Indian horror films have become increasingly common as of recently. This has resulted in some standout features such as Tumbbad, Stree, and The House Next Door. Unfortunately, as is the case with most Indian cinema, these movies are almost always ignored outside of their target demographic. In spite of a Netflix release that should have resulted in some sort of word-of-mouth, Bulbbul is still no exception to the rule. Like the titles mentioned before, Anvita Dutt’s contemporary slice of folklore remains a niche from a faraway land.
While the story is clearly steeped in Indian history, Bulbbul still manages to be accessible thanks to a feminist message that feels universal. It uses its setting to make statements about dated cultural values. While these statements aren’t exactly groundbreaking, there are plenty of other things that help this underdog stand out.
More than anything, Bulbbul benefits from its folklore influences. The fairytale-like premise allows for a lavish art direction, but don’t assume that this is a case of beauty over brains. While Bulbbul certainly benefits from its visual splendor, there’s far more beneath the surface. Outside of the aforementioned themes, you’ll find witty writing, likable characters, and outstanding performances.
Shaky pacing and a few nagging plot holes aside, this is horror done right. Assuming Dutt is down to give horror another shot, she could have an even brighter future ahead of her. She just needs to become a household name.
7. Extra Ordinary
For the most part, 2020 has been sorely lacking when it comes to great horror comedies. The Hunt, Bad Hair, and The Babysitter: Killer Queen are all good enough, but you’d be hard pressed to find more than a handful of horror comedy standouts. On the bright side, it’s not like there is a complete absence. Movies like Extra Ordinary have done more than enough to scratch a certain itch.
The film revolves around a young Irish woman with supernatural powers. In general, she finds these powers to be a burden, but when she learns about the evildoings of a satanic rockstar, everything changes. From there, she must face off against a very grump Will Forte in order to save a family.
Enda Loughman and Mike Ahern, who teamed up to write and direct this Irish sleeper-hit, seem to care about one thing above all else – fun. Though Extra Ordinary is certainly well-made, there seems to be a clear focus on zany zingers and riotous physical comedy.
This isn’t a bad thing because the film never pretends to be anything more than a hilarious way to spend an afternoon. There is nothing revelatory here, but who cares? Will Forte is at his absolute wackiest, and the rest of the cast has no trouble keeping up. You might not remember Extra Ordinary by the end of the decade (or even the year), but you’ll have a great time while it’s right in front of your face.
Don’t ever mistake Spree for high-brow entertainment. Sure, it has a few things to say about social media, but this is mostly just a 93-minute gore-fest featuring an electric performance by Joe Keery. It is about the furthest thing from art on this list. It’s a messy, tonally jumbled hodgepodge of conflicting ideas. With all of that being said, it certainly makes a case for itself.
Well, aside from Keery’s aforementioned performance, Spree manages to offer B-movie thrills in a sleek package. It’s about as trashy as any grindhouse movie, but it benefits from excellent casting and strong camerawork. In a list featuring so much slow-paced indie horror, this might be the goofy adrenaline rush you need.
This micro budget horror comedy about an obsessive friend with ulterior motives may not have all the bells and whistles of the other entries on this list, but it does have an exemplary performance from Precious Chong. This pairs well with a sharp-witted script that should keep the average viewer engaged for the duration of the relatively brief runtime.
As a result of its short length, Homewrecker thrives on simplicity. The plot is a straight line that connects from one point to another with very few detours. Thankfully, this ends up working in the film’s favor.
Excuse the cliché, but Homewrecker really is lean and mean. You’ll have a hell of a time enjoying all the chaos that ensues over the course of about 75 minutes, and when everything is said and done, you’ll be happy with the fact that it didn’t overstay its welcome.
10. The Beach House
The Beach House has all of the trappings of your average indie horror flick. It’s an unconventional take on the genre that eschews jump scares in favor of slow-build tension. This slow-build tension has resulted in a ho-hum response from the general public. The critical consensus, on the other hand, is far more complimentary. This ultimately means that you have to know what you want prior to pressing the play button.
This is a movie that wants its viewers to feel a sense of dread, but it doesn’t care if your heart rate spikes. Viewers are meant to feel uneasy as they sit through this uncomfortable crack at the body horror subgenre, and to some people, that might not be the ideal movie-watching experience. Luckily, there are countless people who will appreciate The Beach House for what it is – a gruesome indie horror gem with just as much bark and bite.