296 Best Dark Movies to Watch (Page 19)

Staff & contributors

If you’re ready to unleash your dark side, there are plenty of fantastic picks to enjoy, from pitch black comedy to crime thrillers and dystopian sci-fi. Here are the best and dark-themed movies and shows to stream right now.

Producer-turned director Sean King O'Grady has some fresh ideas about what can shake up the dystopia genre, but The Mill needs more than a corporate critique to lift it off the ground. Even with Lil Rel Howery's apt acting skills (you'll probably remember him from Get Out), the film falls flat in its second half, losing the momentum built up by the original idea of the gristmill as an exteriorization of the corporate grind and its meaningless nature. The issue is that, aside from this smart use of symbolism, The Mill plays it rather safe by relating dystopia to capitalism. It's almost like O'Grady hasn't the slightest clue that capitalism and dystopia have been one and the same thing for decades now; if only he would have taken the equation to much, much darker places...

Genre: Horror, Science Fiction

Actor: Allya F. Robinson, Blair Wilson, Getchie Argetsinger, Jaiden K. Brown, Karen Obilom, Lil Rel Howery, Pat Healy, Patrick Fischler

Director: Sean King O'Grady

Rating: R

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Suzzanna: Kliwon Friday Night is the second part of a trilogy dedicated to Indonesia’s queen of horror, billed as Suzzanna New Generation. The trilogy recreates three of Suzzanna’s iconic films, and the second installment is based on the 1986 film Malam Jumat Kliwon. The supernatural horror isn’t exactly scary– the film takes a bit too long between the scares, and there are moments that are downright hilarious. However, fans of the original scream queen would appreciate Luna Maya’s take on her demonic role, shifting the sundel bolong into a woman rightfully out for revenge.

Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Actor: Achmad Megantara, Baron Hermanto, Clift Sangra, Egy Fedly, Ence Bagus, Luna Maya, Max Yanto, Sally Marcelina, Taskya Namya, Tio Pakusadewo, Yurike Prastica

Director: Guntur Soeharjanto

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There’s a sense of disconnectedness in RedLife, as the film isn’t centered on one storyline, but rather two storylines that at first don’t seem connected. Ter, a young snatcher, marries a sex worker named Mild, while Som is a student who aspires to escape her prostitute mom’s poverty, especially after she falls for the more affluent Peach. At first, the film depicts their lives in stunningly framed, slice-of-life moments that captures a different side of Bangkok, one that’s tough to depict, but one people know about. But they do intersect, later on in the movie, in a series of events that leads them trapped in tragedy, despite all they did to escape it. The unexpected twist makes their lives surprisingly poignant, though RedLife’s journey might take too long to get there.

Genre: Drama, Thriller

Actor: Banlop Lomnoi, D Gerrard, Karnpicha Pongpanit, Krongthong Rachatawan, Ray MacDonald, Sumitra Duangkaew, Supitcha Sangkhachinda, Tanapak Jongjaiphar, Thiti Mahayotaruk

Director: Ekalak Klunson

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In Marlowe, Liam Neeson joins the lofty lineup of actors who have stepped into the shoes of Raymond Chandler's titular detective, famously played by Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, and Elliott Gould. These are big boots to fill — and, if you’ve been paying attention to Neeson’s career over the last decade or so, you’ll be aware that he hasn’t exactly been stretching himself, dramatically speaking.

But Marlowe is something of a happy anomaly in Neeson’s filmography, because it has more than just adrenaline-pumping ambitions. Written by director Neil Jordan (of Michael Collins fame) and William Monahan (the screenwriter behind The Departed), the 1930s Hollywood-set plot is steeped in noir’s characteristic cynicism, giving it the seductive pull of that well-loved genre. It’s true that a not insignificant portion of the dialogue is so hard-boiled you can see the cracks — a clunkiness that’s repeated in a couple of the phoned-in supporting performances and the movie’s awkward action sequences. However, with a couple of bright spots in the starry cast, handsome production values, and a labyrinthine plot that just about passes muster as homage and not muddle, there are enough noir trappings here to keep the movie slinking along well enough, even if it ultimately isn't nearly as memorable as Marlowe’s previous screen incarnations.

Genre: Crime, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Alan Cumming, Alan Moloney, Colm Meaney, Daniela Melchior, Danny Huston, Darrell D'Silva, Diane Kruger, François Arnaud, Gary Anthony Stennette, Ian Hart, Jessica Lange, Julius Cotter, Kim DeLonghi, Liam Neeson, Mark Schardan, Michael Garvey, Minnie Marx, Mitchell Mullen, Patrick Muldoon, Roberto Peralta, Seána Kerslake, Stella Stocker, Tony Corvillo

Director: Neil Jordan

Rating: R

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As a growing number of horror movies are, Influencer is inspired by the fact that we’re increasingly spending our lives in the digital, rather than physical, world. Kurtis David Harder’s film makes some effort to highlight the tension between those two realms: its plot hinges on the idea that vapidly sunny influencer-speak often masks gloomier realities, and suggests that, if your existence is mainly validated through a screen, would anyone really know if something truly dark happened to you?

It’s an interesting premise, to be sure, but Influencer’s critique settles there. Instead of striving for social thriller status by exploring the paradox of social media with any real rigor, the rather broad writing here means it lands as a run-of-the-mill scary movie, one that verges on being a forgettable experience once the credits have rolled. One element saves it from that fate, though: Cassandra Naud, who gives an unnerving performance that brings intriguing psychological depths to the role of CW, the film’s villain. She can only do so much to elevate a script that is shallowly interested in her character, though, meaning Influencer can’t quite transcend its status as a middling social media horror.

Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Cassandra Naud, Emily Tennant, Justin Sams, Paul Spurrier, Rory J. Saper, Sara Canning

Director: Kurtis David Harder

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With its wildly different shifts between the film’s chapters, Bad Education feels like it doesn’t know what to do with itself, like plenty of newly graduated teenagers. The first chapter holds such visceral revulsion that it first feels like it would be a serious cautionary tale, commenting on how, without guidance, teenagers will led each other astray. However, its next chapter takes a more comedic route as the kids try to escape from gangsters and the police. While director Kai Ko reveals an excellent sense of direction and imagery, his style feels like it’s been wasted on ill-thought intentions and a poorly written script. Bad Education at least has stunning visuals and a short runtime to get through it all.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Berant Zhu, Cheng Chih-wei, Edison Song, Hong Yu Hong, Huang Hsin-Yao, Kai Ko, Kent Tsai, Kurt Hsiao, Leon Dai, McFly Wu, Ning Chang, Tzu-Chiang Wang

Director: Kai Ko

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Fairly atmospheric, visually creepy, and with a unique premise, A Thousand Days had the potential to be a downright terrifying Indonesian horror film. There’s something here about how rich families are willing to sacrifice impoverished young women in order to save one of their own, especially with the way the Atmojo family hasn’t given the full job details to the three girls in this film. There’s something here as well about how various Indonesian ethnic groups treat each other. However, the way the film arranged its scenes, as well as the film’s casting, fails to match the terror of the original Twitter thread that inspired the film. These choices take away some of the scariness that would have made Sewu Dino totally terrifying.

Genre: Horror, Mystery

Actor: Agla Artalidia, Gisellma Firmansyah, Givina Lukita, Karina Suwandi, Marthino Lio, Mikha Tambayong, Pritt Timothy, Rio Dewanto

Director: Kimo Stamboel

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Susie Searches begins intriguingly for two reasons: first, there’s the strange disappearance of popular college student Jesse Wilcox (Alex Wolff), and then there’s the fact that that mystery is solved in the film's first 20-ish minutes. With over an hour left of its runtime at this point, Susie Searches seems to suggest Jesse’s disappearance was only a red herring, and that we’re in for something juicier now.

Alas, the rest of the movie — which stars Kiersey Clemons as the titular socially awkward student sleuth who finds Jesse — never lives up to this promise. An encouraging cast list is let down by thin characters; this isn’t true just for the supporting parts played by Rachel Sennott, Jim Gaffigan, Ken Marino, Dolly Wells, and Wolff, but, far more detrimentally to the film, Susie herself. Her motivations are complicated by more than just a desire for the truth, but, despite Clemons’ best efforts, this not-quite Nancy Drew is never all that psychologically compelling or believable. In a film that hinges on big twists revolving around its protagonist, that’s a fatal flaw, because we’re only ever half-invested. Though it may play better with younger audiences, anyone else will likely find its promising cast to be the biggest red herring of all.

Genre: Comedy, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Aaron Costa Ganis, Alex Moffat, Alex Wolff, Ana Cruz Kayne, Ana Kayne, Chris Sheffield, David Walton, Dolly Wells, Ellie Reine, Geoffrey Owens, Isaac Powell, Jammie Patton, Jared Gilman, Jim Gaffigan, Juliette Goglia, Kat Foster, Ken Marino, Kiersey Clemons, Mellanie Hubert, Neal Bledsoe, Rachel Sennott

Director: Sophie Kargman

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Just in time for Halloween, Netflix has shelled out for a new, high production value doc about demonic possession. It has all the right ingredients: a true story (that of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, also known as the "Devil Made Me Do It" case of 1981), some convincing re-enactments, the air of exclusivity (use of real archives), but it still feels like a let-down to the true horror buffs who'd tune in expecting something fresh. After all, Netflix has been in the game for a while and it's not a good look to settle for something as mediocre. For The Devil on Trial, it seems like the execs have just upped the budget on a regular cable-TV-haunted-house after hours special and then patted themselves on the back. Even the interviews featured are full of cliches, which strips down the horrifying potential of authenticity.

Genre: Documentary

Actor: Arne Cheyenne Johnson, Tony Spera, Victor Serfaty

Director: Chris Holt

Rating: R

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Though it borrows from some of the oldest genre tropes—stoic but kind-hearted hero finding a heart in a community that needs his help—Jigen Daisuke still manages to carve out a visual identity that has one foot rooted in its Lupin III manga origins, and another in noir fiction. The world of the film is beautifully lit and feels bustling with activity, as are the frenetic action scenes that turn gleefully silly with the sheer amount of gunfire being sprayed everywhere. That said, the movie can't handle the number of plates it tries to spin, as side characters fail to develop more meaningfully and its more exciting parts are diluted by long stretches of drama that aren't as engaging as the film thinks they are. This feels like a sampler for the kinds of stories the title character could be involved in in the future, but little else.

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller

Actor: Akihiko Sai, Eugene Nomura, Honami Sato, Kazuki Namioka, Kotoka Maki, Masatoshi Nagase, Mitsuko Kusabue, Rina Sakuragi, Takashi Sasano, Tetsuji Tamayama, Toru Baba, Yasukaze Motomiya, Yoji Tanaka, Yôko Maki, Yuuki Tsujimoto

Director: Hajime Hashimoto

Rating: PG-13

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Known best for his horror films, writer-director Christopher Smith’s latest stint in the genre has dropped on Hulu. Consecration is one of many supernatural horror films set in convents and churches, as the Catholic Church’s notorious silence is easy fodder for potential fears. There’s some of that here, as Grace, portrayed by the excellent Jena Malone, tries to uncover the truth, not just for her brother’s murder but for her own past. However, there’s no secrecy in this murder mystery with the dialogue holding no subtlety at all. Even as the cast makes the most of it, Consecration drags down any possible tension or intrigue with its painfully straightforward dialogue and incoherent timeline shifts.

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Actor: Alexandra Lewis, Angela White, Charlotte Palmer, Danny Huston, David Boyle, Eilidh Fisher, Emma Hixson, Ian Pirie, Janet Suzman, Jena Malone, Jolade Obasola, Kit Rakusen, Marilyn O'Brien, Steffan Cennydd, Thoren Ferguson, Will Keen

Director: Christopher Smith

Rating: R

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