With studio horror films being kind of hit and miss, horror fans are often left to wade through a series of VOD and direct-to-DVD titles in an attempt to discover quality horror films. There are plenty of diamonds in the rough to be found but the problem is knowing where to start. Sifting through the horror section on Netflix or at your video store (if you still have one) can be a bit like fishing: One can easily invest hours into the search for worthwhile horror titles and come up empty handed. So to simplify the process, we are doing the digging for you and coming back with our findings. Our intent is to point our readers in the direction of some quality titles that you may have overlooked. So we are spotlighting five horror films you might not have seen but should.
Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things
A theater troupe and its condescending director unearth a corpse named Orville. They proceed to reanimate him through the use of a satanic ritual and the results are anything but predictable. Bob Clark (Black Christmas) directed and co-wrote the screenplay for this oft overlooked 1970s horror film. Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things is a zombie film that hit the scene long before the cinema of the undead was trendy. Like a lot of horror films released in the late ‘70s, this feature seems to have gotten overlooked in favor of titles like Halloween. But is still a noteworthy genre picture that is worthy of your time.
In this chilling feature, a young woman is stalked and tormented by a ruthless stranger that wants to steal her unborn baby. Since it was released via Dimension’s direct-to-DVD line in the US and has somewhat unappealing cover art, Inside has been passed over by a lot of genre fans. Be advised that if you haven’t seen this film yet, you are missing out. It is on one of the best horror-thrillers of recent years. Inside is dripping with atmosphere and delivers a level of intensity. Directors Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury show a mastery of suspense that is Hitchcockian in nature.
Not to be confused with the similarly titled Daniel Craig film, Dream Home is a cynical take on recession and its impact on the the global economy. A young woman drives down the property values at her dream condominium development by murdering the residents. Ho-Cheung Pang shows remarkable directorial prowess in this 2010 slasher film. He brilliantly melds a bitingly satirical storyline with slasher film conventions and the result is remarkable. This is one of a small handful of slasher films to feature a female killer. And in an even bolder move, she is painted as the film’s protagonist. Dream Home is a foreign language film and didn’t receive a lot of publicity for its US distribution. A such, this title flew under the radar of a lot of horror film aficionados. If you have yet to see it, you will definitely want to seek this title out. As of this posting, Dream Home is available to stream on Netflix.
This is another example of a great foreign language film that hasn’t really caught on with US audiences. Cold Sweat tells the story of a young woman who is lured into the lair of two old men that have copious amounts of nitroglycerine on hand and a tendency for the sadistic. Adrian Garcia Bogliano (Here Comes the Devil) co-penned the screenplay and directed this intense horror-thriller. This is a fast paced film that takes the viewer on a wild ride. It is suspenseful and unpredictable. This title is also available for streaming on Netflix as of this posting. If you missed this one upon its 2010 release, you should absolutely give it a look.
As a woman prepares to have her husband declared dead in absentia, she begins to suspect there is something bizarre going on in a tunnel near her home. The more research she does, the more certain she becomes that the tunnel is linked to her husband’s disappearance. Written and directed by Mike Flannigan (Oculus), Absentia is a chilling tale that goes in a completely unforeseen direction. But it pulls it off quite well. The performances are a little rough around the edges but considering the film’s modest beginnings as a Kickstarter campaign, I am willing to forgive some minor shortcomings. Absentia is available to stream on Netflix as of this posting. If you haven’t seen it yet, do give it a chance. (tyler)