Welcome back to the Sunday Scaries! If you’re a horror movie connoisseur, you know better than most that the genre offers frequent flops. Fans suffer at the hands of tense movies that seem promising but turn ridiculous, mediocre twists, and extremely disappointing endings. When a spooky film receives great ratings and notoriety, it’s exciting to say the least, and word spreads fast. However, sometimes a great scary movie slips under the radar, or is watched once and never revisited despite its successful attempts to dodge common horror fails. In honor of these movies, here are five that deserve a second screening.
- Lights Out (2016)
As someone who is not afraid of the dark, I can still admit that I second-guessed turning the lights off for bed after watching this one. This horror flick follows Rebecca, her younger brother Gabriel, and his terrifying visions that only appear in the darkness. The siblings both experience threatening encounters with a shadowy entity that means them harm and have to figure out what it is and how to stop it. The creativity that was inserted into multiple scenes of this film is unmatched. Playing with darkness and light as uniquely as possible, Lights Out offers a tense experience that is memorable for its imaginative shots as well as its jump scares. It is simply one of James Wan’s best films next to The Conjuring. As far as a sequel goes, there is an IMDb page for Lights Out 2, but it simply states that it is in development with no further information. While this could be a bad sign that we are years away from a sequel (if we are given any) we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we eventually get to continue this tense and disturbing storyline.
- Orphan (2009)
The tagline for this movie, “There’s Something Wrong With Esther” is a severe understatement. Orphan is a disheartening story about a young Russian girl named Esther, who is adopted by a normal suburban family. When alarming things begin occurring at the hands of Esther, the family debates if their new nine year old could really be causing such harm. Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard play parents Kate and John who heavily debate if their new little girl has ill intent while violent imagery and frightening events occur to each family member. The twist for this one is truly shocking, and will make anyone who watches question everything they had watched previously once it is uncovered. Isabelle Fuhrman does a wonderful job portraying Esther, and audiences will be graced with another performance of hers as this disturbed soul in Orphan: First Kill. This time around, the talented Julia Stiles joins Fuhrman. According to IMDb, filming is complete, but a release date is still a question mark. The movie will be a prequel to Orphan, which is a curious development. One thing that can be said for sure: it is enthusing news nonetheless, and we will be waiting anxiously for its release.
- Searching (2018)
More of an honorable mention as this film is more of a thriller, this picture is one of my personal all time favorites for the genre. John Cho portrays David Kim, a father who frantically tries to discover what happened when his 16-year-old daughter Margot goes missing. The film is shot completely from the point of view of someone browsing on a computer, complete with text messaging, video chatting, and Google searching. This genius creative angle will leave anyone in this digital age that is watching completely entranced and never losing interest. Furthermore, Cho gives an amazing performance unlike anything we’ve seen from him before. The plot is rock solid, and the twists and turns that the story takes are all unexpected and enthralling. Viewers may find themselves feeling a chill along their spine when the mystery is unveiled, along with other disturbing details, which earns it its spot on this list. In terms of a sequel, IMDb has a page for Searching 2, but the only thing on the page is the writing “Under Wraps.” So it’s safe to say our interest is piqued.
- You’re Next (2011)
This horror flick is in the same vein as the hit film Ready or Not, but released nine years earlier. In the movie we follow Erin, played by Shari Vinson, as she goes to meet her boyfriend Crispian’s family to celebrate his parents anniversary. In the midst of getting to know his upper class family chock full of strong and abrasive personalities, random violent attacks begin. A cat and mouse chase ensues as Erin’s (very advanced) survival instincts kick in and she tries to protect herself and Crispian’s family members. The twist that this movie offers only strengthens the plot, and the gore it displays is top notch for horror fans. Additionally, the traps and kills are very creative and cause audiences to feel like nowhere is safe in the large house. It seems that despite all that You’re Next has to offer, it is not a very well known scary film. Be sure to watch this one and comment your thoughts if it was your first viewing.
- Don’t Breathe (2016)
Apparently 2016 was an awesome year for horror! While the title of this movie seems ridiculous and mediocre, Don’t Breathe is anything but. The film follows a trio that makes their money breaking into the houses of the wealthy. In what should be an easy job, the group breaks into the house of a blind man. However, they find that the man’s other senses are heightened, and they are soon being hunted by the vision impaired and enraged fellow. However, Don’t Breathe is so much more than its seemingly shallow and unrealistic plot. With one hell of a disturbing, stomach churning twist, you may find yourself cringing or hiding behind your own knees. This is yet another wonderful horror film that has earned a sequel. While it’s unclear what the story could involve, be sure to prepare yourselves for Don’t Breathe 2, which is slated for release August 13, 2021.
So why not plan out a scary movie marathon next weekend? What better way to fight off the Sunday Scaries? Or better yet: make time after a long and stressful day to enjoy a well rounded, chilling film. Make sure to comment your favorite underrated horror movies, and enjoy the frights, friends!
Hi Kendall, I thought Lights Out was good but the short film it originated from was more effective and a touch scarier in my opinion. Strangely, when I first saw You’re Next I only thought it was ok for some reason but on subsequent viewings I have grown to love it. My underrated gems would be the Indie horror We Are Still Here and the Iranian film Under The Shadow.