When the world feels like a scary place, some people will choose to consume as much lighthearted content as possible to distract them from their fears, while horror fans know how much of a relief it can be to tune in to a much more horrifying narrative to take comfort in immensely intense storylines to offer catharsis from our real-world stress. Even if relieving stress isn't something you require, with the number of public spaces currently closed, plenty of us are finding ourselves with hours of free time and we'll likely be turning to our favorite streaming services this weekend to keep us entertained.
Luckily, Amazon Prime Video has a number of exciting genre films to check out, including genre classics that are worth a revisit and under-seen indie hits that might have flown under subscribers' radars.
Scroll down to see some of our picks for what to watch on Amazon Prime Video this weekend and hit up Patrick Cavanaugh directly on Twitter to share your own recommendations and thoughts about the films!
The Wailing (2016)
A Japanese man moves into a remote cabin in the woods in a small South Korean village, which is followed shortly thereafter by an outbreak of a mysterious illness. Villagers begin to display symptoms of a rash, in addition to having violent outbursts, leaving the community concerned about what is plaguing the village.
Reports emerge that the root of the sickness is supernatural in nature, leading a detective to attempt to track down the strange man, with some villagers claiming that a stranger isn't the only entity descending upon the village.
The Wailing harkens back to the effectiveness of The Exorcist and its blend of drama and the supernatural, allowing the narrative to plant the question in audiences' minds about whether there are real-world answers to the bizarre occurrences or if there's something more horrifying at play. Add to that the fact that the film is two-and-a-half hours long, and The Wailing is one of the more exhausting horror experiences you can endure.
The Return of the Living Dead (1985)
Filmmaker George Romero introduced audiences to the concept of the "Living Dead" with 1968's Night of the Living Dead, which earned a number of sequels, while 1985's horror-comedy The Return of the Living Dead served as a spiritual sequel to that film that took the narrative in an all-new direction.
When mysterious barrels are discovered in a small town, unwitting residents open the containers and let loose a deadly vapor, which starts to bring the dead back to life. While Romero's films featured lumbering beasts who could be vanquished with a blow to the head, these zombies are much harder to kill, and even retain enough of their intelligence to be able to talk.
A much goofier exploration of zombies, the film might not be as horrifying as some of its peers but is definitely one of the more unique explorations of the living dead in cinematic history.
Following the death of their parents, a pair of siblings begin to discover some bizarre occurrences taking place at their local funeral home, which center around a tall man who works there, floating silver spheres, and pint-sized figures in robes. As you could imagine, this all leads to the discovery that corpses are being sent to another dimension and need to be shrunk to cope with the different sense of gravity in their new home.
The joys of Phantasm come from its surrealism, with director Don Coscarelli finding the perfect balance of a grounded narrative with otherworldly events, all heightened by its visuals, score, and performance from Angus Scrimm as the Tall Man.
The Nightmare (2015)
Far from being a traditional horror movie, this documentary about the horrors conjured in our mind will surely remind you of some of the more frightening images you're capable of creating in your own head.
More than just chronicling the experiences of eight different people who all experience sleep paralysis, The Nightmare goes so far as to recreate the unsettling visions they have experienced, whether those be the presence of shadow people or the disturbing idea of your surroundings taking on an all-new and immensely frightening intention.
From Rodney Ascher, who gave us the deep-dive into The Shining with Room 237, The Nightmare will either make you relieved that you aren't alone in experiencing sleep paralysis or frighten you to learn what others experience.
Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin star in the film focusing on a group of unlikely survivors all attempting to navigate the deadly world in which they live, forming strong relationships with one another. The film not only helped bring the cast into the genre spotlight, it also helped revive interest in zombies, making a series like The Walking Dead more accessible to burgeoning horror fans.
Following in the footsteps of a film like Return of the Living Dead, the film never attempts to convey that the events of the film are realistic and instead revels in the inherent absurdity of the dead coming back to life.
Bone Tomahawk (2015)
One of the more grisly films on the list, Bone Tomahawk combines fantastic performances, a Western setting, and cannibals in a way not often seen in film. Kurt Russell, Richard Jenkins, Patrick Wilson, and Matthew Fox star as a posse in search of a kidnapped woman who might have more success if they could stop bickering with one another. The film is expertly written and leads our cast down a path full of gruesome horrors, including one of the most brutal on-screen deaths in 2015.
The Lighthouse (2019)
From Robert Eggers, the visionary filmmaker behind the modern horror masterpiece The Witch, comes this hypnotic and hallucinatory tale of two lighthouse keepers (Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson) on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s. As an approaching storm threatens to sweep them from the rock and strange apparitions emerge from the fog, each man begins to suspect that the other has become dangerously unmoored.
Anchored by rivetting performances by Pattinson and Dafoe, the film made for both an experience that was difficult to witness while also being one we couldn't look away from. Eggers previously delivered audiences The Witch in 2016, proving with a follow-up that he's a master of tone and atmosphere, capturing aesthetics that none of his contemporaries are even attempting to convey.