Let’s hope you’re a fan of Halloween because the streaming services are doling out several heaping helpings of spooky content this week. There are psychopaths and stalkers and couples who could murder each other at any moment, so which streaming service reigns supreme to give you the most for your money? This week, there’s no contest: Netflix wins the title. The Ted Sarandos-helmed service gives us the newest installment of the addictive You along with The Trip, both of which pair the spirit of the season with a slasher mentality. There’s also Midnight Mass, which is Mike Flanagan’s latest contribution to the witching hour, and if you want something that doesn’t include supernatural flavor but still strikes a cultural chord, there’s Squid Game and The Closer.
Back to scares: four other streaming services — Peacock (with the newest Michael Myers picture), Disney+ (with Muppets and LEGO offerings), Amazon Prime (with a remake of a 1990s slasher movie and Blumhouse), and Discovery+ (with lots of Eli Roth stuffings) — have you covered. And if you’re tired of pumpkins and knives already, then Paramount, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and AMC+ will have plenty of fresh selections for your taking. Here’s the best of the new streaming selections for this weekend.
You: Season 3 (Netflix series) — Nothing says (twisted) family bonding like two parents digging a grave for their murder victims while an infant sits in his car seat and does his best to amuse himself. Yikes. Fortunately for all of us, however, the show about Stalker Joe manages to sustain its gimmick and volley the nutso-factor into the stratosphere. It’s a lot like Mr. & Mrs. Smith but with serial killers. Joe (or “Will”) can’t give up his ways (including his roaming eyes), Love refuses to give up hers, and their sleepy little suburb is about to get rocked into oblivion.
The Trip (Netflix film) — Noomi Rapace plays one half of a married couple who can’t remember why they ever loved each other. He’s a director, and she’s an actress, and both have failed heavily (even in soap operas) over the past handful of years. There might be infidelity involved, and there are definitely personality issues on both sides, and then they end up taking a weekend in the woods at an isolated cabin. Will either of them be able to emerge alive, and if not, will one take out the other? Or maybe they’ll actually reconcile, who knows! Crikey.
Squid Game: (Netflix series) — This Korean show’s on track to be the streamer’s most-watched show ever and has been topping the charts in 90 countries in counting. It’s not real stuff, but the show tells the story of hundreds of desperate contestants who play a deadly survival game, all to win billions of prize money, at the best of… who? (That aspect is mysterious until you watch.) The consequence of losing the games-within-the-games is certain death, and people truly can’t get enough of the premise or the show’s execution (pun fully intended), along with a blistering critique on capitalism.
Midnight Mass (Netflix series) — Get ready, The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor addicts, because creator Mike Flanagan’s back to cause us more horror fits. This happens to be his favorite project so far and revolves around an isolated community that lives on spooky Crockett Island, which gets even spookier due to a charismatic priest’s arrival. Naturally, a whole lot of supernatural shenanigans are afoot, but human nature (as we are currently experiencing in-real-life these days) can often be scarier than the ghosts that people can dream up. It’s dark, real dark.
Bright: Samurai Soul (Netflix film) — This anime movie takes place in between the Shogunate’s fall and the Meiji era’s rise, all while a wandering ronin and an orc (who’s working toward redemption) meet up with a young elf girl, and they all take a journey toward the land of the elves. In the process, they must evade a shady organization who aims to take the elf’s wand and use it to resurrect the Dark Lord’s power.
The Closer (Netflix comedy special) — Dave Chappelle’s stand-up comedy run with Netflix has been a lucrative one for both parties, and it’s sixth-and-final chapter time. Expect plenty of controversy and line-crossing (he defends J.K. Rowling and DaBaby, for example), as is customary for the man on the mic to deliver. And there’s no telling whether Chappelle and Netflix’s common goodwill will result in a re-upping of a deal beyond this installment, but for now, the comedian (with returning, Emmy-award winning director Stan Lathan) is closing things out.
Halloween Kills (Universal movie on Peacock) — A horror blockbuster is here to spook you in your living rooms, y’all. Michael Myers survives that damn fire, which leads to a fully-had-it-up-to-here mindset of Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode, who’s mad as hell at firefighters and vowing that Michael Myers is going down. If it was a matter of wills and badassery, she could make it happen, but that’s not how things usually roll out in this franchise. Laurie may believe that she can (once again) presumably kill her brother and tormenter, but the bloodbath is only getting started. David Gordon Green directs again here, and he’ll be back for Halloween Ends, so good luck, Laurie.
One of Us Is Lying — The New York Times bestselling novel comes to life when a group of give teens (the brain, the beauty, the jock, the criminal, yes, this sounds like a John Hughes imitation) go to detention, and one of them (the outcast) does not emerge. Hey, it happens. Was the death an accident? Not likely. Naturally, the four remaining students all become suspects, and all of them are looking sketchy. Again, it happens!
Dopesick: Season 1 (Hulu series) — Michael Keaton (who is still the greatest Batman in history, so don’t mess with him in any role) finally comes to TV beyond cameo mode. Here, he takes on Big Pharma as a physician whose patients are dying off amid an opioid epidemic, and Rosario Dawson portrays one of the heroes who want to take the makers of Oxycontin down. The title of the source material (Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors and the Drug Company that Addicted America, the book by Beth Macy) tells you a lot, and the cast includes Michael Stuhlbarg and Kaitlyn Dever, who’s all over TV now and making Justified‘s Loretta proud here.
Jacinta (Hulu documentary) — Intergenerational trauma is real in this real-life story of what happens when a mother and daughter both end up in prison. This is no Orange Is The New Black take, and both women are attempting to battle their own addictions and other demons while doing time at the Maine Correctional Center. It’s bleak, but it’s a valuable watch with director Jessica Earnshaw shooting with a verité approach.
What We Do in the Shadows (FX series on Hulu) — Well, well, well. Guillermo turned out to be a vampire killer, which sure as heck came as a surprise to Nandor, Nadja, and Laszlo, and Colin. The four Staten Island roommates must figure out how to handle this conundrum, along with tackling the other challenges of this season. Those include dealing with wellness cults and gym culture, along with gargoyles, werewolves who play kickball, casinos, and more.
Just Beyond: Season 1 (Disney+ series) — This horror-comedy anthology bases itself on R.L. Stine’s BOOM! Studios comic book series of the same name. Expect plenty of supernatural journeys (with a personally affecting touch) through alternate dimensions with witches, aliens, and ghosts onboard.
Muppets Haunted Mansion (Disney+ special) — After several Muppets-themed Christmas offerings, it’s about time that we’ve received a spooky installment, and let’s face it, more Miss Piggy is always a good thing. Gonzo takes center stage here while attempting to survive the evening in (according to the synopsis) “in the most grim grinning place on Earth.” The special’s actually inspired by all four of the Disney Haunted Mansion attractions that are scattered around the globe, and three original songs (“Rest In Peace,” “Life Hereafter” and “Tie The Knot Tango”) will surface, along with plenty of celebrity cameos along with the all-star Muppets cast.
LEGO Star Wars Terrifying Tales (Disney+ special) — The witching hour has arrived for Star Wars characters too, and you know what that means: Luke Skywalker’s heading to the dark side of the Force. This animated is full of haunting moments, including a crime boss that messes with Darth Vadar’s castle, and a misadventure for Poe Dameron and BB-8. There’s an ancient evil threatening to rise, and expect iconic villains from across the vast Star Wars canon to make an appearance.
I Know What You Did Last Summer: Season 1 (Amazon Prime series) — Sure, you remember the 1997 film and perhaps you’re aware that that was based upon the 1973 novel by Lois Duncan, but this Amazon Studios collaboration with Sony Pictures Television wants you to relive the nightmare once more. Obviously, this version doesn’t have Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, or Freddie Prinze, but these teens seem more twisted by nature than the O.G. bunch, so perhaps that will add some shading to justify reviving their shared dark secret as they aim to survive.
Welcome to the Blumhouse: Madres/The Manor (Blumhouse films on Amazon Prime) — This week’s Halloween-themed double dose follows a Mexican-American couple (in 1970s California) who are weathering a troubled pregnancy while being besieged by horrific visions, which might be part of a legendary curse. Then, a woman moves into a famous nursing home, where a supernatural force might be controlling all residents. She’s unable to escape her confines, and no one believes her. Sounds like hell.
Eli Roth Presents: A Ghost Ruined My Life: Season 1 (Discovery+ series) — Eli Roth has so much going on over at Discovery+ this month (following his recent real-life horror/Shark-Week film on the streamer) that one has to wonder… is he running the joint? It’s a valid question, but more to the point, this series present personal accounts on those who have survived feeling like they’re been dragged through hell and fought their way back. One woman suspects that her home’s a portal to hell, and an abandoned asylum appears to be ground central for an evil presence while a demon curse follows a Mexican-American woman who wants the truth about intergenerational hauntings.
House Haunters: Season 1 (Discovery+ series) — Yep, this house is exactly what it sounds like: a play on the long-running House Hunters series. Join up with comedian Anthony Anderson and his mom, Doris, who inject some horror into the housing market by pranking the hell out of prospective buyers and their realtors alike.
The Haunted Museum: Season 1 (Discovery+ series) — More Eli Roth stuff. Here, he’s teaming up with Ghost Adventures host Zak Bagans for this scripted anthology series, in which they illuminate nine of the world’s most cursed artifacts. These relics are actually in display in Bagans’ Vegas museum, but here, you’ll get the historic commentary in addition to having the pants scared off of you.
Guilty Party: Season 1 (Paramount+ series) — Kate Beckinsale stars in this charming-looking dramedy series about a disgraced (and opportunistic) journalist who works to redeem herself by digging for the real story on a young mother who was convicted of murdering her husband, a crime that the mother insists that she did not commit. Expect (strangely enough) some whimsy amid this seemingly serious premise, including some adversaries that are a real pain in the butt.
Madame X (Paramount+ movie) — In this concert documentary, Madonna takes viewers on tour with her (from way back in January 2020, so pre-pandemic, obviously) all the way to Lisbon, Portugal. Her set included 48 onstage performers, including other musicians and dancers, and she’s here to share her vision with the rest of the world. Her statement on the film points towards reaching out to fans “at a time when music is so deeply needed to remind us of the sacred bond of our shared humanity.”
Billions: Season 5, Part 2 (Showtime series on Paramount+) — There ain’t no drama quite like hedge-fund-king drama, and it remains to be seen whether Bobby Axelrod and Chuck Rhoades will ever decide to stop wasting so much time hating the hell out of each other. Probably not? Yeah, that’d be no fun at all, and everyone on this show ends up getting yanked into the beef that may very well destroy them all. Everyone’s got a reason to love this show, and mine just happens to be watching Maggie Siff and Asia Kate Dillon, rather than the warring dudes. (Also, Axe is done after this season!)
The Velvet Underground (Apple TV+ film) — Acclaimed filmmaker Todd Haynes directs this documentary, which is no ordinary rock ‘n’ roll movie. Instead, this reintroduces fans to the game-changing qualities of this band that made them an enduring cultural touchstone, including all of their inherent contradictions, which will be put on display in never-before-seen lie performance moments and plenty of recordings, interviews, and experimental art. Expect a fully immersive experience (not to mention iconic tunes).
The Problem With Jon Stewart (Apple TV+ series) — Jon Stewart’s return to TV fast approaches, and it could be argued that he’s never been needed more on TV than this particular moment. The former The Daily Show host will be doing the current-events thing with an episode every two weeks, which isn’t as frequent as fans might prefer, but we’ll trust the process. According to Apple TV+, viewers can expect Stewart to go deep on a single subject per episode with a “solutionary” approach, and yes, there are jokes.
Acapulco: Season 1 (Apple TV+ series) — Vacation-based shows are all the rage following The White Lotus and Nine Perfect Strangers, so get your next fix here with the story of a 20-something cabana boy in Acapulco’s most in-demand resort. Naturally, he discovers that the job is not all fun and games, given the demanding clientele and other demanding professional and personal circumstances. Get ready for a bilingual focus, too, with both Spanish and English coming in hot while the main character, Máximo Gallardo, also attempts to avoid temptations.
Ted Lasso: Season 2 (Apple TV+ series) — First thing’s first: Everyone who’s caught a glimpse of this Bill Lawrence co-created and developed series loves it. Fast forward to the fresh hell that was 2020, and the show surfaced as one of the year’s lone bright spots. Ted Lasso is somehow both relentlessly and charmingly cheery, although there’s always the spectre of Led Tasso to consider.
We’re Here (HBO series on HBO Max) — Nope, you’re not looking at a photo of Beyoncé. This ^^ would be the fabulous Shangela (of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame), who’s back with the rest of the Queens (including Bob and Eureka) in Spartanburg, South Carolina after COVID interrupted the first round. In Season 2, the trio will continue to recruit small-town residents (in this case, that would be Noah, Faith, and Olin) and train them for onstage moments that they never dreamed possible.
Aquaman: King of Atlantis: Season 1 (HBO Max) — While DC fans sit in the limbo in between live-action Jason Momoa movies, this three-part animated miniseries from James Wan could tide things over a bit. This week’s installment involves the Dead Sea with Aquaman learning that he’s still got a lot of learning to do upon becoming king. The voice cast includes Cooper Andrews, Gillian Jacobs, Dana Snyder, and Thomas Lennon.
Doom Patrol: Season 3 (HBO Max series) — DC’s struggling misfit superheroes are back for another round. Brendan Fraser has received plenty of raves for his fury-filled Cliff Steele/Robotman, but don’t count out the rest of the crew. There’s Matt Bomer as the bandage-wrapped Negative Man and Diane Guerrero as Crazy Jane, which is actually a role that requires Diane to play dozens of incarnations, including a very timely take on a Karen. This season, the sh*t hits the fan with a time machine.
Fear the Walking Dead: Season 7 (AMC series) — This show didn’t shy away from speculation that a possible time jump was in store for this spinoff to tie some of The Walking Dead universe threads together. Yet a teaser showed that things don’t look too time-jumpy ahead of premiere day. Morgan and Grace awaken in the bunker, and she heads out into the outside world while wearing a protective suit and gazing out into the immediate wasteland before walking past an incapacitated walker on the ground. All of this would lead one to believe that, nope, there’s no leap into the future here, but the good news is that this spinoff found fresh legs last year.
Indefensible: Season 1 (SundanceTV and AMC+ series) — This show works to put a different spin on the true-crime genre with host Jena Friedman, who previously wrote for The Late Show With David Letterman and produced for The Daily Show. Friedman aims to take the story beyond the conventionally satisfying outcome, where the criminal gets locked up, end of story. She’s digging far beyond, into the dysfunction inherent within the criminal justice system and the reasons why the crimes in question could’ve happened.