Time keeps rolling by, and so do outstanding horror films that are getting lost in the crowd of movies being released in theaters, on Blu-ray, and streaming every week. Horror film archaeologists, welcome to Volume Four of Bloody Disgusting’s continuing column digging through the recent past of film releases and featuring worthwhile horror movies that you may have missed the first time around.
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Amusement seems on its face to be a standard slasher-style stalker film. However, it cleverly uses the conceit of a group of friends with a shared secret from their past to create a pseudo-anthology film in which each of the friends deals with a stalker-killer in a slightly different horror subgenre style.
Written by Jake Wade Wall, who also wrote the remakes of When a Stranger Calls and The Hitcher, the film is smarter than its packaging suggests. With a cast boasting Vikings’ Katheryn Winnick, Veep’s Reid Scott, and Gotham’s Jessica Lucas, Amusement is a fun horror movie that is self-aware but not self-indulgent.
Berberian Sound Studio (2012)
From Peter Strickland, director of the taut sexual thriller The Duke of Burgundy, comes the chilling and uncomfortable Berberian Sound Studio. Gilderoy is a British sound engineer hired to work on an Italian horror film. As he dives deeper into his job and the film, he begins to start losing track of fantasy and reality.
Starring Toby Jones, the fantastic character actor normally confined to small roles in films like Captain America and The Hunger Games, the film has a stunning soundscape that insinuates everything you don’t see in an effective and unnerving way. A clear love letter to Italian horror and Argento’s Suspiria in particular, the demented director in the film is played by Cosimo Fusco, who previously acted in Argento’s 2004 film The Card Player.
The Dirties (2013)
The found footage horror answer to films like We Need to Talk About Kevin and Elephant, writer/director/star Matt Johnson created an impressive achievement with The Dirties. The film begins as a documentation of a high school film project from two friends who are unpopular and bullied. The film takes a slow turn when one of the friends, Matt, decides that their film should be about getting back at the bullies, and it should be for real.
Johnson’s performance is a revelation, playing Matt as sympathetic and isolated, but also with clear indications that he isn’t fully stable. Johnson recently wrote and directed the film-oriented conspiracy thriller Operation Avalanche and the TV series Nirvanna the Band the Show. Intimate, humorous, tragic, and disturbing, The Dirties is worth finding.
Entrance is a horror film about isolation in the midst of friends, about the danger that hides itself in plain sight in society. Co-directed by male directors Dallas Richard Hallam and Patrick Horvath but written by Karen Gorham and Michelle Margolis, the film understands and sympathizes with the numerous indignities and fears that women quietly deal with on a daily basis.
The film about young Suzy navigating life in Los Angeles is a slow burn, building tiny clues into its naturalistic opening hour, only to blow up expectations in the spectacular single-take final act that codifies all of the nightmare possibilities into a terrifying reality. The film is not for everyone, but those who get its tone and style will be fully invested.
Good Neighbours (2010)
Clever and nasty with twists to spare, Good Neighbours is a Canadian horror-thriller that has Hitchcockian suspense with added violence and sexuality that Hitchcock didn’t live long enough to be able to utilize in his work. In the film’s plot, a serial killer terrorizes a Canadian neighborhood, and two neighbors begin to wonder about the new guy who just moved in.
The cast is fantastic, in particular the central trio of Jay Baruchel, Emily Hampshire, and Scott Speedman. Actor Jacob Tierney gets behind the camera for this film and gets the most of his excellent cast and the source material, Chrystine Brouillet’s novel Chère voisine. The film is worth tracking down and watching with a group of like-minded friends and movie watchers.