I have to admit that I don’t get scared while watching films very often and horror isn’t my thing. Nevertheless, here are my recommendations for films that might require you to watch some videos of kittens afterwards. Or maybe wear a diaper. I don’t know how big of a wuss you are.
Note: click on the links below to watch trailers and find out where these films are available.
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The Nightmare – Are you afraid of sleep paralysis? After watching this documentary HA HA HA YOU WILL BE NOW. (Warning: do not watch while stoned.)
The Visit – So far I’ve heard good things about M. Night Shyamalan’s forthcoming Split, but this is the first of his films that hasn’t sucked in fifteen years. It takes the fear of aging and the elderly and parses it through a found footage film with some twists and turns that are… well, better than throwing glasses of water on aliens.
Inside – An expectant mother recovering from a car accident realizes an intruder is trying to get in her house and cut out her baby. If you’re craving blood, guts and gore, Inside delivers that and more, particularly an unhinged performance by Béatrice Dalle. This isn’t popcorn fare, this is what people call New French Extremity. What else can I say?
Hush – In perhaps one of the smartest thrillers I’ve seen in a long time, a deaf woman must use her wits and little else to outsmart a man who has gone on a rampage in her wooded neighborhood and prevent him from getting inside her house. Hush poses the question: what can you do when you’ve got nothing? Answer: use your head and fight as hard as you can. I loved how this film was rooted in reality and made the characters and situations realistic.
The Childhood Of A Leader – Although this isn’t technically a horror film, Brady Corbet’s directorial debut was considered “too dark” by Juliette Binoche, who turned down the project (and she stars in Michael Haneke films, so Jesus Christ). But she wasn’t wrong. The emotional atmosphere in this film is suffocating as we watch a small boy (hauntingly played by newcomer Tom Sweet) being raised by his dysfunctional parents and throwing tantrums that turn into paralyzing fits. The real horror is that the story is a set-up. At the end of the film we realize who and what he has become, and it’s pretty damn terrifying.
Snowtown – This is without a doubt the most shocking film I saw this year. It is recommended that you read about the Snowtown murders before you brave it yourself, not only to ready yourself but to establish a who’s who of this story. Justin Kurzel directs it in a chilling and dream-like fashion. Evil is not only direct but familiar and close to everyone involved. Above all, Daniel Henshall’s performance as John Bunting is one of the most psychopathic things I’ve witnessed. Lovers of animals, children and anything sunshine-y need not apply.
Bonus: The Horror Of Confined Spaces
Exam – If you like riddles, corporate subterfuge and 12 Angry Men, then Exam has it all. The set-up seems simple: eight candidates arrive in a sealed-off classroom to take a test that will determine whether they get a job. After that things become… complicated, and to say the least some of the worst aspects of human nature are put on display. With James Gunn’s The Belko Experiment on the horizon, I’m sure these two will make the most interesting work-related double feature since Office Space and Horrible Bosses.
Buried – My brother reminded me to watch this movie about Ryan Reynolds being buried alive, so I did. When I was done all I wrote to him was “Holy shit.”