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This week, we remind you to “trust no one” as we watch a variety of horror films about betrayal and the sinister subversion of expectations.

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At AlethalWeaponArt, movies (particularly horror) are a huge part of our life — and our business — so we take time to celebrate the art of film every day. Follow along with us to see what we watched each week. We will tell you if it’s worth watching or if you should skip it altogether and why.

Editor’s Note:

The most common, near-universal theme in horror films is the violation of trust. Whether the threat comes from a character trusting people they shouldn’t or simply trusting that a place or situation is safe, almost all danger occurs from a disconnect between perception and reality.

Here’s why violation of trust is such a potent theme in horror:

Safety in Numbers: Our sense of security is built in trusting the familiar. Our homes, loved ones, and routines provide a comfort zone. Horror shatters that illusion. A haunted house, a possessed friend, or a seemingly normal situation turning sinister all violate that trust, leaving us feeling vulnerable.

Power Dynamics Shift: Horror flips the script on who or what is safe. Imagine a babysitter realizing she can’t trust the children she’s meant to protect or a child fearing their own parents. This power imbalance fuels the fear.

Loss of Control: Trust is the foundation of feeling in control. When trust is broken, especially in a terrifying situation, we’re left feeling helpless. This lack of control is a major source of horror’s dread.

Deeper Fears: Violation of trust can tap into primal anxieties. Think of fearing the dark as a child or the monsters under the bed. Horror plays on those fears by making the previously safe suddenly unsafe.

Not all horror relies solely on violated trust, but it’s a powerful tool. It makes the supernatural scary, the familiar unsettling, and keeps us guessing who (or what) to trust.

This horror movie-watching week was full of hits as we explored films in which nothing is as it seems, and misguided trust can be deadly.

This Week in Horror

1. THE VISIT (2015)

The Visit is a creepy and odd little film about two siblings visiting their grandparents, whom they have never met, and what happens when those grandparents start to behave strangely.

It is somewhat shot like a documentary because we are watching the daughter as she attempts to make a film about her mother’s past.  Starring Ed Oxenbould and Olivia DeJonge, these teenagers really set a great tone. Tensions between the teens and their grandparents escalate throughout the week, and they discover some unsettling things.

This one is fun and feels like a dark comedy with horror elements; it’s worth a watch if you’re looking for something on the light and weird side.

Recommended; watch it on MAX.

2. UPGRADE (2018)

Upgrade is such a fun futuristic sci-fi thriller with great fighting choreography and a gripping story. It also boasts a killer soundtrack.

The main couple Grey (Logan Marshall Green) and Melanie Vallejo (Asha) are very lovable, they feel like a young couple in love and they have good chemistry that makes it feel more relatable. When Grey and Asha are in a car accident and then attacked by a group of criminals, Asha is killed, and Grey awakens as a quadriplegic.

Grey ends up getting a spine implant, and the surgery parts in this are gnarly. He takes matters into his own hands and tries to find the people responsible.

This one is GREAT, and we absolutely love the bleak ending. 

KILL OF THE WEEK: The hand knife kill in Upgrade!
Recommended; watch it on MAX.

Vivarium Sci-Fi Horror

3. VIVARIUM (2019)

OUR FAVORITE OF THE WEEK!

Vivarium is such a unique and original concept executed wonderfully. We love the music throughout; it adds to the ominous and eerie vibe of the film. The actors are amazing, with both Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots delivering powerful performances. They also have strong chemistry together.

The anxious and creepy spiraling out feeling that the characters experience is contagious, and you really feel the frustration for them. We really love the way they played with color and lighting towards the end, especially.

This is one of our absolute favorites, and it’s a perfect choice for your next movie night, guaranteed to deliver the goods. 

Highly recommended; watch it on Netflix.

4. ANACONDA (1997)

Anaconda is such a fun and light-hearted movie. The cast is hilarious with Jon Voight, Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Owen Wilson and Jonathan Hyde.

The plot is unhinged as a group of sketchy travelers trying to get documentary footage to boat their way through snake-infested waters with a snake hunter. We love the snake attack effects; the flaming snake at the end is so funny! We in no way take this movie seriously, so it’s just an incredibly entertaining and wild ride.

Anaconda is worth a watch if you’re looking for a movie with a funny vibe and some slightly creepy undertones.

Recommended; watch on Netflix or Starz.

Orphan Horror Movie

5. ORPHAN (2009)

Orphan was a first-time watch for us, and we enjoyed it quite a bit! It has some really intense and high-tension scenes. The opening is so frightening and creepy, and it had us hooked right away!

We love Vera Farmiga in everything, and this was no exception. She does a great job. This movie follows a family of four after the loss of a baby, when they decide to adopt the little one they foster is stranger than she seems. This was a strangely emotional movie; they do a good job of making you care for the characters. We really liked the deaf daughter (Aryana Engineer). It was a really nice touch of representation that added an extra layer of fear and anxiety throughout.

The family has an absolutely stunning home, and we love to watch terrible things happen in beautiful places. Isabelle Fuhrman does an INCREDIBLE job playing Esther the little girl, she was a terrifying little psycho and had a real presence about her.

Orphan builds tension well and has some great violence, making it more than worth a watch if you’re looking for a creepy horror movie to stream.

Recommended; watch it on MAX or rent on VOD.

6. ORPHAN FIRST KILL (2022)

Orphan First Kill is the prequel to Orphan, released 13 years later. Isabelle Fuhrman returns to play Ester again. Set two years before Orphan; this is the story of how she got to America and the first family that took her in.

There is a twist that we were not expecting, and we had a lot of fun with this one. Ester does look a little older, but that is to be expected because it is more than a decade later, and they do a great job making Isabelle Fuhrman look and feel like a child.

Ester has some great kills in this one, and it seems more brutal than the last. We thought it was really cool to get a little backstory on the paintings Ester made in Orphan.

This successful and entertaining sequel is definitely worth a watch if you enjoyed Orphan at all.

Recommended; watch it on Prime Video or Paramount, or rent on VOD..

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