October is the month of all things scary — including movies! With Halloween just around the corner, there are a slew of horror flicks hitting theaters this month. Can’t decide which ones to check out and which ones to avoid? Here are three of the best and three of the worst scary movies scheduled to premiere in October (listed in chronological order):
1. Best: The Final Girls, October 9
Directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson, the horror comedy stars Taissa Farmiga as Max Cartwright, a high school senior, who is mysteriously transported with her friends into a 1980s horror film that starred Max’s mother, Amanda (Malin Åkerman), a well-known scream queen. Trapped inside the movie, Max finds herself reunited with her mom, who she lost in real life. Together, the group must battle a deranged machete-wielding killer and find a way to escape the movie and make it back home. Adam DeVine, Thomas Middleditch, Alia Shawkat, Alexander Ludwig, and Nina Dobrev also co-star.
After screening at several film festivals earlier this year, the meta thriller has earned a largely positive response, with critics praising its talented cast and sly winks to classic horror tropes. Though it may not quite live up to predecessors like Scream or Cabin in the Woods, Variety concludes this movie is “good fun that should delight genre fans.”
2. Worst: Knock Knock, October 9
This erotic horror film, directed by Eli Roth, stars Keanu Reeves as a devoted husband and father who is left home alone for the weekend when two stranded young women unexpectedly knock on his door for help. What starts out as a kind gesture soon ends up turning into a dangerous seduction and a deadly game of cat and mouse. Lorenza Izzo and Ana de Armas also co-star in the film.
The movie has earned mostly negative reviews so far, with a 36% score on Rotten Tomatoes. While Roth has a long history in horror cinema, Knock Knock doesn’t deliver the scary fun of his past films, instead relying on a storyline that critics called “repetitive” and “drowning in cheap thrills.” As The Hollywood Reporter put it, “[Knock Knock is] a film that flirts and flirts with explanations for its action without ever delivering.”
3. Best: Crimson Peak, October 16
Guillermo del Toro’s highly anticipated romantic gothic horror film takes place in 19th-century Northern England and follows young author Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) as she falls in love and marries Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston) but then discovers that her charming new husband is not who he appears to be. His home — a crumbling mansion in a largely rural region of the country — harbors ghostly, mysterious entities, which he and his sister, Lady Lucille Sharpe (Jessica Chastain), desperately and fiercely try to hide.
Between the star-studded cast and an acclaimed director like del Toro at the wheel, expectations for this movie have been at an all-time high. Thankfully, it looks like the project is just as beautiful and terrifying as you expect. While official reviews of the film have been embargoed until mid-October, the movie screened at Austin’s Fantastic Fest in September and the Twitter reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.
4. Worst: The Diabolical, October 16
Directed by Alistair Legrand, this upcoming sci-fi horror film stars Ali Larter as Madison, a single mother who moves into a haunted house. After being terrorized by paranormal forces, she enlists the help of her scientist boyfriend. Arjun Gupta, Max Rose, Chloe Perrin, Kurt Carley, and Merrin Dungey also co-star.
The movie premiered at SXSW earlier this year to mixed reviews. Mixing elements of thriller, sci-fi, and slasher genres, the film attempts to set itself apart but ultimately fails to deliver on any of the three. Plus, the twist at the end, while fairly unexpected, will probably disappoint those looking for a solid scare.
5. Best: Tales of Halloween, October 16
The upcoming horror anthology film consists of ten interlocking segments that take place in a small American town and follow its residents who are terrorized by ghouls, aliens, and killers one Halloween night. Barry Bostwick, Lin Shaye, John Savage, Pat Healy, BooBoo Stewart, and Grace Phipps star in the movie, which was helmed by 11 different directors, including Neil Marshall (The Descent), Darren Lynn Bousman (Repo! The Genetic Opera) and Lucky McKee (May).
The film, which focuses more on fun and less on scare, premiered at the Fantasia International Film Festival to mostly positive reviews, with critics calling it an entertaining take on the normal gore and spook of the season.
6. Worst: Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, October 23
The final film in the popular horror series will chronicle the supernatural occurrences that take place in the Fleege family’s new home in Palo Alto, California. When Ryan Fleege (Chris J. Murray) finds a tape of two young girls, Katie and Kristi, being taught supernatural abilities by their grandmother, he unlocks paranormal phenomena that begin targeting his young daughter, Leila. Using a special camera that can see spirits, Ryan must find a way to protect her before it is too late. Brit Shaw, Dan Gill, Ivy George, and Katie Featherston also co-star.
This franchise was already getting old about two sequels ago and yet somehow, it’s still around — mostly because it continues to be a big office earner, despite increasingly bad reviews. Since The Ghost Dimension is supposedly the last movie in the Paranormal Activity series, producer Jason Blum promised that audiences will, at the very least, get some answers to the lingering questions in the franchise’s mythology. Still, if the last two Paranormal Activity movies are any indication of what’s to come, moviegoers probably shouldn’t expect too much from this final installment.