For Halloween 2021, Netflix treated dark fantasy fans with the release of Nightbooks. Based on the book of the same name by J.A. White, Nightbooks is the story of a young boy and his passion for scary movies and how it puts him in the most dangerous and terrifying circumstances.
Produced by horror legend Sam Raimi, directed by David Yarovesky, and written by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis, the horror flick stars Winslow Fegley as Alex, Lidya Jewett as Yazmin, and Krysten Ritter as the witch Natacha in the main roles. The movie follows Alex, a young boy who loves to write horror stories. He is so obsessed with the genre and his ideas that it makes him seem “weird” to his fellow children. One night, he ends up in a mysterious apartment in his building and discovers that it is owned by a witch, Natacha. When Natacha learns that Alex is obsessed with creating horror stories, she makes a deal. He must tell her one spine-tingling tale every night in exchange for his life. Trapped and in danger, Alex has no choice but to take the offer. Every night he spins a hair-raising story for the witch, while desperately trying to find a way out of the sinister place. He also encounters another young girl, Yazmin, who is similarly trapped in the house and serves Natacha. The kids team up and do all they can for freedom, from finding a new story to tell her every night to outdoing the witch’s magic. But is it that easy for two young children to escape her clutches? To get your answers, watch Nightbooks.
A perfect movie to celebrate Halloween, Nightbooks instantly earned great reviews and high ratings, from fans and critics alike. Although it appears to be a children’s movie, it’s quite fun for adults as well. The plotline is quite familiar to many horror stories that you have read or seen, but the narrative is quite unique and promises to keep you hooked. Campy and deliciously evil, Nightbooks is certainly worth a watch.
Now, if you have already watched Nightbooks and you’re looking for similar horror flicks, then here are some of our best recommendations that will keep the spooky vibe going. And in case you haven’t, then you might want to add to it your watchlist, along with these seven titles. Creepy and scary but very exciting, each of these movies will definitely give you a chill down your spine. And, remember to keep the lights off!
Released in 2020, this fantasy-comedy movie is based on the 1983 novel of the same name by Roald Dahl. The 2020 version is the second movie adaptation of the novel, the first one having been made in 1990.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Zemeckis, Kenya Barris, and Guillermo del Toro, the movie stars Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci, and Jahzir Bruno in the leading roles. Chris Rock features as the narrator of the story.
Set in 1968 Alabama, the story follows Charlie (Chris Rock), who goes to live with his grandmother after he is orphaned. When he encounters a witch, his grandmother takes him to a hotel to seek refuge. But soon, a coven of witches crashes the hotel with a plot to get rid of all the children in the world. A horror-fantasy at its heart, The Witches has a lot of comedy elements with fast-paced, thrilling moments, quite like Nightbooks. So, rest assured that you won’t get bored.
Kubo and the Two Strings
This 2016 stop-motion animation movie was created by Shannon Tindle and Marc Haimes and written for the screen by Marc Haimes and Chris Butler. Set in feudal Japan, the fantasy action story follows a 12-year-old boy, Kubo. He has a gift of spinning origami using his shamisen, a Japanese folk instrument, which he uses to enchant the villagers and make a living for himself and his mother. When one day, Kubo accidentally summons an evil spirit, he must find a way to stop it. So, accompanied by a snow monkey and a beetle, Kubo sets out on a quest to defeat it, while discovering his own magical powers and solving the mystery of his missing samurai father.
A critically acclaimed film and very well received among animation fans, this is a movie that nicely balances adventure and horror. Directed by Travis Knight, Kubo and the Two Strings features the vocal talents of Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Ralph Fiennes, George Takei, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Brenda Vaccaro, Rooney Mara, and Matthew McConaughey.
Written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, Spirited Away is Studio Ghibli’s star creation and a winner of more than 30 awards, including the 75th Academy Award for Best Animation Feature.
Spirited Away follows a 10-year-old girl, Chihiro, in modern Japan. When Chihiro and her parents move to a new home, she gets lost in a strange, magical world of spirits, controlled by a witch. Soon, she discovers that her parents are also transformed into pigs and it’s time to gather all her courage. Chihiro makes her way through the unknown land with bizarre creatures, making friends and enemies, all so she can find a way to rescue her parents and herself. Designed in Miyazaki’s iconic art style, Spirited Away is an enchanting journey into a fantastical land that will leave you fascinated and curious for more.
There is already news of a revival of this beloved ’90s movie. Released in 1993, this fantasy comedy film follows a trio of villainous witches who get resurrected after 300 years.
Set in Salem, Massachusetts, the story starts in 1693 with the Sanderson sisters, a coven of three evil witches – Winifred, Sarah, and Mary. The sisters are hung by the villagers for killing two children but leave a curse on the town. Three centuries later, on a Halloween night, a teenage boy, Max, unintentionally resurrects the trio, not knowing about the curse. As the witches return, they begin to terrorize him and the rest of the town to exact revenge.
Directed by Kenny Ortega and written by Neil Cuthbert and Mick Garris, Hocus Pocus stars Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Omri Katz, Thora Birch, and Vinessa Shaw in major roles. There is also a sequel on its way, which picks up 25 years after the last movie and features Max’s daughter who wants to prove that the story of the witches is just a legend. For the sequel, it is also confirmed that Midler, Parker, and Najimy will reprise their roles as the Sanderson Sisters. The 1993 movie is a fun and entertaining Halloween watch for the whole family and in case you are planning to watch the upcoming one, then it would give you some highly necessary context. So, don’t miss it!
The House with a Clock in Its Walls
Based on the 1973 novel of the same name by John Bellairs, The House with a Clock in Its Walls is a fantasy-adventure movie with quite a bit of terrifying elements. Directed by Eli Roth, the movie stars Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, Owen Vaccaro, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Sunny Suljic, and Kyle MacLachlan, among others.
The plot follows Lewis (Vaccaro), a young boy who is orphaned and sent to live with his uncle. Uncle Jonathan (Black) lives in a creepy, old mansion with ticking noises coming from the walls. Lewis soon learns that his uncle is a warlock and accidentally unleashes a secret and dangerous world of witches. Lewis tries to learn magic and stop the world from being destroyed by deadly curses.
It’s a family-friendly fantasy adventure with a lot of humor and magic. In other words, it’s just as entertaining as Nightbooks. You might also find some similarities between Nightbooks’ Alex and Lewis in The House with a Clock in Its Walls; both of whom are young kids who are forced to push their limits to escape evil.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Based on the eponymous book by Ransom Riggs, this fantasy-adventure movie follows a young boy who travels back in time to fulfill his grandfather’s last wish. Directed by Tim Burton, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children boasts an ensemble cast of stars including Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Chris O’Dowd, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett, Terence Stamp, Ella Purnell, Judi Dench, and Samuel L. Jackson.
Jake (Butterfield) has grown up hearing stories from his grandfather about monsters and “peculiar” children at a home run by Miss Peregrine. When his grandfather dies, giving him a mysterious instruction, Jake travels to the United Kingdom circa 1943 and discovers the house full of kids with paranormal abilities, whom they call peculiar. Much to his own surprise, Jake also discovers that he too is a “peculiar” child. Soon, he ends up on a quest along with the other kids to save their home from ghostly monsters.
This stop-motion animated dark fantasy is based on a 2002 novella by Neil Gaiman. Written and directed by Henry Selick, the movie features Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Keith David, John Hodgman, Robert Bailey Jr., and Ian McShane as voice actors.
The story is centered on a young girl, the titular character Coraline, and her scary adventures. When her family moves to a new house, Coraline feels constantly neglected by her parents. One night, she finds a hidden door with a passage, which leads her to a parallel world, where everything is the same as her house and family, except that they are so much nicer. It tempts Coraline and makes her escape to find more love and care until she realizes that the other world has an ominous secret hiding under the façade of niceness.
A winner of multiple awards and accolades with high ratings and reviews from fans and critics alike, Coraline remains a one-of-its-kind movie that would leave you in awe and wonder while giving you a spine-chilling experience at the same time.