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This was supposed to be the weekend, folks. After literal years of delays, this was supposed to be the weekend when we finally got to see Josh Boone’s The New Mutants. The Fox/Disney deal was done, and the latter studio committed to releasing the final X-Men franchise feature on the big screen. But then the COVID-19 pandemic happened. With movie theaters all around the world shut down, the film has been postponed yet again, and once again we are finding ourselves needing to wait to see mutant-led horror flick. It’s a real disappointment, but the good news is that there are many of-a-kind titles that you can check out on various streaming services.
In the weeks since the start of the pandemic, we’ve been writing about movie alternatives that audiences can check out in lieu of what was supposed to be arriving in theaters, and now it’s The New Mutants’ turn. Keeping in mind everything from theme, to genre, to characters, to cast, here are 10 titles to stream or rent online this weekend:
The Cabin In The Woods (2012)
It’s easy to get pessimistic about a movie that has been delayed many times. After all, if a title were actually really good, a studio would presumably want to show it to people as early as possible, right? It’s for this reason that there are a number of people who have given up hope that The New Mutants will be a quality cinematic experience – but for those still keeping the faith I suggest watching Drew Goddard’s The Cabin In The Woods for a burst of optimism. This is another title that was forced to sit on the shelf for years, but in the time since it came out it’s been heralded as a modern classic. It’s basically a best case scenario for the X-Men title.
Given that blockbuster comic book movies are generally trying to be four quadrant releases that appeal to everybody, superhero storytelling on the big screen hasn’t engaged much with the horror genre. It makes The New Mutants kind of a rare beast, but those curious about that aspect of the release should do themselves a favor and check out David Yarovesky’s Brightburn. The film is essentially scary take on the Superman mythos, positing the question of what would happen if an alien child was sent to Earth and became a force for evil instead of good.
Where To Stream: Starz
Where To Rent Online: N/A
The X-Men franchise has changed a whole hell of a lot since it was first born, but it’s still a family of films to which The New Mutants belongs – so why not celebrate by going back to the title that started it all? Bryan Singer’s X-Men is arguably the movie that completely changed the world of modern comic book movies, and while it is dated in a few aspects, there are plenty of other ways in which it’s not. It’s a cool blockbuster that definitely understands the important themes that were explored in the comics for decades before it. Plus, this year also happens to be its 20th anniversary, so there are actually two good reasons to revisit it (just do your best to ignore how skinny Hugh Jackman is, and his silly wig).
Before I Wake (2016)
In The New Mutants, one of the main characters is Danielle Moonstar, who is a mutant with a powerful psionic ability. In a sense, she is able to make imagination a reality, as she can manifest images from the minds of herself and others. Mike Flanagan’s Before I Wake operates with a similar concept, centering on a child named Cody (Jacob Tremblay) whose dreams become real while he sleeps. At first it delights his new adopted parents (Kate Bosworth, Tom Jane), but that’s before they experience what it’s like when Cody has a nightmare. It’s a tremendously well-made and spooky vision from one of the industry’s best working horror filmmakers.
Where To Stream: Netflix
Where To Rent Online: N/A
James Wan’s Insidious is another title that plays around with the idea of a young person tapping into a special ability that accidentally winds up creating a fair amount of havoc – not dissimilar to the craziness that can ensue when the main characters in The New Mutants lose control of their individual special gifts. In the case of the 2010 horror release, it’s ultimately a boy who has the innate ability to tap into The Further, a plane of existence inhabited by tortured souls, and doing so accidentally results in a terrible evil using him as a conduit.
Dog Soldiers (2002)
It’s always exciting to see a new werewolf character up on the big screen, and it’s an element of The New Mutants that we are most anticipating, with Maisie Williams's Rahne Sinclair a.k.a. Wolfsbane possessing the ability to transform into a full wolf, or a human/wolf hybrid. Exactly how the Josh Boone movie will pull off that aspect of the film is still being kept a mystery thanks to the release delay, but for now let that part of your hunger for the movie be satiated by Neil Marshall’s Dog Soldiers, which is an innovative take on the classic mythos that finds a team of military types hunted down by a monster while on a training mission and forced to seek shelter at a farmhouse.
The Monster Squad (1987)
The previously-released film that The New Mutants arguably looks most like is A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, with kids discovering individual dream powers that allow them to fight back against Freddy Krueger, but since that movie isn’t streaming Fred Dekker’s Monster Squad serves well as a substitute. The kids in the ‘80s adventure don’t have any special abilities to speak of beyond extensive horror knowledge, but the spirit is still essentially the same with the team coming together to fight supernatural evil (namely the catalog of Universal Monsters), and it’s awesome through and through. Plus, once you finish watching it you can join me on Team Can Somebody Please Turn This Into The Franchise It Deserves To Be?
The Witch (2014)
While she has definitely branched out into other genres (the recent Emma being a perfect example), Anya Taylor-Joy has spent a good amount of time in her young career establishing herself as a Scream Queen. The New Mutants, in which she plays Illyana Rasputin a.k.a. Magik, is one of many horror titles that stand out on her resume, with Split and Morgan also standing out. The film that first really got her on the map, however, was actually her feature debut, Robert Eggers’ The Witch, and if you haven’t seen it already, now is the perfect time. And if you have already seen it, give it another watch, as it’s a fantastically layered movie that is simply just freaky to live in for 92 minutes.
The Evil Dead (1981)
As noted via voice over in the first New Mutants trailer, the comic book movie seems to have a lot in common with a haunted house story, with the main cast of characters haunted by their pasts seemingly coming to life. Add in the isolation that comes with being in a remote location (specifically an abandoned hospital), and we have a brewed up excuse to suggest you all watch Sam Raimi’s classic The Evil Dead. Admittedly there’s never a bad time to watch this one, but it definitely feels apropos in connection to the new movie about a group coming together to try and survive an attack from a supernatural force.
Session 9 (2001)
From the footage we’ve seen from the movie, The New Mutants seems like it gets a lot of its spookiness from the atmosphere provided by the former asylum that has been converted into a secret facility for teens with out-of-control superpowers. It's with that element of the production in mind that we recommend checking out Brad Anderson's Session 9 – another film set in an abandoned mental hospital. The plot follows an asbestos cleaning crew into the location and finds them uncovering the place’s horrible past and the terrible experiences of the patients who lived within it. It’s definitely one of the more underrated-yet-brilliant examples of 21st century horror, and if you’ve never watched it before now is a perfect opportunity.
With The New Mutants not in theaters, what are you watching this weekend? Are you intrigued by one of the entries on our list, or will you be hunting for something else? Answer our poll below, and hit the comments section with other options for movie-goers!