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The best non-gory movies and TV shows to watch this Halloween

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Halloween should be for everyone. But for those who need to cover their eyes at the sight of blood, it’s hard to find something to watch with so many shows and films relying so heavily on body horror and gratuitous gore.

With that in mind, we’ve curated a list of our top watches for those of you who would like to avoid violence, but still want to get your thrills this spooky season. Whether you prefer chilling true crime adaptations, creepy psychological thrillers, or family-friendly flicks, we’ve got something for every Halloween fan.

The Watcher

If you’re looking for a series to get stuck into for the latter half of October, look no further than Ryan Murphy’s latest Netflix show, The Watcher. Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale play a married couple that find themselves targeted by an ominous stalker after moving into a new home in a dream neighborhood.

Instead of blood and guts, The Watcher promises suspense and unease, following the couple as they try to uncover the real-life inspired mystery behind the identity of The Watcher.

With Watts, who is no stranger to the art of scares after getting her breakout role in The Ringand Murphy who has climbed to the highest steps of the pop culture ladder after bringing shows like American Horror Story and Dahmer to our screens, this series is the perfect pick to get stuck into this Halloween season.

The Watcher is available to stream on Netflix

The Curse Of Bridge Hollow

If the only content you want on your fright list this Halloween season is of the family-friendly variety, Netflix’s new movie The Curse Of Bridge Hollow is sure to appeal.

The comedy flick follows a father (Marlon Wayans) and his teenage daughter (Priah Ferguson) who are forced to team up and save their town after an ancient and mischievous spirit causes Halloween decorations to come to life and wreak havoc. In the pop culture crossover we never knew we needed, there’s also a star appearance from none other than Kelly Rowland, who plays Priah’s well-meaning mum, Emily.

The Curse Of Bridge Hollow is available to stream on Netflix

A Friend Of The Family

If true crime is more your bag but you want to avoid the extreme body torture that might come with stories like Dahmer, then A Friend Of The Family should certainly be on your radar this Halloween season.

You may have already seen or heard of the Netflix documentary Abducted In Plain Sightwhich was released in 2017. It’s a story so unbelievable that it captured the attention of true crime lovers almost immediately and became a fan-favorite in the genre.

Luckily for us, it’s now had the drama remake treatment, with a stellar cast and unique angle that has the potential to shake up true crime as we know it.

The series follows the true story of 12-year-old Jan Broberg, who was kidnapped not once but twice by her family’s neighbor and friend Robert Berchtold. The tale of how Berchtold managed to get away with abducting the girl on multiple occasions is entirely gripping and leaves the audience with devastating questions on morality, deception and the big question of how easily we can be fooled.

One unique talking point about the series is how the perspective is given to the Brobergs themselves, a commodity that’s rarely granted to victims and relations in the true crime world. Overflowing with context and empathy, A Friend Of The Family not only provides an eerie and malevolent atmosphere, but also brings understanding to a story that we’ve been grappling with all these years.

A Friend Of The Family is available to stream on Peacock and Now

Mr HarriganPhone

Another Ryan Murphy venture, Mr Harrigan’s Phone is the newest in a long line of Stephen King adaptations that has caught the attention of Netflix viewers.

The film follows Craig, a young boy who befriends an older gentleman by the name of Mr Harrigan and gifts him an iPhone. When Mr Harrigan suddenly dies, a struggling Craig finds that he is able to communicate with the deceased man through the phone.

Bypassing an emphasis on body horror and bloody scares, Mr Harrigan’s Phone is instead an exploration of whether the dead should stay dead and how Craig’s connection to his lost friend is more of a curse than a blessing.

King, who penned such famous horror stories as Carrie, Itand The Shining, is known for his spooky and iconic imagery and explorations of death and guilt. As well as being a genuinely eerie piece of work, Mr Harrigan’s Phone also works as a thoughtful look at loss, friendship, and grievance.

Mr Harrigan’s Phone is available to stream on Netflix

Red Rose

If nothing scares you more than the online world, then Red Rosee should be your next watch. The BBC Three series explores the threatening relationship between teenagers in Bolton and their desperation to cling to online life.

From the team behind Sex Educationthe series follows a group of teens during their summer holiday following exams and focuses on the friendship between Rochelle and Wren, which becomes threatened by jealousy and external forces.

Rochelle’s life is shaken up when she gets sent the Red Rose app, which takes over her phone and, subsequently, her life, commanding her to do things like kissing her friend’s crush and sending her frightening images.

A creepy ubiquitous app manipulating an unsuspecting victim? It sounds scarily possible and entirely too real. It’s no secret that social media and technology have a tight grip on our lives. Red Rose presents us with the possibility that that grip could potentially turn deadly.

Red Rose is available to stream on BBC iPlayer

Hocus Pocus 2

It wouldn’t be Halloween without a little sprinkle of comedic mayhem from Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy, would it?

It’s been 29 years since someone lit the Black Flame Candle and resurrected the delightfully wicked Sanderson sisters, and they are looking for revenge.

In the highly-anticipated follow-up to the iconic 90s comedy Hocus Pocusit’s now up to three high-school students to stop the ravenous 17th-century witches from wreaking a new kind of havoc on Salem before dawn on All Hallow’s Eve.

Hocus Pocus 2 is available to stream on Disney+

The Baby

For something a little funnier, be sure to check out Sky’s The Baby. Starring Michelle De Swarte, the limited series explores the humor and horror that comes with motherhood and child-rearing, made even more nightmarish by the fact that the baby in question has some evil tendencies.

After a baby falls out of the sky and lands in 38-year-old Natasha’s arms, she finds herself responsible for the blood-thirsty toddler that can’t walk or talk, but can bring a reign of terror to everyone it encounters. Natasha, who is vehemently against the idea of ​​motherhood and runs away for peace when she realizes that all her friends are reproducing, is the last person in the world who wants a baby, let alone an evil one.

But the child attaches itself to Natasha and isn’t willing to let go, making her an accomplishment in its chaotic rampage.

Whilst the series isn’t completely blood-free, the twisted humor and comedic style presents something more silly than savage; the violence is humbled by the fact that it’s being committed by, well… a baby. The dark take on motherhood and parenting is sure to provide something a little different this Halloween.

After all, what’s scarier than having to change a nappy?

The Baby is available to stream on Now

The School For Good And Evil

If the idea of ​​something more fantastical strikes your fancy, then this fairy tale with a twist is bound to be the perfect Halloween watch for you.

Based on a series of bestselling novels, The School For Good And Evil includes acting heavyweights such as Charlize Theron, Cate Blanchett, Michelle Yeoh and Kerry Washington, and follows the story of Agatha and Sophie, two friends that find themselves whisked away to the magical institution. But not all is as it seems at this school, as the student body is divided into two factions: good and evil.

Expect iconography from classic fairy tales, dark spells, and untrustworthy characters within the hallowed halls of The School for Good And Evil. And with Bridesmaid‘s Paul Feig as the creative lead, this twisted tale of teenage magic should come with a few laughs, too.

The School For Good And Evil will be available to stream from October 19, 2022 on Netflix