Now Scream This: Film Festival Horror Movies Streaming Right Now

(Welcome to Now Scream This, a column where horror experts Chris Evangelista and Matt Donato tell you what scary, spooky, and spine-tingling movies are streaming and where you can watch them.)

Matt: With Chris away having all his fun at Utah's Sundance Film Festival, I thought it fitting to theme this week's "Now Scream This" around festival content. Flicks that started their lives at festivals, or garnered "fest hype" notoriety, or maybe just played festivals without you knowing. Long story short, all these films screened from Mexico to Montreal – Los Angeles to New York City – before breaking out. The "fest" life can be exhausting, but also rewarding with discoveries like the ones below. 

Chris: I am back from Sundance and overwhelmed with the dreaded Sundance Flu! But I won't let that get in the way of recommending some horror flicks for you, dear reader. This year at Sundance I saw two great horror films – The Lodge and The Hole In the Ground, and last year's Sundance produced Hereditary. Film festivals can often make for fertile ground for horror, as the following picks prove.

Tales From The Hood 2

Now Streaming on Netflix

Matt: Disclaimer: I'm not playing by the rules with this pick because I've yet to see Tales From The Hood 2 myself. Why include Rusty Cundieff and Darin Scott's urban horror anthology, then? Aside from fellow attending Fantasia Festival critics whom I trust lauding the commentary's satire and over-topped ambitions (on a lesser budget, beware), little-to-no marketing promoted the film's drop onto streaming juggernaut Netflix. Surprised, right? In any case, there's another Tales From The Hood you can watch right this motherflippin' second starring Keith David as master of SCARYmonies (nailed it), Mr. Simms. If anything, this recommendation is a reminder to myself as well. Let me know what y'all think in the meantime!

Chris: This movie is terrible. Just...awful. I'm a huge fan of the original Tales From the Hood, but this film should be jettisoned into space. Off to a good start, Matt!

Gerald’s Game

Now Streaming on Netflix

Matt: Netflix strutted into 2017's Fantastic Fest with a handful of original titles, none more hyped than Mike Flanagan's Stephen King adaptation Gerald's Game - which I didn't screen at the festival. Why? The kinky nightmare played Fantastic Fest on September 24th and hit Netflix September 29th, literally the day after festivities wrapped up. I might not be able to remember exactly what under-the-radar indie my schedule slot went to instead, but why waste precious Fantastic Fest time on a guaranteed distribution watch when half the fun of genre festivals is walking into screenings blind? In any case, I happily watched Gerald's Game hungover on my friend's couch while killing time before my flight home. Well worth all the hype around *that* degloving escape sequence.

Chris: For years I thought Gerald's Game was unadaptable. Mike Flanagan proved me wrong, because that's how good he is.

Darling

Now Streaming on Shudder and Amazon Prime

Matt: Walking into my 2015 Fantastic Fest screening of Darling churned conflicting emotions in my stomach. Filmmaker Mickey Keating is a devoted student of cinema who embodies his idols with each movie he makes, but to that point, not all projects struck my interests equally. Then Lauren Ashley Carter sauntered onto screen in this black-and-white throwback to Alfred Hitchcock and Roman Polanski that hypnotizes, stuns, and transports viewers to a bygone era of entertainment. So much performance emanated from Carter's almost Audrey Hepburn gaze, screaming in pain with nothing but widened glares. Keating accomplishes tremendous technical interest on minimal New York City means. As an exercise in artistic refurbishment, Darling is anything but another homage film school project.

Chris: Darling is wild, and often infuriating. But Lauren Ashley Carter is a star!

Let Us Prey

Now Streaming on Shudder and Amazon Prime

Matt: Let Us Prey was an elusive 2014 festival vagabond. I covered multiple programs that included Brian O'Malley's police station descent into Hell, but the title was never available for remote coverage (something more and more festivals are gravitating towards). My great white horror buffalo of 2014. It's the only reason Let Us Prey stayed on my radar and thank heavens it did. I finally stumbled upon the Liam Cunningham vessel and got slammed with a blasphemous punch that's part isolation possession thriller, party psychological freakout, all roguish divine madness. Losta imagery derived from holy symbolism and a desire to desecrate the father, son, and spirit alike. Plus who can be mad at a movie when Pollyanna McIntosh shows up?

Chris: I haven't seen this, but I always see the cover art on Shudder and think, "Hmm...maybe."

The Hive

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime

Matt: The Hive is an odd one. It premiered at Fantastic Fest in September of 2014, hit San Diego Comic Con the summer of 2015, released in the US/UK later that year, then played more festivals internationally later on? David Yarovesky's acid washed sci-fi connect-the-dots is like Memento but for toxic hive mind possessions. It's...a lot. Plotting jumps around more than Bohemian Rhapsody's editing (topical!), but there's viciously unique creativity at play worth focused watches. Yarovesky plays with time parallels, body sentience, free will – everything conspiracy outbreak thrillers might tease, thrown in a blender and served up fresh. Sporadic and synapse-frying? Sure. What's art without a little abandon sometimes?

Chris: We almost made it a whole list with me seeing everything Matt picked! But no, he had to throw me for a loop with these final two. Cheeky bastard.

Under the Skin

Now Streaming on Netflix

Chris: Under the Skin, which debuted at Telluride, is a flat-out masterpiece. A haunting, otherworldly journey into the unknown, this film has Scarlett Johansson as an alien in human form, navigating her way through a string of hapless men. It's so strange and unlike anything else you'll ever see, full of incredible cinematography and a spooky score courtesy of Mica Levi. I know this isn't everyone's cup of tea, but this remains one of my all-time-favorite films.

Matt: Tie me up and torture me all you want, but Under The Skin is a bore. That's all I'll say on the matter since there's no point in screaming alone into a void of opposing views.

American Psycho

Now Streaming on Starz

Chris: Back in 2000, when American Psycho debuted at Sundance, few people knew what they were in for. Would director Mary Harron stick to Bret Easton Ellis' near-pornography book? Would the relatively "unknown" (I'm using quotes because he was in a Steven Spielberg movie, for crying out loud, but still wasn't a household name) Christian Bale be able to lead a film? The result was a wonderful surprise. Harron took Ellis' text and worked into something far more enjoyable, and Bale more or less signaled that he was one of the best actors of his generation, playing Wall Street serial killer Patrick Bateman. The film still holds up to this day, remaining both funny and disturbing.

Matt: American Psycho is pinnacle Wall Street horror commentary. Bale's performance credits to the "nothingness" behind Tom Cruise's eyes and Nicolas Cage's role in Vampire's Kiss, which is perfection. White collars, bloody hands. Quite masterful.

Paranormal Activity

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Chris: It's easy to forget, in the wake of so many goofy sequels, that the first Paranormal Activity is actually pretty damn great. It's a simple, economical found-footage flick about a haunted house, and it manages to make the mundane seem scary. A California couple is tormented by unseen spirits, and all sorts of creepy stuff happens. That's it! No needlessly complex mythology. No dumb twists. Just cut and dry horror. Paranormal Activity played the festival circuit from 2007 to 2008, when it then became a huge box office hit and helped put Blumhouse on the map.

Matt: My stance is this - Paranormal Activity is a culturally significant film responsible for restarting found footage subgenre domination that opened *so* many doors. It isn't the *best* found footage film, but it's effortlessly scary and will continue to keep me awake at night due to my fears of the unknown.

Veronica

Now Streaming on Netflix

Chris: This TIFF debut is supremely spooky. Set in the early '90s,Veronica follows a teen girl (Sandra Escacena) in Madrid who decides to mess around with a Ouija board during a solar eclipse. What could go wrong? Everything! Soon, the girl is being tormented by supernatural forces, and endangering her younger siblings in the process. This isn't what I'd call the most original of horror films, but it has such great atmosphere that it works exceedingly well, and will most assuredly give you the creeps.

Matt: I watched 117 or 118 new release horror films in 2018, and yet Veronica escaped me. Somehow. The easiest one to watch – sitting on Netflix – and yet I'm emailing PR reps for Ahockalypse screeners. Need to rectify.

The Neon Demon

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Chris: I know Nicolas Winding Refn gets a bad wrap for his over-indulgent nonsense, but that's honestly why I enjoy his work so much. The Neon Demon is one of his most lurid works, a trashy, nasty horror flick that debuted at Cannes. Elle Fanning is a young beauty who moves to Hollywood, and is lusted after by everyone and everything. Bathed in neon and gaudiness, The Neon Demon features murder, sex, necrophilia and more. It also features Jena Malone stealing the show as a makeup artist who lusts after both Fanning and corpses, and Keanu Reeves in a brief-but-memorable role as the world's creepiest motel owner. This is trash filmmaking at its finest.

Matt: Style over substance, my friends. My oh MY does Nicolas Winding Refn bring neon-soaked LA style, but the substance just isn't there for me. "This city will eat you alive." Clever, Nic.