The theatrical slate is warming up just in time for the summer blockbuster season, heralding in a slew of significant horror releases that kickstarted with Spiral: From the Book of Saw. Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead arrives on Netflix this week, and next week brings the long-delayed A Quiet Place Part II. While the theatrical lineup holds promises for another stacked year in horror, the VOD and streaming circuit deserve just as much attention, if not more so.
These releases outnumber the big screen titles by a wide margin, creating an overwhelming volume of content that threatens to slip through the cracks.
This week’s streaming picks spotlight a handful of 2021 horror features that received a quieter release, at least stateside, but deserve some attention. There’s something for all styles and tastes here, from eerie little chamber pieces of psychological terror to Grand Guignol splatstick comedies.
As always, here’s where to stream them this week…
The Night – Hulu
In many ways, The Night draws clear inspiration from Kubrick, yet director Kourosh Ahari merely uses that as a launchpad to spin a stylish new psychological horror movie with confidence and specificity. The Farsi-language horror-thriller follows a couple that finds themselves in a looping nightmare once they check into a strange hotel for the evening. As tensions mount between the pair, so too do the unsettling events that suggest a haunted limbo from which they may never escape. Folklore meets psychological horror in this slow-burn haunted hotel tale.
Slaxx – AMC+, Shudder
If you thought a horror-comedy about a killer pair of jeans couldn’t possibly be very gory or creative in its kills, well, Slaxx is here to prove otherwise. Libby’s dream of working at a trendy clothing store becomes a nightmare when a lock-in to prepare for a designer jeans launch becomes ground zero for carnage. A possessed pair of those jeans springs to life to enact vengeance upon the store’s more unethical practices. While its messaging can get a bit heavy-handed, ultimately, Slaxx revels in the wacky horror hijinks. Look for random dance numbers and some delightfully bloody deaths. Consider it a genre form of therapy for anyone who’s ever worked in retail.
Saint Maud – Hulu, Prime Video
Maud (Morfydd Clark) is a pious nurse assigned to care for a semi-reclusive terminal patient named Amanda Kohl (Jennifer Ehle). Amanda still adores life and all its vices, however, and openly mocks Maud’s devout faith. It triggers a deep fascination in Maud that quickly turns into obsession. As Maud’s obsession spirals, the biggest question becomes whether her profound connection with God is real or imagined. Writer/Director Rose Glass’s feature debut delivers a pressure cooker scenario with a steady build as Maud’s experimentation with religion reaches dangerous heights.
Sator – AMC+, Shudder
Writer/Director Jordan Graham crafts a singular tale inspired by personal inherited trauma. Graham nearly constructs the entire feature by hand, serving as producer, cinematographer, editor, sound designer, composer, set decorator, and beyond. The result is a mood piece that won’t be for everyone, but for fans of occult horror heavy on ambiguity and creepy atmosphere, it’ll get under your skin. It follows a family nestled deep within the woods, confronting their grandmother’s history with a supernatural entity. Sator offers a dreamlike depiction of mental illness consuming a family from within, executed with a strange, wholly unique vision.
PG: Psycho Goreman – Shudder (May 20)
During a particularly grueling game of Crazy Ball in the backyard, Siblings Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and Luke (Owen Myer) uncover a strange gem that awakens an evil intergalactic conqueror. The being, which the siblings’ dub Psycho Goreman, is eager to continue his path of destruction. Too bad for him that the gem allows the overbearing Mimi to bend PG to her will. Writer/Director Steven Kostanski checks off every major nostalgic box in his evocation of the ’90s era live-action fantasy fare. Psycho Goreman delivers the schlocky space operas of our youth but injects hyper-violence and splatstick mayhem to liven things up. It’s a no-fuss, straightforward story that showcases the special effects and creature designs.