What better place to start this list than with what many of us consider to be the fiercest surprise of the year – it’s certainly one of the most entertaining. Barbaric was originally marketed around a quirk of modern life (AirBnB and other forms of home sharing). Our new “sharing economy” turns into a nightmare scenario when a young woman named Tess (Georgina Campbell) arrives in the middle of the night at a house she has rented, only to find a man (Bill Skarsgård) already there. He too claims to have rented the house, and since he’s raging outside… he invites her in.

To say more about the plot would be to deprive the uninitiated of the film’s truly sinister twists and narrative twists. But suffice it to say, writer-director Zach Creggar has pulled off the most original and unpredictable chiller in years, drawing as much on his background as a writer and comedy actor as on his talent so far. there unknown to destabilize. There’s a warm, deceptively free energy to a narrative that, like a good comedy set, takes you on a journey with detours, asides, and thematic repetitions that shed light on something about human nature. However, nature Barbaric hopes to illuminate is on the toxic wrong side of life. So instead of laughing, it mostly leaves you holding your breath in sheer, terrible anticipation. – David Raven

Killer in Bitch-Ass

female dog ass

A brand new masked slasher killer movie is reason enough to rejoice. But female dog ass touts its titular villain as “the first black serial killer to wear a mask,” even as it pays homage to black horror films of decades past. Citing movies like people under the stairs, Tales from the Hoodand candy man (whose legendary star Tony Todd serves as this movie’s “horror host,” Titus Darq) as touchstones, first-time director Bill Posley serves up a bucket of Halloween candy worthy of a fun B-movie.

female dog ass is the story of a group of low-level criminals who break into the wrong house and find themselves at the mercy of a masked murderer obsessed with board games. Packed with both creative kills (including at least one that left audiences screaming in sympathy) and audience nods to the genre, it’s the exact opposite of the often-heavy ‘l ‘high horror’. Pull up a beanbag chair and settle in for a VHS-style throwback on a chilly October night. – mike cecchini

Ethan Hawke in The Black Phone

The black phone

The black phone brings together director/screenwriter Scott Derrickson with his Claim co-writer, C. Robert Cargill, as well as the star of this film, Ethan Hawke, in a highly focused thriller based on a story by Joe Hill. The film is set in 1978 in a suburb of Denver held under the grip of the Grabber (a twisted Hawke), who kidnapped and murdered five young boys from the neighborhood. When 13-year-old Finney (Mason Thames in a standout debut) becomes his next kidnapping victim, it’s only a matter of time before he meets the same fate – until a phone disconnected dial on the Grabber’s basement wall begins ringing with calls from its previous victims.

As Claim, The black phone is a slow burn at the start that escalates the tension once Finney is in the hands of Hawke’s genuinely unsettling Grabber. The accumulation of period detail, the unpredictable narrative and, above all, the development of the endearing relationship between Finney and his 11-year-old sister, Gwen (Madeleine McGraw), make for effective, often terrifying and ultimately poignant horror. exit. –Don Kaye