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10 Best Horror Movies On Amazon Prime UK (New Ones)

Top 10 Best Horror Movies On Amazon Prime UK (New) Amazon Prime Video doesn’t have the quality control of Netflix, preferring to drown its good horror titles in a sea of terrible ones. Plus there’s no search engine on mobile or any way to select only new films. So here are the 10 best horror movies on Amazon Prime UK – new ones – as trawled through and watched by me.

In streaming terms that means only films released in the last 5 years. I’ll list the best of the older ones at the end. Chances are most of these are also available on the US/international equivalent.


10th  INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2

Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Lin Shaye, Ty Simpkins
Director: James Wan

Fresh from rescuing their kidnapped son from the Nether world, Josh (Wilson, The Conjuring) and Renai (Byrne, Bridesmaids) take the kids to grandmother’s house (Hershey, The Entity). But Renai gradually realises Josh was left behind in that world of spirits, with his body now occupied by The Black Bride, a malevolent ghost preparing to kill them all. Meanwhile two paranormal experts take off with grandma to investigate The Bride’s origins… Horror’s most lucrative director, James Wan (Insidious, The Conjuring), returns to follow up one of the most profitable films of all time (this Chapter took $161 million worldwide from a tiny $5 million budget). His directing formula is essentially to start at 11 and stay there, never more than 5 minutes from a scare sequence. It’s horror for ADHD but he’s also a great craftsman and often pulls it off (see later in the list). Here though the lack of downtime results in a lack of characterisation or attachment to the fate of characters. In the second half the pace feel more appropriate and the story becomes less scattershot, beginning with a tense evil-father confrontation. The atmospherics throughout are effective and a chilling score drives it forward: many horrors actually don’t frighten, at least this has those moments.


9th  WOLF CREEK 2

Starring: John Jarratt, Ryan Corr, Shannon Ashlyn
Director: Greg Mclean

Lured by the promise of an authentic Australian holiday, three backpackers visit the notorious Wolf Creek crater. But their dream Outback adventure becomes a nightmare when they encounter the site’s most infamous local, Mick Taylor (imagine a murderous Mick Dundee). As they flee, he pursues them on an epic, white knuckled rampage across hostile wasteland, and at least one will be dragged back to his lair to witness the true magnitude of his monstrosity. To survive, they must become as ruthless as him… The writer/director of the first Wolf Creek returns, as does its star (who’s still a compelling presence). The 2005 original was creepy and disturbing but also a sadistic and depressing movie that dwelt on torture. This shifts focus more toward black humour and suspense-action with a second half that’s part road-chase thriller ala Duel. Some sadistic moments remain, with the German backpacker sequence in particular exhibiting a very disturbed psyche. It’s all neatly crafted, nicely acted and a well-paced gory ride.


8th  THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS

Starring: Sennia Nanua, Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine, Glenn Close
Director: Colm McCarthy

In a British military base a sweet-sounding girl with genius-level IQ lives in a cell and is shackled by soldiers (Considine) before daily classes with a soft-hearted teacher (Arterton). Behind the border fences is a mass of zombies. One doctor (Close) is gradually dissecting the other half-zombie children in an effort to cure the fungal disease, but before she can get her knife into the special girl, the base is overrun. The group flee into London in hopes of a rescue, and on the perilous journey the hybrid girl must come to terms with who she is… Adapted from the 2014 novel by its author, this comes from the veteran TV director of Peaky Blinders. Gifts is a mash-up of previous genre ideas that’s reasonably effective but not as sharp as any of its influences. Primarily it’s 28 Weeks Later, matching the look, enemies (running zombies, here called ‘hungries’) and setting (kid who’s key-to-the-cure heads into London with military escort after camp collapses, where hybrid subject was being tested), and with the Children of Men notion that a child is the only hope of humanity’s survival. Later the fungal-zombies sprout seed pods and it incorporates bits of Day of the Triffids and The Last of Us. As with mash-up movies, the less you’ve seen the originals, the fresher this will all seem. The lead girl presents an intriguing character study and it’s interesting to see Glenn Close in the genre. Arterton starts strong but there’s no arc for her. The wild zombie-kids are too Pirates of the Caribbean stage production, and the ending left me hating the selfishness of the character(s) involved. Still if you fancy a re-run of the movies mentioned it’s entertaining.


7th  GOODNIGHT MOMMY

Starring: Susanne Wuest, Elias Schwarz, Lukas Schwarz
Directors: Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala

In isolated rural Austria, a ‘mother’ of twin boys is recovering from facial surgery. Her behaviour is erratic, and the twins start to suspect she might not be their mother under the bandages. Feeling endangered, they resort to increasingly dangerous tactics to try and force a confession… This is a slow burn mystery that’s increasingly intriguing. It’s never frightening but rather unsettling, then disturbing, as the twins go to increasingly drastic lengths to get a confession from the woman. The premise and the way the power dynamic gradually switches, the menace ratcheting up as lines are crossed, is excellent. It’s a shame the reveal relies on a variation of a common horror movie twist, but if you don’t watch a lot it might knock your socks off. It also doesn’t hold that the ‘mother’ wouldn’t explain herself, or that there’s a cave of skulls or numerous other clues that don’t stack well. Is it Art or slopping plotting? That’s open to interpretation too.


6th  LIGHTS OUT

Starring: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Billy Burke, Maria Bello
Director: David F. Sandberg

A grown up sister (Palmer, Warm Bodies) tries to get custody of her young brother from her mentally-unstable mother (Bello, Prisoners). Threatening them all is a deadly ghost named Diana who operates only in dark areas and is repelled by light… Based on the viral 2013 YouTube short, this marks the feature debut of its director, David Sandberg. The script comes from Eric A. Heisserer (The Thing remake, Nightmare on Elm Street remake), and owes something to the original Nightmare (not least how the boyfriend is styled after Johnny Depp’s character), swapping the inevitability of sleep for the inevitability of darkness. The light-play is a strong concept that’s well handled, with good ideas deep into the final act. Sandberg knows how to build a spooky atmosphere and construct a creepy jump scare but Lights Out can feel like a first film when it comes to character, dialogue and telling a longer-form story (it’s a weirdly short 75 minutes). There are moments of bad acting, duff lines and characters instantly overcoming terrifying experiences / relaxing in mortal danger. Given the strength of premise, and $148m earned worldwide from a $5m budget, it’s surprising there isn’t a sequel yet.


5th  THE RITUAL

Starring: Rafe Spall, Sam Troughton, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier
Director: David Bruckner

Four old University pals (headed by Rafe Spall, The Big Short / Prometheus) go trekking in the Scandinavian wilderness to honour a murdered friend. Shortcutting through dense, sinister forest they spend a night in an abandoned shack, one that’s occupied by an unsettling Nordic artefact. Experiencing horrific nightmares they emerge the next morning realising they are lost, and something large and unholy is in pursuit… From the American director of Southbound, this adaptation of the novel makes for a fine British horror. Sitting somewhere between Blair Witch, Wicker Man and Troll Hunter, it’s propelled by great chemistry and well observed, witty dialogue among the four men. Rather that the usual contrivances, everyone reacts as you’d imagine middle class Brits in their 30s actually would. The atmospherics are smart and eerie, with the night in the shack providing the most memorable chill. The sharp tension and ensemble entertainment slip a bit in the final act as it transitions into a creature feature and the group is broken up. Still, Rafe Spall gives an understated, grounded performance throughout, a cut above what’s typical for the genre.


4th  EVIL DEAD

Starring: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas
Director: Fede Alvarez

A group of twenty-somethings hole themselves up in a remote cabin to help a friend go cold turkey. Discovering a “Book Of The Dead” they unwittingly summon up dormant demons living in the nearby woods which possess them in succession until only one is left to fight for survival… Remake of the 1981 original. With subsequent films The Evil Dead series became closely associated with Sam Raimi’s distinctive camerawork, humour and the unique performance of Bruce Campbell. This has none of those things but works well as a slick, straight-forward horror. It is very grim though, so only approach if you have the stomach for it. P.S. Jane Levy has one of the best scream-faces in the business.


3rd  THE CONJURING 2

Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Frances O’Connor, Madison Wolfe
Director: James Wan

In the 1970s, real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Wilson, Farmiga) travel to England to investigate spectral activity at a house in the London Borough of Enfield. They find a mother (O’Connor) desperate to protect her daughters… Based on the real life case of the Enfield Poltergeist (1977-1979), which involved the alleged haunting of two sisters, aged 13 and 11, at their mother’s council house… Moving The Conjuring to England is pretty inspired, with Britain in the 70s adding a refreshingly different look and feel to the typical haunted house story. The atmospherics and period detail are nicely done and it is, crucially, a downright scary film. There’s palpable apprehension whenever a character wakes during the night. The frights, by returning director James Wan, are well studied and designed, with the ‘Demon Nun’ having a particularly creepy scene involving a painting, while the elderly ghost is effectively atypical, and the Crooked Man is spooky when stationary (although knee-capped by the cgi when in motion). The ‘true story’ aspect adds intrigue but also partially cripples it: It’s obvious to anyone looking at a YouTube video that the Enfield case was just two girls having a laugh (amazing that it got any attention). Instead of simply telling the (fabricated) story, the film actively tries to make the skeptics look like idiots, and watching this ‘propaganda’ is a bit grating. The subplots of the non-believing character and the girls being doubted later on seems preposterous given the movie’s highly exaggerated recreations of the ghostly events. Furthermore, the Nun Demon’s plan makes little sense, and when the Warrens are together in calmer moments it often becomes a sappy, overly-sincere one-note love story. The Conjuring 2 is nowhere near the period classics it’s influenced by, from The Exorcist to The Shining, but is an effectively frightening film.


2nd  THE CONJURING

Starring: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor
Director: James Wan

In 1971, before there was Amityville, there was Harrisville. The Conjuring tells the “true” story of Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga), world renowned demonologists who are called to help a family terrorised by paranormal events in a secluded farmhouse. They discover it once belonged to an accused witch, who sacrificed her week-old child to the devil after cursing all who would take her land. As this dangerous spirit conjures horrific visions and tries to take possession of a person, the Warrens seek approval from the Catholic Church to perform an exorcism… The ’70s was the creepiest era for supernatural films and this copies the style, from the soundtrack resemblances to The Exorcist, to the effective use of zooms in the camerawork. The notion of a family moving into a big, isolated home that harbours a demonic presence, and the need for supernatural experts to come in, isn’t original (see 1972’s Amityville Horror and 100+ movies since). However it’s done here with a level of craft and close study of what’s worked before to terrify just about anyone with a pulse. The family are thinly-sketched (it’s hard to tell the daughters apart even at the end) but likeable. The Warrens are portrayed by two solid actors but the film’s pronouncements that they are completely truthful, spot on, fearless heroes, is a bit grating when the real life couple are clearly bullsh*t artists. After a truly bone-chilling first half, as the entity is terrorising the family, things become more relaxed once the Warrens move in, and the finale is a disappointingly standard exorcism and wrestling match that doesn’t really frighten at all. But for a significant stretch this is straight up sweaty-palms terrifying – pure horror at its best.


1st  TRAIN TO BUSAN

Starring: Gong Yoo, Kim Su-an, Jung Yu-mi
Director: Sang-ho Yeon

A selfish, workaholic father takes his 10 year old daughter on the bullet train from Seoul to Busan just as a zombie apocalypse breaks out. As the infection spreads down the carriages they must work with other suspicion-filled passengers to ensure the train reaches its destination… Busan was the biggest movie of its year at the S.Korean box office with 11 million tickets sold. Horror films from Asia have been dominated by the supernatural, but this is the best physical realisation of zombies in many years. The characters have authenticity and you really care what happens to them, from the young daughter who goes through considerable emotional turmoil, to the charismatic tough guy passenger who steps in to rescue the situation when the father lets them down. It’s not groundbreaking ala Night Of The Living Dead or 28 Days Later but does an excellent job of refining/remixing what’s out there while adding a few new rules of its own (such as how zombies react in tunnels) which work wonderfully. The director picks his shots and crafts a suspense sequence like an old master despite this being his first live-action film (having previously worked in animation). There’s not much in horror more entertaining than a zombie-breakout movie done well, and there aren’t many better than this.


HONOURABLE MENTIONS FROM LAST 5 YEARS

scariest best new horror amazon prime uk
Starry Eyes, Open Grave, Annabelle, Late Phases, Honeymoon
See This Horror Movie Guide For Those Reviews


GOOD HORROR OLDER THAN 5 YEARS

Dark Shadows (2012)   Attack The Block (2011)   The Woman In Black (2011)
Final Destination 5 (2011)   The Woman (2011)   The Crazies (2010)
The Loved Ones (2010)   Orphan (2009)   Let The Right One In (2008)
Eden Lake (2008)   Pontypool (2008)   Sweeney Todd (2007)
Behind The Mask (2007)   The Host (2006)   Final Destination 3 (2006)
Devils Rejects (2005)   Wolf Creek (2005)   Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Red Dragon (2002)   Hannibal (2001)   Road Kill (2001)
Final Destination (2000)   Blade (1998)   Halloween H20 (1998)
Scream 2 (1997)   Scream (1996)   Wolf (1994)
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1993)   Flatliners (1990)   Nightbreed (1990)
Bad Taste (1987)   Phenomena (1985)   Gremlins (1984)
The Thing (1982)   Black Christmas (1974)   Jaws (1975)


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3 Comments »

  • gd smith said

    I like these, apart from Evil Dead.
    The Conjuring 2, I think, is terrible, but in a very watchable way. It has no sense of time or location. The house is like the TARDIS (huge dark rooms, miles of hallways), the mum’s accent is from the ‘ere-where’s-mi-cigs school of posh people trying to sound working-class, the soundtrack is all over the place and then there is that bizarre singing scene. I love that it opens with stock footage of London Bridge and a red double decker bus just like a film from the 1960s! Weirdly, the whole film sort of has a Simpsons Tree House of Horror set in ye olde London Town vibe. The Enfield Haunting with Timothy Spall is far better and goes some way to explaining why, like the Conan-Doyle fairy photograph case, the story carried on for so long. But the Conjuring 2 is very entertaining.

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  • Sheridan Passell said
    Sheridan Passell

    “Simpsons Tree House of Horror set in ye olde London Town vibe” – that really appeals to me, for some reason.

    What’s your beef with Evil Dead?

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    • gd smith said

      The problem I had with the Evil Dead is that it felt like a carbon copy with the humour removed. I didn’t like the characters and the drug withdrawal stuff felt like it was trying to force a “serious” theme that the story doesn’t really support. I think it’s because the original knew the set up was a bit comical and played with it, whist the remake didn’t and so ended up self-serious. I liked the gore. It’s not a bad film, but, for me, the story didn’t support the tone.

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