Hi! It’s Annie!
Some of my absolute favorite movies to watch around Halloween are classic feeling murder mysteries. I just love a good murder mystery. There’s something about the cozy fall or winter atmosphere that most seem to have while still being horrifying. But also, who doesn’t love a good mystery? I love watching a movie and casting my guess throughout the movie as to who did it and what actually happened. Of course, they also definitely have Halloween vibes because of the murder and constant suspense. As someone who doesn’t like watching horror movies (and honestly wouldn’t be able to watch them even if I wanted to), finding alternative movies like this that still get me in the spooky mood is important. So, here we go!
Knives Out (2019):
This is quite possibly one of my favorite movies of all time. I saw this in theatres last year with some family and had no expectations going into it. I always know I’ll like a good mystery, but I’m never reminded of how much I really love them until I walk out of the theater after I’ve watched one. This was one of those occasions. Firstly, huge props to Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, and Chris Evans for being more than amazing in this movie. But what really stood out to me about this movie was the immense kindness of the main characters. Marta Cabrera is the nurse of Harlan Thrombey, a very rich and kind old man. After his death, she spends most of the movie believing that she was the one who committed the murder. Unfortunately for her, the detective on the case, Benoit Blanc, takes an immediate liking and interest in her. As the movie goes on they both find that this murder is much more complicated than they originally thought. Marta Cabrera, despite believing that she is guilty, constantly chooses other people over herself and is rewarded for her kindness at the end of the movie. Benoit Blanc is smarter than you think he is and, in one hilariously memorable scene, goes off on the family of Thrombey for how horrible they all are. In a genre of movies that tries to focus more on making their characters cool, it was so nice to see characters who are so unapologetically kind over anything else. Not only that, but this movie will keep you guessing until the very end. Every time you think you’ve solved it, they throw another wrench into the plot. This movie will keep you on the edge of your seat and is funny and wholesome at the same time. Also, watching Chris Evans point at different people and say “eat shit” is worth watching the entire movie to see.
Murder on the Orient Express (2017):
This is a more recent movie as well with an all-star cast (Kenneth Branagh, Daisy Ridley, Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr., etc.) based off of the classic murder mystery novel written by Agatha Christie. If you’re looking for a truly confusing murder mystery, look no farther than this one. This one follows Hercule Poirot who is a world famous detective looking for a break when he stumbles on a murder mystery on the very train he is travelling on. Not a single odd character on the train isn’t suspicious and, as it goes on, you find that the people on this train may have more in common than you originally think. I had not actually read the novel before I saw the movie even though, when I knew I was going to see this movie, I was already dying to read the novel. I purposely waited until after so that I could go into this movie not knowing anything. I’ve always loved riddles, so I can be pretty good at guessing in murder mysteries. I was absolutely delighted when I couldn’t guess a single turn in this film and it all still came together perfectly at the end. This movie does not rely on particularly odd turns or supernatural happenings to trick it’s audience so thoroughly. Instead, it hides behind objects and feelings that would generally make an audience feel safe. If you haven’t read the classic novel yet (which I do highly recommend), definitely go into this movie before you’ve read the novel. You will come out of this movie feeling kind of stupid but in the absolute best way. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
Every year I grow increasingly more discouraged by how many people haven’t actually seen this classic comedy. This movie is based off of the famous board game of the same name and stars the absolute legend, Tim Curry, as well as Christopher Lloyd (yes, it is Doc), Madeline Kahn, Michael McKean, Leslie Ann Warren and several other amazing comedians. Like I said before, this is a murder mystery but it’s also a comedy. And it is one of the most hilarious movies you’ll ever watch. This movie is quoted so much in my house it’s insane. Several people are called to a mysterious residence in the middle of nowhere by a mysterious Mr. Body. They soon find out that they are all being blackmailed by Mr. Body and after someone turns out the lights, they find Mr. Body dead. From there you follow the entire party as they split up, run throughout the house chaotically, and scream. One of the best parts of this movie is that it has three different endings. Every version that you can buy or watch now will have all of the possible endings compiled at the end of the movie, but that wasn’t what the movie was like when it first came out. Theatres were randomly given an ending, inspiring initial chaos as their audience could not come to an agreement on how the movie ended. This chaos is perfectly reflective of the movie, and one of the many good reasons as to why you need to watch this movie. This is another one of my favorite movies of all time. It’s Tim Curry! How can you not?
The Play that Goes Wrong:
Ok, I know this doesn’t really count by any means, but I had to add it. This is not actually a movie, but it is instead a play about a play about a murder mystery. You can find clips of it online, sometimes they will release a full version of the play at certain times of year. But even watching the clips of this online is absolutely worth it. A small time theatre company has done a production of a murder mystery on a small budget and absolutely everything goes wrong. Though you can spend some of your watch of this attempting to determine who the murderer is, that isn’t really the point of this play. This is all about the comedy as thing after thing goes wrong and the “actors” find hilarious ways to keep the scenes going. If you want to watch a full version of ‘The Play that Goes Wrong’ you’ll probably find better luck with one their Christmas specials. My personal favorite of their works was the televised ‘Peter Pan Goes Wrong’. I’m not generally one for comedy that puts people in precarious situations or involves people apparently hurting themselves severely, but this is definitely an exception. If you ever need a pick-me-up or a laugh, it is more than worth it watching anything from this series of plays. I will admit, I have actually watched the original murder mystery version of ‘The Play that Goes Wrong’ live and it was amazing. But that was actually last summer, before that the clips were all I had. Again, even the clips of this murder mystery are more than worth it. Also, “Peter Pan Goes Wrong’ does feature, David Suchet, the actor who originally played Detective Poirot in the ‘Poirot’ series based off of many of Agatha Christie’s novels.
Rear Window (1954):
Most people call this a thriller film, but it is also a murder mystery. This legendary Alfred Hitchcock movie stars the absolute greats Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly as they attempt to solve a murder that Jimmy Stewart’s character, Jeff, is sure he witnesses in a neighboring apartment. Despite his broken leg, Jeff sets the task upon himself to bring the murderer to justice and becomes more unhinged and paranoid as he finds out more and more secrets that he should have never known. Alfred Hitchcock is the brilliant mind behind many of the horror and thriller movies we still love, and this movie is one of his best. I’m a sucker for a good black-and-white classic film, and this is my favorite of those to watch around Halloween. There’s something about being trapped inside the apartment with Jeff that makes this movie that much more suspenseful. Especially because it doesn’t get much better than Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly starring in the same film.
I feel like when people think of Halloween movies to watch they skip over a lot of murder mysteries because they just don’t think of them. But really, these are some of my favorite movies in general and they are often best enjoyed around the Halloween season. These are right up there with spooky Burton movies and Horror films on the list of good movies to watch around Halloween. I mean, just look at the time of year that most of these movies take place in. Chilling movies for the chilling weather. So now I’m probably going to be watching ‘Knives Out’ sometime this weekend. What non-scary movies do you like watching around Halloween? Hopefully this list has given you a more expansive view of new things you can watch to spice up your Halloween season! Other than actual pumpkin spice flavored products which are far too addictive.
See you across the pond!