Six of the best scary (and not so scary) movies to check out in cinemas for the Halloween/Cup weekend

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Six of the best scary (and not so scary) movies to check out in cinemas for the Halloween/Cup weekend

Barbarian. Courtesy of 20th Century Studios
Words by Anthony Morris

Looking for something scary for Halloween, or just after some big screen action over the Cup weekend?

Good news: there’s one of the strongest line-ups of new releases for a long time now available in Victorian cinemas. Not sure exactly what you’re looking for? You’ve come to the right place: we’ve got a guide to the best new releases right here.


It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a rom-com this charming, probably because it’s been a long time since anyone brought much of anything fresh to the cliches that dominate Hollywood rom-coms.

Bros gets around that in two ways. Firstly, it’s Hollywood’s first defiantly queer rom-com; secondly, it’s extremely funny (the two are definitely connected). Bobby (co-writer Billy Eichner) is entering middle age without having had any really committed relationships, and he’s (fairly) happy that way. Aaron (Luke Macfarlane) isn’t exactly getting by on his looks, but he is very handsome: when they lock eyes across a crowded room – the room is in a gay club full of dancing shirtless men – we know they’re meant to be together, even if it takes them a while to figure it out.

Romantic, blisteringly funny and definitely willing to push the boundaries, it’s a delight.

The Woman King

The year is 1823, and the African kingdom of Dahomey is in trouble. Rival kingdoms want to crush them; internally, the practice of selling their captives to the Europeans as slaves is falling out of favour. Fortunately, they also have the Agojie, an all-woman fighting force lead by General Nanisca (Viola Davis).

There’s a lot going on in this epic: Nanisca has to battle her own demons and an enemy force twice her army’s size, while the King (John Boyega) sees a bigger (sometimes conflicting) picture and we follow new recruit Nawi (Thuso Mbedu), from family discard to rebel to lethal killing machine bonded to her sisters – not all of whom make it out alive.

Historically it’s a little iffy (though the Agojie did exist), but as movie-making this rarely puts a foot wrong, filling the screen with fleshed out characters engaged in an epic struggle on both a personal and national level. Plus the action is really well done: who doesn’t want to see a bunch of evil slavers get their comeuppance?

Black Adam

This has been a long time coming, and it shows. Visually the style seems torn from the pages of Zack Synder’s Justice League films of a few years back: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is playing a superhero version of the arrogant beat-down merchant he portrayed in the wrestling ring (and has been moving away from in recent years).

An origin story for a “dark” version of Shazam (who’s never mentioned here, though Black Adam has the same word of power), this is full of potentially interesting elements – a downtrodden middle-eastern country, a super-powered (killer) saviour willing to do what it takes to liberate his country – but rarely does much with them. Still, there are some cool fights, while the Justice Society (including a magical Pierce Brosnan) are a fun counterpoint-slash-collection of punching bags.

Unsurprisingly, the whole thing ends on a note that suggests a sequel is not only inevitable, but probably worth the wait.


Tess Marshall (Georgina Campbell) has a problem. It’s a dark night in a scary neighbourhood, and she’s trying to get into her Air BnB rental but the key seems to be missing. Turns out it’s missing because there’s already someone (Bill Skarsgard) inside. The place has been double-booked, he’s either an overly reassuring nice guy or a creep with something to hide, and while she’s being super cautious every step she takes is taking her further inside a house with a guy she doesn’t know.

And then things get worse.

This is the kind of film where pretty much everything beyond the initial set-up is a serious spoiler: it’s packed with twists and misdirects, all of which are in service to one thing only: making this the wildest, scariest ride possible. So yes, it’s best to go in knowing as little as possible: just expect to endure one of the best horror movies of the last few years.


You might have heard this one before: a young woman is targeted by a supernatural force that slowly draws closer, advertising its presence in a way seemingly designed to drive her insane with fear before their inevitable, fatal encounter.

The twist here (not that it’s much of a twist) is that the supernatural presence manifests itself as a creepy smile spreading across the faces of those near to Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon), who’s the victim of a demonic force attracted to people who’ve witnessed a suicide. You see a suicide, the spirit latches onto you, and eventually you’re driven to kill yourself in front of someone else, and so it goes.

It’s easy to see how this adds up to a creepy movie, but at close to two hours it starts to wear out its welcome even with lengthy “maybe she’s just crazy after all” diversions. Still, if “relentlessly grim” is your style of horror, this one’s for you, especially if you don’t remember 2014’s very similar It Follows.

Halloween Ends

Despite being the final instalment in a trilogy that’s also part of a seemingly endless cycle of reboots and remakes, all you really need to know going into this is that, a few years after the previous film, Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) is almost ready to move on from Michael Myers.

And for a while, so is this film: the first hour or so focuses on Corey (Rohan Campbell) who was falsely accused of child murder a few years ago and has been an outcast ever since. Now he’s starting a relationship with Laurie’s granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak), but he can’t escape his past… or the unstoppable killing machine lurking in the sewers.

There’s a lot going on here and not all of it fits together; at least it lives up to its title, which should keep Michael off the market for a few years at least.

Book your tickets for Village Cinemas here, Reading Cinema here, and the Pivotonian here.