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Water Cooler: Contemporary horror films on Kanopy

UPDATED: Tue., Oct. 20, 2020

A scene from Robert Eggers’ “The Witch” (2016).  (A24)
A scene from Robert Eggers’ “The Witch” (2016). (A24)

Horror and thriller films have had a strong resurgence in the last few years, especially within the independent film scene. Check out some of the newest additions to these genres on Kanopy, free to stream with a local library card.

“The Witch,” directed by Robert Eggers – William and Katherine lead a devout Christian life with five children in 1630s New England. The family was exiled because of William’s defiance of a local church and now their homestead resides on the edge of an impassable forest. The family begins to unravel after the crops fail and their newborn son mysteriously disappears. 2016. 93 minutes. R.

“What We Do In the Shadows,” directed by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement – Vampire Housemates Viago, Deacon and Vladislav try to get by with all the difficulties of modern life, like paying rent, doing housework and trying to get invited into nightclubs. Their 8000 year-old friend Petry turns a 20-something hipster into a vampire, so the roommates attempt to coach him through his new, eternal life. 2014. 86 minutes. R.

“Hereditary,” directed by Ari Aster – After the matriarch of the Graham family passes away, her daughter Annie is left to unravel the cryptic and terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more that is uncovered, the more the Graham’s find themselves trying to outrun an inherited sinister fate. 2018. 124 minutes. R.

“It Comes at Night,” directed by Trey Edward Shults – Two families maintain an uneasy alliance as they attempt to coexist in a shared house after a mysterious apocalypse leaves the world with one a few survivors. Together they attempt to keep an outside, unnatural evil at bay. 2017. 94 minutes. R.

“Tusk,” directed by Kevin Smith – A podcaster and his mysterious seafarer guest go missing in Canada’s backwoods. A young man and his girlfriend join forces to search for him in what turns out to be an equally hilarious and horrifying journey. 2014. 102 minutes. R.

“Green Room,” directed by Jeremy Saulnier – A punk rock band goes on tour and becomes trapped in a secluded venue after becoming witnesses to a violent crime. They soon realize the venue is ran by a gang of white supremacist skinheads who are intend to eliminate all witnesses to the ongoings of the club’s crimes. 2016. 96 minutes. R.

“The Oregonian,” directed by Calvin Reeder – A woman gets into a car accident. While wandering through the woods to seek help, she stumbles upon a surreal Northwest landscape. 2011. 81 minutes.

“The Alchemist Cookbook,” directed by Joel Potrykus – Self-made chemist and young outcast Sean has isolated himself in a trailer in the woods, living only with his cat Kaspar. Suffering from pill-popping induced fantasties of fortune, he turns from chemist to black magic in order to crack the ancient secret of alchemy. His manic experiments go awry as he unintentionally awakens something far more sinister and dangerous. 2016. 83 minutes.

“A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,” directed by Ana Lily Amirpour – In the Iranian ghost town of Bad City, the streets reek with death and hopelessness, populated by junkies, pimps, prostitutes and sordid souls. A lonely vampire stalks the town’s most unsavory inhabitants. 2014. 101 minutes.

“Slice,” directed by Austin Vesely – After several pizza delivery boys are slain on the job in a spooky small town, two of the survivors set out to catch the culprits behind the crime spree. 2017. 83 minutes. R.

“They Remain,” directed by Philip Gelatt – Two scientists set out to investigate the unnatural animal behavior on the site of a remote cult compound. The isolated location and primeval forces threaten to unravel them. 2016. 101 minutes.

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