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.

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friend request

This coming weekend sees the release of a new horror movie hoping to scare audiences out of a few bucks, and we’re hoping it delivers despite seeming destined to open lower than a certain other horror movie heading into its third weekend. I’m looking at you, Stephen King’s IT.

If nothing else, Friend Request stands apart from the old-fashioned thrills of killer clowns and pervy dads by hitching its jump scare-filled wagon to something far trendier. Yes, of course I’m referring to the dangers of social media. The film sees a popular young woman accept a friend request from someone much lower on the social ladder, but when she realizes her faux pas and ends the “friendship,” she discovers a demonic presence who isn’t too keen on saying goodbye.

The internet has offered an enormous boon to commerce, education, and cowardice, but while it brings users together there’s no doubt it’s also keeping people apart. The idea of humanity losing touch with the very connections that make us human is frightening enough in the abstract, but over the years, filmmakers have found and focused on very specific nightmares related to our increasingly online existence. The resulting movies haven’t all been winners – sorry Smiley and Open Windows – but a few have tapped into universally felt fears easily enhanced and magnified by the global nature and anonymity of the online world.

Keep reading for a look at the eight scariest internet-related horror movies.

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Photos have surfaced of Black Death, starring Sean Bean and Carice van Houten. The project isn’t totally new — it is shooting now, as evidenced by the photos — but has gone more or less unreported. Christopher Smith is directing the story, which features Bean as a knight named Ulric who is scouring the bubonic plague-ravaged countryside for Langiva, a woman who conjures the dead back to life. Carice van Houten, who was so excellent in Black Book (and barely seen as Tom Cruise’s wife in Valkyrie) is playing Langiva, which is enough to secure my ticket.

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