I love scary movies, but I also hate them. It’s quite the conundrum. I like the thrill that comes from sitting on the edge of your seat, but then it is nearly impossible for me to go to sleep at night. It’s a cruel cycle really. It was helpful freshman year when I was living in a triple because my fencer roommate would surely protect me from anything scary. Sadly, without the protection of Maggie, it makes watching anything remotely scary slightly difficult.
I have a very low threshold of scary that I can handle. Lucky for me, Netflix has released a lot of good content in the horror genre that isn’t so scary as to make you lay awake at night and flinch at any noise. These are some great shows to watch while carving a pumpkin or avoiding your midterm exams.
“28 Days Haunted”
What a trip this show was! I mean seriously, really recommend it for anyone who likes “Buzzfeed Unsolved.” Whether you believe in ghosts or not this show was certainly entertaining.
It’s like “Love Island” goes paranormal—not really, but I’ll explain. Three teams of paranormal investigators get sent to three separate locations. They are blindfolded and taken to the location, given no information about the site. The investigators are then cut off from the rest of society for the next 28 days.
No talking with family, no internet access—nothing. The process is an attempt to replicate the theory proposed by Ed and Lorraine Warren—two famous paranormal investigators who the “Conjuring” movies are based on. The Warrens proposed that living in a “haunted” place for 28 days would allow investigators to complete the cycle and break the veil between the living and the dead.
It’s a bold statement, but the investigators are determined to complete the experiment.
Now if someone told me to live in a haunted house for a month with no contact with the outside world I would tell them absolutely not. It’s a no for me. While I don’t know if I believe in ghosts, I really don’t want to experience proof that they are real.
You could say that the show is staged or the investigators looked things up about the locations in advance despite not knowing the location, but I have to say it was eerily accurate what they were getting from the “ghosts” and what actually happened. One medium almost perfectly described what happened to one family in the location they were in. You see vases fly off the shelves and cabinets open on their own.
You also see people wear spirit hats and do some other pretty-far-out-there things to “communicate with the dead.”
Whether it’s a bunch of nonsense or not, it’s some good background noise while you’re folding your laundry and not so scary as to keep you up at night.
“The Midnight Club”
Mike Flanagan—the writer of Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House” and “The Haunting of Bly Manor”—is back with another binge-worthy thriller show. “The Midnight Club” is based on a book by Christopher Pike, which centers around a young girl Ilokna (Iman Benson). Ilokna is a bright girl with her whole life ahead of her—until it isn’t. As a senior in high school she gets diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer. With her odds of going into remission dwindling she comes across what is essentially a hospice for young kids with terminal illnesses—Rotterdam Home.
Strange things start happening as soon as Ilonka walks through the front door, and things just get weirder as the show progresses. Ilonka discovers that the other patients of the hospice gather at midnight to share scary stories. It’s a tradition that they aren’t sure who started.
Ilonka hasn’t fully accepted the fact that she is dying, and despite going to the hospice as a way to begin this acceptance, she spends a lot of her time trying to heal herself through natural remedies.
Things ramp up pretty quickly, as Ilonka finds out secrets about Rotterdam Home. She finds a hidden floor beneath the building, a book recording previous Midnight Club members and discovers more about a patient who walked out of the hospice in remission. It just so happens that this patient was diagnosed with the same disease as Ilonka and she begins to obsess over ways to avoid her fate.
Honestly I was kinda confused by the ending, but I believe there is an intent to have a second season, unlike Flanagan’s other series. You’re left with a lot of questions at the end and you don’t get answers on who the ghosts are or why this haunting is happening.
Throughout the series various occult symbols are used and many of them are left unexplained, which is confusing, but hopefully there is a season two to answer these questions.
Would recommend it if you were a fan of “The Haunting of Hill House” and “The Haunting of Bly Manor,” though I don’t think “The Midnight Club” is as good as either of those series.
I had some background context for “The Watcher” because it was an episode of “Buzzfeed Unsolved: True Crime.” So warning: yes, this is based on a true story.
“The Watcher” centers on a family who has just moved from the city to the suburbs of New Jersey. A downgrade if you ask me, but anyway. They move to 657 Boulevard in Westfield, New Jersey. This is in fact the actual address and town in the true story. They appear to be a pretty ideal family of four: one daughter, one son and a family dog. They’re picture perfect.
Then things go awry. The family begins to receive letters in the mail, signed “The Watcher.” The content of the letters start as creepy but transform into something more sinister. The father, Dean Braddock (Bobby Cannavale), begins to go on this downward spiral as he becomes obsessed with the letters and finding out who the Watcher is. After the police seem unconcerned by the threatening letters, he seeks out a private investigator (Noma Dumezweni) to help research the history of the house.
There are a lot of suspects, from the neighbors next door to the police chief. Practically everyone is a subject at some point or another which I think really highlights the complexity of the case.
Perhaps the scariest thing about this show is that it is based on a true story. I mean, there is nothing scarier than paying a mortgage for a house and then finding out it is unsafe for your family to live there. Do you know the financial difficulty of that?
This show also really plays with your trust issues because you genuinely can’t tell who is lying and who is telling the truth. And while I am sure the show embellishes the story, I cannot imagine having to deal with any of this in real life.
The family in real life ended up having to move from the home. But it took many years to resell the home because news had spread of the letters. The family also wanted the next owners to be aware of the letters—after finding out the same type of letters were sent to the family who lived there before them. The house ended up selling for $400,000 less than they bought it for.
Good show; it reminded me a lot of “Criminal Minds,” but be ready it will really mess with your head.