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10 Best Under-The-Radar Horror Movies –

 

 

Horror movies have been around since the advent of film and somewhere along the way, studios realised you could make a scary flick for cheap and reap the benefits of teens and sadists looking for a quick thrill.

As such, we’ve been inundated with so many crappy horror movies that one could easily begin to believe the entire genre to be… a bit crappy.

Well that just isn’t true. By God it isn’t! Horror is alive and well, ironically, and amidst all the soulless cash-ins and maddeningly misguided missteps, there are more than a few hidden gems; you just gotta wipe some blood off of the diamond to see it!

These movies represent some of the best the genre has to offer. From idiosyncratic zombies to nosey neighbours, hair-raising aliens to Neo-Nazi nut-jobs, this list has all the horror and macabre your twisted mind could ever ask for!

10. The Serpent & The Rainbow

Nerdist

Bill Pullman is a pretty famous actor, best known for his roles in Independence Day, Casper, Lake Placid, While You Were Sleeping, and Spaceballs. However, in 1988, Pullman teamed with famed horror director, Wes Craven, for the bizarre zombie movie you probably haven’t seen, The Serpent & The Rainbow.

Pullman stars as anthropologist Dennis Alan, who travels to Haiti to study a drug that is supposedly raising the dead. Not only is the location of a war-torn Haiti an interesting backdrop for a movie, but the twist of a radical drug seemingly causing the dead to rise adds a spin to the tired zombie genre.

Of course, all is not as it seems and there’s some shady characters, a love interest, and even some voodoo; which all ties together to make a fun, albeit very odd, bow.

This under-the-radar horror flick truly is a deep cut from both Pullman and Craven’s catalogue, especially considering it came after A Nightmare On Elm Street, but it’s well worth a watch.

9. Devil

Universal Pictures

A true hidden gem from M. Night Shyamalan’s résumé, Devil shows him dipping back into his horror roots in 2010 after some failed blockbusters.

Devil is set in a high-rise building, with five strangers stuck in an elevator together, the caveat being one of them is the Devil! It makes for claustrophobic and tense viewing, watching as the inhabitants of the elevator slowly start turning on each other and freaking out when weird things happen. It gets pretty damn grim in that elevator as the cops rush to set them free, all the while discovering that it’s not just the five people in the elevator.

Devil is a simple movie, and a fairly short one at 80 minutes, but the budget of a mere $10 million shows that Shyamalan is at his finest when he’s under some constraints. It’s certainly one of his better movies (although The Visit may be even better again) and it’s genuinely unsettling.

8. The Fourth Kind

Universal Pictures

One of the most unique and chilling alien movies ever made, The Fourth Kind was said to be based on a true story about abductions in a sleepy Alaskan town, and it makes for a harrowing experience.

When the movie begins, it not only says the movie is based on real events, but also features some split-screen interviews; with one side supposedly the real-life victim of the abduction. Suspending your disbelief and thinking this is all 100% makes The Fourth Kind one of the most terrifying movies ever made. If you believe in aliens that is… and you should.

The movie features a relatively unknown cast (minus Milla Jovovich in the starring role), and features some bone-chilling scenes that make you never want to sleep again. Go into this one with an open mind and you won’t be disappointed.

7. Disturbia

Paramount Pictures

There have been dozens of movies about the secretive neighbour, who may or may not be a serial killer. However, there’s only one masterpiece in this regard: Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window. That classic movie starring Jimmy Stewart is a masterclass in suspense, editing, and angling. So any homage to a Hitchcock movie is rightfully met with sceptical eyebrows, and most of them are terrible.

One that was pretty darn good however, was the 2007 movie starring Shia LaBeouf, Disturbia.

It follows the same basic plot as Rear Window, with LaBeouf’s character on house arrest as opposed to injured and, although the movie leaves his bedroom a few times, it still does a fine job of building suspense and tension in the same way Hitchcock did.

6. Trick ‘r Treat

Warner Premiere

When you’re in the mood for a horrific Halloween movie that’s fairly quick viewing, Trick ‘r Treat is the way to go.

The movie is set in a small suburban town on Halloween night and follows multiple characters in separate plots that eventually intertwine in supremely gory ways. Due to the disconnected nature of the plot, it takes a while to get into Trick ‘r Treat, but when everything starts overlapping it really steps-up. It’s also a movie that gets better with repeated viewings.

Despite being straight-to-DVD, Trick ‘r Treat featured some heavy talent behind the scenes. It was produced by the man behind the original X-Men movies, Bryan Singer, and directed by Michael Doughtery, who went on to craft Krampus, X-Men Apocalypse, and the upcoming Godzilla movie.

This movie has become a bonafide cult classic and a Halloween tradition, but it is not for the faint of heart.

5. Hush

Netflix

How can you defend yourself from a predator breaking into your home when you’re deaf? That’s the premise of Hush, and it’s genuinely horrifying.

The movie sees the hearing-impaired protagonist living alone in the woods, soon to be the victim of a masked killer. As she sits unaware on her couch, with the masked man tapping the window behind her, you can’t help but feel the hairs raise on your arms and neck. It’s one of the few horror movies in which you really root for the protagonist to beat the killer, which immediately makes the stakes infinitely higher than normal.

Speaking of whom, the bad guy here is not some freakish, unstoppable monster, he’s just a normal man who wants to commit a horrible crime. And that is far scarier.

Hush is a devilishly smart house-invasion movie that pays homage to classics like Halloween while imbuing it with new life.

4. They Live

Universal

“I’m here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum.” A famous line from a not-so-famous movie.

Starring the legendary “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, They Live is an underrated John Carpenter movie that needs some attention. It’s got some memorable dialogue, one hell of a fight scene, and a really cool story.

The plot sees Piper’s character as a nomad who is basically homeless in Los Angeles. He gets roped into a worldwide conspiracy that reveals half of the world’s population to be of alien origin, and the actual humans being manipulated into obeying and consuming. It’s a great story with some smart visual tricks and Piper is the perfect everyman to lead the charge.

Carpenter may be most famous for Halloween and The Thing but They Live is right up there with his finest works. This is a must-watch for all horror fans, even if it isn’t scary.

3. Dark Skies

Dimension Films

Dark Skies is a great alien movie starring Keri Russell and J.K. Simmons. It kind of ties the haunted house tropes with a possession storyline, and it’s pretty darn affecting.

Dark Skies comes to you from the geniuses over at Blumhouse Productions, and serves as a fairly unique take on the alien genre. The plot revolves around The Barrett Family, who live in idyllic American suburbia. The mother is a real-estate agent, the dad is unemployed, and the two sons are… well, kids.

Strange things befall the family, like birds flying into the house and killing themselves. As the family start to discover mysterious beings watching over them as they sleep at night, they are desperate to find answers and a solution.

It’s chilling stuff and Keri Russell gives a predictably captivating performance as the mother trying to hold everything together as it falls apart. Then there’s the J.K. Simmons cameo that will give your goosebumps goosebumps.

2. Green Room

A24

Green Room came out in 2015 and blew critics away with its claustrophobic and timely storyline about Neo-Nazi’s. It also stars the late Anton Yelchin, as well as Patrick Stewart, Imogen Poots, and Alia Shawkat rounding out the star-studded cast, yet it’s seemingly flew under-the-radar thus far.

Green Room is the metaphorical blue moon: a horror movie that’s Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. It features the stars of the movie as a struggling punk band, who take a gig in a dive bar, only to realise it’s a Neo-Nazi hideout. Upon realising this, the band (with their major cajones) flip off the Nazi’s and almost start a riot. They’re sent back to their dressing room to cool-off and avoid being killed, but then things take dark turns and murder is afoot.

Green Room is fantastic at slowly raising the stakes, heightening emotions with nuanced performances, and making you feel like you’re in the room with the band, terrified to leave. It’s a cramped and nerve-wrecking ride, befitting of the punk overtones.

1. It Follows

RADiUS-TWC

Arguably the best scary movie since Scream, It Follows plays on all the genre tropes and creates a horror far worse than any slasher or ghost.

As you know from the myriad of terrible slasher movies out there, creating a new and memorable monster is very difficult – hence why so many movies revert to ghosts and possession. Which is why It Follows’s mysterious entity is so damn scary and enthralling.

The story focuses on Jay, a college student who ends up on a date with a guy. Jay makes the decision to sleep with him, after which he then drugs her and ties her to a chair. He explains to her that he passed on a curse to her, and now there will be a thing following her: it can take the form of anyone it wants, stranger or otherwise, and will kill you in a gruesome fashion.

That means Jay is suddenly on the lookout for anyone walking directly towards her, even her best friends. It’s an ingenious way to keep you on your toes and always guessing, and rather than the tired virgin horror trope, the only way to move on is to have sex. Post-modern brilliance.

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