Best Halloween movies and series to watch in the UAE this year

Netflix, Amazon Prime, OSN+ and Disney+ are home to some seriously spooky shows

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With Halloween around the corner, it's time to plan your spooky movie marathon.

Streaming services in the UAE offer fairly slim pickings when it comes to truly terrifying horror films and series, but these are some of the most likely to have you hiding behind your hands. They're ranked from newest to oldest.

'Incantation'

Platform: Netflix

Year: 2022

This is the highest-grossing Taiwanese horror film — and for good reason.

Directed by Kevin Ko, who also co-wrote the screenplay, it's a found-footage supernatural horror, based on a true story, that came out in Taiwan in March but hit Netflix globally in July.

It focuses on Li Ronan, who was cursed after breaking a religious taboo six years earlier. Now, she is trying to protect her daughter from the consequences of her actions.

'The Midnight Club'

Platform: Netflix

Year: 2022

This horror mystery-thriller series follows a group of eight terminally ill patients at the eerie Brightcliffe Hospice who gather at midnight to share scary and supernatural stories.

It's based on a 1994 novel by Christopher Pike and was created for television by Mike Flanagan, who was also behind The Haunting of Hill House.

While it employs unique storytelling devices, it also leans into classic horror movie tropes, in particular the jump-scare, which is when a moment of quiet is suddenly interrupted by a loud noise or quick cut-to or any other technique, to make a viewer jump with surprise.

It has even broken the Guinness World Record for having the most amount of jump-scares in a single episode (21 in the first one).

'The Watcher'

Platform: Netflix

Year: 2022

The scariest aspect of this new series on Netflix is that it's based on a terrifying true story.

Bobby Cannavale and Naomi Watts star in this ensemble drama, as their characters, the Barannocks, move with their two children into their dream home in the Manhattan suburbs.

Soon, they start receiving ominous letters with dark threats from someone calling themselves The Watcher and learning more about their strange neighbours. The father starts to look into the house's mysterious and sinister past.

'American Horror Stories'

Platform: Disney+

Year: 2021-2022

This show is not to be confused with American Horror Story, although it is a spin-off from that 10-season series.

American Horror Stories is an anthology horror TV series created by Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story, Ratched, Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story) and Brad Falchuk (American Horror Story, Glee, Scream Queens) for FX on Hulu.

There are two seasons, the latest of which came out in July, and each episode tells a different, "twisted" story that features plenty of familiar faces.

It's a great one to dip in and out of or binge-watch in its entirety on Halloween night.

'Ready or Not'

Platform: Disney+

Year: 2019

This black comedy horror stars Samara Weaving as Grace, a newlywed whose initiation into her husband's wealthy yet Satan-worshipping family is a game of hide and seek — where if anyone finds her, she dies.

The film stars Adam Brody and Andie MacDowell, who hunt down Grace throughout the night, as she attempts to survive by hiding and killing her way to dawn, when she will seemingly be safe again.

'The Haunting of Hill House'

Platform: Netflix

Year: 2018

You know it's a good horror series when even Stephen King said he got goosebumps when he watched it.

That's the case for The Haunting of Hill House, by American filmmaker Flanagan (Doctor Sleep, The Haunting of Bly Manor), which has an average audience score of 91 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes.

The story for the first season is loosely based on Shirley Jackson’s 1959 gothic novel, following five siblings as they experience paranormal occurrences over two timelines: when they were children living in Hill House, and then when they’re older, as far away from Hill House as they can get.

A second season, called The Haunting of Bly Manor, based on the 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, while worth a watch, is simply not as good (nor as scary) as its predecessor.

'Get Out'

Platform: Amazon Prime

Year: 2017

Master of the elevated horror film, Jordan Peele changed the game when he put out Get Out, his directorial debut, in 2017.

The psychological horror was shot in 23 days and was released to much acclaim, becoming a commercial and critical success.

It stars Daniel Kaluuya, a young black man who uncovers shocking secrets about his white girlfriend's (Allison Williams) family and neighbours.

The story and the way it is told is undoubtedly creepy, but it's the statement it makes on racism in America that is truly chilling.

'Under the Shadow'

Platform: Netflix

Year: 2016

This 2016 Persian-language psychological horror film was written and directed by Iranian-born Babak Anvari and is his directorial debut.

It stars Narges Rashidi as a mother, who, along with her daughter, is haunted by a mysterious evil in 1980s Tehran, during the War of the Cities.

An international co-production between Qatar, Jordan and the UK, it was selected as the British entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards, but was not nominated. It did, however, win a Bafta for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer.

'The Conjuring Universe'

Platform: Netflix

Year: 2013-2021

No Halloween is complete without watching at least one of the movies from the expansive Conjuring Universe.

Many of the films are available on Netflix, the best being the original, The Conjuring, and any from the Annabelle series.

The Conjuring films are a dramatisation of real-life cases from paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson), who were associated with controversial cases of haunting.

Annabelle films, and other spin-offs in the series, focus on the origins of some of the entities the Warrens encountered, including the titular doll that would haunt anyone's dreams.

'1408'

Platform: OSN+

Year: 2007

As with many of the world's eeriest stories, 1408 is based on a novel by the King of Horror himself, Stephen King.

This 2007 psychological thriller follows sceptic Mike Enslin (John Cusack), who checks into the fabled room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel in New York City, to debunk any paranormal happenings.

The hotel manager (Samuel L Jackson) tells him that in 95 years, no one has lasted more than an hour and there have been 56 deaths inside that room alone.

Despite his scepticism, soon Mike comes face to face with true evil.

'The Good Son'

Platform: Disney+

Year: 1993

You won't find any jump-scares or loud noises in this classic film, written by Ian McEwan, but you will witness a bone-chilling performance from a young Macaulay Culkin.

A young boy, Mark (Elijah Wood), stays with his aunt and uncle after the death of his mother, becoming friends with his cousin Henry (Culkin), who is the same age. But soon, his cousin starts showing signs of violent and psychopathic behaviour, which starts to make Mark feel uneasy.

Updated: October 21, 2022, 10:26 AM
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