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October’s 7 most underrated movies: from an international selection of horror gems to one of the best rom-coms of the year

Fittingly for a list of October’s most overlooked movies, this month’s rundown is dominated by horror films. Studios and streamers didn’t disappoint this year, offering viewers a diverse selection of genre content to choose from as Halloween approached. And there was something for everyone: fans of schlocky horror got Terrifier 2, director Zach Cregger made a memorable debut with the extraordinarily subversive Barbarian, while Guillermo del Toro presented a veritable cheese platter of scary movies in his Netflix anthology series Cabinet of Curiosities.

But none of those titles are in any way underrated, giving us an opportunity to shed some light on those that are. In addition to the scary stuff, this month’s list also includes a delightfully dark Australian thriller, an Irish psychological drama with a future star, and a Senegalese genre mashup that tops RRR. But don’t worry if you don’t like horror; there’s something for everyone, like a groundbreaking comedy that bombed so heavily that its star did the worst possible in retaliation. He accused the public of bad taste. We’re going to talk about this first.

You can check out our list of top movies from January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August and September by clicking on it.

Bros – Available for rent and purchase on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, YouTube, etc. in the US

The title card for Bros.

Co-written by Billy Eichner, directed by Nicholas Stoller and produced by Judd Apatow, Bros had some of the best comedic minds in the business. Proudly promoted as the first major studio film to feature an entirely queer cast, Bros is not only a solid step in the right direction for representation in Hollywood, but it’s quite easily the best romantic comedy in months. A post-pandemic shift in public behavior, not homophobia, is likely the reason behind the disastrous box office performance.

The Stranger – Netflix

The title card for The Stranger.

Deliberately bleak, relentlessly dark, yet so captivating, director Thomas M Wright’s Aussie thriller provides Joel Edgerton and Sean Harris with a great platform to play off each other. It helps that the film itself is unique, rocking genre tropes and focusing on the most unusual aspects of a rather straightforward story about an undercover cop trying to force a confession from a suspected child murderer.

Saloum – Streaming on AMC+ and Hudder in the US

The title card for Saloum.

Easily one of the most inventive spectacles of the year, the Senegalese film Saloum combines horror, fantasy and action for an intoxicating cinematic mix that is sure to delight fans of all three genres. But what makes Saloum extra special is the undercurrent of heartfelt emotion beneath the stylized tension.

Halloween Ends – Streaming on Peacock in the US

The title card for Halloween ends.

You may be wondering what a relatively successful mainstream horror sequel that even a general audience would know about on this list, but listen to me. Halloween Ends could have been a safe trilogy that gave fans of the franchise exactly what they wanted, but director David Gordon Green delivered a film so unexpected it begged for controversy. Kneaded by Universal on purpose – the film was released on streaming 24/7 – Halloween Ends has the makings of an instant cult classic and in years to come it will be considered an underrated entry in the iconic horror franchise.

Speak No Evil – Streaming on AMC+ and Shudder in the US

The title card for Speak No Evil.

The best scary movie of the year, Speak No Evil, unfolds like a comedy of manners for about 45 minutes before taking a left turn so severe it shakes you to the bone. Part social satire on European culture and part claustrophobic thriller about a couple from hell, the film – directed by Danish director Christian Tafdrup but shot mainly in English – turns into a disturbing mind-destroyer in its memorable final moments.

God’s Creatures – Available for rent and purchase on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, YouTube, etc. in the US

The title card for God’s creatures.

A slow psychological drama with an unusual cultural specificity, the film by director Saela Davis and Anna Rose Holmes transcends its rural Irish setting and gradually becomes something terrifyingly universal. Paul Mescal will likely draw attention for the upcoming Aftersun, but his performance as a toxic young man in this film is no less special. The real star of this film—about a mother’s love for her son and the moral dilemma his actions place her in—is the wonderful Emily Watson.

Piggy – Streaming on Hoopla in the US

The title card for Piggy.

Director Carlota Pereda’s film is brutal in more ways than one. For about half an hour, it takes place as a particularly poignant drama about a bullied teenage girl; for the next 30 minutes it turns into a paranoid thriller; and it ends in a bloodbath. Along the way, it flirts with fantasy and romance. Some may think Piggy is overcooked, a mishmash of socially relevant themes and genre sensations, but the filmmaking is so uncompromising and the character is so dexterous. Piggy is a true feast for horror fans.

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