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Cooper’s horror movie roundup

From left, Olivia Holt as Teen Pam, Charlie Gillespie as Teen Blake, Kiernan Shipka as Jamie Hughes, Stephi Chin-Salvo as Marisa Margolis and Jeremy Monn-Djasngar as Teen Randy Finkle in “Totally Killer.” (James Dittiger/Prime Video/TNS)

Halloween is here, and what better time than now to catch up on some of this year’s horror films? 2023 has been an interesting year for horror. Sequels have been huge hits at the box office, but so have a handful of smaller indie projects from new and upcoming filmmakers.

The Blackening

Currently streaming on Apple TV+, “The Blackening” is the new film by director Tim Story. The movie’s advertising ran with the tagline, “We can’t all die first.” This film is a twist on the horror-comedy genre. While the jokes might not always land, there is enough to keep audiences engaged with the movie’s more satirical aspects.

Horror satires that take an introspective look at the common tropes of these films aren’t made quite as often as they were in the late ‘90s throughout the 2000s. This movie is an exciting new entry in this subgenre of horror-comedy filmmaking.

Totally Killer

“Totally Killer” is currently available for streaming on Amazon Prime. “Totally Killer” is a time-traveling slasher, to put it in the simplest way possible. This film is quite aware and acknowledges the “Back to the Future” influence that can be felt throughout its runtime. This feature finds our protagonist, Jamie (Kiernan Shipka), traveling back to the ‘80s in hopes of preventing a slasher who has resurfaced from the shadows and kills her mom.

This new film pays tribute to the classic slasher films that dominated horror throughout the 1980s. While the end of the film can come off as a bit predictable, “Totally Killer” is enjoyable enough to put on Halloween night.

Sick

“Sick” is a film that debuted on Peacock earlier this year after premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival last year. “Sick” is a slasher film that takes place during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The film tackles themes of isolation while mostly taking place in one location. Just three years later, it is fascinating to see how filmmakers approach making features that deal with the pandemic. The film offers a tight and claustrophobic feeling throughout. “Sick” features a truly bizarre ending that turns an otherwise fairly by-the-book slasher film into an interesting look at the pandemic and our time in quarantine.

No One Will Save You

While not about the pandemic, “No One Will Save You” is still a film that deals with the feeling of being isolated. This film about an alien invasion can currently be found on Hulu. What is impressive and makes this film standout amongst other films in the same vein is that there are maybe two lines of dialogue spoken throughout the entire film.

“No One Will Save You” follows Brynn (Kaitlyn Dever) who has a distant relationship with her community due to events that happened in her past. Through the course of this alien invasion film, she must find closure with the mistakes of her past. The film also has one of the most chilling final sequences in a horror film this year, that feels very inline with the end of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” (1978).

Talk to Me

“Talk to Me” will likely go down as A24’s horror phenomenon of the year. This new occult film is brought to us by filmmakers Danny and Michael Philippou, who got their start making short films on their YouTube channel “RackaRacka.”

“Talk to Me” is about a group of teenagers that have found a ceramic hand that lets them communicate with the dead. Amongst the plethora of films that deal with the concept of possession in horror, this new film finds a way to stand out with a unique approach to this subgenre. “Talk to Me” includes some of the most frightening imagery that this year’s batch of horror films has to offer.

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Cooper Hatsis, Culture reporter

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