The average moviegoer probably sees only one or two mainstream horror movies a year. But horror movie fans know that there are a lot of hidden gems in the horror genre that can be easily overlooked, but are definitely worth seeking out. Real horror buffs know that it’s the small, quirky films that can be the most scary and suspenseful. Here are a just a few that are worth checking out.
The Pact (2012)
A young woman returns to her childhood home for her mother’s funeral, and discovers strange supernatural goings-on in the house. A film that’s both scary and intelligent, featuring an excellent performance by the lead actress Caity Lotz.
The Den (2013)
A found footage horror film, The Den is about a young woman who witnesses a murder online while researching chat rooms. Think she’s in any danger? A cautionary tale about safety on the Internet.
Stake Land (2010)
In this post-apocalyptic movie, an epidemic hits North America and turns everyone into vampires. A teenage boy and a mysterious stranger attempt to make their way to safety (the former Canada), fighting vampires and crazy people along the way.
The Snowtown Murders, aka Snowtown (2011)
Based on the true story of a series of homophobic murders in Australia (the “bodies in barrels” murders of the 1990s), this film is bleak and grim, but also powerful and gripping.
A satirical horror film that premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival, Detention is about a serial killer (Cinderhella) who is attacking a bunch of high school students. The principal (Dane Cook) puts the most likely suspects in all-day detention to keep the killer away from prom.
Dead Silence (2007)
What’s scarier than a ventriloquist’s dummy? Not much, as this movie demonstrates. The arrival of a mysterious dummy coincides with a woman’s murder. Her husband’s quest to find the killer leads to some very disturbing discoveries.
The Descent (2005)
A British horror film about a group of cavers who explore an unmapped cave system, only to find themselves trapped and then hunted by a bunch of extremely creepy humanoid creatures who also happen to eat human flesh.
Mimic (director’s cut) (2011)
Mimic was originally released in 1997, but co-writer and director Guillermo del Toro was unhappy with the film and released a director’s cut in 2011. When a disease carried by cockroaches starts killing children, an entomologist creates a mutant insect to kill the roaches and then die off. The problem? The new species lives…and then mutates into a large monster that kills people.
The Sacrament (2013)
Another entry in the found footage horror genre, this film is about a photographer who visits his sister at a Jonestown-like religious commune. Things are not as utopian there as they seem, and the real truth about the community and its leader soon emerge.
The House of the Devil (2009)
A tribute to classic horror films of the 1970s and 1980s, this is a tense and suspenseful movie about a college girl who takes a job at a creepy house during a strange lunar eclipse, and then becomes an unwilling participant in a satanic ritual.