(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: In striving to become more theme-driven with our bimonthly streaming choices, Chris and I landed on a “Spring Break” concept for this first offering of May. Sorority girls in bikinis, slashers with a thirst for vacation-crashing, outdoor carnage – Horror 101 type stuff. You’d be correct to assume VOD platforms showcase no shortage of such horrors, and once again, my genre preferences provide a perfect complement/clash with Chris’ reality escapes…with no escape. Start pouring the tequila and slathering on the suntan lotion. Let’s gets sloppy.

Chris: SPRING BREAK!! Let’s all party at the beach! And by “party at the beach”, I mean, stay indoors and watch horror movies, just as god intended. There’s a slight irony to this theme, since “spring” as a season doesn’t really exist anymore – thanks, climate change! Still, the concept of Spring Break offers up the perfect opportunity for characters in films to attempt to get away from it all, only to die horrible deaths. So break out your mirrored sunglasses, pop open a cold one, and enjoy all the untimely death mentioned below. 

Club Dread

Now Streaming on HBOGo

Matt: Comin’ out swinging, this week! First with a Broken Lizard slasher parody that I, myself, enjoy for all of its obvious stupidity and sex-crazed paradiso slaughtering. It’s not exactly a five-star assessment of mythical genre rules – phones don’t work, groups split up, trust corrodes – but Machete Phil’s quest for bloodshed is on-the-nose satire in small doses (albeit desperately juvenile). Appreciate Bill Paxton for the Jimmy Buffett ripoff he plays (Coconut Pete) and the immature shenanigans Broken Lizard engages in (this is a horror comedy 100% built on sexual innuendos and nudity), but credit a third-act twist that goes incredibly Jack Torrance/Norman Bates/any other psychotic snap. When [redacted] springs upwards, turns mechanically towards frame and glares that devious madman smile… A perfect moment in an admittedly imperfect film, but that’s what streaming is for.

Chris: Time for a controversial opinion: I actually prefer Club Dread to Broken Lizard’s more well-renowned film Super Troopers. Perhaps it’s the horror theme, or perhaps it’s the late, great Bill Paxton stealing the show. But if I had to choose one Broken Lizard film to watch again and again, it would be Club Dread.

Bait 3D
Now Streaming on Shudder

Matt: Bait 3D is the greatest “trapped in a flooded supermarket with a 12-foot Great White shark right after a tsunami hits” disaster flick you can ask for. Coming from the genre-savvy shores of Australia, this Xavier Samuel/Sharni Vinson aquatic thriller wastes no time chomping into a meaty escape-or-be-killed adventure that’s delightfully more Deep Blue Sea than Jaws. It’s more Deep Blue Sea then Deep Blue Sea 2, in fact. Save the poorly constructed and completely underdeveloped romantics for the next Gerard Butler Geostorm dud and give me giant animatronic sharks eating people, right? Kimble Rendall is of the same mindset. There are shopping cart dive suits, shotguns, dismembered human chew toys – Bait 3D is an absolute blast with a brutal but entertaining bite.

Pretty much any shark movie can pass as Spring Break material. Stop thinking so singularly.

Chris: I haven’t seen this, but I just read the official synopsis – “A freak tsunami traps a group of people in a submerged grocery store. As they try to escape, they are hunted by white sharks that are hungry for meat” – and that, plus Matt’s write-up, has ensured I’ll be watching Bait 3D immediately. I just hope there’s a scene where someone turns to the camera and says, “To these sharks, we’re bait.” And then someone else leans in and whispers, “3D.”

The Wicker Man
Now Streaming on Shudder

Matt: While Nicolas Cage’s “NOT THE BEES!” dialogue has become a thing of legend in Neil LaBute’s 2006 remake, Robin Hardy’s original The Wicker Man is quintessential springtime horror. Christopher Lee is the most deliciously demented Lord Summerisle, his remote isle a fantasy land of pagan rituals that dismay Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward). Ever-so subtle sacrificial undertones bubble under quaint village interactions and lusty communal practices. Celtic imagery, phallic May Day celebrations, and massive effigial prisons seem so unthreatening at first as the habits of locals usher in hive-mind innocence – but that’s the film’s greatest trick. Accepting you with open arms, only to blossom nefarious motives under assuming rays of sunshine. Far more emphatically fucked than you’re able to realize in time.

Chris: I’m furious Matt didn’t pick the Nicolas Cage version. That said, the original Wicker Man is pretty good too, I guess. In all seriousness, The Wicker Man is loaded with atmosphere, so much so that it feels less like a movie and more like a documentary. Like we’ve somehow stepped into a real event, and like the main character, we can’t get out. Harry Waxman’s sun-dappled cinematography proves that you don’t need darkness and shadows to craft a scary horror movie. Sometimes, the scariest events can happen in broad daylight.

Piranha 3D
Now Streaming on Netflix

Matt: No, I don’t love every finned movie with 3D slapped on the end – it just so happens that two of my favorite underwater predator movies fit the bill. Bait 3D is but a starter course before the succulent feast that is Alexandre Aja’s Piranha 3D. Every Spring Break box is checked. Alcohol-soaked lake swimmers in constant peril, hordes of snappy piranhas hungry for flesh, Eli Roth getting his head crushed as a aggro douche – what doesn’t this movie have. Jerry O’Connell as a sleazeball Girls Gone Wild mogul who dies an absurdly vicious death? Check. Ving Rhames shredding piranhas with a boat propeller as a last line of shallows defence? Check. Elisabeth Shue strappin’ her big-girl pants on and saving the day with Adam Scott’s help? Check and mate. This remake knows what it is and never cheats audiences. Gore, guts and plenty of fish food for the picking.

Chris: Piranha 3D opens with Richard Dreyfuss, dressed as his character from Jaws, being devoured by angry piranhas. When asked why he would take such a part, Dreyfuss responded: “money.” You have to respect that. And you have to respect a killer fish movie that makes Adam Scott the leading man. Also, there’s a scene where the piranhas eat Jerry O’Connell’s penis. Viva la cinema!

Now Streaming on Netflix

Matt: Continuing a very obvious narrative throughout most of this week’s selections, Zombeavers is yet another lakeside poke at fun-in-the-sun gone horribly wrong – this time with goddamn zombie beavers. “But Matt, that sounds absolutely ridiculous.” Of course it is! John Mayer and Bill Burr accidently dump chemical waste in a body of water where beavers reside, thus giving the animals an infectious bite that can turn anything into a beaver. Soak that in. No spoilers, but trust that director Jordan Rubin pays off that notion and billions more. We’re talkin’ practical transformations into hybrid zombie creatures, horny teens stuck defending their cabin from buck-toothed invaders, a zany sense of humor that never lets the party die (heh) – Zombeavers is a rare horror film that delivers exactly what’s promised by titled obscurity. Like WolfCop or Bed Of The Dead does.

Chris: Some days, you need to watch finely crafted, impeccable works of art. Other days, you need to watch movies called Zombeavers. ‘Nuff said.

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