Max has added a whole load of brilliant movies this month. And while the streamer is definitely prioritizing horror picks in the run-up to Halloween, there are also some great new to Max movies in September 2023 that won’t give you nightmares.
With so many fresh choices on a service that already tops our list of the best streaming services, you might be torn on what to watch first. And there’s nothing worse than losing precious movie-watching time thanks to decision paralysis. That’s why we’ve got a constantly rotated list of the best Max movies, but if you want to know the highlights of the most recent additions then you’ve come to the right place.
I’m listing my personal favorite new to Max movies down below and while there are several seriously spooky horror movies on this list, you’ll also find a star-studded rom-com, a mindbending sci-fi thriller and a tear-jerking drama that sees Liam Neeson swap his action persona for the role of doting husband. So, let’s dive straight into my picks…
The Exorcist (1973)
A legend of the horror genre, and set to receive its fifth sequel next month, The Exorcist has been haunting viewers for decades and will be celebrating its 40th anniversary in December. Its arrival on Max is well-timed for those looking to rewatch this spine-chilling horror, as well as viewers hoping to pluck up the courage to hit play for the very first time.
The Exorcist opens with a young girl named Regan (Linda Blair) exhibiting increasingly odd behavior, and when things take a turn for the sinister, her actress mother (Ellen Burstyn) is left with no choice but to call in a local priest (Jason Miller). The man of faith believes that Regan has been possessed and so calls in an Exorcism expert (Max von Sydow) to rid the family of their tormentor.
Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)
Crazy, Stupid, Love is a pitch-perfect romantic comedy with a seriously impressive cast list. Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, John Carroll Lynch and Kevin Bacon all feature, and each is on top form. This movie has real heart, as well as some very funny writing, not to mention a third act that is utterly delightful in its execution. It’s the perfect date movie and extremely rewatchable.
The sparkling rom-com opens with a middle-aged Cal Weaver (Carell) forced to re-enter the dating pool when his wife (Moore) reveals she’s been having an affair. Struggling with single life, Cal is taken under the wing of the ultra-slick Jacob Palmer (Gosling), who shows him the ropes of modern romance. But while Jacob is teaching Cal the benefits of being single, he meets Hannah (Stone) and begins to question his own commitment to being a heartbreaker.
Inspired by a true story recounted in the 2009 book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith, Philomena is a heartwarming comedy-drama that received four Oscar nominations at the 86th Academy Awards. It’s an enjoyable watch from beginning to end, but also balances in some effective emotional moments alongside the many scenes that will have you chuckling.
The movie opens in 1952 when Irish teenager Philomena (played in the present by Judi Dench) is forced to give up her newborn baby after becoming pregnant out of wedlock. Decades later, she has never forgotten her lost child, and with the help of a journalist (Steve Coogan), she sets out on a trip to the United States to find her son. As the pair get closer to finding Philomena’s child, they bond and share their own experiences and struggles.
Ordinary Love (2020)
There’s something oddly captivating about movies that celebrate the magical mundanity of everyday life and Ordinary Love is one such film. There are no tension-filled moments or heart-pounding action sequences here. Don’t expect a third-act twist or an ending that will catch you off guard either. But what you will find in Ordinary Love is a moving watch that is anchored by two strong performances.
Ordinary Love focuses on a couple that have been married for many years, Joan (Lesley Manville) and Tom (Liam Neeson). They live a perfectly normal life and are totally at ease with each other after spending a lifetime together. But when Joan is unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer, her treatment forces the couple to depend on each other in new ways.
Stephen King’s 1986 tome definitely isn’t the easiest novel to adapt — as the shaky 90s miniseries proves — but director Andy Muschietti did an impressive job bringing roughly half the book’s material to life in this 2017 chiller. The other half is covered in the rather lackluster It Chapter Two, which also hits Max this month, but this first part is definitely one that you'll want to add to your Halloween movie marathon list.
Taking clear inspiration from classic 80s movies like The Goonies and Stand by Me (also based on a King novel), It is set in Derry, Maine and sees a group of seven outcasts, who refer to themselves as The Losers’ Club, face their worst nightmares when an ancient shape-shifting evil emerges from the sewers to prey on the town. Set across a single summer, the friends must battle this hideous creature as it takes the form of a murderous clown named Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård).
Source Code (2011)
Source Code is a mind-bending thriller that sees Jake Gyllenhaal play a helicopter pilot named Colter Stevens who is drafted into a top-secret military operation that allows him to experience the last few minutes in the life of a school teacher who dies in a train explosion. Colter’s mission is to learn the identity of the bomber in order to prevent further attacks.
Directed by Duncan Jones, who also helmed the critically acclaimed 2009 sci-fi Moon, Source Code is a smart and gripping thrill ride that will have you second-guessing what will happen next right up until the end credits. I won’t reveal any spoilers here but I’ll just say that what starts as a relatively simple mission quickly becomes more complicated as Colter gets closer to the truth, and while the ending is a little clumsy, the overall journey is seriously good fun.
Even if you’ve never seen Friday the movie, you’ve likely seen the popular reaction meme it spawned. This 1995 stoner comedy starring Ice Cube and Chris Tucker launched a popular franchise, but as is often the case, the sequels never managed to surpass the original which remains a hilariously watchable buddy comedy even multiple decades later.
The movie centers on Craig Jones (Ice Cube) a freshly fired slacker living in Los Angeles. Hanging out with his best friend Smokey (Chris Tucker), what was supposed to be a regular Friday quickly descends into a madcap journey complete with shoot-outs, angry drug dealers and a disgruntled girlfriend (Paula Jai Parker). And all this chaos is packed into a single 24 hours that Craig and Smokey will never forget.
Doctor Sleep (2019)
Another horror movie based on a Stephen King novel, Doctor Sleep is actually a sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. And while that may have seemed a terrible idea on paper - releasing a sequel to a horror classic almost four decades later sounds like a recipe for disappointment — Doctor Sleep is anything but a snoozefest. In fact, it gets pretty darn close to being just as hair-raising as its predecessor, and that’s in large part due to a wicky wonderful turn from Rebecca Ferguson.
Set more than 30 years on from the events at the Overlook Hotel that traumatized him as a youngster, Dan Torrance is now an adult (played by Ewan McGregor) and has descended into alcoholism just like his father. Unable to forget his troubled past, Dan is forced to face his demons when he meets a young teen who shares his extrasensory ability, and the pair must face the True Knot, a cult that hunts those who are able to “shine”.
Annabelle: Creation (2017)
The first Annabelle movie was a wooden spin-off from 2013’s The Conjuring that added little to the franchise lore and heavily relied on bland genre tropes. So, imagine my surprise when its sequel turned out to be one of the best entries in The Conjuring universe to date. Plus, its own sequel, Annabelle Comes Home has also been added to Max this month, and it’s similarly a huge leap over the first Annabelle movie and makes for a great double bill.
Back to Annabella: Creation, the film opens with a husband and wife (Anthony LaPaglia and Miranda Otto) who are grieving the loss of their seven-year-old daughter in a tragic accident. They are subsequently delighted to welcome six orphaned girls into their farmhouse, but the situation takes a turn for the spooky when one of the children sneaks into a room in the house that is strictly off-limits and finds a wooden doll that appears to have a life of its own.
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Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.