"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 clichÃ©s 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 March 16, 2014
Punk Celtic rockers Whiskey of the Damned are celebrating the release of their full-length debut, "Monsters Are Real" - plus St. Patrick's Day - in their hometown of Milwaukee tomorrow night. Back when the album was first coming together, however, being in Milwaukee felt anything but celebratory.
Published March 15, 2014
Country music star Cassadee Pope is one of the select few -five to be exact - to come away as a winner on NBC's hit show "The Voice," charming viewers and taking the title back in 2012. Before she hits Milwaukee for two performances today, OnMilwaukee got a chance to talk to the singer about her experience on "The Voice" and a Milwaukee venue she calls one of her favorites.
Published March 13, 2014
When you hear the name Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., there are certain sounds - growling engines, fierce loud automotive roars, squealing wheels - you instantly imagine. But don't be fooled by the odd NASCAR-themed moniker. Or maybe do be fooled. Maybe that's the point.
Published March 12, 2014
Though the idea of adapting the enormously popular 1992 book "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus" may seem like an obvious choice, translating a book of relationship advice into a coherent piece of entertainment can be tough. Peter Story, however, thinks they've pulled it off. Before he hits the stage, however, we talked to Story about putting on a one-man show, his own relationship advice and working with Quentin Tarantino.
Published March 11, 2014
After "300" made a shocking amount of money for an R-rated release, much less one in March, a sequel was rumored and eventually announced. Considering 299 of our title characters wind up dead by the end, even die-hard fans had to ask: "What's the point?" Well, now "300: Rise of an Empire" is here to answer that question with a resounding, "I dunno."
Published March 11, 2014
Bryan Doherty of the Chicago-based jazz-infused rock band Hood Smoke is quietly becoming a star of the bass world. But while his thumping bass lines have that jazzy soul groove sound you'd expect from a band that calls the Windy City home, it's the Cream City that Doherty originally called home.
Published March 7, 2014
"Son of God" isn't based on the much-ballyhooed History Channel miniseries "The Bible." It literally is "The Bible," albeit vigorous edited down from 10 hours to 138 minutes with a few deleted scenes added in for a bonus. To call "Son of God" a new movie is like a date reheating leftovers and saying he cooked dinner for you, then asking for $10 to cover the cost. And it was Chinese takeout to begin with.
Published March 6, 2014
For the past 22 years, jazz pianist Mark Davis has been doing his part to bring a love of jazz to people. When he's not teaching and guiding future jazz artists at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, he's playing jazz piano concerts across the state - such as an upcoming show this Sunday afternoon at Ascension Lutheran Church - giving audiences a different type of lesson in jazz appreciation.
Published March 5, 2014
Some may consider Rick Springfield a one-hit wonder (though his 17 songs in the Top 40 would seem to disprove that), but Rick Springfield's career is far more than pestering Jessie about his girl. The '80s rock star continues to tour - including his current "Stripped Down" tour, his first ever solo tour which brings him to The Pabst Theater tonight.
Published March 4, 2014
We're still many months - and a couple of defrostings - away from Irish Fest, but a taste of the late summer tradition is coming to town Friday night. The Chieftains, one of the most legendary names in Irish music, are coming to The Pabst Theater. Before they hit the stage, OnMilwaukee got a chance to talk to Paddy Moloney and ask about their role in the popularity of Irish music, as well as some of their famous collaborators.