Top 5 Overlooked Horror Gems

In November, I asked Twitter what their favorite underseen gems were this year. And boy, did you folk come through.

And while those are some great suggestions, I wanted to compile my own. While these movies didn’t make my Top 10 of the Year list, I absolutely think they are worth your time and attention. 2018 was a huge year for little movies and unfortunately a good chunk of them flew under the radar.

So give them a watch, and let me know what you think. Like my “Best of” list, they might not all resonate with you, but I think they’re pretty special.

Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum

Gonjiam: Haunted Asylum is that rare found footage film that does something different and actually terrifies. This is a film technique that can be incredibly effective, but also has been imitated so much that I pretty much ignore them anymore. But Gonjiam is the real deal.

By using the concept of a YouTube channel that likes to visit haunted locations and then spiraling out of control (and basing it on a real location), this film sidesteps a lot of the “why are they still filming?” problems. And some of the imagery lingered in my mind for days.

This was a festival find for me, and it barely made a blip when it came out. Which is unfortunate. It’s not perfect, but the way it presents a found family between a kidnapped and scarred boy and an undead girl is surprisingly touching. I mention in my review that the feeling of Otherness is one of the reasons that queer people are attracted to horror and this movie exemplifies that feeling. It’s emotional and incredibly dark. I’d give it a chance.

I knew nothing about this Indonesian ghost story before it showed up on Shudder and it’s one of those movies that has stayed with me, since then. Some of the shocks are first rate. There’s something special here and if you have Shudder, you should definitely watch this one.

Here in the states, Ghost Stories didn’t seem to grab attention the way I thought it would. What surprised me more was how a lot of people seemed unhappy with some of the twists the story takes. I’m the exact opposite; the third act reveal fascinated and thrilled me. Here’s a movie doing something completely different with anthology filmmaking. I think this movie is grand.

While The Ritual (a movie that barely missed my Top 10 list) is the one Netflix movie this year that has grabbed everyone’s attention, don’t count out Calibre. This story about two friends going on probably their last hunting trip together goes into some unsettling places. It’s a case of bad decisions compounding bad decisions that tackles male toxicity, social dynamics and the bonds of friendship. Give it a chance and let me know what you think.

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