Welcome back to our spooky Halloween entertainment series! Last week we listed my five favorite outright scary movies. This week, I wanted to feature my favorite teen movies ... the ones that feature teenagers (even if they aren't necessarily played by teenagers) in spooky situations. These are the scary movies I prefer ... not too physiologically scaring, but still fun.
This trilogy (or I guess four-logy as of a few years ago) is one that I still watch whenever it pops up somewhere (which is surprisingly often considering its age). Another in this set of Friday Fives by Wes Craven, the movie focuses on high school student Sydney Prescott who becomes the target of a killer. There are many deaths (as these types of horror movies have) before the killer is revealed in an awesome twist! One of the best things about these movies is how their satirize the horror film industry, setting up trope and totally destroying them. I also love that future movies don't take themselves too seriously (the beginning of the fourth one is awesome!). Though, one of the greatest things about this series is their messages, which is a great medium to share serious ideas in what most consider to be a popcorn film. In particular, the second movie hits you in the face with its commentary about the influence of media in our society. Very well-done movies! And the fact that the mask has withstood the test of time is awesome (I still see kids with these costumes on at Halloween!). I also watched the TV series that aired a few years ago, and it was pretty good. Now I'm working my way through the new season that just recently dropped (and is totally different than the first two seasons).
Happy Death Day (and its sequel)
Okay, I know what you're thinking. Every time I saw a trailer for the first movie, I was not impressed. It just seemed like another silly teen horror movie. But boy was I wrong! The movie is about a college student named Tree who ends up reliving her death over and over again. In "Groundhog Day" (yeah, I'm probably in the minority that didn't really love that movie) fashion, Tree gets killed each night, and wakes up to relive the day over and over. All of the amazing day-over ideas are there, from her not believing it's happening, to trying to find out how to stop it, to realizing she's maybe not the greatest human being, to falling in love, to making her life better ... all before finally figuring out who's killing her and breaking the loop (yeah, it's not really that much of a spoiler!). The sequel, for me, is even better than the first! You know what to expect, but it's so much more fun living through it, and it's good a fun sci-fi aspect to compliment the horror. Here's to hoping they make a third!
This was probably one of my favorite movies in college. I only saw it because Carrie Ann Moss ("The Matrix") was in it, but it is a super solid movie! An updated version of "Rear Window," Shia LaBeouf (pre whatever he does now), plays Kale, a teenager who is placed on house arrest after hitting his teacher. After mom (Moss) pulls the plug on his entertainment systems, Kale looks for entertainment elsewhere — in the neighborhood. He starts learning the routines and secrets about the people who live around him, including his new neighbor, who he desperately wants to date. But one night he hears a scream, and starts to think that one of his neighbors might be a serial killer, and he's determined to figure out the truth. This movie is the perfect teen horror film. It's got a great combination of thrills and teen "drama." And the comedy — his best friend is amazing! It also has one of the greatest moments of acting I've seen to this day, at the beginning, where LaBeouf's expression says everything about how he feels about ... well, I won't say in case you haven't seen it, but I'll definitely say the opening starts with a fast surprise.
The humble beginnings of one Idris Elba! He plays the detective in this jumpy, but also good mind-fright movie. Brittany Snow plays Donna, who is traumatized after watching her former teacher kill her entire family after he becomes obsessed with her. Three years later, things are finally starting to get better, and Donna is headed to her prom, when the audience learns that the teacher has escaped and will do anything — and kill anyone — in the way of being with her. While it doesn't have the shock factor of some of the others, I find this one to be highly enjoyable, and a fun watch any time movie.
I Know What You Did Last Summer
I mean, this is the star-studded horror film of my childhood! Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Geller, Freddie Prinze Jr., Ryan Philippe, yes please to this cast (even if I did only watch it for Buffy actor Geller!)! In this summer-fun film, four students get in a car accident, killing a man. They cover up the accident, and try to pretend it never happened. But a year later, a hook-wielding kills starts terrorizing them. Instead of focusing on the pop-culture fun of "Scream," this one is more of a throwback to slasher films of old. The sequel is also pretty good. The scene where someone gets stuck in the tanning bed ... gah! I don't even use those, but it combines some pretty solid fears of claustrophobia and being burned to death.
Honorable Mentions: Urban Legend and Cry Wolf
These two are pretty obscure, but I feel like they need to be mentioned. "Urban Legend" focuses on, you guessed it, people being killed in the way of popular urban legends. It also has a totally 90s cast, including Tara Reid, Joshua Jackson and Jared Leto. "Cry Wolf" is probably even lesser known, but definitely needs to be noted. It also has a lot of people I like, including Jared Padalecki, Lindy Booth and Gary Cole. It tells the story about a group of teenagers at an elite boarding school who make up a rumor that a serial killer is loose on campus. But everything they make up starts coming true.
Join us next week for a list of my favorite Halloween-time movies!