Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room, a film about members of a punk rock band who witness a murder and must survive the night in a bar run by neo-Nazis, opened in three theaters a couple of weeks ago. This weekend it will expand nationwide, allowing all of you to see the film! To celebrate this film, which our own Kalyn Corrigan gave a glowing review out of Fantastic Fest, we decided to look at some other great(ish) movies where the lead characters just had to make it through the night. Here are some of the better ones out there!
The Purge: Anarchy
Taking everything that worked about The Purge and improving upon it tenfold, The Purge: Anarchy was quite the surprise of 2014. After The Purge disappointed in 2013 (but surprised at the box office), audiences were gifted with this clean slate of a film that actually took advantage of its interesting premise: for 12 hours, all crime is legal. Anarchy isn’t a perfect film, but it’s a helluva lot of fun.
The children in Battle Royale got an extension on their “survive the night plot” and get a whole 72 hours to make it out alive! Well, one of them anyway. In the Japanese classic, 42 students participate in the annual Battle Royale as a result of the BR Act, which was passed after 800,000 students walked out of school. It’s a brutal film, but it’s a classic for a reason.
30 Days of Night
AKA One of the best vampire movies of the new millennium! David Slade (Hard Candy) brings us this frost-bitten tale of some of the scariest vampires you’ve ever seen. And even though it takes place over the course of 30 24-hour periods, it is technically one night!
Jeepers Creepers 2
Here is where the “mostly” comes in with this article title. Jeepers Creepers 2 is no gem. In fact, it’s pretty mediocre, but it’s still highly entertaining. Eschewing all of the creepiness that made the first film so effective (Jeepers Creepers is an underrated gem and I won’t hear any opinions to the contrary!), Jeepers Creepers 2 follows a bus full of high schoolers as they must survive the final night of the Creeper’s rampage.
A New Year’s Eve train ride takes a turn for the worse when a masked serial killer comes aboard to kill the boys and girls of Sigma Phi (“some will live, some will die” notes the supremely clever tagline). It’s a bit silly since no one realizes anyone is dead until about 70 minutes into the movie, but that third act twist with the killer reveal is one of the better ones to come out of the 80s slasher craze.
Less about surviving the night and more about surviving until the deadly toxin in the air kills the lead characters, Saw II is all about a race against the clock. I maintain that it is the best Saw film (come at me!), and while the twist doesn’t exactly live up to the standards set by the first film, it does feature some of the franchise’s best traps (the needly pit, anyone?).
Night of the Demons
Whether you’re referring to the totally awesome 1988 film or not-quite-as-awesome-but-still-totally-entertaining 2009 remake, you can’t go wrong with Night of the Demons! A group of kids are trapped in Angela’s (Amelia Kinkade/Shannon Elizabeth) house as demons are unleashed and begin to possess them one by one. If they can make it to sunrise, the demons will be banished forever!
Demons sure to like harassing people in one building, don’t they? Looking back on Lamberto Bava’s Demons (which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary), it still stands the test of time as an unabashedly entertaining meta gorefest about a group of people who have to survive the night in a movie theater as demons begin to possess them. There’s nothing classy about it, but if you sit down and let Demons take you along for the ride, you’ll find yourself having the time of your life!
What is your favorite “survive the night” horror film? Let us know in the comments below!