10 new movies to watch this week on Netflix, Prime Video and more (Oct. 18-22)

Alexander Skarsgård in The Northman
(Image credit: Focus Features / Universal)

This week, the big new movies to watch online offer big stars at the top of the marquee and important topics in documentary films. And, somehow, there are only three horror-themed movies. All on some of the best streaming services.

Our top pick for the week is The Northman, the grim and brutal historical thriller that stars Alexander Skarsgård in full beast-mode as he sets out on a quest to avenge the death of his father, played by Ethan Hawke, and rescue his mother, played by Nicole Kidman. Be warned — The Northman won't be everyone's cup of tea.

The biggest Netflix movie of the week is The School for Good and Evil, the latest from director/producer Paul Feig. Here, we get a much more fashionable version of Hogwarts, where Charlize Theron, Kerry Washington and Michelle Yeoh play teachers training the future heroes and villains of the world.

The other Netflix release that we're eyeing is The Stranger, which feels like a Netflix true crime doc, but is a movie. Here, Australia's own Joel Edgerton plays a cop going deep undercover on a cold case, and the film's haunting vibes make it look like it will stay with you. 

Meanwhile, Apple TV Plus offers a new heartfelt feature film starring Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke as half-brothers reunited by their father's passing. 

If you want scares, you can either find them on Prime Video going country, on Stan (opens in new tab) in a Christmas-themed horror comedy, or on Disney Plus (opens in new tab) in a film where a quaint English village holds a troubling secret.

And then we've also got a smattering of compelling-looking documentaries on Binge (opens in new tab) with Mama's Boy and The Fastest Woman on Earth. So without further ado, here are the 10 best new movies to stream this week.

The Northman (Prime Video)

Based on the original story that informed William Shakespeare's Hamlet, The Northman stars Alexander Skarsgård (Godzilla vs. Kong) as Amleth, a Viking prince who devotes his entire life to revenge following the murder of his father, King Aurvandil War-Raven (Ethan Hawke), by Fjölnir the Brotherless (Claes Bang). 

Directed by Robert Eggers (The Witch, The Lighthouse), The Northman is a dark, brutally violent arthouse take on Hollywood's historical epic formula that may leave some viewers a little cold. Also stars Nicole Kidman.

Watch it on Prime Video (opens in new tab) from October 22

Torn Hearts (Prime Video)

Katey Segal (Married with Children, Futurama, Sons of Anarchy) delivers a little bit of country-infused horror to Prime Video this week. In Torn Hearts, she plays fictional country-western music idol Harper Dutch, who lives in a run down mansion that attracts a pair of up-and-coming musician. Unfortunately, when they get there, looking to collaborate with Dutch, she starts to tear their friendship apart.

Watch it on Prime Video (opens in new tab) now

The Stranger (Netflix)

Cannes film festival selection The Stranger looks to bring some prestige to the world of Netflix movies. In it, Joel Edgerton stars as Mark, a veteran undercover cop on a dangerous mission: going undercover to solve a missing persons case in Australia that's been cold for eight years. 

The Stranger may be about an investigation, but its focus tightens on the relationships that from around this case. Mark gets close to prime suspect Henry Teague (Sean Harris), to pursue a lead, but the two soon form a friendship. The Stranger looks similar to Black Bird (one of the best Apple TV Plus shows), but more meditative and just as tense.

Watch on Netflix (opens in new tab) right now

The School for Good and Evil (Netflix)

Soman Chainani's best-selling young-adult fantasy books now have a movie of the same name, which looks like the first in a series. In The School for Good and Evil, we learn that not all schools for the magically-able can have a little more style than Hogwards did. Here, under the tutelage of Professor Anemone (Michelle Yeoh), Lady Lesso (Charlize Theron) and Professor Dovey (Kerry Washington), young people learn how to unlock their powers. 

But when best friends Agatha (Sofia Wylie) and Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso) discover that the school exists, they are also shocked where it places them. The wholesome Sophie wanted to be a princess, but she's enrolled in Lady Lesso's School for Evil, while moody Agatha is sent to School for Good, which is run by Professor Dovey (Kerry Washington). The film's strongest selling point, to us, is that it's directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, A Simple Favor), who we hope will give it his own spark to replace what it lacks in subtlety.

Watch on Netflix (opens in new tab) right now

Mama's Boy (Binge)

Dustin Lance Black, who won an Academy Award for writing the screenplay for the film Milk, had a very tough and closeted upbringing. Before he took the Oscars stage to accept the award, he grew up Mormon, and was told that his sexuality would send him to hell. This documentary, based on his own memoir, shows his deep relationship with his own mother — who did not react favorably when he came out to her. 

But, then, as time went on, Black's mother (who had polio) started to listen to him and his friends. Mama's Boy documents Black's life story throughout all of this, and shows how Black's mother encouraged him to become an active figure in the fight for gay rights.

Watch on Binge (opens in new tab) right now 

Silent Night (Stan)

Not to be confused with the 2012 slasher of the same name, this new Silent Night is another Christmas-themed horror film that takes a more darkly comedic approach. Nell (Keira Knightley), Simon (Matthew Goode) and their son Art (Roman Griffin Davis) are hosting a Christmas dinner for their friends and their families. 

Of course, this isn't any ordinary dinner — it turns out that an impending environmental catastrophe is looming, and each family has agreed to make this their last night alive. But will everyone be able to go through with this outrageous pact?

Watch it on Stan (opens in new tab) right now

The Fastest Woman on Earth (Binge)

Racer and TV personality Jessi Combs may be one of the most definitive examples of "those who shine the brightest burn the fastest." Known as "the fastest woman on four wheels," Combs' biggest competition came from herself, all while she broke through the male-filled world of racing.

The Fastest Woman On Earth looks to show how Combs was utterly fearless in her seven-year fight to break land speed racing records. Sadly, the documentary will also show how she lost her life trying to set one of these records.

Watch on Binge (opens in new tab) right now

Matriarch (Disney Plus)

Matriarch, the other scary movie of the week, finds Laura (Jemima Rooper) in need of some help after an overdose doesn't take her life. Unfortunately, help comes from her estranged mother Celia (Kate Dickie), who lives in a small English village that should be calm. Emphasis on the "should," because this village is creepy and so is her mother. 

The village's denizens, also seems completely broken and unable to hide their odd-ness. All the while, Laura inches closer to learning a secret about her own life that's been kept by her own mother.

Watch it on Disney Plus (opens in new tab) from October 21

Raymond & Ray (Apple TV Plus)

The topic of estranged family members reunited at a funeral isn't exactly new soil, but Raymond & Ray looks to offer a winning take on the formula with strong performances. Ethan Hawke plays Ray, the gruffer half-brother of the polite Raymond (Ewan McGregor), and both of whom are spending time together as one of their father's last demands in his will.

Through this reunion, they'll meet one of their father's lovers, and discover that they have a brother they didn't know about. Raymond & Ray, produced by Alfonso Cuarón, might take a spot on our list of the best Apple TV Plus movies list through sheer charisma.

Watch on Apple TV Plus (opens in new tab) from October 21

Descendant (Netflix)

A strong week for documentary offerings concludes with Netflix's Descendant, which shines light on the story of the Clotilda: the final shop that smuggled stolen Africans to America. Told through the descendants of the stolen Africans, this documentary talks about the cover-up of the ship and how it was burned down to hide the secrets. But that's just the entry-point for the story.

32 of the West Africans that were brought over in the Clotilda formed the community known as Africatown (which is near Mobile, Alabama), a city now completely surrounded by industrial factories and towns. Netflix's Descendant looks to educate the public on the untold stories of the citizens of Africatown, from the original generation to those who live there today.

Stream it on Netflix (opens in new tab) from October 21

Next: Here's everything we know about Rings of Power season 2, and we've got 5 reasons to buy the Apple TV 4K (2022) and 2 reasons to skip it.

Henry T. Casey
Senior Editor

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.