11 horror movies for people who don’t like scary movies

21 Feb

Horror movies have enjoyed a renaissance in
recent years. A slew of spooky arthouse and
indie flicks have injected new energy into a
genre which many lament often relies too
heavily on well-worn tropes, unnecessary
reboots and superfluous gore. Movies like The
Witch (Feb. 19), Robert Eggers’ historical horror
drama set in 1630s New England, eschew the
expected in favor of genre mash-ups and fresh
aesthetic takes.
For those who have been wont to dismiss the
genre wholesale—whether out of sheer terror
or lack of interest—these often beautiful,
sometimes downright hilarious recent additions
may just win over a healthy crop of converts.
A historical horror film which won Robert
Eggers a directing award at Sundance in 2015,
The Witch is an eerie slow burn which says as
much about religious paranoia and the near-
impossible conditions of the lives of early
settlers as it does about the occult. Anya
Taylor-Joy delivers an arresting performance as
a teenaged girl accused of witchcraft by her
own family in 1630s New England, 60 years
before the Salem witch trials.
Where to watch: The Witch opens in theaters
on Feb. 19.
The Witch (2016)
Jennifer Kent’s directorial debut, about a widow
and her young son who are tormented by a
mysterious evil presence, received widespread
critical acclaim for its performances and its
moving allegory about the all-consuming havoc
wrought by grief on adults and children alike.
But The Babadook is not for the faint of heart:
the director of The Exorcist called it the most
terrifying film he’d ever seen.
Where to watch: Rent from Amazon, iTunes
or SundanceNow.
The Babadook (2014)
IFC Films
A movie in which a young woman is cursed by a
mysterious evil as a result of having sex may
sound like the centerpiece of an abstinence-
only curriculum. But it is, in fact, the premise of
a horror film many critics have labeled the best
in a decade. The “It” in the movie’s title
sparked widespread debate, but interpretation
is almost beside the point—the terror here
results directly from “it’s” painfully unresolved
Where to watch: Rent from Amazon or
It Follows (2014)
This low-budget Austrian film interrogates a
terror that’s close—literally—to home. When a
mother returns from a plastic surgery operation
wrapped in bandages, much like a mummy, her
twin sons gradually begin to suspect that the
woman beneath the mask may not be mommy
dearest. But the movie’s not just fodder for
nightmares. It’s also an examination of the
parent-child relationship, the vulnerability that
stems from trust and the demands of modern
Where to watch: Stream for free with
Amazon Prime or rent from Amazon or iTunes.
Goodnight Mommy
Stadtkino Verleih
If the previous titles on this list sound more like
a recipe for pants-wetting than a relaxing night
at home, What We Do in the Shadows offers a
welcome reprieve: comedy. Though many
moviegoers are understandably vampire-d out,
this horror-comedy mockumentary from
members of the Flight of the Conchords team
finds humor and humanity both in the well-
trodden territory of blood-suckers.
Where to watch: Rent from Amazon or
What We Do in the
Shadows (2014)
Madman Entertainment
Another unconventional vampire flick,
positioned upon its release as the first Iranian
vampire Western, writer-director Ana Lily
Amirpour’s debut is a moody, black and white
genre mash-up. It’s horror-flick-meets-
spaghetti-western, with an aesthetic sensibility
gleaned as much from graphic novels as from
Iranian New Wave cinema. The titular girl
prowls the night on a skateboard to a
soundtrack of Persian rock and electropop, and
the movie’s subversion of gender norms widely
earned it a feminist seal of approval.
Where to watch: Rent from Amazon, iTunes
or Vimeo On Demand.
A Girl Walks Home
Alone at Night (2014)
VICE Films
Horror skeptics will be glad to know that Under
the Skin is as much sci-fi art film as it is horror
—and what elements of that genre exist are
nontraditional at best. An eerily blank-faced
Scarlett Johansson plays an alien, disguised as a
woman, who lures unsuspecting men into a van
and then does the kinds of things you might
imagine happen to unsuspecting men lured into
vans by an alien. The result is beautiful,
otherwordly, and deeply, deeply unsettling to
Where to watch: Stream for free with
Amazon Prime or rent from Amazon.
Under the Skin (2013)
Yes, another vampire movie, but—this one’s
got Tilda Swinton, an award-winning soundtrack
and its vampires are hipster rock stars, to boot.
Described by more than one critic as “poetic,”
Jim Jarmusch’s tale finds Swinton and Tom
Hiddleston as two low-key, nonviolent
vampires (they subsist on provisions from a
blood bank) married for centuries but living
apart, who reunite in a depopulated Motor
City. Don’t come for the plot (it’s minimal);
come for the spellbinding, laid-back cool of a
vampire flick that trades in vinyl and timeless
Where to watch: Buy from Amazon or iTunes.
Only Lovers Left Alive
Sony Pictures Classics
This Joss Whedon-produced comedic sendup of
the horror genre begins in a familiar way: five
college friends holed up for a weekend in a
remote cabin. What happens next can’t be
discussed without spoiling the fun, but suffice it
to say that one gory scene after another serves
to bludgeon the tropes of the genre. It’s a
formula that’s equally as delightful for steadfast
fans as it is for those who have avoided it
thanks to those aforementioned tired tropes.
Where to watch: Rent from Amazon or
The Cabin in the
Woods (2012)
This dark Swedish film centers on two 12-year-
old kids, one a lonely, bullied boy and the other
a sullen neighbor girl who turns out to be a
vampire. The restrained, cinematically beautiful
tale of adolescent loneliness was an awards
magnet, racking up honors at film festivals
around the world and even getting an arguably
lesser American adaptation, Let Me In. It’s
scary, yes, but more than that it is a triumph of
two young actors and, ultimately, a love story
masquerading under the banner of horror.
Where to watch: Rent from CinemaNow or
Let the Right One In
Magnet Releasing
In the horror comedy Teeth, a wholesome
teenage girl discovers that her vagina has
chompers which engage to bite off the member
of any male who foists himself upon her
uninvited. Unwanted sexual advances are, of
course, no laughing matter. The joke here is the
fear of female sexuality—specifically, a folk-
tale phenomenon called vagina dentata—and
writer-director Mitchell Lichtenstein takes that
fear to its not-so-logical but highly entertaining
Where to watch: Rent from iTunes.
Teeth (2007)
Roadside Attractions

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 21, 2016 in Uncategorized


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: