5. A Dark Song (2016)
Irish director Liam Gavin’s first full-length film is a great accomplishment, but not an easy watch. The film focuses on a woman who has lost her young son and is desperate to talk to him again. After asking an occultist for help, she gets engaged in a months-long ritual in order to summon her guardian angel and ask him to grant her a wish.
The film starts out as a drama and slowly builds up until it culminates with a really terrifying scene. However, most of the time, the film’s focus isn’t on scaring the viewer, but more on making him feel the burden of performing such a wearying ritual and this is where it excels.
“A Dark Song” is well-acted, has a great atmosphere, and for most of the film, feels very real. It might not be the scariest film on this list, but it is surely an intense experience that will stick with you.
4. Pyewacket (2017)
First of all, this 2017 movie has one of the most intriguing titles we’ve seen. The film was directed by Adam MacDonald, whose 2014 horror/thriller “Backcountry” is also great, and stars Nicole Muñoz as Leah, an passionate occult teenage girl whose relationship with her mother (Lauren Holden) is falling apart after the death of her father.
Things get worse when her mother decides to move to a remote house in the woods so she can get away from the memories of her husband and start a new life. Leah is angry at her mother’s selfish decision and, after a terrible fight, performs an occult ritual in order to summon the demon Pyewacket to kill her mother.
The film’s premise is a little exaggerated and some of the characters are just clichéd teenagers, but apart from that, it has great atmosphere, contains some really terrifying scenes – the kind that will remain etched in your memory and won’t let you go to sleep – and is overall a really effective horror film that deserves much more attention. MacDonald proves again that he knows how to direct a horror film.
3. Ghost Stories (2017)
“Ghost Stories” didn’t receive a wide release and that explains why it didn’t really make as much of an impact, considering it is one of the better horror movies of the last couple of years. “Ghost Stories” took inspiration from classic British horror anthology films such as “Tales from the Crypt” (1972) or “Vault of Horror”(1973) and has a very different feel to it than most of today’s horror films.
The film stars Andy Nyman (also the co-director) as professor Phillip Goodman, a television presenter who specializes in debunking supernatural stories. After an unexpected meeting with a man he thought to be dead, Goodman is given the task to investigate three cases, which he is told will prove to him the existence of the supernatural. These three cases unfold as separate stories, in the same vein as the previously mentioned anthology films, but clash together in the final act, which is one of the most unexpected endings to a horror film we’ve seen lately.
We don’t really get these kinds of horror films anymore, and that is why “Ghost Stories” is a real treat.
2. The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015)
Strange things start to happen at a prep school when two girls are left alone after their parents inexplicably don’t appear to take them home for the winter break. At the same time, a young woman is desperate to arrive at the school for unknown reasons.
“The Blackcoat’s Daughter” is far from being a flawless film, but it has a lot to offer. Despite a simple plot, a somewhat abrupt ending, and some moments of not-so-great acting, the film manages to create a really creepy atmosphere and doesn’t spoil it with cheap jump scares like we’ve seen in so many bad horror movies.
Also, it makes great use of its soundtrack, which is perfectly balanced with moments of silence, and silence can sometimes be much more frightening than any loud creepy music. The way in which the story unfolds is also captivating. The film features many timeline jumps that create a state of confusion and only make sense in its final act.
If you’re into atmospheric horror films, chances are you’ll love “The Blackcoat’s Daughter.”
1. Hell House LLC (2015)
This might be the most underrated found-footage horror film ever. “Hell House LLC” depicts the terrifying events surrounding the opening of Hell House, a haunted house attraction in which 15 people were killed back in 2009. The film is entirely fictional, but due to its documentary style, it feels very real and it immediately gets under your skin. It is a low-budget film, but this worked out in its favor.
The film lacks special effects and over-the-top scenes. There’s no CGI, wall-crawling demons, shape-shifting clowns, or anything like that. It’s just a bunch of guys who are trying to decorate a dilapidated hotel, some creepy Halloween dummies, and some well-made scares and that’s enough.
If you love haunted house attractions, it will be a joy to watch the old hotel getting decorated. And then, when the paranormal things start to happen, the film will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end. “Hell House LLC” comes as proof that you don’t need much money in order to make a scary film. A hand-held camera, some talented low-key actors, and a great location are enough if you know what you’re doing.
If you like found-footage horrors, we urge you to watch this one. But be warned: you might not want to visit a haunted house next time you’ll get to a theme park.