"The Possession," the new Sam Raimi-produced horror flick coming out this weekend, looks pretty solid. Then again, the same thing could have been said of "The Apparition" before audiences found out they could find more scares in "Diary of a Wimpy Kid."
Horror movies are often boom or bust, and at $10 a ticket, it's an expensive gamble. So, in case this latest exorcism chiller falls on its pea-soup vomiting face, here are five underrated horror films that you can watch in the comfort of your own home (probably with the lights on).
This terrifying 2005 British horror saga about a posse of female friends on a caving trip hits almost every phobia a person could have. If you're afraid of the dark, most of the film takes place in a pitch-black cave with only flashlights and glow sticks to light the way. Claustrophobic? Try to watch a scene in which the women squeeze through a shudder-inducingly tight tunnel. There's even a gnarly leg fracture for squeamish viewers.
And that's all before the cave-dwelling, bloodthirsty crawlers show up.
Between the creepy creatures and gore (it's most known for a sequence involving a massive blood pool), there's plenty to be afraid of in Neil Marshall's cult horror classic. What makes the film really stick, however, is the tense psychological conflict between our heroines. As they journey further into the cave, the women's bond becomes strained as secrets and sad pasts come to the surface. It's viscerally and mentally chilling, especially if you watch it with the far superior original ending.
The premise of "Inside" is one of the most disturbing concepts to hit the screen. The 2007 French horror film follows one night with a very pregnant young woman who is being terrorized by a mysterious guest who wants just one thing: her unborn baby. And she plans to take it by force.
Many people reading that synopsis are probably incensed, disturbed and will avoid "Inside" for the rest of their movie-watching lives. Considering its graphic violence, as well as the tragic and horrifically similar crime that occurred in Milwaukee less than a year ago, that's a very understandable reaction. If you can stomach the premise, though, "Inside" is a terrifying horror film that will have you hiding behind you chair in fear.
It's not just the gore. Directors Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury create a dread-filled, tension-soaked atmosphere for a maternal battle so intense, it makes Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hamilton's iconic mothers look like characters out of a Norman Rockwell painting.
The right mask can take a horror movie villain from creepy to legendary. Jason has the hockey mask, Michael Myers has the William Shatner mask and Leatherface has, well, the leather face. 2008's "The Strangers" may not be up to the level of those horror classics, but it's got some great, creepy masks. It also helps that the whole movie is pretty spine chilling as well.
The film is an old-school horror flick about two doll-masked women and a bag-headed man tormenting an already on-edge couple. "The Strangers" isn't about big gory set pieces. Instead, it's all about pure tension as the three intruders haunt our lead characters. The best parts are when the attackers quietly appear in the background of a scene, calmly watching the couple come apart. It's the all-too-real horror of someone watching you, and you'd never know.
As the "Scream" and "Scary Movie" series have taught us, horror movies have their share of overused tropes. One of the most popular clichés is the use of creepy kids (bonus points if they have long black hair). "The Orphanage," a 2007 Spanish ghost tale produced by the ridiculously imaginative Guillermo del Toro, has plenty of spooky children scattered throughout its story, but it never once feels tired. Instead, the kids are used in some great set piece moments (a chilling and tense game of "red light, green light" for instance). They're just one part of the film's beautifully gothic atmosphere that manages to be scary, tense and at the end surprisingly touching.
Who says a horror movie has to be scary? 2010's "Piranha 3D" has almost no scary moments in it besides a couple of cheap jump scares. Director Alexandre Aja's ("The Hills Have Eyes" remake) campy horror comedy is so delightfully absurd, so goofily gory and so aware of its ridiculousness that it turns into 90 minutes of bloody fun.
The set-up, filled with winking cameos (including "Jaws'" Richard Dreyfuss and the perpetually frazzled Christopher Lloyd) and gratuitous nudity, is giddily entertaining. Then, when the murderous fish show up and the gore finally starts flying, "Piranha 3D" becomes bloody, gleeful insanity. Ving Rhames takes a propeller to a school of piranha. Jerry O'Connell's sleazy "Girls Gone Wild"-esque videographer gets offed in the most gloriously gross way possible. One character just ... disappears from the movie, but who cares? It's a B-movie made to A-plus perfection, like Nicolas Cage's "The Wicker Man" if it was supposed to be hilarious.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Matt Mueller
Published April 17, 2015
The Wisconsin State Fair's Main Stage lineup this summer features some of the biggest names the celebration has wrangled up in recent note. And the biggest of the bunch - or at least certainly the most unusual - is tightrope artist extraordinaire Nik Wallenda. OnMilwaukee.com got a chance to talk one-on-one with the stuntman about preparing for another life-threatening performance and being in a highwire family dynasty that shows no sign of stopping.
Published April 17, 2015
The Riverside's distant past will become the present as the legendary theater will play host to two screenings of the beloved 1942 classic "Casablanca" Friday and Saturday night. And to complete the blast to the past vibe of the event, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra will perform Max Steiner's famous score alongside the movie.
Published April 15, 2015
Eugene Ionesco's 1950 play "The Bald Soprano" - the first the famed playwright ever wrote - is an absurdist classic. It's one of the most performed shows in France with a permanent repertory spot at Theatre de la Huchette since 1957 and a large number of interpretations. It's safe to say, however, that few to none of those interpretations featuring digital actors getting beamed in like "Star Trek" characters.
Published April 14, 2015
The Blue Man Group is famous for several things: funky instruments, those old Intel ads, Tobias Funke proclaiming that "I blue myself!" on "Arrested Development" and, of course, the whole being covered in blue paint thing. But one of the crucial elements of the Blue Man Group is that they don't talk. So imagine my surprise in getting to interview a Blue Man (at least the transcription would be easy).
Published April 14, 2015
Tomorrow night, after weeks of anticipation and online voting, the Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development Innovation (MANDIs) will name the winners at a ceremony at the Potawatomi Event Center. However, there's still 24 hours left to learn about these community-impacting individuals and organizations and vote for the Wells Fargo People's Choice Award before the polls close and the numbers are tallied up.
Published April 13, 2015
For 100 minutes, writer-director David Robert Mitchell's breakout indie horror flick "It Follows" manages to maintain a continuous feeling of impending, skin-shivering dread. The smart, suspenseful result is the best kind of nightmare, one from which you want to wake up but are too eerily entranced to actually do anything about it.
Published April 11, 2015
Completing the franchise's evolution from street racing box office surprise to global dominating live-action cartoon, "Furious 7" is basically Hollywood's version of a turducken. It's a greasy, gaudy monstrosity, a monument to excess and absurdity - all pretty much cooked to lip-smacking satisfaction.
Published April 10, 2015
Getting locked in a room and having to solve puzzles and find clues in order to escape while an ominous clock ticks down is not usually a sign things are going well. Under most circumstances, it probably means you're living in a "Saw" film, and it's been nice knowing you. But that's exactly the experience I, along with four of my friends, signed up for recently at Escape MKE.
Published April 8, 2015
The opening credits may prattle off stills of beasts - lions, zebras, cheetahs and the like - in the wild. They've got nothing, however, on the civilized animals of the deliciously devious Argentinean anthology - and 2015 Best Foreign Film nominee - "Wild Tales," their claws all out and bloody for revenge. And as the famous phrase goes, revenge is a dish best served six times and mercilessly. Or something like that.
Published April 8, 2015
While another typically cold, grey Wisconsin winter winds down, spring is inching back into the air. All the signs are there: Baseball is back in business, the flowers and plants are beginning to bloom again, and bikes are emerging from their winter hibernation. And in the Layton Boulevard West Neighbors (LBWN), the return of the bikes also signals the return of the Mobile Bike Hub.