If you've been counting down the days until Halloween, I've got some good news. August has been a jam-packed month for horror movies, with several must-watch flicks landing on Hulu, Prime Video and more of the best streaming services. And what better way to beat the late-summer heat than by having a movie night with some truly chilling horror films?
We've got a range of horror movies on this list, so there's something for every kind of horror fan. From a love story between two cannibals starring Timothee Chalamet to the experimental horror film (and surprise success) Skinamarink as well as the gory classic Saw (technically, Prime Video's adding a total of six Saw movies this month, but we're counting the series as one for the sake of simplicity).
So without further ado, here are our picks for the best horror movies hitting streaming in August.
Skinamarink is an experimental horror film that I've heard people either love or hate. It was a sleeper hit at the box office, pulling in more than $1.5 million on a $15,000 budget after gaining traction largely from word of mouth on social media. And I, for one, have been itching to see what exactly has opinions so divided (and hopefully scare myself silly in the process).
I wasn't brave enough to catch Skinamarink in theaters, but our streaming editor Henry T. Casey did, and he called it "a movie that defies expectations and description" with an "odd and unnerving premise."
Skinamarink centers on two children who wake up in the dead of night to discover their father has disappeared, along with all the doors and windows of their home. It's been described as a found-footage horror movie like The Blair Witch Project mixed with the surrealist scares of David Lynch's Eraserhead. You never see the characters' faces, instead getting a first-person view as they wander about in a series of grainy, hard-to-decipher shots. Their home is turned into an eerie, liminal space, familiar enough to spark nostalgia but just off enough that a disconcerting tension is laced throughout.
Watch it now on Hulu (arrived August 4th)
Bones and All
Suspiria director Luca Guadagnino is back, this time with a more romantic spin on the horror genre. Adapted from Camille DeAngelis' novel of the same name, Bones and All is a coming-of-age romance between a pair of cannibals adrift in an unending American landscape who bond over their mutual, insatiable need to devour human flesh.
Maren (Taylor Russell) is a young woman who, after her terrified father abandons her over her unnatural appetite, crosses paths with a drifter and fellow "eater" named Lee (Timothee Chalamet). They set off on a bloody road trip, but it's clear Guadagnino sees something beautiful in the horrors portrayed.
Bones and All is very much a cannibal story, with all the gore that entails. But at a deeper level, it explores themes of self-acceptance, identity and the terrifying vulnerability that comes with needing human connection.
Watch it now on Prime Video (arrived August 8th)
Paranormal Activity 2
I have such a soft spot for the Paranormal Activity series. Sure, they aren't particularly ground-breaking (lord knows there have been a slew of found footage movies before and since), but seeing these in high school amid peak Paranormal Activity mania cemented them as some of my all-time favorite horror movies.
Paranormal Activity 2 is a particular high point, using the surprise success of the original to build out the scope and experiment with new ways to make home footage deeply unsettling. After seeing what became of Katie (Katie Featherston) in Paranormal Activity, this prequel centers on her sister, Kristi (Sprague Grayden), two months before all hell breaks loose. She and her husband set up security cameras after a mysterious break-in that left their home trashed but their infant son Hunter's room untouched.
Of course, that's exactly when strange things start happening around their home. Bite marks mysteriously appear on Kristi out of nowhere. Scratching sounds can be heard from the empty basement. And as the family starts investigating, they uncover an ancient family deal with a demon that could be behind everything.
Watch it now on Prime Video (arrived August 1st)
For all you torture porn lovers out there, the first six Saw movies are now on Prime Video as of August 1. I never really had the stomach for the series myself, with the exception of the first Saw. Something about the tension of the original's singular setting and the game of cat-and-mouse between Jigsaw and his victims is riveting, gore and all, in a way the movies that came after never could quite capture in my opinion.
Photographer Adam (Leigh Whannell) awakens alongside Dr. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) in a dilapidated bathroom, both chained to pipes with zero clue how they got there. Enter the star of the series: the Jigsaw Killer, a serial killer who tests his abductees' will to survive with grisly (and often deadly) games. As Adam and Lawrence piece together why they may have been targeted, many twists and turns ensue.
If you're looking to binge all the Saw movies, check out our guide on how to watch the Saw movies in order.
Watch it now on Prime Video (arrived August 1st)
What is Cocaine Bear about? Exactly what it says on the tin. A bear tweaked out of its gourd wreaks havoc after getting into a drug dealer's dumped stash in the woods. As ridiculous as it sounds, this action/comedy is inspired by a real-life incident. In 1985, a cohort of drug smugglers who scattered cocaine across a Tennessee forest accidentally wound up giving it to a bear that earned the nickname Pablo Eskobear.
Cocaine Bear fills in these story gaps with an entertaining hodgepodge of over-the-top violence and dark humor without ever taking itself too seriously. In our review, we said: "The best compliment I can give Cocaine Bear is that it feels imbued with some of the Wet Hot American Summer energy, which makes sense when Elizabeth Banks directed it."
As the titular bear gets even more coked up, he tears through any park ranger, drug runner or ambulance in a paw's reach. For a solid B-movie that's great to laugh at, you can't do much better than Cocaine Bear.
Watch with Prime Video starting August 15
If you saw Meg 2 and are in the mood for more terrifying misadventures out at sea, you should add Sea Fever to your to-watch list. Alas, there's no shark in this one, so it didn't make our list of the best shark movies, but rather something more terrifying: a giant sea monster with the parasitic capabilities of a Xenomorph.
The story centers on the crew of an Irish fishing trawler that becomes marooned on an unknown shoal while illegally fishing in a protected area. The brilliant but reluctant PhD student Siobhan (Hermione Corfield) is along for the ride to complete a requirement for her doctorate, but she soon realizes she might have bitten off more than she can chew. Breaches in the hull start to ooze a mysterious slime, and when one of the crewmembers ventures underwater to gauge the damage, they find the ship snared in the tentacles of an enormous bioluminescent creature below.
Despite their attempts to capture the creature, the crew slowly begins to get infected by a water-borne parasite, and things only get weirder from there. Paranoia sets in, thus the movie's title, and they all must band together to avoid becoming the creature's next unwitting host.
Watch on Shudder starting August 18th
A Dark Song
For a more psychological thriller, check out A Dark Song. It stars Catherine Walker (Waking the Dead, Northanger Abbey) as Sophia, a desperate mother grieving the murder of her 7-year-old son. She heads to a rural town in Wales to convince occultist Joseph Solomon (Steve Oram) to summon a guardian angel, who can grant her the ability to speak to her son one last time.
The ritual takes months of grueling preparation, and tensions between the two are high. Joseph takes advantage of her desperation, manipulating her into having sex with him by claiming it's necessary for the ritual. She gets revenge, things escalate, and as the two push each other's limits, they unleash an ancient evil they never intended to.
A Dark Song holds a grim mirror to the torment a parent who's buried their child goes through, and what lengths they're willing to go to to seek both closure and revenge.
Watch on Shudder starting August 14th