6. Under the Shadow (2016)
Under the Shadow is probably the scariest entry on this list. This feature-length debut by British-Iranian director Babak Anvari cleverly combines the already fear inducing Iran-Iraq war with terrifying Djinn; supernatural creatures from Islamic mythology.
Shideh (Narges Rashidi) and her daughter struggle to live in the midst of the warzone, while her husband is sent to the front as a doctor. When a missile hits the building in which they live Shideh comes to believe that the missile was carrying evil spirits. With her PTSD from living in a warzone combined with her escalating nightmares it’s hard to get a grasp on reality, which ensures a feeling of uncertainty and paranoia. When the creatures are actually on screen they make for a horrifying image, unique for their interesting appearance.
Interesting as well is how Babak Anvari adds a strong political note to the story by making the protagonist and her family question the women’s rights of their country.
7. Creep 2 (2017)
Creep 2 is one of those rare sequels that gets higher praise than its predecessor, but despite of that it seems to have flown over most people’s radars. Similar to the original, Creep 2 is a found footage film that follows a videographer answering an online ad for a one-day video job at the remote house of an eccentric man. With an odd job like this naturally come consequences, especially when there is a serial killer involved.
Household name in horror, Blumhouse helmed the production while Patrick Brice returns to the director seat and repeats to write together with Mark Duplass whom also reprised his role as the antagonist. Unconventionally the script used was only an outline, which led to a great deal of improvising and because of this a lot of the character’s interactions feel very natural and honest. The unpredicting nature of Duplass’ character gives the film an eerie feeling which imposes the viewer to be constantly on guard. With few scares, the film really relies on conveying this feeling of alertness well and it doesn’t fail to do so.
Good news for fans of the films; despite Creep 2 not being watched by many, Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass are currently working on a third installment of the series. A perfect reason to binge the first two films before the third one hits Netflix.
8. The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)
The last infection film on this list is a zombie film that takes a well-known approach; trying to find a cure, but flips 180 degrees on its ending. The fungal zombies, unironically referred to as hungries, are a unique breed coming in the classic ‘attacks every living creature’ generation, but also in a second generation which is where things start to get interesting.
The second-generation uses its host only when hungry for flesh, causing the infected person to still be a conscious being. With one of the main characters being a second-generation infected girl it adds a lot of uncertainty to the film, since on one hand she’s a kind-hearted girl, but on the other hand she can turn into a meat-craving monster at any moment.
The similarities between The Girl with All the Gifts and popular game The Last of Us have to be brought up, since not only the plot points and the behavior of the fungal zombies, but also some themes are on line with each other. Although the film is based on Mike Carey’s book by the same name it draws inspiration from the same sources as The Last of US. Fans of the game could therefore be in for a fun surprise with this film, especially with the somewhat goofy, but fun ending.
9. Apostle (2018)
Gareth Evans, mostly known for the Raid movies isn’t unfamiliar with horror as he directed a segment of V/H/S/2 in 2013. With Apostle he leaves Indonesia to embrace the horror genre while also sometimes shimmering through his masterful eye for action choreography.
Set in 1905, the story follows Thomas, played by the great Dan Stevens. Thomas is a man infiltrating a religious cult that is secluded on an island, to rescue his kidnapped sister that is held for ransom. Besides Dan Stevens the cast is well-packed with Michael Sheen as the cult leader and the always outstanding Lucy Boynton as his daughter.
Apostle starts slow-paced, but gripping nonetheless. The first half of the film mostly consists out of conversation to the point that it feels like that is all there is to it. But when the story eventually picks up it blooms out in a sinister tale filled with gore and even glimpses of the supernatural. A big contrast with the first half, but therefore making it all the more rewarding. It sometimes feels like Gareth Evans couldn’t bear to kill his darlings while writing, so ended up using it all and somehow that still ended up working surprisingly well.
10. The Babysitter (2017)
The Babysitter is the most popular movie on this list, but still deserving to be on here. Before being obtained by McG, Brian Duffield’s screenplay was featured on 2014’s blacklist, so the movie started out from a good place. McG is familiar with directing comedy, but this makes for his first venture into the horror genre. It won’t be his last since a sequel is already in the making, set to hit Netflix next year.
Samara Weaving shines as the cool babysitter of twelve-year-old Cole played by Judah Lewis. Cole is curious to know what his babysitter is up to after he goes to bed. He ends up spying on her as she hangs out with her high school stereotype friends, a group that looks like the standard bunch of victims from an 80’s horror flick. Things take a turn when Cole witnesses them not being the victims for once, but the antagonists; performing a satanic ritual. What follows is an almost Home Alone-like fight to survive as Weaving and friends want to silent him for good.
The film has a bunch of good laughs and delivers on the old horror homages with some great gory events which are a joy to watch.