Hulu is delivering quite a few treats this holiday season. In addition to plenty of television, including the seventh season of "Fear the Walking Dead" and the series premiere of "Kindred," there is a slew of horror movie releases dropping on the streaming platform throughout December. Whatever you crave, the site has in its lineup. Whether you're in the mood for flesh-eating zombies, a moody piece about mental health, or an entire series based around death, you'll find exactly what you need to scratch that itch.
From new-to-the-service entries to Hulu originals, December promises to appeal to a wide swath of horror hounds and end 2022 with a bang. If you're a little bit squeamish when it comes to gore and violence, there are such films as "Offseason," one of the titles on this list, that might be more your speed. Naturally, if you can't get enough of the buckets of blood, you'll find what you're seeking here. You can check out 10 essential movies to binge this December on Hulu below.
"Final Destination" arrived amidst a wave of teen horror in the late '90s and early aughts. Instead of a knife-wielding maniac in a mask, death becomes the killer. In this 2000 feature, Alex Browning (Devon Sawa) and his classmates are on a plane to Paris. Soon upon boarding, Alex has a vision that the plane explodes and crashes into the tarmac. "This plane's going to explode!" he shouts at the top of his lungs. Remember, this is pre-9/11 and such a declaration only results in Alex and several classmates being kicked off the flight. Throughout the rest of the film, death comes collecting their lives, lives that should never have exited that plane.
What makes "Final Destination" a classic is the way it retools slasher conventions to make something far more existential. Death is coming for us all, and there are no coincidences or escapes or accidents, as Tony Todd's character tells Clear (Ali Later) and Alex after they break into the morgue. From death by strangulation to that iconic bus splatter scene, death doesn't mess around and brings out a terror you just don't get in most slasher films.
Upon its success, "Final Destination" sparked an entire franchise — all of which is now streaming on Hulu — including the less-than-stellar fourth entry. While "Final Destination 5" proved a proper bookend to the series, a sixth film is currently in the works and earlier this year found its directors in Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein.
Final Destination 3
Mary Elizabeth Winstead ruled horror in 2006. In addition to the "Black Christmas" remake, she took the lead in "Final Destination 3," playing the doe-eyed Wendy to Ryan Merriman's Kevin. When she has a vision that the rollercoaster she's on jumps the tracks, it appears death is at its usual antics again. As the third entry in an ongoing franchise, taking place years after the original film, it has an emotional pulse not found in any of the other films. Wendy blames herself for her boyfriend's death, and the guilt she carries around is suffocating. The general premise is like the other films: Wendy must uncover the death order before it's too late.
An underrated entry in teen horror, "Final Destination 3" works on many levels; not only is the dynamic between characters rather strong, but the kills are as inventive as ever. There's a nail gun of doom, a broken workout machine, tanning beds on fire, and an unruly horse, among other kill devices. Where the original film carries a far more serious tone, the third installment leans into fun territory with less focus on existential questions about life and death. It might not outpace the first film, but it comes pretty darn close.
Final Destination 5
It's hard to believe the last "Final Destination" film was released 11 years ago. With the fourth film taking a nosedive in quality, it was nice to see the franchise rebound with "Final Destination 5," starring Nicholas D'Agosto and Emma Bell. The story follows Sam Lawton (D'Agosto) on a company retreat. On the way, he has a vision that tells him the North Bay Bridge is about to collapse and kill dozens of people. As usual, he's able to save several of his colleagues from meeting an ugly death. But, of course, death soon comes back around to bump them off.
Even before getting to the big finale twist (no spoilers), "Final Destination 5" is a strong sequel and greatly overlooked when talking about horror's best sequels. More importantly, the film contains a top-tier death sequence involving a screw and gymnastics (if you know, you know). There are several other deaths that immediately stand out, as well, involving acupuncture, laser eye surgery, and a wrench. When you expect sequels to slowly get worse with each entry, this one proves that with the right team you can deliver the goods.
Jenna Ortega is having quite the year. In addition to "Scream," "X," and her turn as Wednesday Addams in Netflix's record-breaking "Wednesday" series, she also starred in this little-known political satire/comedy "American Carnage." Directed by Diego Hallivis, the film depicts the government's savage approach to immigration. When teens JP (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) and Lily's (Yumarie Morales) home is raided, they're given an ultimatum: they can either fight the broken justice system or participate in a community service program caring for the elderly. The latter option feels too good to be true, and it is.
Taken to a sweeping estate, or rather a makeshift retirement home, JP and Lily are separated at the detainment facility and must then fend for themselves. JP befriends several others, including Ortega's character Camila, and attempts to make a go of it. He keeps his head down and does his work, all the while trying to navigate the very complicated social structure. Throughout the film, things just seem off, and little do they know there is a much bigger scheme happening below their feet. Not getting into spoiler territory, the film has a lot to say about humanity, freedom, and compassion. The script is supercharged with hot-button issues, and the cast more than meets the hyper-sensitive subject matter.
The Night House
David Bruckner is one of today's finest filmmakers. With "The Night House," co-written by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski, Bruckner tackles hard-to-swallow themes around death, mental health, and depression. When a young woman named Beth (Rebecca Hall) endures the death of her husband Owen (Evan Jonigkeit), she confronts his suicide and begins questioning her sense of reality. Odd things start occurring around her lakeside home, leaving her to wonder if what she is witnessing is caused by grief, her mental health, or something else entirely.
"The Night House" is not for the faint of heart. Along with all the spooky occurrences, Bruckner forces the audience to dive deep into mental illness and the outward ripples it has on people's lives. Beth, who admits to frequently struggling with depression, questions how that affected Owen and if she caused his suicide. Meanwhile, dark secrets about his other life emerge, tossing Beth into a whirlwind of confusion and total disarray. The man she once loved and adored is someone else completely, and her own mental health suffers greatly from these revelations. Before long, she also teeters right on the edge of life and death and must make a choice if she has any hope of surviving. "The Night House" is one of the most significant films in recent memory as it relates to depictions of mental health, a haunting and surreal experience that will have even the most jaded in the audience crying in their seats.
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Gone In The Night
"Gone in the Night" positions itself as a not-so-inspired cabin in the woods film. When Kath (Winona Ryder) and her boyfriend Max (John Gallagher Jr.) arrive at their secluded Airbnb, they meet a strange couple named Greta (Brianne Tju) and Al (Owen Teague) who are already shacking up in their rental. What you might expect is never as it seems. Director Eli Horowitz invites the viewer into a twisty and surprising tale about desperation and morality.
Horowitz and co-writer Matthew Derby manage a script that relies on multiple timelines to tell its intricate story. While the film may not be everyone's cup of it, it supplies plenty of mystery as Max disappears in the night and Kath is left to mount a quest for truth. Each revelation is jaw-dropping, the creatives yanking the rug from beneath the audience at every turn. Airbnb host Barlow (Dermot Mulroney) eventually enters the picture, and his involvement brings up further questions about one's integrity and how tragically inept the healthcare system is.
Dawn Of The Dead
Years before "Justice League" and numerous other superhero films, Zack Snyder made his feature directorial debut with 2004's "Dawn of the Dead," a remake of the 1978 film of the same name. Finding themselves in an apocalyptic hellscape, five survivors — nurse Ana Clark (Sarah Polley), police officer Sergeant Kenneth Hall (Ving Rhames), TV salesman Michael Shaunessy (Jake Weber), and married couple Andre (Mekhi Phifer) and a very pregnant Luda (Inna Korobkina) — must band together to survive. On a script written by none other than James Gunn, the film shocks you from the very first scene, injecting adrenaline directly into your veins.
It's one thing to remake a classic. It's a whole other beast to make a film that is so unique in its conceit and execution that it more than holds its own against the source material. In the sea of remakes in the aughts, "Dawn of the Dead" is one of only a few that does something different enough while paying homage to the original, that turns it into a classic in its own right. Nearly two decades later, it remains one of the best zombie films ever made.
In "Offseason," Jocelin Donahue stars as Marie Aldrich, a young woman forced to relive the trauma of losing her mother. Marie receives word that her mother's grave has been desecrated, so she makes the trip out to a secluded island town where she finds herself wandering through a waking nightmare. George (Joe Swanberg) comes along, and together, they are sucked into what appears to be a deranged purgatory. Writer-director Mickey Keating draws upon such films as "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Tenant" to contextualize his own story.
"Offseason" is the very definition of a slow burn. Its moody atmosphere creeps under the fingernails, and the viewer is slowly driven mad. Like in "Carnival of Souls," Marie starts seeing the dead roaming the streets. When George disappears, she falls further into an endless abyss of mania. The film, featuring quiet scares that leave marks on the brain, is in many ways a metaphor for grief and accepting death as an essential part of life. It also deals handily with intergenerational trauma and how cycles repeat even without our awareness. "Offseason" is the kind of spooky tale you tell around a crackling campfire with the night pushing in from all sides.
Darby And The Dead
A joyous and fun spirit akin to "Do Revenge," Silas Howard's "Darby and the Dead" is "The Sixth Sense" meets "Mean Girls" with a dash of its own quirky humor tossed into the mix. Becca Greene penned the script, basing the film on a story by Wenonah Wilms. Riele Downs stars as Darby Harper, a young teen who talks to dead people and helps them cross over. Needless to say, her powers have made her an outcast among her peers. But it's not like she has any interest in hanging out with the living. She'd rather spend her Friday nights with the walking dead.
A turn of events involving one of the popular girl's forces Darby to confront the death of her mother and contend with what death means in her life. The film, which drops references to such groundbreaking films as "Carrie" and "Halloween," relies on a campy, high-voltage aesthetic to relay its message. As Darby journeys further into herself, she learns what it means to be alive and that hiding away from the world leads to an unfilled existence. Along the way, she begins to understand that even the popular kids have their own struggles.
Based upon the Stephen King novel, John Carpenter's 1983 film "Christine" makes for a disturbing treat to end the year. Keith Gordon plays Arnie, the stereotypical nerdy type. After buying a 1958 Plymouth Fury, he soon realizes that the car has a personality all its own, and it begins to have an eerie effect on Arnie. While restoring the car, Arnie sheds his glasses and his entire personality starts to change — and not for the better. Much like the car, he exhibits dark, possessive qualities and becomes so obsessed with Christine that his girlfriend Leigh (Alexandra Paul) and friend Dennis (John Stockwell) start to notice.
In a long line of possessed inanimate objects, "Christine" stands head and shoulders above the rest. Whenever someone crosses Arnie, the car seeks murderous revenge, its impulses nearly impossible to control. But Arnie doesn't see what is happening to him and how dangerous the car really is. Leigh and Dennis eventually make it their mission to somehow destroy Christine, leading to a poetically tragic finale. "Christine" is a classic for a reason, and aside from "Halloween" and "The Fog," it's one of Carpenter's best features.
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The post Hulu Horror Movies You Can't Miss This December appeared first on /Film.