Midterms, elections, pandemics—there’s a lot to be scared about right now. But living in a red zone for the past month, confined indoors, and toiling through online university has only made these spooky movies even scarier. Now is the perfect time to take a break from real world scares and enjoy The McGill Tribune’s favourite quarantine horror movies.
Coraline, Michelle Siegel
Coraline (2009) brings a double dose of quarantine themes—not only does the stop-motion claymation film invoke the isolation and boredom of Parks and Recreation’s “Requiem for a Tuesday,” but it also details the lengths that individuals will go to escape the boredom of being stuck at home. Coraline follows a young girl who, often left alone by her work-from-home parents, discovers a seemingly perfect alternate universe behind a tiny door in her family’s new home. However, she soon learns that the new world and the family behind it are not who they appear to be. Similar to the daily monotony of pandemic life, even Coraline’s brief foray into town is dreary and disappointing, as Coraline faces a new and sinister reality: Ugly school uniforms. This imaginative tale is scary for its younger intended audience and for university students who may enjoy revisiting this classic Halloween flick.
Saw, Deana Korsunsky
For the optimal balance of scares and creative plotline, Saw (2004) rises above all other horror movies. The film’s principal story is about two men who wake up chained in a disgustingly vile bathroom, a mysterious corpse between them. Clueless as to how they got there, the men play a recording of a voice that assigns one of them a mission: Kill the other before time runs out. Disclaimer: Saw is bloody and gruesome, and your roommate may call you a psychopath for enjoying it. Regardless, the film does not simply rely on gore alone to entertain; its intricate storyline and chilling plot twist create thrilling suspense that will captivate any viewer. Saw is an opportunity to sit back, enjoy a horror film, and say to yourself: I may be stuck inside my apartment, but at least it’s not a filthy bathroom in which I have to commit murder.
REC, Vanessa Barron
REC (2007) is a quintessential quarantine horror movie. The Spanish found-footage movie follows a reporter and her cameraman filming a news segment about firefighters when they’re called over to an apartment building to investigate a woman going totally feral and biting police officers in the neck. We’ve all been there, am I right? Without warning, the building is sealed off from the outside, and the reporter, cameraman, and tenants are trapped inside with a deadly disease that makes people eat each other. A skillful combination of the zombie and found-footage genres, REC builds dread that accompanies the claustrophobia and paranoia inherent to quarantine.
Unfriended, Katia Lo Innes
Now that we live in the virtual dystopia of online classes, watching Unfriended (2014) is a gleeful and innocent return to a past internet: When the worst part of turning on your computer was not being forced into a breakout room, but having a drunk video of you defecating yourself on Facebook. Unfriended is primarily concerned with the spooky world of cyberbullying. The most unsettling part of the movie is that it seems to exist in a world where Skype is a reliable video-calling platform. Unfriended doesn’t quite get to the heart of what actually makes the virtual world terrifying and foreboding nowadays, like its pervasiveness and ability to exacerbate mental illness. Nonetheless, it does ask the silly question: What if your Facebook friend was actually a demon?