Forget about Hollywood mainstream horror: Five horror films that you must not miss

Mainstream Hollywood-style horror movies usually seem to be the least risky choice, as the viewers have some unexplained faith to the Hollywood corporate machine. Sometimes, they – and I should probably include myself to this – get carried away by the glamorous cast or well-known directors or even the massive marketing campaigns that always promote the “ultimate horror film of the decade”.

It is unfortunate, though, as horror films are not only about celebrities and the fairy tale of stardom. They are not about pre-cooked plots and exhaustive sequels either. Major celebrities starring in movies , like Aliens vs Cowboys and Daybreakers were apparently not enough to prevent those Hollywood productions from becoming ultimate flops.

It is interesting to realize that horror movies with not necessarily the best picture in the entire industry and less famous actors, were uniquely memorable. Here is a top five list of such films that deserve their time and set the bar higher than the “glittered” horror.

Broken – 2006

The horror film, Broken , is a perfect example of agony, terror and tortuous struggle for survival. This rather low-budget British production, depicts the story of Hope, a young single mother who wakes up in captivity after a blind date with a seemingly perfect man. She finds herself in the hands of a psychopathic, twisted man who is keeping her chained in the woods forcing her to act like his girlfriend. Her desperation and desire to escape and go back to her daughter, indicates that she must follow his sadistic rules. The battle for survival keeps the viewer’s interest particularly high and the constant countdown of the days of her kidnap endorses the intensity of her torture.

The Tunnel – 2011

An Australian production of a sinister found-footage horror film. Although, it kind of steps on other similar films’ footsteps, The Tunnel can provide some pure horror as it unravels the story of a young journalist who ends up in an underground train tunnel while trying to report on a story. Natasha Warner and her crew finds herself trapped – and lost – in a tunnel maze where apparently she is not alone. Some really scary scenes follow when they are starting to run low on battery and light. The mere light of their dying flashlights is only enough to show what is lurking inside those tunnels. And it is definitely not just rats.

Rest Stop: Dead Ahead – 2006

A little bit of Joy Ride and a pinch of The Hitcher, form this American horror film. The story follows Nicol and her boyfriend trying to escape from the terror caused by a maniac serial killer, after stopping at a rest stop on their way to Los Angeles. A sadistic and absolutely perverted killer kidnaps her boyfriend and makes Nicol’s life a torture. Gory and bloody scenes combined with the escape-frenzy make Rest Stop a very good choice to break the monotony of the same old same old horror films.

Grave Encounters – 2011

I believe I have praised this film more than enough on this blog. That is probably because it has somehow stuck in my mind as a very agonizing and scary found-footage horror film. I realize that this type of films has become more than a dull trend, but it all comes down to the feeling you are left with after watching it. Famous TV persona Lance Preston and his crew make a living out of documenting paranormal activities in haunted buildings. They push their luck too far when they decide to make a documentary about the abandoned Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital, that is believed to be haunted by malicious spirits. Equipped with high-tech gear they enter the deserted mental hospital and they find themselves trapped inside. Forever. Well, at least until the sweet release of death. Judging from what haunts those rooms, death would be the most desirable option. Gripping horror is definite as really scary and disfigured spectres lurk in every dark corner, although they are – disturbingly –  exciting to watch. The sequel Grave Encounters 2, was not as satisfying as the first one, so just stick to the first part.

Martyrs – 2008

Extra attention is needed for this film as it is not usual and definitely not a light choice for a horror movie. Martyrs is extremely powerful and breathtaking. It is literally breathtaking, since the story and the explicit scenes are really hard to digest. But that is its beauty and that’s exactly why it should not pass unnoticed. It depicts the absolute torture and suffering of two young women who are caught in the web of a universal and sadistic organisation. Martyrs – a word that comes from the greek word μάρτυρ and refers to a witness or a person who has suffered unbelievable pain  for their beliefs – is most certainly everything that this film is all about. It is about suffer, and torture, but not in the mainstream,gory eye-turning way. It’s power is dominating.

6 Responses to “Forget about Hollywood mainstream horror: Five horror films that you must not miss”
  1. Absolutely love Martyrs…
    Great article!
    Regards, Jordan


  2. Marinos Politis says:

    The sequel to Rest Stop is also good, you surprise all the more that you knew about this liitle horror “diamond”… and from the same company you should check out “The Loved Ones” a pure psycho gore movie!


    • maria kriva says:

      Oh I’ve seen that! It is really,really disturbing! I so hated her! 😀
      Rest Stop was actually really good!I have to admit that I haven’t watched its 2008 sequel…hope it’s as good as the first!


  3. garylee828 says:

    I totally agree with your assessment at the top about mainstream films, etc. but how in the world did you include “Broken” on this list here? It was absolutely dreadful! One of the worst horror films I’ve ever seen. The woman was so annoying; she couldn’t act and all she did was whine. Literally.
    “Martyrs” is definitely a strong choice. This was a great film. “Broken” and “Martyrs” should not be on any of the same lists. lol. “High Tension”, “Inside” and “Eden Lake” belong with “Martyrs”.


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