The 25 Best New Movies to Stream in October 2023

From frights to delights

phoebe-dynevor-rosario-dawson-fair-play-haunted-mansion
Netflix/Disney/20th Century Studios

October is here, and with it a whole host of new movies are available to stream. There is, of course, a bounty of new horror movies coming our way this month as many are ready to celebrate Halloween, but our curated list of the best new movies to stream in October includes plenty of non-horror fare as well. We’ve gone through what’s new on Netflix, Prime Video, Max, Peacock, Paramount+, Hulu and Disney+ to put together a viewing guide that offers something for everyone. From bona fide new releases to library titles newly streaming, you won’t be disappointed.

Check out our picks for the best new movies to stream in October 2023 below.

“The Faculty”

The poster for The Faculty
Miramax Films

Peacock – Oct. 1

One of the most underrated movies of the 1990’s, “The Faculty” was an attempt by Dimension to replicate the success of “Scream,” which they had released two years earlier and had become a sensation. “Scream” screenwriter Kevin Williamson was brought on to juice up a script that the studio had already purchased, with Robert Rodriguez, coming on the heels of Dimension’s horror hit “From Dusk Till Dawn,” stepping in to direct (at one point Williamson was meant to direct but instead chose “Teaching Mrs. Tingle” instead). The long and short of the premise is: what if your teachers were replaced by space aliens? And as it turns out, that can go a long way! While “The Faculty” it was born of a crass exercise, it wound up being a true gem, with Williamson and Rodriguez synthesizing various tropes from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and “The Thing” into a fresh concoction, with a hip, youthful energy and a cast of wonderful performers, as both the students (among them: Elijah Wood, Clea DuVall, Jordana Brewster and Josh Hartnett) and villainous teachers (Robert Patrick, Salma Hayek, Piper Laurie and Famke Janssen). There was also that cool cover of “Another Brick in the Wall” by a bunch of ‘90s all-stars. If you’ve never seen “The Faculty,” you’re in for a treat. And if you’ve already watched it, it’s worth a revisit. – Drew Taylor

“Beetlejuice”

"Beetlejuice"
Warner Bros.

Max – Oct. 1

Tim Burton’s comedy classic is a great watch pretty much anytime, but especially so in October. “Beetlejuice” revolves around a couple who die in a car accident (played by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) and become ghosts trapped inside their home where they’re forced to witness its sale and renovation by a gauche family from the city. They enlist the help of a “bio-exorcist” named Beetlejuice (played by Michael Keaton), and all hell breaks loose. The film is a colorful and inventive twist on the afterlife, offering up a darkly comic spin on the living dead. And now that the sequel is officially coming, there’s no better time to brush up. – Adam Chitwood

“Meg 2: The Trench”

'Meg 2 The Trench'
Warner Bros.

Max – Oct. 1

That’s right. Just when you thought it was safe to be Jason Statham, “The Meg” is back. The sequel to 2018’s entertaining-enough giant shark movie sees Statham return, along with some brand-new leviathans from the deep. This time there are multiple megalodons, plus a giant octopus and some air-breathing dinosaur-type things. It’s a real monster mash. And it’s a much more entertaining movie than the first film, full of villainous baddies, double-crosses and giant monsters. Plus, the movie is directed by Ben Wheatley, the oddball British director behind “Kill List,” “Sightseers” and that weird “Rebecca” remake that Netflix did a few years ago. His authorial stamp is absent (or maybe invisible) but he does have a keener understanding of what audiences want from this kind of thing. And what they want is Statham kicking a bad guy at exactly the moment a megalodon swims by so the megalodon eats the bad guy and everybody cheers (yes, even if you’re at home). God bless you, “Meg 2.” – Drew Taylor

“Trick ‘r Treat”

trick-r-treat
Warner Bros. Pictures

Max – Oct. 1

A Halloween classic, “Trick ‘r Treat” is a perfect pick to either kick off Spooky Season or celebrate on All Hallow’s Eve. The 2007 film is an anthology that tells five separate horror stories, all revolving around Halloween. Each one has terrifically spooky vibes, some intense R-rated gore and a twist ending that’ll have you reaching for the lights. The less said the better, but if for some reason you’ve never seen this one there’s no time like the present. – Adam Chitwood

“The Empty Man”

The Empty Man
20th Century Studios

Hulu – Oct. 1

This horror movie flew way under the radar but quickly drew a cult following and will have you obsessing over its mythology long after it ends. Part of the delight of “The Empty Man” is the discovery, so we’ll tread lightly here, but broadly the story follows a former detective grieving the death of his wife who gets pulled into a conspiracy involving an entity known as The Empty Man. When summoned, those involved all die. Is it a supernatural death trap, secret cult or something else entirely? – Adam Chitwood

“Nightmare Alley”

nightmare-alley-bradley-cooper-rooney-mara
Searchlight Pictures

Hulu – Oct. 1

Bradley Cooper and Guillermo del Toro teamed up for 2021’s new take on the noir “Nightmare Alley” to terrific (and shocking) results. This one could conceivably be considered a horror film as the story follows a drifter who joins a carnival and then remakes himself into a mystic, gaining success and notoriety in high society. Set in 1939 and 1941, the film finds del Toro crafting lush noir visuals and anchoring the story with an all-star ensemble that also includes Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Willem Dafoe and Toni Collette. – Adam Chitwood

“Doctor Sleep”

Doctor Sleep
Warner Bros.

Hulu – Oct. 1

Mike Flanagan is beloved for his Netflix horror series “The Haunting of Hill House” and “The Haunting of Bly Manor,” but his 2019 “The Shining” sequel “Doctor Sleep” is a criminally underseen effort. Based on the book by Stephen King, the film serves as a bridge of sorts between Stanley Kubrick’s iconic (but divisive) adaptation of “The Shining” and the book upon which that 1980 film is based. Ewan McGregor plays a grown up Danny Torrence who’s in recovery for alcoholism when he becomes mentally connected with a young girl named Abra with “the shining.” Rebecca Ferguson plays a devilish cult leader who sucks the souls out of children, and the story builds to an incredible finale at the Overlook Hotel. If you watch and enjoy this on Hulu, seek out the Blu-ray to watch the even longer director’s cut. – Adam Chitwood

“BlacKkKlansman”

blackkklansman-adam-driver-john-david-washington
Focus Features

Netflix – Oct. 1

Spike Lee’s 2018 film “BlacKkKlansman” is at once compelling, provocative, infuriating and funny. So, a Spike Lee joint. Based on a true story, the film takes place in 1970s Colorado Springs where the first Black officer in the department finds himself leading an investigation into the local KKK. Unable to infiltrate the hate group himself, he speaks only by phone and teams up with a white officer (played by Adam Driver) to do the actual undercover work. The film was one of Lee’s most acclaimed yet, winning the filmmaker his first competitive Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay and securing nominations for Best Picture, Director and Supporting Actor for Driver. – Adam Chitwood

“Dune”

Timothee Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson in Dune
“Dune” (Chiabella James / Warner Bros.)

Netflix – Oct. 1

No, your eyes don’t deceive you. The relatively new release Warner Bros. adaptation of “Dune” is now streaming on Netflix, not just Max. Based on the Frank Herbert tome of the same name, the story follows the rise of a young heir played by Timothee Chalamet who is thrust into the spotlight when his family’s mining operation on the planet Arrakis is seized by a nefarious rival. Will Paul Atreides rise to the occasion or hide in the desert for the rest of his life? The film covers the first half of Herbert’s book with director Denis Villeneuve chronicling the second half in the upcoming “Dune Part Two,” which brings back nearly the entire cast and same craftspeople that brought this Oscar-winning sci-fi film to life. – Adam Chitwood

“Mission: Impossible,” “Mission: Impossible 2,” “Mission: Impossible 3,” “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”

mission-impossible-ghost-protocol
Paramount Pictures

Netflix – Oct. 1

There is quite literally not a bad time to have a “Mission: Impossible” marathon, and the first four entries in the franchise are now streaming on Netflix. Each entry in this spy franchise molds itself to fit the director at the helm: Brian De Palma’s 1996 film is a sexy and duplicitous; John Woo’s 2000 sequel is full of over-the-top, balletic action; J.J. Abrams’ 2006 installment is romantic, funny and personal; and Brad Bird’s 2011 entry is almost a cartoon come to life as Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt tackles his highest-flying set pieces in the franchise so far. This series is a delight head to toe. – Adam Chitwood

“Haunted Mansion”

"Haunted Mansion"
“Haunted Mansion” (Credit: Walt Disney Company)

Disney+ – Oct. 4

When “Haunted Mansion” was released this summer, it had the misfortune of both strikes and the unstoppable juggernaut that was “Barbie”/”Oppenheimer.” This is a shame, because “Haunted Mansion” is a ton of fun. Based on the Disney attraction that first opened back in 1969 (it was previously adapted, 20 years earlier, into a lame Eddie Murphy vehicle), the movie stars Rosario Dawson as a young single mother whose new home is infested with 999 happy haunts. In order to rid her of the otherworldly presence, she calls on a group of spiritual advisors – a ghost tour guide (LaKeith Stanfield), a priest (Owen Wilson), a historian (Danny De Vito) and a psychic (Tiffany Haddish). Of course, they are all in over their head, especially when they come up against the sinister Hatbox Ghost (Jared Leto), a character that has deep ties to the Haunted Mansion mythology. With a winning mixture of humor, heart and scares, “Haunted Mansion” was one of the more delightful Disney movies released this year. And now you can watch it at home – just in time for Halloween! – Drew Taylor

“The Boogeyman”

Sophie Thatcher in "The Boogeyman"
Sophie Thatcher in “The Boogeyman” (20th Century Studios)

Hulu – Oct. 5

Boo! “The Boogeyman,” based on the short story by Stephen King, was originally meant to be a direct-to-Hulu original, before being bumped to a theatrical release. And now the movie is back to where it was supposed to be – Hulu. The movie follows a family that has just lost their mother in a sudden car accident. Each member is following a different approach, but when the father (Chris Messina), a psychiatrist, diving into work. That’s where he meets an oddball patient (David Dastmalchian) who tells him the story of The Boogeyman, a fearsome creature that isn’t content until you’re scared to death, and then seemingly passes along that creature to the family. This leads the family’s teenage daughter (Sophie Thatcher from “Yellowjackets” and “The Book of Boba Fett”) to investigate who or what the Boogeyman actually is to rid her grieving family of this curse. The movie has a lot of good jump scares and expands the original King story with aplomb. You could do a lot worse this Halloween. – Drew Taylor

“Fair Play”

alden-ehrenreich-phoebe-dynevor-fair-play
Netflix

Netflix – Oct. 6

Here’s a movie explicitly made for people who say “They don’t make ‘em like this anymore.” Chloe Domont’s erotic thriller “Fair Play” follows two young financial analysts at the same firm who strike up a secret romance – played by “Bridgerton” star Phoebe Dynevor and Han Solo himself Alden Ehrenreich. But can a relationship flourish in the cutthroat world of finance? Complex sexual and gender politics are explored as Dynevor doesn’t shy away from the “erotic” aspect of the genre but also digs deeper than many of the 1990s entries did. The result is something compelling and sharp, with a true humdinger of an ending. – Adam Chitwood

“Totally Killer”

totally-killer-kiernan-shipka
Prime Video

Prime Video – Oct. 6

Why not celebrate the season with a brand-new slasher movie? “Totally Killer” is built around an ingenious set-up – a young girl (Kiernan Shipka) witnesses her mother’s murder and, thanks to a time machine, goes back to 1987 to not only stop her murder but to save several young women who fell victim to the same sadistic serial killer. Cool right? Thankfully, “Totally Killer” pays off that set-up. It’s incredibly fun – a joyful, bloody, neon-tinged extravaganza that playfully mixes scares and laughs in equal measure. (It was directed by Nahnatchka Khan, the creator of countless TV series and the director of “Always Be My Maybe.”) Shipka is great as a progressive teen experiencing all of the rougher aspects of living in the 1980’s (there are a lot of great jokes about people smoking around children, among other things) and Julie Bowen and Olivia Holt play the same character at two different points in time terrifically. Also, Randall Park shows up as a dopey cop and steals every scene. It’s a bloody good time. – Drew Taylor

“Pet Sematary: Bloodlines”

Pet Sematary Bloodlines
Paramount

Paramount+ – Oct. 6

​​Remember the “Pet Sematary” remake from a couple of years ago? Well, even if you didn’t, this should serve of some interest – it’s a prequel to that film but also fills in some gaps from the story original that was written by Stephen King and first adapted in 1989 by Mary Lambert. This film follows a young Jud Crandall (played in the original by Fred Gwynne and in the remake by John Lithgow) and his dealings in the 1960’s with the evil pet cemetery and the mysteries that surround it. If, for some reason, you’re not in the spooky season mood yet, this should do the trick. – Drew Taylor

“The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial”

the-caine-mutiny-court-martial-kiefer-sutherland
Showtime

Paramount+ – Oct. 6

The final film from the late, great William Friedkin is an update of the 1953 play by Herman Wouk (the original play was based on his 1952 novel “The Caine Mutiny”). The setting of the story, about a U.S. Naval captain who, following signs of mental instability, faces a court-martial, has been updated, but the drama remains the same. Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Clarke, Jake Lacy, Lance Reddick (in what would ultimately be one of his final roles), Lewis Pullman and Jay Duplass star. “The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial” got solid reviews following its premiere at the Venice Film Festival and some of Friedkin’s most compelling works, particularly later in life, were for television (just watch his crackling remake of “12 Angry Men”), meaning this is a court-martial you shouldn’t want to skip. If only to say goodbye to one of the masters. – Drew Taylor

“The Burial”

tommy-lee-jones-jamie-foxx-the-burial
Amazon/MGM

Prime Video – Oct. 10

This looks delightful. “The Burial” tells the true story of Jerry O’Keefe (Tommy Lee Jones), a funeral home owner, who hires a flashy lawyer named Willie E. Gary (Jamie Foxx) to help him with a lawsuit against a big funeral home company. Talk about David versus Goliath. But if you know anything about the case (and, really, don’t Google it), the case had some unpredictable twists and some huge upsets. The movie premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it was warmly reviewed (it has a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes) and generally seems like the kind of movie that they don’t make very often anymore. Also, how are you going to really argue against a movie with a cast that also includes Jurnee Smollett, Mamoudou Athie, Bill Camp and Alan Ruck? That’s right: you’re not going to argue with it. You’re just going to sit back and watch. – Drew Taylor

“The Devil on Trial”

the-devil-on-trial
Netflix

Netflix – Oct. 17

This feature-length documentary recounts the famous 1981 “Devil Made Me Do It” trial in Connecticut, where a man (Arne Cheyenne Johnson) accused of killing his landlord used, for the first time in court, the explanation of demonic possession. This was uncharted territory for many and was widely covered by local and national media. Ed and Lorraine Warren, the famous ghost hunters, were also a part of the mystery, when they attempted to purge a demon years earlier that instead chose Johnson as its host. (These events were later dramatized in the third “Conjuring” film, subtitled, of course, “The Devil Made Me Do It.”) As strange and unsual as the case was, this documentary could be even stranger, considering you’re hearing from the people that were actually involved. This one should make your skin crawl. – Drew Taylor

“Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken”

Ruby Gillman
DreamWorks Animation

Peacock – Oct. 20

When “Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken” opened earlier this summer, it underperformed. And that’s a real shame, because this DreamWorks Animation feature is charming and fun, full of truly gorgeous animation. Ruby (Lana Condor) is a teenage Kraken passing as a normal human girl in a lush seaside town. Her family has been keeping her true lineage from her, which she discovers during an encounter with her mother (a fiery Jane Fonda). She also uncovers an age-old battle between krakens and mermaids, which is particularly upsetting after she discovers one of classmates is indeed an evil mermaid (Annie Murphy). Full of imaginative set pieces (including a mermaid vs. kraken kaiju battle worthy of “Pacific Rim”) and terrific vocal performances (the cast also includes Toni Collette, Colman Domingo, Sam Richardson and Will Forte), the movie, directed by animation great Kirk DeMicco, didn’t deserve to be ignored. But now is your chance to catch up with “Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken.” Soak it up. – Drew Taylor

“Cobweb”

"Cobweb"
Lionsgate

Hulu – Oct. 20

One of the year’s very best – and most underrated – horror movies arrives on streaming just in time for Halloween. And it’s perfect timing, because “Cobweb” is super Halloween-y – for some reason the central family (the parents are played by a wonderfully off-kilter Lizzy Caplan and Anthony Starr) have a pumpkin patch in the backyard and the climax takes place on Halloween night. The movie stars Woody Norman (the little kid from “C’mon C’mon”) as a little kid who begins to suspect a long lost sibling is trapped in the walls of his home. (Cleopatra Coleman plays his concerned teacher.) Director Samuel Bodin eschews the typical tropes for something more stylized and heightened – this is more of a fable or fairy tale than it is a traditional, modernly told scary movie. And the movie is all the better for it. When Lionsgate dumped the movie into theaters this summer, against “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” it quickly vanished. But this deserves to be a new cult classic. Make it a part of your Halloween programming. It’ll be an annual favorite. – Drew Taylor

“Master Gardener”

master-gardener-paul-schrader
Joel Edgerton and Sigourney Weaver in “Master Gardener”

Hulu – Oct. 26

The latest from writer/director Paul Schrader, and the conclusion of his so-called “lonely man trilogy” (which started with “First Reformed” and continued with “The Card Counter”), “Master Gardener” might not be as powerful as those earlier films but it weaves its own kind of spell. Joel Edgerton plays Narvel Roth, a man with (wouldn’t you know it?) a shadowy past who gets a job as a groundskeeper for a wealthy southern woman (Sigourney Weaver). When he starts up a relationship with a young woman working on the grounds (Quintessa Swindell), it threatens to dismantle his carefully manicured new life. There’s a lot of simmering tension underneath the surface of “Master Gardner,” but it never quite reaches the boil you’re probably expecting. But that’s okay. This is a movie full of wonderful performances, with Schrader content to let the mood take hold. When it does reach its conclusion, it’s surprisingly sweet and satisfying, especially for the typically wounded Schrader hero. – Drew Taylor

“Pain Hustlers”

Pain Hustlers
Netflix

Netflix – Oct. 27

David Yates, who directed several of the latter “Harry Potter” movies and the “Fantastic Beasts” spin-offs as well, trades wands for over-the-counter drugs in “Pain Hustlers.” Instead of a broader look at the opioid epidemic, “Pain Hustlers” (based on the New York Times article and book by Evan Hughes) follows a pair of unscrupulous pharmaceutical reps, played by Emily Blunt and Chris Evans. They’re both, at least initially, just trying to make a living but the cost of their aggressive salesmanship winds up costing people their lives. Told in a kind of “Wolf of Wall Street” style, Yates gives it his all, as do Blunt and Evans, who both fearlessly go to some pretty ugly places. (There are also great supporting roles from Catherine O’Hara as Blunt’s mom and a particularly sleazy Andy Garcia as the head of the pharmaceutical company.) If you want to get down to the nitty gritty and understand how the pills wound up in peoples’ hands, “Pain Hustlers” will do the job. It’s a tragedy, ultimately, but one told with style and panache. – Drew Taylor

“Sister Death”

sister-death
Netflix

Netflix – Oct. 27

2017’s “Veronica” is one of the best (and indeed scariest) horror movies in recent memory. Supposedly based around a true story of a young woman who, in the early 1990’s, died following her use of a Ouija board. It was really, really terrifying. And thankfully director Paco Plaza is back for more. “Sister Death” is a prequel to “Veronica,” this time focused on a young nun (Aria Bedmar) who exhibits some very supernatural traits in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. Honestly, how great does that sound? Plaza is one of the world’s most creative and exciting genre filmmakers (he also oversaw the “REC” series). Any new movie from Plaza is an event but a spin-off of arguably his very best movie is cause for celebration. This one will undoubtedly scare the pants off of you. – Drew Taylor

“Five Nights at Freddy’s”

Five Night's at Freddy's Trailer
Blumouse

Peacock – Oct. 27

Continuing 2023’s streak of high-quality videogame adaptations (including “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” “The Last of Us,” “Twisted Metal”) continues with “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” a movie that asks the age-old question: What if the Chuck E. Cheese or Showbiz Pizza was haunted by the spirit of dead children? Part of the fun of the movie is playing up the inherent creepiness of those jittery audio-animatronics that would play music while sugar-fueled kids play Skee-Ball. And this is especially true since Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, responsible for the characters in “The Dark Crystal” and the first “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” (truly the height of Chuck E. Cheese’s) came up with the animatronic creatures for this movie. And there is a pretty involving mystery at its heart, too, as a beleaguered security guard (Josh Hutcherson) works to uncover the truth behind a series of disappearances somehow connected to Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, the spooky decrepit pizza joint. Plus, this is one of those PG-13 horror movies that still has enough edge to delight every nightmare-seeker in your family. – Drew Taylor

Comments

One response to “The 25 Best New Movies to Stream in October 2023”

  1. Chloe Avatar
    Chloe

    FYI for the editor: it’s Julie Bowen in Totally Killer, not Julie Owen.

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