Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Top Ten Creepiest Movies on Netflix Instant

Do you have the post Halloween blues? Are you in the mood for something creepy when everyone else seems to be buying Christmas cards and getting ready for turkey day? Do you have Netflix Instant? Well, look no further dear readers, have I got a list for you! I have scoured Netflix Instant to bring you the top ten creepiest movies available. A couple things to keep in mind: these are the creepiest on there, NOT the scariest and these are in no particular order. Hope you get as creeped out as I did watching these:

1) Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Rosemary’s Baby is a classic. There is no reason for you not to see it. Masterfully filmed and beautifully acted, this movie can and should be appreciated by anyone and everyone. In case you have no clue what this movie is about, it centers around a young housewife named Rosemary who's married to a struggling actor. The couple move in to a new apartment which has an old history of witches and satan worshippers as tenants. After meeting the all too friendly neighbors, Rosemary and her husband decide to have a baby. Unfortunately for Rosemary she gets raped by the Devil in a “dream” and her world slowly falls apart around her as she brings the baby to term. A frightening descent of a woman paranoid and afraid of the people around her. I’m a big fan of Roman Polanski’s earlier film Repulsion (Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby and a later film called The Tenant form a loose “Apartment Trilogy”), but this film is outstanding. It was the expert pacing that really stood out. It starts off so innocent and sweet and before you realize it the film itself has gotten under your skin.

2) Pet Sematary (1989)

What more do I have to say about this movie other than “Gage”? That kid is too fuckin’ creepy. Everything that comes out of his mouth is horrific and creepy. After the loss of his child, a young doctor learns of an Indian burial ground located behind a pet cemetery labeled as “Pet Sematary” that has the ability to reanimate the dead. He is warned by his hick neighbor, Jud, that it’s not a very good idea. Ghosts, reanimated soulless dead children and devil cats set this up for one of the creepiest movies from the eighties that still holds up now. This is a really great adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name ESPECIALLY compared to the others at the time (Christine, Silver Bullet, Graveyard Shift, etc.). “Sometimes dead is better.” No shit Jud. No shit.

3) Session 9 (2001)

Is there a worse or more horrific place on earth than an abandoned insane asylum? NOPE. Not a goddamn chance. Riddle me this Batman: Why do they even exist? To haunt your dreams, that’s why. They always have all of their fucked up nightmare machines left there like reel to reel tapes of therapy sessions of messed up chicks. That’s the creepiest part of Session 9. Session 9’s plot involves a group of asbestos cleaners who are hired to cleaned up an abandoned nightmare tomb aka the local nut house. They have one week to complete the job. While cleaning it, one of the workers finds a box with 9 recordings of 9 sessions from a former loon that are so horrific they could scar you for life. The head cleaner also starts hearing a voice in his head that sounds like what I imagine the devil to sound like. Madness, murder and mystery ensue. Maybe it’s the setting, maybe it’s the pacing, but this movie oozes creepiness.  

4) The House of the Devil (2009)

I have to start off by saying I love this movie so much. It’s near perfect. Everything about it. The director Ti West somehow PERFECTLY captured the feel of the early eighties and did it with the care and precision that most Hollywood movies would give their left nut to have. This movie is just gorgeous. The plot involves a girl who needs money to rent an apartment because her college roommate blows and is a total slut but unfortunately she’s got less than $100 in her account. She finds an opportunity to make some quick cash in the form of a last minute babysitting gig at a giant house in the middle of nowhere. Her and her friend go to the house and meet the completely mesmerizing Tom Noonan who explains that the job isn’t for babysitting a child but his old mother. I don’t want to give too much away but the creepy factor goes off the scale once the girl is left “alone” in the house. Seriously though, see this movie at all costs. From the expert pacing to the brilliant camera shots to the genuinely great acting this movie is a modern masterpiece.

5) Ju-On: The Grudge (2002)

This movie scared the balls off of me the first time I  watched it. I get pretty freaked out when it comes to ghost stories and this one is great. It sets up the ghosts as somewhat like a virus. Once you encounter either the house or the ghosts OR even just interact with someone who is being haunted by the ghosts you are pretty much fucked. How the story goes is that a Japanese man goes insane and murders his wife, his son and the family cat in their home and then kills himself. The whole family, including the cat, return from the grave to haunt the house and anyone who comes inside - or hell, even looks at it wrong. This and Ringu kicked off the whole pale, Japanese ghost-virus thing that exploded in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. This one is the better of the two - mostly due to the fact that it is super fucking creepy and scares the shit out of me every single time I watch it.

6) Absentia (2011)

If you knew about Absentia before reading this article then I say good on ya! Absentia is a direct to DVD release about a woman whose husband went missing and now she is filing his death in absentia forms so she can move on. In case you don’t know what death in absentia is, it essentially means that someone is declared dead without proof of death, i.e. no remains. Her sister comes to stay with her and help her through this traumatic time when her missing, raggedy, malnourished husband shows up out of nowhere claiming that something took him. There happens to be a tunnel across the street from where they live that people tend to go missing in. Before they can readjust their lives to the husband’s reappearance he is ripped from the home by a shadowy monster and dragged back into the tunnel. The acting is above par for a newer direct to DVD movie and the atmosphere is fantastic. Lots of low lighting done right where it’s not so dark that you can’t tell what going on or where they just put a video filter on it. This also happens to be one of the first movies partially funded through kickstarter which is cool. Most independent horror films get bogged down by over  explanations of the almost always over-complicated plots or they desperately try to make everything seem intelligent and new. This one doesn’t stop to think - it just goes and succeeds. It felt like I was watching a feature length episode of Friday the 13th TV series or Hammer House of Horror.

7) A Horrible Way to Die (2010)

Directed by a new favorite of mine Adam Wingard (You’re Next, V/H/S 1&2), this flick follows Sarah, a girl who is trying to pick up the pieces of her life after she finds out her boyfriend is a serial killer and sends him to jail. She regularly attends AA meetings and starts up a romantic fling with a fellow former alcoholic. Everything seems like it’s getting better for her until her ex breaks out of prison and seems to be on her trail. This film is beautiful and interesting. It asks the question: how do you pick up your life after you find out the love of your life is a brutal murderer? AJ Bowen (from House of the Devil) plays serial killer Garrick Turrell and he just oozes creepiness. He’s disarmingly calm and gentle right up until the moment he strikes and it is very unnerving. The shaky camera work can get to be a tad too much at times and the film has some pacing issues but Bowen’s acting is truly captivating and the plot is very interesting.

8) Pulse (Kairo) (2001)

Pulse is about as bleak as a movie can possibly get. It’s a film that starts off on a small scale but only grows as you watch it and by the end it is massive. It follows several people who begin to find spirits on the internet. These spirits have found a gateway back to the living world through the use of computers and cell phones. They seem to feed off of people’s will to live causing anyone who comes into contact with them to become suicidal. This is a very patient film. The scares build slowly and naturally. There is hardly any musical score to this film which can throw some people off. However, when the score does come in it much more effective and frightening. The ghosts seem to move like they are floating through water which creates an effectively creepy atmosphere. This film is directed by the fantastic Kiyoshi Kurasawa (No relation to that other Kurasawa). He has a talent of letting his films naturally evolve from a small beginning to a much greater end. This is a perfect example of his talents. If you want more of his work look outside Netflix and check out his masterpiece, Cure (Kyua).

9) Deathwatch (2002)

Dark, damp and dirty. This flick is about a squad of British soldier in World War I who lost their way within a thick fog and stumble upon a mostly abandoned German trench. Under command, they secure the trench and try to contact backup. Well, of course, that doesn’t happen and one by one the men are terrorized by an unknown evil force. The trench becomes the enemy with its loads of dead bodies, tons of barbed wire and heaps of mud. The filmmakers did a great job making the movie feel cold, dark and wet. It’s because of this thick atmosphere that you get a good sense of doom. The acting is pretty decent with a lot of recognizable actors thrown in for good measure. All the barbed wire and the nightmarish horror sequences really give this movie the feel of a WWI Hellraiser.

10) The Road (2011)

Winner of pretty much every Filipino movie award out there, this beautiful, spooky movie centers on… you guessed it: A road! Along a semi-hidden road, a couple of young girls mysteriously disappear then, a few years later, a different group of young kids who dared to drive on the road also go missing. A young decorated police officer heads the case but seems to know more than he should. The film is segmented into three different years. The first segment does a really great job of setting up a ghost story. The ghosts were terrifying and the atmosphere was great. It’s a shame it wasn’t like this the whole way through. The second segment is set years earlier involving more of a serial killer aspect but still contains some supernatural elements and the third segment shows the serial killer as a child and shows how he became a ruthless killer. Elegantly shot and full of suspense, the film does well in exuding a creepy vibe however it is plagued by slow moving, drawn out scenes and a twist that is a bit too predictable.

-T. Reinert

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