Crossing the Streams is our series of guides looking at all the offerings hitting the big streaming services each month. This time we’re checking out the new Amazon Prime arrivals for October 2021 including a new slasher series, four new television terrors from Blumhouse, and more!
Amazon Prime Pick of the Month for October 2021
Lois Duncan’s bestselling YA novel already spawned a film franchise during the 90s, and now it’s getting adapted once more in a new format as an episodic streaming series. The first season of I Know What You Did Last Summer (premieres October 15th) looks to follow at least the initial setup of the book and previous film — a group of teen friends are stalked by a killer one year after they caused and covered up an accidental death. The eight-episode series season features a cast of fresh, young faces, but the real question is whether or not the story can be stretched to that length without feeling like we’re watching filler. After Netflix’s success with their Fear Street trilogy this summer (as well as this month’s There’s Someone Inside Your House), the slasher renaissance looks to be finding a home on streaming services as well as in theaters/VOD, and we couldn’t be happier.
Cowboys & Aliens
George Roy Hill’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid remains an all-timer for the western genre, and half a century later it’s still a highly entertaining, terrifically produced feature about cowboys and the increasingly less wild West. Paul Newman and Robert Redford star in the title roles, and both bring their effortless charm to the screen as outlaws on the run. Hill gives us action, the leads give us charisma and personality, and William Goldman’s script gives us rich character and dialogue. At this point, more people have probably seen the ending than have watched the entire film, so do yourself a favor and give it a spin this month. You’ll be glad you did.
Ridley Scott returned to the Alien universe that he started with Prometheus (premieres October 3rd), and while I’d be lying if I said I was a fan, it’s still an undeniably fascinating and visually engaging film. Aliens, androids, and some very stupid humans collide for some mildly thought-provoking antics. Scott’s better return is this film’s follow-up, Alien: Covenant, but we’ll take what we can get, and in this case that’s a big-budget sci-fi epic from a master filmmaker with a cast including Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, Guy Pearce, Sean Harris, Rafe Spall, Logan Marshall-Green, Benedict Wong, and more.
Look at me being cheeky, but how could I resist including Cowboys & Aliens (premieres October 16th) under a category called Cowboys & Aliens? Still, while we won’t pretend this is a good movie, it’s one with minor elements of fun. Plus, look at this cast! Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Clancy Brown, Sam Rockwell, Walton Goggins, Paul Dano, Wyatt Russell, Keith Carradine, Abigail Spencer, Toby Huss… it’s a universe of talent on display here in service of a silly mash-up adaptation. The whole doesn’t quite come together, but it’s fun enough along the way.
New Blumhouse TV Horrors
The cynic in me wants to point out that Blumhouse responded to criticism regarding their low number of non-white male directors by creating a streaming series of horror films — directed by women and non-whites — on a lower budget than Blumhouse’s theatrical endeavors enjoy, which are already quite low. While I still believe that to be the case, the talent on display here is still worth celebrating. Bingo Hell comes from director Gigi Saul Guerrero and tells a tale of an impoverished community targeted by a mysterious, Needful Things-like bingo hall. Maritte Lee Go directs Black as Night, another film about a poor, disenfranchised community forced to fight back against evil, this time in the form of bloodsucking vampires. Budget limitations are clear, and the shared themes sometimes get in the way of story and character, but both Guerrero and Go show skills.
Madres (premieres October 8th) mixes things up a bit with its tale of Mexican immigrants in rural California who come under attack by something mysterious — is it a curse, ghosts, racism?! Director Ryan Zaragoza makes his feature debut here with a film that looks to at least touch on the immigrant experience in some way before descending fully into horror. Finally, The Manor (premieres October 8th) is a new feature from writer/director Axelle Carolyn meaning it’s the one I’m looking forward to the most. The great Barbara Hershey stars as a woman relegated to a retirement home, but as she tries to settle in she discovers all is not right within its old walls. Something is amiss leading to rampant death and terror, but could it simply be a combination of old people and dementia? Doubtful.
An Action Trilogy
Looking for a trilogy of solid action films for an afternoon of adrenaline, one-liners, and carnage? Look no further. Die Hard is not just one the best action films of the 80s, it’s also one of the best period. Bruce Willis stars as an everyman forced into action against well-trained terrorists in a Los Angeles high-rise, and it is absolute heaven. Fights, shootouts, big stunts, classic dialogue, unforgettable characters — it’s another banger from director John McTiernan and no surprise that it kicked off not just a franchise but a whole series of knockoffs too.
Taken has become a bit of a joke now with people riffing on Liam Neeson’s special set of skills and such, but Pierre Morel’s thriller remains a terrific ride as Neeson’s special ops dad goes looking for his kidnapped daughter. The sequels descended into dull nonsense, but this first film is a smartly entertaining watch with some solid action set-pieces.
And finally, completing the trilogy, it’s Die Hard: With a Vengeance! (I don’t like Die Hard 2, sorry, but if you do it’s also new to Prime this month.) This third entry in the franchise delivers the best of the sequels as Bruce Willis is teamed up with a no-nonsense Samuel L. Jackson in their attempt to stop another terrorist. It’s funny, raw, and thrilling, and the two make for a hell of an odd couple. Jeremy Irons does great work too as the villain — and irritated relative of the first film’s Hans Gruber — making this a terrific character film in addition to the top-notch action from returning director John McTiernan.
The Complete Amazon Prime List for October 2021
|10/1||American Masters: Raul Julia: The World’s a Stage (PBS Living)|
|The Bad News Bears (1976)|
|The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011)|
|Bingo Hell||Amazon Original Movie|
|Black as Night||Amazon Original Movie|
|Blue Crush 2 (2011)|
|Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)|
|The Christmas Edition (2020)|
|Dear Christmas (2020)|
|Die Hard (1988)|
|Die Hard 2 (1990)|
|Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995)|
|Exorcist: The Beginning (2004)|
|Fight Club (1999)|
|Flash of Genius (2008)|
|Flight of the Phoenix (2004)|
|Fools Rush In (1997)|
|Garden State (2004)|
|Get Shorty (1995)|
|A Good Year (2006)|
|The Graduate (1967)|
|The Grudge 2 (2006)|
|Intolerable Cruelty (2003)|
|It’s Kind Of a Funny Story (2010)|
|Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life (2003)|
|Last Action Hero (1993)|
|The Last Exorcism (2010)|
|The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004)|
|My Name is Pauli Murray||Amazon Original Movie|
|Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)|
|Raising Arizona (1987)|
|Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)|
|Rugrats Go Wild (2003)|
|Stomp the Yard (2007)|
|Swimming For Gold (2020)|
|The Thing (2011)|
|Welcome to the Jungle (2013)|
|10/8||Jessey and Nessy||Amazon Original Series|
|Justin Bieber: Our World||Amazon Original Movie|
|Madres||Amazon Original Movie|
|The Manor||Amazon Original Movie|
|Pan y Circo||Amazon Original Series|
|10/14||Deutschland 83: Season 1|
|10/15||Akilla’s Escape (2020)|
|I Know What You Did Last Summer: Season One||Amazon Original Series|
|If You Give a Mouse a Cookie||Amazon Original Series|
|10/16||Cowboys & Aliens (2011)|
|10/29||Maradona: Blessed Dream: Season One||Amazon Original Series|