Rockabye Movie Night: Top 5 Underrated Horror Movies
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I loved to be scared. Well, scratch that; I love to be scared by unrealistic scary things. I’m really, really afraid of flying and that type of fear I don’t often seek out. But a great horror movie? LOVE. IT. I’m pretty much an equal opportunity horror film enthusiast, because I love them all: B-horror, gore, cheap scares, ghosts, little creepy kids, serial killers, zombies, remakes, comedy, etc. I have enjoyed watching scary movies since I accidentally watched Poltergeist when I was much too young and couldn’t sleep for two days. Why do we like to be scared? Does it make us feel alive? Do we like scary movies because it isn’t real and we have a sense of control over it? Scientists believe it’s because the amygdala gets activated by fear, but your cortex knows it isn’t real, so the spillover is rewarding. No matter the explanation, it’s hard to ignore that horror is one of the most popular film genres. So in the spirit of Halloween, these are my top 5 underrated horror films that don’t get the credit they rightfully deserve. (Warning! These films are most definitely reserved for Mom and Dad. No kids allowed!) 5. Arachnophobia (1990): Wait, wait, wait... Give me a shot here. Yes, this movie is of the "comedy horror" variety, but it is legitimately scary, too. The scares in this one are based around an incredibly common fear: the fear of spiders. Lots of people are afraid of them (with good reason, too). In nearly every other spider-related horror movie, the spiders are giant; but in this movie, they are true-to-life size AND suspiciously mean and crafty to boot. Regular spiders don’t really attack unless provoked (and even that is rare), but these little buggers do just that. Plus, there’s like this really big one that lives in the barn and I have the creeps just thinking about it now. 4. Jeepers Creepers (2001): Basically the first half of this movie and the end are the best parts. The latter half isn’t as stellar, but the other parts are SO AMAZINGLY SCARY that it makes up for it. A brother and sister back home from spring break witness some creepy-looking dude dumping stuff and they (stupidly) decide to investigate. Turns out, duh, they discover mutilated bodies and now they are screwed. The Creeper starts following them and it just gets worse and worse. It’s sort of a blend of old-school monster movie and “crazy guy on the loose” a la Halloween. If you want a good fright I would recommend Netflixing this. 3. The Ruins (2008): Four Americans go on vacation to Mexico and are invited by locals to visit an archaeological dig their cousins are working on. When they arrive at the ruins, a high ancient tower, they are ambushed by men with guns. When one of the Mexican locals tries to explain why they’re there, he is shot twice. The rest of the group instinctively flee up the summit. The men do not leave, nor do they follow. THEN STUFF GETS REALLY WEIRD. What's so effectively scary is that the film shows us people pushed to their limits in an insane and terrifying -- albeit fantastical --situation and the very realistic way they react and deal. It can be very difficult to watch, because horrific things keep happening, the characters have no idea why, and these once happy friends become this crazed group of people just trying to survive by any means necessary. I promise you, it’s worth a watch. Be warned, it is very gory. 2. Session 9 (2001): The tagline for this movie is "Fear is a Place," and it couldn’t be more spot on. Horror films use a variety of tactics to scare us, and the place is an important one. The setting in Session 9 is an abandoned mental hospital, which always lead to trouble. An asbestos-removal company is hired to clean out the place, and the terrifying past of the hospital starts haunting the workers. As the story unfolds, it gets increasingly scarier. But the element that was so effective for me, and scared me in the weirdest way, was that the majority of the film takes place during the day. We are conditioned to be scared at night, when "bad things happen," but Session 9 turns that notion on its head. The horror in this film is so well done that it makes you feel like even daytime isn’t safe from terror. 1. The Descent (2005): An awesome movie about a bunch of badass chicks who go to explore a cave that isn’t in any cave-spelunking book and everything goes horribly, horribly wrong. Like even more wrong than you think. You think they just get lost or stuck? Nuh uh, they also have to deal with monsters. The cinematography in this is great, because it makes you claustrophobic. I’m a bit claustrophobic already, so this had me cringing even more. WATCH IT. I guarantee you will not regret it. For more movie recommendations, click HERE.