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Another 5 Overlooked Indie Horror Films You Should Watch

Another 5 Overlooked Indie Horror Films You Should Watch

There aren’t enough hours in the day to see all the great independent horror films that have been released in recent years since the DVD and online boom started. But for those dedicated horror film fans who pore over the internet, seeking out the small, the smart, and the surprising, Bloody Disgusting supports your worthy cause.

This is our third installment of the overlooked indie horror films that deserve more attention than they received.

If you missed them, here’s Part 1 and Part 2!


Sleep Tight

Though American viewers know him best for his work on the REC series, director Jaume Balaguero is a brilliant filmmaker with several other great horror and thriller films, and Sleep Tight is one of his best. The film follows misanthropic apartment handyman Cesar as he tests the happiness of one of his tenants by slowly and anonymously making her life miserable, one painful and undignified act at a time.

The film is a brilliant slow burn, starting with acts that cause the viewer mild discomfort and escalating in severity until the woman’s suffering is nearly unwatchable. The performances from Luis Tosar and Marta Etura as polar opposites in a one-sided battle of ideologies are brilliant, and they stay with the viewer long after the film is over. Though it doesn’t match REC’s pacing and terror, this may be Balaguero’s most stylish and mature work.


S&Man

Filmmaker JT Petty (playing himself) is making a documentary on voyeurism, and ventures into the underground world of fetish filmmakers and the dark cult cinema circuit; as he meets and follows a filmmaker known for one particularly gruesome series, he begins to question whether the films are grimy but effective movies, or something much darker.

The only thing more disturbing than the fictional narrative in S&Man is the fact that most of the interviews and footage are from real filmmakers talking about their actual work. A brilliant blurring of the line between fake documentary and actual reportage, filmmaker Petty (a brilliant filmmaker since his low-budget debut with Soft for Digging) interviews people along the horror spectrum from filmmaker Bill Zebub to college professor and author Carol Clover. Illuminating and terrifying in equal measure, this film deserved better than the questionable release it received, and it is one worth tracking down.


The Grave

Creative sibling team Joshua and Jonas Pate are recently more well-known for their work on Caprica, Blood and Oil, and other primetime television series, but their most interesting work was their filmic output in the late 1990s, including this strange and fascinating gem. A southern gothic story about two criminals who escape prison to search for the buried treasure of a dead millionaire, The Grave is impossible to easily categorize. With black comedy, romance, hairpin story turns, and a plot that would suit an R-rated version of The Goonies, the movie never lets the viewers feel safe in their expectations.

The cast of this film is recognizable from end to end: Craig Sheffer, Josh Charles, Donal Logue, Keith David, Giovanni Ribisi, Anthony Michael Hall, Eric Roberts, Gabrielle Anwar, and that’s just the beginning. Fun, weird, and a little bit twisted, this film deserves a renaissance and some newfound appreciation.


Daylight (2010)

Though it may end up a controversial choice for this list given that it is marketed as a psychological thriller rather than horror, David Barker’s Daylight is a beautiful and haunting film filled with quiet dread. A man and his pregnant wife are traveling through rural America when they are taken hostage at gunpoint by three desperate men. During their imprisonment, it is the pregnant wife who finds the courage and compassion to change their fate.

The film is the rare harrowing experience that also has a silver lining, and the performances are all-around subtle and compelling. The story turns kidnapping thriller clichés on their heads, and the film acts as a strangely hopeful mirror reflection of the similar events in Last House on the Left. At turns both poetic and unnerving, this film will connect deeply with the right viewer.


Circle

The premise is as simple as it gets: fifty people appear suddenly inside a single, bare room. Each has a position marked on the floor, and each gets one vote. A timer in the room counts down in two-minute increments, and every two minutes, the person with the most votes is killed. This continues until there is only one survivor. The simplicity of Circle‘s plot betrays the complexity and moral ambiguity at its center, and the film is a brilliant indictment of the ways the democratic system can be manipulated.

Directors Aaron Hann and Mario Miscione followed up their online series The Vault with this smart and controversial concept. Though most of the actors are unfamiliar, Dexter fans will recognize Julie Benz in the crowd. The whole film is tense and entertaining, but the final ten minutes are a tour de force of intensity where characters are trying to murder each other without ever taking a step towards one another. Circle is a big story in a small location that is definitely worth tracking down.



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COMMENTS

34 Comments
  • darkduo

    Keep meaning to watch the circle

  • Garbageface

    Circle is fucking horrible

  • For me “circle” was a good experiment. Sometimes smart, sometimes cliché but pretty funny almost the entire movie.

  • MrX13

    Circle was a good movie. I enjoyed the story and the ending was pretty good: *SPOILER* UFOs (spaceships) hovering in different parts of the city all playing the same game with other people. Now this is a way to get rid of over-population!

    • Tony Harley

      I’m not complaining cause I’ll eventually watch it anyway but maybe next time don’t include SPOILER and UFO directly next to each other lol

      • MrX13

        haha… at least i had the word “spoiler”

  • Darren Kerr

    Sleep Tight is rather brilliant.
    No spoilers here…you really need to into this film knowing next to nothing.
    You’ll thank yourself for it.

    • The Drucifer

      Such a devious little film.

      • Chris Vander Kaay

        That ending is BRUTAL in its quiet devastation.

        • The Drucifer

          It fucking shocked me. like a truly evil Hitchcock film.

    • Travis Ignaffo

      Definitely gonna give Sleep Tight a try.

  • Necro

    Familiar with ‘Circle’, but the others not so much. I almost watched ‘Circle’ probably 10 different times but never hit play.

    • Circle is pretty good. Especially if you like contained horror movies in that vein: Cube, Exam, Devil.

      • Chris Vander Kaay

        Fascinating subgenre. If you liked those, you should check out a Spanish-language one called Fermat’s Room. Very cool.

        • Matt Miller

          Lol I tought I was the only one who watched that movie. It was interesting but the ending was too silly for me

        • Yeah, I call them “chamber horror”. Not sure if a different term has been coined yet. I’ve seen Fermat’s, and it’s definitely a good one too.

          • Necro

            “Chamber Horror” huh? I like that!

      • Necro

        Cool thanks Zach! Oh I loved ‘Exam’, when I first heard about ‘Circle’ that’s the film I kept thinking about.

    • zombie84_41

      circle is decent

  • Mayday

    Circle was pretty cool. Sleep Tight was promising, but never reached its potential. The Grave was awful.

  • WALKTER

    I liked S&Man, I watched a similar one called Long Pigs that was also pretty good, definitely worth checking out too.

    • Chris Vander Kaay

      I interviewed the director of Long Pigs a while back. Nice guy, he referenced Man Bites Dog as a big influence on his film. Glad to know others have seen it!

      • WALKTER

        Right on man, I liked that Long Pigs, that scene in the basement was pretty nasty. After watching S&Man I kept thinking about how much more twisted Long Pigs was, apparently I do even just reading about S&Man. Both pretty good though, that documentary style found footage works better than straight up found footage I find.

  • Matt Miller

    Circle is good. Simple but effective.

  • zombie84_41

    was circle that alien movie and then u see the spaceship at the end if so that movie was decent

  • J Jett

    Chris DAMN YOU! (joking!)…:)
    DAYLIGHT sounds really good but it appears to be 100% unavailable in any way, shape or form. on Amazon’s listing for the film is says “This title is currently unavailable” and it’s not on any torrent site (not that i would ever torrent a film!….cough….).
    bummer.
    i say this in a 100% a friendly/non-jerky way but maybe when recommending films, make sure said films are available to be seen (in any way possible). DAYLIGHT sounds so good!

    • Chris Vander Kaay

      Always glad to share the love on that movie. I covered it in our last book, Horror Films by Subgenre, and we were blown away by it. Hope you enjoy!

    • Chris Vander Kaay

      I saw your note about not being able to find Daylight, so I wanted to drop this link for you:

      It’s not the best way to do it, but you can buy it on YouTube. That’s how I saw it last time I watched it.

  • Juicyfruit

    Circle was silly.

  • Jérémy Kuprowski

    I really recommend Circle, even though I wouldn’t really qualify it as straight-out horror and more of a thriller (with some mild sci-fi elements).

    Definitely worth a watch! Didn’t expect it to feel so short. It really hooks you.

  • sliceanddice

    S&Man was very good. Circle was complete turd juice.

  • DrewHamster

    I’m in the crowd that Circle wasn’t very good.

  • Blood Boil

    Sleep Tight was great

    Circle was an SJW’s wet dream, it was a disaster

  • I wasn’t big on Circle. Felt like you could watch the first 10 minutes then skip to the last 15. Pretty much know how it’s gonna play out in between with the social & racial commentary. Damn thick.

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