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Eli: Netflix’s terrifying new horror movie stars one of the actors from Stranger Things

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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Netflix’s latest scary movie is a horror story about a young boy receiving treatment for a mysterious disease at an eerie facility. (When are they ever anything but?) Here is everything you need to know about this new film.

With Halloween fast approaching, many people are combing the catalogue of their favourite streaming service looking for a scary movie to binge.

Those cunning folks at Netflix know this all too well, which is why they have timed the release of their latest horror film, Eli, to fall in the middle of spooky season. Unlike some of their other horror releases, including the gross-out flick The Perfection or the smash-hit thriller Birdbox, Eli is an eerie, unsettling psychological thriller about a young boy battling an auto-immune disease.

Eli (Charlie Shotwell) is only 11 and yet he’s lived his whole life inside a protective suit because of his mysterious, debilitating disease. His mother (Kelly Reilly), desperate to find a cure, checks him into a treatment centre known as a “clean house” run by Dr Isabella Horn (Lili Taylor) in the hope that the trailblazing facility will save her son. Soon after Eli’s arrival, though, he begins to be haunted by supernatural visions and evil spirits. What is lurking inside this house? Or… who? 

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The film doesn’t debut on Netflix until 18 October – just in time for Halloween, folks – but the first trailer already has horror fans spooked.

“Well, that’s me sleeping with a night light from now on,” one Twitter user wrote. “Thanks Netflix, consider my fear of the dark officially reactivated.”

In particular, Stranger Things fans were chuffed to see Max – aka actor Sadie Sink – making an appearance in the trailer. The actor’s role in Eli is being kept under wraps, but judging from the video it looks like Sink will be playing another resident at the treatment facility who tries to connect with the young boy. (Or, plot twist, a figment of Eli’s imagination? Or, double plot twist, a demon spirit trying to take over Eli’s body?) 

It’s not just Sink’s casting that has fans comparing Eli to Stranger Things. Like the popular television series, Eli is a story told from the perspective of a young boy.

In that sense, it’s a horror movie that follows in a storied tradition of looking at the world through the eyes of a child. Think The Omen, or M Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense, or the insanely popular It. And we haven’t even begun talking about movies that feature a terrifyingly scary kid as a character. Those twins in The Shining! Every single movie in The Grudge cinematic universe! Hereditary! And, of course, Children Of The Corn

A terrifying scene from Netflix's new scary movie Eli.

Scary children are scary, and telling a scary story from the perspective of a child is also inherently scary.

Eli seems to have hit upon the perfect combination of the two. Prepare to sleep with the lights on after watching it.

Eli streams on Netflix in the US and the UK from 18 October. 

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Images: Netflix

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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