8. Seven Psychopaths (2012)
Seven Psychopaths may have one of the best casts in a movie! This movie has actors like Collin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrilson, and Tom Waits.
Seven Psychopaths involves a script writer that gets caught up in a dognapping of a dog that belongs to a violent gangster.
One of the best ways to describe this movie is to compare it other cult comedy favorite The Big Lebowski, as both have to do with incompetent people that get caught up in something strange and convoluted, and how one simple things can spirals way out of control by the end- while also featuring memorable dark humor and dialogue.
The dialogue and interactions between everyone in this is top notch and is what makes this movie works, while it also doesn’t help that the dark humor often shifts between humorous and surprisingly dark in the blink of an eye- a true sign of a great dark comedy. Collin Farrell, Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken all brilliantly work off each other and showcase’s the strong script by Martin McDonagh.
9. Drive (2011)
If this movie proves anything, it proves that the style of the 1980s is strong and present in today’s cinema.
Drive was criminally ignored by the academy awards when it came out in 2011; as Drive had some great acting by Ryan Gosling and Albert Brookes. Meanwhile the directing by Nicolas Winding Refn has a vibrant and stylish directing that harkens back to the directing styles of the 80s.
The soundtrack also provides some very 80s inspired songs that tell more about what’s happening that the characters do- while also being exceptionally catchy- like Real Hero and Under Your Spell.
Drive should have gained more mainstream and commercial acclaim that it should have done, which is disappointing, because of the strong acting, directing and screenplay.
10. Oculus (2013)
This is probably the most ‘mainstream’ movie on this list, being both a commercial and critical success, which is unusual for a horror movie this day and age. But this success is largely deserved due to the fact that this movie is a well paced, written and acted horror movie; as it’s not every day that you see a mainstream psychological horror movie written in nonlinear order; and has more to do with character development and back story rather than showcasing jump scares.
Oculus is a very solid horror movie, and while the idea of an evil mirror might not be something new, it’s the smart script by writer and director Mike Flanagan that makes the movie work.
While Oculus does have some rather cheap jump scares-which does make the movie feel kind of cheap- these jump scares are rather scarce and don’t completely ruin the tension that the movie provides.
11. Starry Eyes (2014)
Starry Eyes is another examples of a horror movie that does exactly what David Cronenberg use to be great at, which is using the body horror genre to explore deeper topics like addiction, loss of oneself, and in this movies case-the lengths one is willing to go through to become famous.
Starry Eyes is a David Cronenberg-esk body horror movie about aspiring young actress and the lengths she is willing to go in order to become famous- while doing so in a dark and gory way. Starry Eyes is a movie that looks and feels a lot like the horror movies from the 70s and 80s, taking influences from legends like David Cronenberg, John Carpenter and Dario Argento.
Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer create a unique body horror gem due to their original screenplay and directing- while the practical effects and makeup make the more gory parts memorable. Meanwhile, the John Carpenter-esk 80s soundtrack only adds to what makes this movie great.
12. The Guest (2014)
A trend that seems to be making itself all the more apparent in the indie horror scene is the idea of making horror movies more akin to their 70s and 80s counterparts- such as the point with Starry Eyes, The House of the Devil, Beyond the Black Rainbow, and this movie, The Guest.
The Guest was directed by Adam Wingard, and written by Simon Barrett- the writer and director of 2011 indie favorite Your Next.
The Guest can best be described as a lovingly detailed throwback to the horror movies that were made in the 1980s. The strongest aspect of this movie is the fact that it doesn’t necessarily feel like a horror movie, as it’s written almost like an action movie, or some sort of psychological thriller, but it is shot and paced like a horror movie.
Once again the 80s influenced soundtrack really helps cement this movie with its 80s counterparts.
13. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)
Over the past decade Iranian Cinema has featured some incredible story telling, films like A Separation are prime examples of this, and so is A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. There really are no other Iranian movies that compare to the look and feel of this one, as A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night has a completely original look and script to it. Yet this largely has to do with the idea that this movie has more of a western look to it than other Iranian films.
Shot in Black and White and features a desolate looking Iranian town this movie can best be describes as being heavily influenced by the films of David Lynch- more in particular a strong influence by David Lynch’s first film Eraserhead- as the black and white desolation almost matches the desolate feel that Eraserhead has.
Written and directed by Ana Lily Amirpour, this movie is something completely refreshing to the vampire subgenre.
14. Cabin in the Woods (2012)
A movie that dissects the horror genre- more in particular the slasher movie genre- Cabin in the Woods is a much needed Meta horror comedy that is not overtly comedic or filled with groan worthy references.
Written by Cult hero Joss Whedon and director by Drew Goddard- occasional writer for Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer- this movie feels like it could have been an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, seeing how it takes the horror genre and does something unique and creative with it.
The less that’s really known about the premise the better- but just know that the movie is a lot like Evil Dead, but with a very smart twist.
Author Bio: Antony Copsey is an up and coming writer, who is studying communications at Rowan University at Glassboro, New Jersey. He is a huge fan of watching movies and writing about them, as well as writing his own material.