Now Scream This: Beat the Heat With These Summer Horror 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: This week’s theme on “Now Scream This” is brought to you by New Orleans’ melting heat. As both Chris and myself attended the Overlook Film Festival last weekend, perspiration dripped early, often, and whenever we wandered outdoors. It’s summer, what did we expect? In honor of Louisiana’s sticky-wet humidity, we’ve got some streaming horror recommendations all about frights under the sun. Praise be indoor air conditioning.
Chris: Matt is correct: New Orleans is the sweatiest place on the planet. I’m not a big fan of summer – I like the weather to be as cold as a tomb. But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy some summer-themed horror movies. Sure, horror tends to stick to the shadows, but sometimes, it steps out into the sun.
Now Streaming on Starz On Demand
Matt: Might as well start with a classic! Steven Spielberg’s New England shark attack still stands as superior aquatic horror even decades later. Veteran actors wage war against a mechanical foe munching beach vacationers whose splish-splashing turns into a bloody cloud of air bubbles frantically rising. Jaws is a masterclass in tension, creature reveals, and attacks from murky depths be it lunchtime or midnight. There’s a reason people didn’t go back into the water after watching Jaws. Give a watch to remember why.
Chris: God, here Matt goes again, picking a movie I’ve never seen! I’m kidding, of course. I’ve seen Jaws. It’s the one about the alien who befriends a small boy, right?
Now Streaming on Hulu
Matt: Mickey Keating’s sun-scorched sniper thriller is everything that sunny or sweaty scares are about. Blistering daylight can’t stave off psychopaths, as Pat Healy kills those unfortunate enough to find themselves centered within his scope. Ashley Bell flees through target ranges and deserted mountain terrain decorated like nuclear testing once took place, instituting a constant sense of paranoia as bullets whiz free. Carnage Park is some post-fallout fun borrowing from Quentin Tarantino’s all-roads-leading chaos that, for my money, is Keating’s best. Absolutely his most fun, deranged, and burned to a crisp.
Chris: This movie is pretty damn weird. It starts off seeming as if it’s one type of movie before turning into something completely different, and wacky. I don’t know if I like it, but I appreciate it.
Wolf Creek 2
Now Streaming on Amazon Prime
Matt: Australia’s outback plays host to plenty of natural horrors from predators to dehydration, none scarier than John Jarrett’s mental trapper. Greg McLean returns with Wolf Creek 2; a bloodier, meaner brushland slasher that wipes away equal parts blood and sweat. I mean, I *really* like this movie. Horror hasn’t birthed any truly iconic slashers in the last however many years, but I believe Mick Taylor belongs in such a discussion. Hell, my review from five years ago says it all: “Wolf Creek 2 is the ferocious kick in the ass that the slasher genre needs right now – bloody, brutal, and lead by a slasher icon in Mick Taylor that rivals the most memorable horror villains produced in the last decade.”
Chris: The Wolf Creek movies are pretty damn nasty, and definitely not for everyone. But I do appreciate the sense of place they create. You can practically feel that hot Australian sun beating down.
Now Streaming on Shudder/Tubi
Matt: Olly Blackburn’s open-waters thriller is, indeed, about the sexual act known as “Donkey Punching.” The move itself is disgusting, violent, and abusive. Blackburn’s film, fortunately, is some vacation-gone-wrong partying that turns a night of lurid coed fornicating at sea into a fight for survival when one female ends up dead via “Donkey Punch.” If Blackburn’s setup sounds downright atrocious, it’s supposed to be. What plays out oozes sunbaked and claustrophobic paranoia as trapped women fight against the men attempting to hide their crime. A relevant stranger-danger warning reminder to anyone traveling this summer.
Chris: It took four entries, but we finally hit our prerequisite Matt pick that I haven’t seen.
Now Streaming on Showtime On Demand
Matt: I’m just going to say it – Anaconda is a blast. Right up there with the late 90s holy triumvirate of aquatic creature features including Deep Blue Sea and Lake Placid (Deep Rising an honorable mention). Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight, Owen Wilson and more must fight a massive Amazonian water demon or be crushed via constriction. Practical effects are fun as hell when the film’s rubberized snake goes to strike, driving home that fun-in-the-sun midnighter feeling that plays so well in a group setting. This is the nightmare National Geographic doesn’t want you to see.
Chris: I saw this in the theater with my father. I’m pretty sure he fell asleep during it. If so, he missed Jon Voight being regurgitated.
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