ‘Fangs’, ‘Switchblade Sisters’, ‘Spider Baby’, ‘Hail to the Deadites’
HBO Max – ‘At the Ready’, ‘The Forever Prisoner’, ‘The Slow Hustle’
Disney+ – ‘Welcome to Earth’, ‘Tron: Legacy’