You feel that? That’s the chill of fall creeping in as August fades into September. Yes summer is finally behind us, and with the turn of the seasons comes a fresh crop of new films to watch this September. From Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Nia DaCosta’s Candyman, to Paul Schrader’s forthcoming The Card Counter and James Wan’s Malignant, there are plenty of exciting new releases to catch in theaters this month. Not feeling up to venturing outside? No worries; we’ve got you covered on what’s new on streaming.
Joining the major services in September are everything from the proto-MCU vampire action movie Blade to the retro-futuristic sci-fi drama Gattaca, Stanley Kwan’s biopic drama Center Stage starring Maggie Cheung, and a few creepy horror movies in case you’re spending all month revving up to October and the Halloween movie season.
Read on for 13 of the best movies new to streaming services in September.
10 years before Robert Downey Jr.’s debut as Tony Stark in 2008’s Iron Man, Wesley Snipes delivered Marvel its first hit movie through his career-defining role as Blade, a half-vampire, half-human vampire hunter. Forced to wage a war against an underground society of vampires led by Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff), a megalomaniacal vampire with world-ending ambitions, Blade must at the same time work alongside his mentor Abraham Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) and hematologist Karen Jenson (N’Bushe Wright) to manage his own terrible, suppressed thirst for human blood. Come for the blood rave, stay for the kickass action sequences. —Toussaint Egan
Blade is streaming on Peacock.
Bernard Rose’s original 1992 Candyman is unequivocally one of the most horrifying horror movies of the early ’90s, a film whose sheer thematic depth and daring visuals evidence the hand of a masterful filmmaker at the peak of his abilities. Adapted from Clive Barker’s short story “The Forbidden,” the films stars Virginia Madsen as Helen Lyle, a University of Illinois grad student who becomes obsessed in studying the legend of Candyman, the murderous apparition born from the tortured spirit of a black man who in 1890 was killed for falling in love with a white woman. Lyle journeys to the modern day site of Candyman’s death, the Cabrini-Green housing development, where she unwittingly conjures the vengeful ghost back into being. With a beautiful, unsettling score courtesy of composer Philip Glass and an iconic performance by Tony Todd as Candyman, the 1992 original is absolutely prerequisite viewing for anyone even remotely interested in watching Nia DaCosta’s 2021 sequel of the same name. —TE
Candyman is streaming for free on Tubi.
Based on a true story, Stanley Kwan’s 1991 drama Center Stage chronicles the life of Ruan Lingyu, the so-called “Chinese Garbo” of her era, following the iconic actresses’ rise to prominence amid the 1930s to her tragic suicide at the age of 24. Maggie Cheung (In the Mood for Love) embodies the hypnotic allure and subdued melancholia of Lingyu in her prime, navigating the dire straits of her career while harboring a sense of intense alienation despite her meteoric success. Kwan’s film, according to critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, “combines documentary with period re-creation; biopic glamour with profound curiosity.” An award-winning performance by Cheung alone is reason enough to give Center Stage a watch. —TE
Center Stage is streaming on Criterion Channel.
Andrew Niccol has never made a better film than Gattaca, period. The director has dabbled with visually impressive sci-fi dystopias in films like 2011’s In Time or 2018’s Anon, but neither of those have managed to surpass that sheer lightning-in-a-bottle ingenuity of his directorial debut. Set in a future “not-too-distant” from our own, Niccol’s film stars Ethan Hawke as Vincent Freeman, a supposedly “inferior” man born into a society defined by a eugenically-organized caste system who yearns to pursue his dream of becoming an astronaut. Defying the institutional roadblocks of his time, Vincent assumes the identity of Jerome Eugene Morrow (Jude Law), a eugenically exceptional athlete in order to work as navigator at the Gattaca Aerospace Corporation. When Gattaca’s administrator is mysteriously killed just days before Vincent’s mission to Titan, he’ll have to allude the suspicions of the investigators tasked with solving the murder as well as those of his co-worker Irene Cassini (Uma Thurman). With a brilliantly evocative score composed by Michael Nyman, a powerful animating trio of performances by Hawke, Thurman, and Law, and an impeccably stylish retro-futuristic aesthetic, Gattaca is soul-stirring science fiction. —TE
Gattaca is streaming on Hulu.
What’s on the other side of a black hole? In Paul W. S. Anderson’s sci-fi horror film Event Horizon, the answer is quite literally hell itself. Starring Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix), Sam Neill (Jurassic Park), Kathleen Quinlan (Apollo 13), and Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck), the film centers on the crew of the rescue vessel Lewis and Clark responding to a distress signal from the lost ship Event Horizon. While aboard the ship, the crew discover the remains of a massacre and are stricken with fierce visions and horrifying hallucinations caused by the ship’s experimental gravity drive. Though a commercial and critical failure at release, Event Horizon has earned a staunch cult following among fan for its unsettling imagery, gothic industrial set design, and bracing performances, eventually going on to serve as an principal inspiration for EA Redwood Shores’ hit 2008 horror game Dead Space. —TE
Event Horizon is streaming on HBO Max.
The Evil Dead / Evil Dead 2
Bruce Campbell stars in Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead in a career-defining role as Ash Williams, the loveable dunderhead-turned-maniacal chainsaw-wielding demon slayer. The original Evil Dead is a cult classic of the “cabin in the woods” subgenre of supernatural horror, filled with grotesque prosthetic makeup effects and impressive stop-motion animation courtesy of special effects maestro Tom Sullivan. The Evil Dead expertly skews the line between horror and camp, thrumming with terrifying kills and quippy one-liners in equal measure. The sequel, Evil Dead 2, inventively retcons and continues from the conclusion of the first and improves upon the original in almost every aspect. The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 are terrific horror films; frightening, thrilling and, to quote Ash himself, absolutely groovy. —TE
The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 are streaming on HBO Max.
In the Earth
Ben Wheatley has swung from brutal horror-thrillers (Kill List) to psychedelic dramas (A Field in England) to moody romances (Rebecca). With In the Earth, the precision provocateur returns to his roots with a gruesome comment on the relationship between technology and our planet. Our full review will give you a sense of this head-dunking trip of a movie, but here’s a taste:
Written and directed by Wheatley during the COVID-19 pandemic, In the Earth is explicitly informed by the last year of our collective lives. The film’s sparse script builds an image of self-isolation, government failure, and widespread loss, while the characters’ decision-making is shaped by an initial sense of wariness toward strangers, then a headfirst rushing into camaraderie and trust. The latter often isn’t the right choice, but don’t most people want to believe other humans are inherently good? Wheatley scoffs at the idea of innate altruism, and also questions the distinction between mythology and science. In the Earth is an immersive portrait of tribalism and madness, angst and survivalism. And in spite of the somewhat predictable narrative, the film builds to an unshakably tense, unsettlingly eerie conclusion.
In the Earth is streaming on Hulu.
Jennifer Connelly stars opposite of David Bowie in Jim Henson’s classic 1986 musical fantasy Labyrinth as Sarah Williams, a 16-year-old girl who inadvertently casts a spell that results in her baby brother Toby being abducted into another world by the Goblin King Jareth (Bowie). With only 13 hours to spare, Sarah must navigate the treacherous corridors and traps of Jareth’s labyrinth in order to rescind her wish and bring Toby back home, all while defeating the challenges constructed by the Goblin King’s minions. The second collaboration between Henson and artist Brian Froud following 1982’s The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth is a fairytale adventure on par with Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride or Wolfgang Petersen’s The NeverEnding Story, bursting at the seams with memorable characters, beautiful set pieces, and an inimitable performance by David Bowie as a wily and verbose sorcerer with an irrepressible flair for the dramatic. —TE
Labyrinth is streaming on Netflix.
The Last Witch Hunter
Vin Diesel: Car-lover, movie fan, and … huge Dungeons & Dragons guy? Believe it. Open about his go-to character, a ”witch hunter, half-drow,” Diesel one-upped every role-player with this would-be franchise-starter, a kind of Underworld for Lord of the Ring geeks. Full of lore and magic, The Last Witch Hunter is the action star’s excuse to step out of the hot rod and pick up a flaming hot rod to battle an evil queen bent on world domination. Forget cars in space: This is Diesel dreaming big. —Matt Patches
The Last Witch Hunter is streaming on Peacock.
Before The Suicide Squad (or Suicide Squad), before Justice League, before Marvel’s Avengers —there was Mystery Men. Kinka Usher’s 1999 superhero comedy Mystery Men channels the campy extravagant weirdness of Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever, centering on a team of D-tier wannabe superheroes led by The Shoveler (William H. Macy), Mr. Furious (Ben Stiller), and the fork-flinging Blue Raja (The Simpsons’ Hank Azaria) who must band together to save Champion City and Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear) from the nefarious Casanova Frankenstein (Geoffrey Rush). As if the names weren’t evidence enough, the movie is absolutely ridiculous and cringeworthy time-capsule of late ’90s commercial satire. If you’re looking for raucous, weird, and hilariously self-aware take on superheroes in the vein of a live-action The Incredibles, Mystery Men is a sure pick. —TE
Mystery Men is streaming on Netflix.
Once Upon a Time in America
Once Upon a Time in America is Sergio Leone’s final film and, by the director’s own insistence, his greatest. Based on Harry Grey’s novel The Hoods, the film follows the story of David “Noodles” Aaronson (Robert De Niro) and Max Bercovicz (James Woods), two lifelong friends who rise from the squalor of their lives in the ghettos of New York to become successful gangsters in the city’s criminal underworld. Leone’s film is epic spanning over 40 years of love, betrayal, loss, and estrangement as Aaronson and Bercovicz’s ambitions fork and diverge into direct opposition with one another. With beautiful set designs, a somber and memorable score by frequent collaborator Ennio Morricone, and magnetic performances by both De Niro and Woods, Once Upon a Time in America is a tremendous work that captures the animating ambition and sorrow at the heart of the American Dream. —TE
Once Upon A Time in America is streaming on Netflix.
Sleepless in Seattle
Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan star in Nora Ephron’s 1993 rom-com Sleepless in Seattle as Sam, a recently widowed architect, and Annie, a reporter who falls in love with him after hearing him speak about how much he misses his wife on a call-in radio show. After receiving hundreds of letters from women who listened in, only Annie’s manages to impress Sam’s young son Jonah, and through a series of poignant encounters and somber missed connections works to bring the two together. With hilarious dialogue and heartwarming chemistry between Hanks and Ryan, Sleepless in Seattle is an enduring classic of the genre and stirring depiction of love — despite many odds and obstacles — finding a way. —TE
Sleepless in Seattle is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
The Talented Mr. Ripley
Matt Damon’s lead performance in Anthony Minghella’s psychological thriller The Talented Mr. Ripley is inarguably one of the actor’s best; engrossing, shocking, and perversely sympathetic in equal measures. Damon plays the eponymous Tom Ripley, an underachiever with an unsettling knack for deceiving others, who is hired by a shipping magnate to retrieve his son Dickie (Jude Law) from Italy for $1,000 after being mistaken for one of his old classmates. Befriending Dickie and his fiancé Marge (Gwyneth Paltrow), Tom’s ever-evolving grift morphs into a twisted obsession with Dickie and his lifestyle, one for which Tom will do anything — anything — to possess. With a brilliant performance by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman as Dickie’s lewd, boisterous, and perceptive friend Freddie and terrific supporting performances by Cate Blanchett and Jack Davenport, The Talented Mr. Ripley is a tense, emotional thriller whose labyrinthine twists and turns will that’ll have you rooting for a monster. —TE
The Talented Mr. Ripley is streaming for free on Tubi.