If you’re a fan of horror films, you’ve likely spent this month cycling through your list of favorite movies in the genre. Everyone’s list typically consists of the classics like Halloween, Psycho, The Exorcist, The Thing, etc. But it’s worth noting that there are many modern indie films that are great for a good scare and some awesome filmmaking. And, who knows, maybe a few of them will be given a coveted spot on your spooky movie list for years to come.
Aside from being a horror film, Hereditary is also unbearably uncomfortable as it depicts a family struggling with loss. Although most of the actual horror is saved for the very end of the film, the darkness and sadness that the family radiates make it a very emotionally draining experience- in the best possible way. Also, as could be predicted by the title, the film deals heavily with themes of family and legacy.
2) The Strangers: Prey at Night
A follow up to the original Strangers movie that premiered in 2008, this film follows much of the same plot as the first one. Mike and his wife, Cindy, take their son and daughter on a road trip, only to find themselves being terrorized and tortured by masked strangers. These films take the phrase ‘stranger danger’ to the next level, preying on the audience’s fear of the unknown and the possible depravity it could hold.
3) Train to Busan
An indie film turned cult classic, Train to Busan is likely on every horror film buff’s top ten list. The combination of the contained setting and the camera work create the ultimate zombie apocalypse movie complete with characters to root for, blood and guts, and a high sense of suspense that carries throughout the entire film.
4) The Witch
Director Robert Egger’s directorial debut, The Witch, is set in 1630 New England following a family that has been outcast to live in the woods. When their youngest child vanishes, a series of increasingly dark events ensue. It is not only good for its period authenticity, but the audience is submerged in this dreary and dark atmosphere that feels inescapable as one watches. It also creates some truly haunting visuals that are sure to keep viewers up late into the night.
5) It Follows
Utilizing symbolism to stand out, the monster in It Follows directly parallels the fear of STD’s. After teenager Jay sleeps with her boyfriend, Hugh, he reveals she is now the victim of a curse that is passed through intercourse. She is now doomed to be killed by a creature that will be disguised as either a friend or stranger who will follow her from now on until it catches her. The combination of the lore and the scare sequences creates a very unique horror experience.
6) Bone Tomahawk
If you’re in the mood for something a little different, try this indie film which is a combination of a horror and a western. It has both the elements of a western and a horror film as it’s packed with some gruesome and gory deaths as well as some good jump scares.
7) The Lodge
The Lodge centers around a soon-to-be stepmom who winds up trapped in a cabin with her fiance’s children. When they become snowed in, some strange happenings start to cause past traumas to reawaken in Grace’s mind. At first, it doesn’t appear to be anything new, but a few twists in this movie cause it to really stand out.
8) The Invisible Man
Elizabeth Moss stars in this indie film that combines themes of abuse with a fascinating sci-fi concept. Protagonist Cecilia escapes her abusive ex-boyfriend, who was a pioneer in the field of optics, only to find out that he has discovered a way to make himself invisible. It’s a unique kind of horror film in the way it uses the lack of visuals to keep the viewer in suspense, as well as how it handles the idea of abusive relationships.
9) Come to Daddy
Come to Daddy involves a man in his thirties, played by Elijah Wood, who arrives at a remote cabin to reconnect with his estranged father. Little by little, Wood begins to realize things aren’t all that they appear to be. This is definitely one of the stranger horror films, but the haunting scene work between Wood and Stephen McHattie really make it worth the watch.
Directed by Ari Aster, who also directed Hereditary, this movie centers around a couple who have traveled to Sweden to a friend’s hometown for their midsummer festival- only to find themselves at the hands of a pagan cult. The spiritual traditions, combined with the neverending daylight setting, lend to one of the more visually interesting horror films out there.