Let The Right One In (2008)
Directed by Tomas Alfredson
Romantic horror The Let the Right One In follows a bullied teenage boy in Stockholm whose new neighbour Eli – a girl around his own age – happens to be a vampire. The film focuses on the relationship between these two main characters, steering clear of traditional horror and vampire narrative codes and conventions. That isn’t to say this film is a simple Boy meets Vampire love story. Director Tomas Alfredson tackles the spate of murders that arise after Eli moves to town with an unflinching camera, so plenty of gore too.
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010)
Directed by Eli Craig
This comedy horror film written and directed by Eli Craig will make you cringe in disgust and laugh out loud at the same time. Two well-intentioned hillbillies rescue a young girl and are mistaken for murderers by her confused friends. Hilarity and gore ensure in this unmissable piece on our list.
The Babadook (2014)
Directed by Jennifer Kent
The Babadook marks Jennifer Kent’s directorial debut. It’s a sophisticated and intelligent take on monsters and horror, following a single mother’s descent into madness as she is tormented by the Babadook. It’s as emotional as it is terrifying, watching a woman and her son fight a monster that will never leave them alone.
Directed by Lars von Trier
A husband takes his distraught wife to their house in the woods after the death of their only son in an attempt to help her face her fears. Antichrist is as horrifying as it is beautiful. Everything about the film, from the acting to the atmosphere to the music, is desolate and haunting. It is the first but not the last time that von Trier has worked with Charlotte Gainsbourg, who won the Cannes Film Festival award for Best Actress for her performance.
The Witch (2015)
Directed by Robert Eggers
In 17th century New England, a Puritan family is banished from their plantation and forced into exile. Their quiet, isolated life is brought to a halt by the mysterious disappearance of the baby of the family, an event that marks only the beginning of a series of breathtaking twists and turns. The pace is painfully slow, and the horror relies on the suspense in the story rather than on-screen brutality.
The Evil Dead (1981)
Directed by Sam Raimi
The original Evil Dead film that spawned the sequels, the comic books, the video games, and even a television series, is a cult classic. Five university students venture into a cabin in the woods for their spring break, resulting in blood, gore, and demonic possession. It’s a Stephen King favourite.
Directed by John Carpenter
Speaking of cult classics, Michael Myers is an infamous name in horror film history. The masked Myers stabs his way through Haddonfield, Illinois in this 1978 horror classic. Halloween is the first film in the Halloween franchise.
It Follows (2014)
Directed by David Robert Mitchell
Everyone is familiar with the unnerving feeling of being followed. Mitchell makes great use of this universal fear in It Follows, the story of a girl who is literally followed, slowly and methodically, by a supernatural entity. It, whatever It is, can’t move very fast, which somehow makes it even more terrifying. The film debuted at Cannes Film Festival to critical acclaim.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
Directed by Tobe Hooper
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre follows a group of friends who run into a family of cannibals. It was banned outright in several countries upon its release, due to complaints about violence. It has since gained a reputation as one of the best and most influential horror films in movie history, and is credited with originating several key elements in the slasher genre, such as the use of power tools as murder weapons.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Directed by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez
Last but not least is The Blair Witch Project which had it’s European premier at Raindance. Three film students venture into a Maryland forest to make a documentary on the Blair Witch, an urban legend. They disappear, leaving behind only their video and sound equipment. The recovered footage is the entirety of the film. This style of storytelling marked a new approach to filmmaking. The actors are listed as either “missing” or “deceased,” and the film is one of the most successful independent films of all time.