Horror fan snobbery is not uncommon. Some horror fans are rude to people who like slashers. Then there are horror fans who only like to watch “high horror” (which is a term that continues to insult the genre as a whole).
What has become very common is when people claim that there are no original horror movies. That everything these days is a sequel, remake, requel, or reboot. But while we may feel like we’re inundated with remakes, plenty of original horror movies have come out in recent years.
Listing all the good ones would take me years, if I’m being honest. That is why it is better to reduce them. All the movies I list belong to different horror subgenres. Essentially, there’s something for everyone, whether you like horror comedies, full-throttle scares, movies that twist you inside.
The Invitation (2015)
To say that Karyn Kusama understands horror would be an understatement. She directed the feminist/queer cult classic, Jennifer’s body (2009) after all. The invite (2015) is a completely different beast, however. It’s a slow-paced beast that pounces on you after taking its time. And damn does the movie create such disturbing suspense. Not only that, but it explores the realities of anxiety, cult mentality, grief processing avoidance, and gaslighting, to some extent. The film on the outside seems so simple – the plot is about a group of friends who reunite after two years. Only the intention of the gathering is not what it seems.
Depicting sex work in film is very tactile. There isn’t always the necessary education about sex work, sex workers or anything that surrounds it. Fortunately Cam (2018) seems to touch on the world of camming, misconceptions, dangers that sex workers often face, and empowerment. How sex workers are treated as disposable is part of the subject of this film. It also discusses how harmful the internet can be. Knowing that Issa Mazzei, who wrote the screenplay, was a camgirl before absolutely helps the movie work. The plot follows camgirl Alice/Lola (Madeline Brewer) whose account is hijacked by a clone of her. Brewer’s performance is absolutely spot on and she really makes you care what happens to her character.
Ready or Not (2019)
The rich and the efforts they will make to maintain their status! In this horror-comedy, Samara Weaving is the latest modern girl of our dreams. She kicks ass, screams like there’s no tomorrow, and does it all in her wedding dress. Who do this ? Grace (Samara Weaving) does this! The film follows Grace, who marries into an incredibly wealthy family that performs rituals to stay wealthy. This is the simplified version, of course. When her new family has her play a game of cards, she draws the “Hide-N-Seek” card, meaning she must hide while they find her, only for her life to be in danger. The services are at the top and Ready or Not is one of those horror comedies you can rewatch. It’s a guarantee that you’ll love it if you like this kind of horror.
Don’t judge a horror movie by its style. Horror movies can absolutely be shot on phones or Zoom calls, in this case. Getting horror movies out at the start of the pandemic was interesting and expanded the medium to new possibilities. And the fact that the characters are tackling the pandemic also makes it harder to watch. Especially when horror mimics social experiences, but more drastically. This plot follows a group of friends who laugh at seances, only to face the consequences of their actions. You would think the scares would be nil since everything was done remotely. But it is exactly the opposite. It’s the result of a carefully crafted, remotely directed horror film.
Scare Me (2020)
Aya Cash owns this movie. No ifs, ands, or buts. The parcel almost seems too silly because it’s about writers and a pizza delivery boy telling each other scary stories all night long. There’s a creepy atmosphere that builds to the end, leading to a very wild climax. But he leaves certain intentions to the imagination. This makes Scare me even more disturbing, even if no one is harassed or murdered by a stranger. The setting is the kind that would naturally be for a home invasion or a classic slasher. But instead, the film flips expectations and takes you on a different kind of ride, one where toxic masculinity is very much present. It’s best not to go into this movie expecting typical jumping or anything gory.
The Boy Behind the Door (2021)
Rarely will you find a horror movie with a black boy protagonist, who is portrayed as sweet and brave as Bobby (Lonnie Chavis). A nightmarish situation in the form of two best friends kidnapped by filthy people is what this film is about. It’s incredibly uncomfortable in terms of subject matter as the kidnapper is clearly running a child rape operation. And is also racist. There’s a lot of social commentary to unpack as the kidnapper turns out to be a white woman. It just goes to show how just as monstrous white women can be as white men, who are so often the villains of horror movies. The boys’ performances are impressive, and the film maintains that spooky atmosphere. And the nods to other horror movies like The brilliant (1980) are lovely treats. Don’t jump into this movie if anything mentioned above makes you too uncomfortable.
Modern dating can be a real shitshow. Not that it’s been easy so far, but this movie just proves that being hesitant around people (especially cis men) isn’t too paranoid. Since you never know if the person you see is actually a cannibal who sells/eats women’s meat. Too far? Maybe this movie won’t be for you if that’s the case. Costs follows Noa (Daisy Edgar-Jones) who, after a series of bad luck, meets Steve (Sebastian Stan) who she thinks is perfect for her. Only, he turns out to be a cannibal who runs a human meat-selling operation! For the ultra-rich of course. It’s a film that takes its extreme turn after 30 minutes. And that has to be one of the best parts. Without a doubt, this is one of the best horror movies to be released this year.
What are some of your favorite original horror films?
(featured image: thrill)
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