Entertainment

The Best Horror Movies of 2021 (So Far)

Get spooked.

Shudder
Shudder
Shudder

To find out what platform these movies are streaming on in Australia, head to flicks.com.au.

Welcome back! It’s our fifth consecutive ongoing “best of horror” annual here at Thrillist and we’re excited you’re another run. Horror cinema is tracking to have a banner year in 2021, partly because so many promising genre films got pushed back for pandemic reasons, and also because let’s face it: When we’re living in scary times, filmmakers make scary films. And sometimes they’re really good films. So let’s dig in already.

(As always, please remember that the “rankings” are mainly for fun. The top films may have something extra special about them and are truly must-sees if you have limited time, but I firmly recommend every movie on this list. Thanks.)

RLJE Films
RLJE Films
RLJE Films

5. Prisoners of the Ghostland

Release date: TBD
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Sofia Boutella, Nick Cassavetes
Writers: Aaron Hendry & Reza Sixo Safai
Director: Sion Sono (Cold Fish)
Why it’s good: Nicolas Cage leads an eclectic international ensemble in an equally bizarre casserole of sci-fi, western, horror, and dark comedy. Here, Cage is tasked with venturing into a violent netherworld in an effort to rescue an insane kingpin’s granddaughter. This movie, which screened at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, might be 10% too “gonzo” for most mainstream viewers, but those who appreciate Cage’s current brand of genre insanity will find much to like here.
Where to watch it: TBD

Shudder
Shudder
Shudder

4. The Queen of Black Magic

Release date: January 29
Cast: Ario Bayu, Hannah Al Rashid, Adhisty Zara
Writer: Joko Anwar (Impetigore)
Director: Kimo Stamboel (Macabre)
Why it’s good: A group of old friends gather at the creepy old orphanage in which they were raised, and all hell pretty much breaks loose from the jump. It’s a remake of a 1981 film, and one of the coolest, craziest Indonesian horror films of the past several years. If you enjoy this one, you should also check out Satan’s Slaves, May the Devil Take You, and May the Devil Take You Too.
Where to watch it: Shudder

Dark Star Pictures
Dark Star Pictures
Dark Star Pictures

3. Dementer

Release date: March 2
Cast: Brandy Edmiston, Larry Fessenden, Katie Groshong
Director-writer: Chad Crawford Kinkle (Jug Face)
Why it’s good: This low-key shocker deals with a former cult member who begins to worry that her disturbing past is about to catch up with her and spill over into her new role as a caregiver. Backed by some excellent performances and some very disturbing themes, it’s one of the year’s strangest (and best) indie horror releases.
Where to watch it: VOD

Raven Banner Entertainment/Brainstorm Media
Raven Banner Entertainment/Brainstorm Media
Raven Banner Entertainment/Brainstorm Media

2. Bloodthirsty

Release date: April 23
Cast: Lauren Beatty, Greg Bryk, Katharine King So, Michael Ironside
Writers: Wendy Hill-Tout, Lowell
Director: Amelia Moses (Bleed with Me)
Why it’s good: A talented young singer gets the chance to work with a renowned (but creepy) producer, but of course his studio is located somewhere isolated and very creepy. And of course she goes anyway. But this woman is carrying a secret of her own, and it might be even worse than her new patron’s. Like lots of very clever horror movies, Bloodthirsty starts out in one somewhat conventional direction before heading off in some more creative ones.
Where to watch it: VOD

A24
A24
A24

1. Saint Maud

Release date: January 29
Cast: Morfydd Clark, Jennifer Ehle, Lily Knight
Writer-director: Rose Glass
Why it’s good: Call it a low-key character study, a “slow burn” psychological thriller, or just a deeply fascinating tale of religious fervor, but there’s no denying that this debut feature from Rose Glass is something special. It’s about a young caretaker who is dealing with a crisis of faith-and a crisis of mental health at the worst possible time. To say more would ruin the joy of discovery.
Where to watch it: VOD

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Scott Weinberg is a contributor to Thrillist.

Entertainment

Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.

Victoria

Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.

Queensland

BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.


Related

Our Best Stories, Delivered Daily
The best decision you'll make all day.