Now Scream This: Can You Survive These Killer Animal Movies?

(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 Crawl in theaters, Chris and I have an easy thematic narrative this week: When Animals Attack! Who doesn't love a right turning of the tides when Mother Nature's kingdom punishes humanity? Maybe it's primates, possibly reptiles, sometimes insects – in any case, our picks could populate the most horrific zoo exhibition imaginable. Perhaps you'll think twice about that up-close-and-personal safari vacation you've been planning?

Chris: Crawl is now in theaters, and The Lion King opens this week. So what better way to celebrate these films loaded with CGI animals than by highlighting horror movies where animals attack? This week, Matt & I sing the praises of movies all about beasts who've had enough of human beings and their bullshit.

Boar

Now Streaming on Shudder

How much more Australian can you get than a killer boar movie starring John Jarratt and an actor named Ernie Dingo? Chris Sun's outback creature flick is all about brute animal savagery. His titular aggressor stands larger than any warthog you've ever glimpsed, goring its way through anyone unlucky enough to be in its trample trajectory. Boar only hit Shudder a few weeks ago, so chances are you might be new to hearing about this title. By streaming standards, it's worth the watch.

Chris: I have this sitting in my Shudder queue, but as usual, I've yet to watch it. But it sounds pretty amazing. 

Chaw

Now Streaming on Shudder

Sticking with boar-centric titles, why not try South Korea's Chaw? Same principles above, given the larger than life attacker. More emphasis is put on the hunt, with darkly lit nightmare sequences traded for horror-comedy tones. Detectives, legendary trackers, and other animal hunters team up for the chase of a lifetime. I always like to recommend offbeat titles since hey, you're streaming these for "free" from the comfort of home. How better to try out a zany yet horror-inspired title like Chaw?

Chris: Uh-oh, I have a feeling this is going to be one of those lists where I haven't seen a single title Matt mentions...

Burning Bright

Now Streaming on Tubi

You've seen Crawl, now imagine the same scenario sans flooding and with a tiger on the loose instead. That's Carlos Brooks' criminally underrated Burning Bright, your new favorite "killer kitty in a boarded-up house during hurricane season" movie. Garret Dillahunt plays a stepfather who spends his stepdaughter and stepson's educational funds on a tiger for his "safari ranch" exhibit. Kelly (Briana Evigan) and Tom (Charlie Tahan) then find themselves fighting the ferocious feline while all their windows and doors are boarded shut because there's a hurricane raging outside. If that doesn't sound enticing enough, let me promise that real performance cats are used (Katie, Schicka, and Kismet!). What was it you're waiting for, again?

Chris: Yep, I'm sensing a pattern here: stuff I haven't seen. I actually was looking to watch this this week, but I have no idea what Tubi is, so I guess that ain't happening. 

Rogue

Now Streaming on Starz

It's back to Australia, this time for a crocodile movie from Wolf Creek director Greg McLean. If you're familiar with Mr. McLean's work, you know what level of viciousness to expect. Turns from Radha Mitchell, Michael Vartan, Sam Worthington, and more ground this violent primal screamer in a realm of constant fear. Wait, is that another John Jarratt sighting? Of course! Which oversized animal do you think he fares against better, a boar or a crocodile? Go ahead, start your "John Jarratt Faces Murderous Animals" double feature right now. Australians know how to make a damn-fine creature flick, I'll tell you.

Chris: I remember the trailers for this when it hit theaters, and how hard they tried to hide the fact that the movie was about a crocodile.

Stung

Now Streaming on Hulu

Benni Diez's Stung flocks towards the "comedy" recesses of horror, but there's nothing funny about gargantuan wasps with spear-like stingers. Matt O'Leary and Jessica Cook lead a high-class socialite's party against attacking insects, with support from the likes of Clifton Collins Jr. and Lance Henriksen. Oh, right. I never told you how the oversized wasps appear. When "mini" first wave wasps sting humans, people-sized wasps burst from their very dead bodies. Super-fun creature work and an upbeat tempo won me over in an otherwise forgettable Tribeca Midnighter class that year, as Stung leaves a tasty late-night flavor in your mouth.

Chris: Congrats, Matt. You've done it. An entire list of things I haven't seen. I hope you're proud of yourself.

Cujo

Now Streaming on Showtime

There are two different Stephen King adaptations on my list, and you're just going to have to deal with that. There was almost three, but sadly, Sleepwalkers isn't streaming. But let's start with Cujo, shall we? King's nasty story about a rabid St. Bernard has become iconic – for decades now, people everywhere have been referring to dogs perceived as mean as "Cujo." As far as stories go, Cujo isn't exactly nuanced, and the film adaptation from director Lewis Teague is kind of flat – until its lengthy third act in which Dee Wallace and her son get trapped in a hot car as Cujo the killer dog prowls about. It's effective, although the film pulls a cop-out and softens King's much bleaker ending. 

Matt: Is it bad I still root for Cujo in this film? A dog's a dog!

Willard (2003)

Now Streaming on Starz

Eternal weirdo Crispin Glover rarely gets to lead a movie, which makes the 2003 remake of Willard extra special. Glover is in nearly every scene, and he makes the movie an absolute delight with his truly strange, bonkers performance. Glover plays lonely loser Willard, who ends up befriending all the rats that live in the walls of his big old house. Soon, Willard is using the rats to get revenge on those who've wronged him. But he's also butting heads with Ben, the biggest rat in the god damn world. I doubt anyone finds Willard particularly scary, but it's a true gem. It's a tragedy this wasn't a bigger hit, because I would've watched an entire franchise based around Glover and his murder-rats. 

Matt: For streaming purposes, Willard is a perfect "should we watch something weird tonight, honey?" option. Crispin Glover and "murder-rats." Certainly doesn't undersell the premise.

Eaten Alive

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

After The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Tobe Hooper directed Eaten Alive, a sleazy, nasty freak-show about a hungry, hungry crocodile. Neville Brand plays a creepy motel owner who starts killing people to feed to a local croc, and you can probably guess where it goes from there. Eaten Alive isn't anywhere near as accomplished as Texas Chain Saw, but it has a true grindhouse vibe that's hard to beat. 

Matt: Look at you, Chris. Multiple weeks where you're throwing me for a loop. Looks like I've got another aquatic horror flick for the list.

The Grey

Now Streaming on Starz

I know The Grey isn't technically a horror movie – but it's plenty horrifying. This Joe Carnahan film was advertised as another "Liam Neeson kicks ass!" movie, but that's not what The Grey is. Instead, it's a desolate meditation on the inevitability of death, as Neeson and several other plane crash survivors struggle to brave the elements and fight off a pack of persistent wolves. But you can only outrun death for so long before it eventually catches up to you. That's true horror, my friends.

Matt: The Grey is tense as all hell. I really, really like this movie.

Silver Bullet

Now Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

And here it is, the other Stephen King adaptation on the list. Based on King's Cycle of the Werewolf, this make-up effects-heavy werewolf flick has Corey Haim playing a wheelchair-bound boy who knows for a fact that the killer stalking his small town is a werewolf. He has a hard time convincing others, though – particularly his boozy uncle, played to perfection by professional wacko Gary Busey. Is this the best werewolf movie ever made? No, it absolutely is not. But it has Gary Busey telling offensive jokes, and also bugging his eyes out like a cartoon when he finally sees the werewolf. How can you not love that? 

Matt: I mean, do it for the Busey. Please.