5. Paranormal Activity
Made on a 15,000$ budget, “Paranormal Activity” became Blumhouse Productions’ first box-office hit, earning them no less than 194 million dollars and marking the start of a successful franchise.
After “The Blair Witch Project”, “Paranormal Activity” is the film which did the best with the found-footage style and managed to once again reinvent the horror genre. The captivating plot follows a young couple who starts noticing some very strange occurrences in their new home. The two decide to install a small video camera in their bedroom in order to record everything that happens in the room while they are asleep. While at first they don’t notice anything unusual on their videotapes, after a few nights things get really disturbing.
“Paranormal Activity” is a very entertaining and suspenseful ride, but also one of the scariest films of the 2000s and that is due to its totally unknown cast and home-made video format which make the film feel much more real than many other horror movies.
4. The Invisible Man
Blumhouse’s latest horror/thriller film is yet another adaptation of H. G. Wells’ 1897 novel of the same name that stars Elisabeth Moss as Cecilia Kass, a woman who escapes a violent and abusive relationship with Adrian, a wealthy optics engineer. Soon after, Cecilia finds out that Adrian has committed suicide and left her with part of his vast fortune. However, things get strange for her when she feels stalked by an unseen presence. Driven mad, Cecilia suspects that Adrian has faked his death and invented a device that turns him invisible.
After the disastrous previous attempts at resurrecting the Universal Classic Monsters, “The Invisible Man” is a really decent film that puts to shame the likes of “Dracula Untold” or 2017’s “The Mummy”. Helmed by Leigh Whannell (“Upgrade”), the new adaptation of Wells’ novel is a well-directed, effective, and entertaining popcorn movie that makes the best of its premise, and is further lifted up by a committed performance from Elizabeth Moss.
When everybody thought there was nothing new to be made out of the found-footage movie genre, there came “Creep”.
Directed by Patrick Brice, the film stars Mark Duplass as Josef, a man who has cancer and hires a cameraman to record a movie for his to be born son “Buddy”. Aaron (played by Brice) arrives at Josef’s secluded house thinking that this cameraman job is a job like any other, but he soon starts to regret his decision. Josef acts strangely and seems to be very keen on scaring people and doing inappropriate stuff. But Aaron is the kind of person who sees something good in everyone and he just can’t imagine that there could really be something wrong with his employer. However, things get creepier and creepier and it becomes clear that Josef is not to be trusted.
This is one of the most unsettling and inventive films of the 2010s and it works as another proof that you don’t need a lot of resources in order to make an effective horror film. “Creep” mostly takes place inside a house and features only two characters, but it is more entertaining than many high-budget mainstream horror films and its mix of campy-fun and thrills makes it a very entertaining watch.
Directed by Mike Flanagan, “Oculus” revolves around a family tragedy in the past which left deep marks on two now-adult children. Kaylie and Tim Russel are two siblings in their early twenties who are haunted by their past. 11 years ago, their father killed their mother and Tim shot his father to death. Since then, he has been living in a psychiatric facility and has tried to make sense of what has happened to his family when he was ten years old.
When he meets his sister for the first time in a long while, Tim is forced to remember the horrors of his childhood. Kaylie insists that the crimes were caused by an evil mirror they had in their family home and, through an elaborate plan, the two siblings try to find out if the mirror’s powers are real or the entire haunted mirror story was just their minds’ mechanism to cope with childhood trauma.
Taking inspiration from “The Shining”, “Oculus” is a film that plays with the viewer’s mind, never letting him know what is real or a figment of the characters’ imagination. The fear of losing one’s mind is one of the worst human fears and, throughout this film, Flanagan recreates it to perfection. The intricate and inventive plot gets the most out of the haunted mirror trope and makes “Oculus” the most intelligent and complex horror film that Blumhouse has ever put out.
1. Get Out
With his 2017 directorial debut, actor and comedian Jordan Peele succeeded in making a film that few would manage to pull off. “Get Out” was not only a box-office hit but also a great film and that is due to Peele’s masterful mix of horror with comedy and – on top of it – the smart social commentary he made on racism and the American society on the verge of the Trump era.
The film’s plot is simple yet very effective. Chris Washington, an Afro-American man (played by Daniel Kaluuya) is going to meet his white girlfriend’s family for the first time. However, the atmosphere gets least to say uncomfortable for Chris and, as time passes, he starts to get the impression that something is off with the entire situation.
In an era where most horror screenwriters and directors resort to disturbing imagery, jumpscares, and clichéd ideas in order to frighten their audiences, Jordan Peele managed to make a film which, on paper, sounds more like an Alfred Hitchcock flick from the ‘60s or a Twilight Zone episode.
However, “Get Out” has something more to offer and while the level of tension and the film’s plot are Hitchcockian, Peele’s attention to detail lives up to the standards of Kubrick. The result is a truly original and very rewatchable film, the kind of horror movie which we rarely get nowadays and with no doubt the best that Blumhouse has ever put out.