10 Unexpected Horror Films That Will Still Scare You
For when you've had enough of ghosts, zombies, and creepy murderers
(SPOT.ph) You've probably seen all the classics: Nightmare on Elm Street, Poltergeist, The Shining, Saw...you name it. Now you're in search of something different or out-of-the-box, but will still give you the creeps. There is so much depth in the genre, you just have to dig deeper to find films that do what others have not. From unusual monsters to creatively executed frights, we round up 10 horror finds for your next movie marathon.
Lights Out (2016)
Director: David Sandberg
Fear of darkness is one of the most common phobias there is, and horror films often use it to instill terror. David Sandberg's debut feature also exploits this fear but takes it up several notches by throwing in a hair-raising creature that only attacks in the dark. Characters have to keep the lights on by any means necessary—from flashlights to blacklights, to car headlights and gunshots. The beauty of Lights Out is in its unique use of lighting and darkness to terrify its audience, making for a very spooky, thrilling ride.
Director: David Cronenberg
A sub-genre of horror films that is often overlooked is the cringe-worthy "body horror," which deals with graphic decaying or mutilation of the human body. Take Videodrome, for instance, a surreal film that also happens to be one of the first films to use technology (at the time, television and videotapes) as the source of fear. When a man starts losing his mind after discovering a specific television signal, he starts experiencing stomach-churning hallucinations which include spikes coming out of his hands, and his torso becoming a gaping hole. Trust us, this isn't for the faint of heart.
I Saw the Devil (2010)
Director: Kim Jee-woon
Revenge thrillers are common in South Korean cinema, but I Saw the Devil pushes the envelope even further. A secret service agent (Lee Byung-hun) attempts to terrorize a serial killer (Choi Min-sik) who brutally murdered his fiance. There are no supernatural creatures here; instead, it's psychologically terrifying in its real-life scenarios. It's a unique flip of the script, with an engrossing, blood-spattered narrative that gets more twisted as it goes on.
Director: Richard Somes
Filipinos are already familiar with the aswang mythology, but this 2008 film deals with what happens before they become blood-thirsty monsters. It revolves around a young girl who suffers from a mysterious, unknown illness. Slowly, she begins to morph into an aswang, forcing her family to keep her locked and chained inside their house. The sheer terror is palpable when anyone comes in the room, and the threat of escape and imminent death feels very, very real. This blend of indie with horror is rare in local cinema, and Yanggaw does a good job of elevating the genre.
Director: Mike Flanagan
Home invasion films are just innately scary. You're supposed to feel safe in your home, so when you feel like someone's watching you from the outside, it taps into that deep-seated fear. In Hush, the person in the house, Maddie, is deaf-mute, which makes things even more complicated. Using very, very little dialogue and just ambient sound, the film is an unsettling exploration of one of our deepest (and most plausible) fears.
Goodnight Mommy (2014)
Director: Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala
As all horror fans know, creepy lullabies go hand-in-hand with strange children. This Austrian film, however, takes that concept and turns it on its head. When their mother suffers an accident and returns home with a bandage wrapped around her head, twins Elias and Lukas question whether she is still their mother or an impostor. The twins will do literally anything to prove this woman is not who she claims to be. The "monster" here is doubt and uncertainty, which will give audiences a creepy, never-ending sense of anxiety.
Berberian Sound Studio (2012)
Director: Peter Strickland
Set mostly inside an Italian film studio, a sound engineer is hired to create and edit sound for a fictional film that features scenes of people screaming while being sliced alive. It's already pretty disturbing, but watching this sound engineer create gruesome sounds of knife stabs or blood splatters is even more unnerving. You also get the sense that what he's watching might be real or the studio he's in might be haunted. It's a twisted, psychological horror that proves that sometimes, what you hear is more horrifying than what you see.
It Follows (2014)
Director: David Robert Mitchell
The "monster" of It Follows does exactly what the title says. The feeling of being followed is one of the most unsettling things in the world, and this film somehow manages to up the tension and suspense by rendering the "monster" as a stranger or worse—a familiar face. Instead of run-of-the-mill scares, It Follows takes our fear of the unknown and runs wild with it. The result is an original, modern-day horror that stays with you long after the credits roll.
The Babadook (2014)
Director: Jennifer Kent
In this Australian movie, the point of terror is a horrifying monster from a child's book. It isn't just shiver-inducing to look at; it's also very freaky in nature (those knocks will keep you up at night). The Babadook uses human grief as a nightmarish creature that haunts its characters, grounding its supernatural premise in realistic, human concepts such as anxiety and depression.
The Witch (2015)
Director: Robert Eggers
Witchcraft and satanism are nothing new in the horror genre, but give Robert Eggers' The Witch a chance. Set in the 17th Century, a family is tormented by a malevolent presence in the woods. Instead of special-effect scares, the film delivers the frights with spine-chilling atmosphere. Eggers painstakingly builds claustrophobic tension by heightening the paranoia and sense of foreboding of both his characters and audience.