THEM aka ILS (2006)
PLOT: Clementine and Lucas are spending a quiet weekend in a remote Bucharest cabin. The young couple realizes just how isolated they are when their car is stolen in the middle of the night, the phones are disconnected, and then finally the lights go out. Soon they find themselves being terrorized by hooded figures trying to kill them.
From beginning to end, this film thoroughly captivates. What sets THEM apart from most films of this subgenre is how it plays on our most common fear- our fear of each other. Without giving too much away, THEM asserts that we are capable of evil despite what we may outwardly portray. This fear is further fueled by an opening title card which informs the audience that this film is based on a true story.
THE MAID (2005)
PLOT: In this Singapore-made film, a maid travels to the Philippines to work with a wealthy opera family. She is forced to stay in a run down shack and soon becomes the victim of endless supernatural forces set on driving her mad.
THE MAID is an absolutely gorgeous nightmare. Set during Chinese Seventh Month, also known as “Ghost Month”, the spooky overtones come fast and frighteningly, blending together a riveting dramatic tale of live souls along with dead ones.
THE EXORCIST 3 (1990)
PLOT: William Blatty writes and directs this third inclusion in THE EXORCIST franchise. Set 15 years after the first film, a police lieutenant is investigating a series of Satanic crimes involving a mental patient known as “the Gemini Killer”.
Though disregarded as a lesser sequel for decades, THE EXORCIST 3 has recently been getting some recognition for not just being an incredibly great script and film, but also for having some of the scariest sequences in film history. Set in a psychiatric ward populated mostly by the elderly, THE EXORCIST 3 has some of the best “jump sequences” I’ve ever seen…and I watch A LOT of horror films.
THE BABY’S ROOM (2006)
PLOT: A husband begins hearing and seeing strange phenomena on his infant son’s baby monitor. The man soon realizes he is watching a parallel supernatural dimension that is seeping over into his world, and the ghosts are seemingly obsessed with his son.
Distributed as part of the bulk release 6 FILMS TO KEEP YOU AWAKE, THE BABY’S ROOM is downright terrifying and not just for new parent’s. Directed by Spanish genre master Alex de la Iglesia, the film is packed full of dynamite imagery, fear-inducing tones, and jump scares. Actually, all the films off 6 FILMS TO KEEP YOU AWAKE are great, so get the collection and make it a very scary week!
EVENT HORIZON (1997)
PLOT: A rescue ship is sent to reclaim a space ship that was designed to withstand the force of a black hole. It disappeared on it’s maiden voyage and has just reappeared from places unknown.
This film received bad critical reviews upon initial release, but like many horror films it has since garnered a large following of horror fans who have proclaimed this film to be one of their scariest filmic experiences. This movie took me by surprise and really affected me, leaving me thinking about the atrocities and disturbing sequences for days afterwards.
KILL LIST (2011)
PLOT: Two former soldiers are hired as hit men upon returning from service in Kiev. As one of them journeys further into his contracted kill list, he finds the stakes are getting higher and the work is taking on a much more sinister, even cultish, turn.
This British film has an amazing build and one of the most shocking endings ever. KILL LIST is a VERY dark film, so be prepared to be disturbed!
REC and REC 2 (2007, 2009)
PLOT: One of the original films to kickstart “found footage cycle”, both REC and REC 2 send camera crews into an apartment building during a zombie-ish outbreak.
I say “zombie-ish” because there is a lot more than just your standard undead at work in these two films. These are absolutely scary as hell and fine examples of found footage done right!
DEAD OF NIGHT (1977)
PLOT: A made-for-TV anthology from the legendary horror minds of Dan Curtis and Richard Matheson, most of the segments are bland by horror standards, but the final inclusion takes the prize for being one of the scariest anthology segments ever- “Bobby”!
An isolated mother is desperate to bring her recently drowned son back from the dead. “Bobby” can be found by itself on YouTube and other videos sites and is perfect for a quick dose of fear on your coffee break!
THE NAMELESS (1999)
PLOT: A husband and wife are traumatized when their daughter goes missing only to be found dead with indications that she was tortured while she was still alive. Now five years later and still struggling with the pain, the couple begins getting phone calls from a girl claiming to be there still alive daughter and begging for their help in rescuing her from captors.
Based on the novel by Ramsey Campbell, this movie weaves a strange tale of missing children, Nazi prison camp victims, and twisted cults. THE NAMELESS is currently available on Netflix Instant streaming, so catch it while you can!
TOURIST TRAP (1979)
PLOT: A group of friends run out of gas in the middle of nowhere. While searching for help, they stumble upon a roadside attraction full of strange mannequins and an owner who makes the mannequins kill.
This is an early example of a “killing kids in the woods” film. As much as the film tried to set itself up as a major horror release, there were some things it just couldn’t get past (many people point at the score which ranges from spine-tingling to kinda silly). But if mannequins, dolls, or puppets bother you in any way, this one will be quite effective.