For all that fans like to talk about how horror is dead, there sure is a lot of it being produced. There are dozens of great horror films released every year just on our own shores, not even including the tons of quality content produced by the rest of the world. The independent market is booming in a way it never has before. And at the same time, filmmakers like James Wan are proving that quality horror can still be produced on the theatrical market.
Because of the sheer amount of horror that is out there right now, a lot of quality movies tend to fall through the cracks. It’s understandable when somebody hasn’t seen something, especially something recent, considering how diverse the release of a single film might be. But one of the best things about the horror community is that people are always interested in seeing something new or tracking down a title they might have missed. With that in mind, here are seven great recently released horror features you might not have seen.
Beyond the Black Rainbow
Beyond the Black Rainbow, is admittedly, a work of style over substance. It’s not that there isn’t a compelling story, but more that the story is painfully drawn out. Visually, however, the film is a masterpiece of limited budget. It looks like a perfect blend of Kubrick and early Argento. It just looks and feels like the kind of movie that isn’t made anymore, and hasn’t been for a few decades. But it recaptures that tone perfectly. The cast also does a great job, particularly Eva Allan as the lead. Moreover, the score is one of the best in recent memory.
Plus One is such a novel concept that I wanted it to succeed for its ideas alone, just having heard about it. Then I watched it and it floored me. What’s really interesting about this film is that for the first third, you’re not really sure exactly what kind of movie it’s going to be. Or at least what the tone will be. It’s certainly a science fiction film, once the plot heats up, but the horror elements are introduced gradually. The basic concept is centered on a house party where a young man hopes to reconnect with his ex-girlfriend. But a meteor passing overhead causes a time displacement, and select group of characters find themselves trapped just a few minutes in the past, with their other selves walking around the party. It does a great job of pointing out just how quickly someone can make a mistake and want to rectify it, and never wastes the interesting ideas that it presents.
Directed by Brandon Cronenberg, son of David, Antiviral feels like the filmmaker’s claim to the throne of body horror that his father has held for so long. It’s a biting commentary on celebrity culture, depicting a world in which people can buy the STD’s of their favorite celebrities, suffering in order to feel some sense of closeness to the people they worship. It’s a very smart, very disturbing movie with some excellent performances that should definitely have a larger following than it currently does.
I expected nothing out of Resolution and maybe that’s why it impressed me so much. It’s such a mixed bag of things, different sorts of plots and styles of filmmaking, that it really shouldn’t work. But it does. It starts of with two people in a cabin in the woods, which we all know to be the quintessential backdrop for a horror story. It’s about one man trying to help his friend kick a severe drug addiction by tying him down to a mattress until he can wait out the withdrawals. Things take a dark turn pretty quickly and the plot just keeps unraveling and unraveling, going to places that nobody would expect.
European horror comedies like Shaun of the Dead and Attack the Block really seem to take off over here and find an audience, so it’s a little surprising that Grabbers didn’t share the same fate. It’s an absurd, and bitingly funny movie, about an alien invasion in a small Irish town. The only way to remain immune to the creatures is to be completely inebriated, causing the characters to band together inside of a local bar. It’s goofy, but not stupid, with solid laughs and strong characters in equal balance.
Bad Milo is about a demon that comes out of the protagonist’s ass. There’s really no delicate way to put it. It’s possibly the strangest version of the Jekyll/Hyde story that I’ve ever seen, which only serves to make it more impressive. The creature acts out his id, is carnivorous and vicious, but also needs to be nurtured and loved. There’s an actual dynamic between the man and his ass goblin and the movie genuinely has heart. It would have been easy to make this a cult hit on the level of Human Centipede but the filmmakers took the much harder route by making it an honestly good film.
Berberien Sound Studio is a welcome return to low-key, quietly paced classics. Even though it’s very different, it has the same tone as The Haunting and The Changeling. The most impressive thing about it, however, is that it is a near-perfect representation of the importance of sound in film. It’s the most overlooked aspect of filmmaking, yet one of the most important. And this film makes that clearer than ever before.