Alfred Hitchcock made seemingly innocuous, inactive winged creatures terrifying with his horror classic The Birds. The sudden and inexplicable way that birds start to attack humans is what makes the movie so scary, as inhabitants of the tranquil seaside town of Bodega Bay are forced to flee for their lives from swooping, pecking animals.
Hitchcock connects the revolt of nature to the psychological turmoil of socialite Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) as she pursues handsome lawyer Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor). With no musical score, it’s an eerie immersion into an external and internal nightmare.
Guillermo del Toro offers a masterful take on vintage gothic horror with Crimson Peak. Del Toro channels the Brontë sisters and Hammer horror productions in equal measure with this ghostly romance set in the late 19th century. Mia Wasikowska plays a young heiress swept off her feet by an English baronet (Tom Hiddleston). He marries her and brings her to his crumbling mansion, which is full of dangerous secrets, most held by his cruel sister (Jessica Chastain).
A pair of refugees from South Sudan are haunted by traumatic memories as well as an evil spirit from their homeland when they settle into government housing in London. His House blends traditional haunted house spookiness with a meditation on trauma and displacement, putting an engaging (and disturbing) new spin on a familiar kind of story.