Oh, the weather outside is frightful. So, naturally, we’re theming this week’s streaming horror picks around it. There’s something about horror movies set in winter that makes for an added layer of dread. The dreary, sunless skies could be a factor in establishing a grim mood.
But it probably has more to do with the harsh winter weather escalating the threat level and reducing survival odds. These five titles bring the chills in more ways than one and are off the beaten path a bit. As always, here’s where you can stream them this week.
Curtains – Freevee, Peacock, The Roku Channel, Tubi, Vudu
Six young actresses spend their weekend at a remote mansion enduring what may be the most eccentric audition for a movie role. Naturally, it’s the perfect setting for a masked killer to start picking them off one by one, and it just so happens to be winter. There aren’t too many slashers in icy weather, and Curtains takes full advantage of its winter setting. The most memorable kills involve the creepy masked killer using the weather against the victims, including the film’s best death sequence set on a frozen pond. Sickles and ice skating equal bad news.
No Exit – Hulu
Darby Thorne (Havana Rose Liu) just received a call that her mother is gravely ill and in the hospital. She escapes her rehab center and begins the road trip to see mom. A raging blizzard forces Darby to seek refuge for the night at a highway rest stop along with four other strangers. When she discovers a young girl (Mila Harris) bound and gagged in the back of a van, she realizes one of the strangers inside is the kidnapper, and it kickstarts a harrowing fight to survive. The kidnapper’s identity is only the beginning of an increasingly intense survive-the-night thriller.
Ravenous – Criterion Channel
A group of soldiers at a remote 19th-century military outpost embark on a rescue mission after the arrival of a stranger, who tells them the rest of his wagon party is in danger. After becoming lost and stranded in the wintry mountains, the party leader turned to cannibalism. There’s a bit more to this cannibal tale than initially lets on, and let’s say that sharing meals and food consumption is a vital component of this quirky period horror movie. Prepare for a lot of laughs to balance the thrills.
Screamers – Prime Video, Roku, Tubi, Vudu
A long-running war between a mining company and an opposing group called the Alliance has reduced their planet into a ravaged wasteland and exhausted both armies. A stalemate opens the doors to peace negotiations, but the artificially intelligent machines built as self-replicating assassins have become sentient. Known as “Screamers,” the AI has evolved and is plotting to destroy both sides. Based on Phillip K. Dick’s “Second Variety,” Peter Weller stars as Commander Joseph A. Hendricksson, an Alliance officer that sets off across dangerous terrain to secure a truce. Borrowing a page from The Thing, paranoia (and wintry conditions) becomes prominent when the core party discovers that Screamers can look like anything or anyone.
Werewolves Within – Showtime
Forest ranger Finn Wheeler (Sam Richardson) embraces his new assignment in the cozy little town of Beaverfield. He barely settles in before getting to know the colorful residents through their vocal opinions on the new pipeline construction project that’s creating major division among them. Then he discovers that a brutal murderer is hiding among them, and a severe snowstorm traps them all together at the inn. Werewolves Within is less interested in werewolves and more interested in exploring how the possibility of one hiding in plain sight can turn a town inside out. It does so by tilting the scale heavily in favor of comedy over scares. Think Needful Things by way of a violent, charming whodunnit comedy set deep in snowy winter.