For a time, ghouls and other assorted frights landed on the back-burner as opposed to the other genres in cinema. But horror has seen something of a reprisal in the past decade thanks to filmmakers capable of tapping into our most primal fear: the fear of the unknown. Now, an entire horror universe is anchored by The Conjuring franchise created by film director James Wan. We also have a steady stream of quality horror films from powerhouse studios in the genre, like A24 and Blumhouse.
Of course, thanks to streaming, these adrenaline-inducing adventures are now at your fingertips. Patrons of Peacock have access to an eclectic variety of films and TV series. But there are a few horror sleeper hits on the service that may have flown under your radar. If you haven’t seen these offerings, do yourself a favor and check them out.
The Black Phone (2021)
Despite the lack of a typical haunting narrative or mythical monsters, The Black Phone is far more creepy than any supernatural thriller. That’s because it’s a horror that’s all too real. The film focuses on a young boy named Finney (Mason Thames) who lives in a suburb during the 70s. The town is shaken by reports of a child kidnapper and, ultimately, serial killer known as “The Grabber.” Finney becomes the unlucky recipient of the Grabber’s attention and finds himself in a truly horrific position: locked in a remote basement.
While a sense of dread permeates the narrative like a thick wet blanket, there’s a glimmer of hope for the young lad as he receives help from the killer’s past victims via a mysterious black phone in the basement. The Black Phone boasts a wildly disturbing performance from Ethan Hawke (Training Day, Dead Poets Society) as the deeply unhinged abductor central to the film. It’s an engrossing narrative that you must see multiple times to appreciate.
We all remember Freaky Friday (2003), where the mother-daughter duo portrayed by Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan (respectively) swapped bodies and were forced to continue their lives to humorous and somewhat dramatic effect. Well, 2020’s Freaky directed by Christopher Landon (Happy Death Day, Happy Death Day 2U), took that concept and injected a little killer instinct into the mix.
The teenage Millie Kessler (Kathryn Newton) finds herself entangled with a middle-aged serial killer (Vince Vaughn) when the latter attempts to stab the former with an ancient mystical dagger. What results is a body swap that delivers on the film’s deliciously “freaky” promise. Millie must navigate life as a wanted man and convince her friends of the mix-up. Meanwhile, the killer gives Millie a sinister new reputation among her peers. While Freaky may not be truly scary, it’s a horror-infused story with plenty of dark humor that is sure to entertain.
The Void (2016)
Once upon a time, long before CGI proliferated throughout Hollywood, practical effects were the go-to when crafting concepts such as a creature, visualizing gore, or simply manifesting the fantastical were in order. Many horror fans pride themselves on being connoisseurs of practical effects – a seemingly lost art form. The Void is one such modern film that will transport you back to the ’80s, where buckets of corn syrup coated hallways to depict blood and animatronic or puppet creatures from the Stan Winston era ruled the roost.
The film follows a group of individuals from a small town who become trapped in a hospital as the building is surrounded by creepy hooded cultists that invoke Lovecraftian horrors of a vicious and bloody magnitude on the unsuspecting townsfolk. There’s a lot to love about the film, so we won’t give much away as far as the plot is concerned. Just know that you’re in for a bloody good time.