With an arctic blast serving as an icy reminder that winter isn’t over yet, now is usually the time where we start longing for warmer, sunnier months. But horror often reminds us that the safest and coziest place is under a warm blanket on your couch or favorite chair.
The best place to watch more horror, of course.
So, this week’s streaming picks are dedicated to one of the best subsets of eco-horror; animal attack features. Nothing like the polar weather raging outside and these vicious movie beasts to remind you that nothing else is as deadly as Mother Nature.
Here’s where you can stream them this week.
Backcountry – AMC+
Alex and Jenn quickly find they’re in way over their heads when they decide to leave the city behind and try their hand at camping. But the more Alex insists on bringing Jenn to his favorite spot nestled deep within the wilderness, the more evident it becomes that he’s gotten them lost. Much of Pywacket director Adam MacDonald’s feature debut plays like an intense survival thriller, with tensions between the pair rising as their supplies dwindle. There may or may not be a predatory man lurking nearby, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the territorial black bear. There are bear attack movies, and then there’s this one, which delivers the most vicious attack sequence of all time. It’s more than worth the wait getting there.
Ben – Pluto TV, Tubi
In this follow-up to Willard (streaming on HBO Max), killer rat colony leader Ben finds a new friend in a young boy named Danny (Lee Montgomery). Danny is a lonely, ostracized boy with a heart condition, and this sequel drops the psychological horror in favor of something more touching and sentimental. That doesn’t mean that Ben’s colony doesn’t wreak havoc, as the authorities hunt them down. But at its core, it’s a tale of a sweet boy and his highly intelligent pet rat, and it’ll tug at your heartstrings. Bonus: the theme song, “Ben,” sung by Montgomery in the film and Michael Jackson during the end credits, landed at the top of the music charts.
Burning Bright – Prime Video, Tubi
As if Kelly doesn’t have enough problems to deal with between her mother’s suicide and caring for her autistic brother, someone has sealed all the doors and windows in her house and let loose a ravenous tiger. She can’t call for help, either, because a hurricane has downed all phone communication. It’s an underseen gem that far exceeds what could’ve been a cheesy thriller. Director Carlos Brooks creates genuine, white-knuckle suspense and employs a real tiger for maximum effect, often through composited shots. The early melodramatic exposition scenes may seem daunting at first, but all of that fades away once the tiger is let loose.
Shakma – Prime Video, Tubi
An experimental drug meant to inhibit aggression has the opposite effect on its test subject, a baboon named Shakma. When it goes berserk, Professor Sorenson (Roddy McDowall) orders his med student to euthanize the animal, but it instead escapes and embarks on a rampage through the facility. That’s terrible news for Sorenson and the group of students that have assembled for a live-action role-playing game. Chris Atkins and A Nightmare on Elm Street’s Amanda Wyss rounds out the cast, but really, the star here is the ferocious baboon with a ruthless, mean streak. Being trapped anywhere with Shakma is a nightmare.
Snakes on a Plane – HBO Max
Because not all animal attack movies need to be serious, and sometimes you want a goofy, fun time. Samuel L. Jackson stars as Neville Flynn, an FBI agent escorting a key mob witness on a flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles. The mob boss wants to ensure that the witness keeps his mouth shut permanently and has venomous snakes jacked up on hormones rigged to ensure the plane never lands. It’s a chaotic, often funny fight for survival against a slew of snakes. The snake VFX don’t hold up as well in places, but it doesn’t do much to detract from a B-movie with a stacked cast led by Jackson uttering bonkers lines that’ll get your fist pumping with glee. If you’re in the mood for a movie that doesn’t take itself even remotely seriously, this is an entertaining bet.