This post is a work in progress, as I’ll keep watching new horror films for as long as I live, most likely.
The order of the titles is, as yet, based on somewhat unpredictable chains of association (conjured by the power of my mind!). The summaries are currently all quotes from IMDB, but as I work my way through the list, I’ll replace them with links to my own reviews (also on this site), summaries included.
A short note on the character of this list. Psychological horror is my favourite genre, preferably with a strong dose of something supernatural thrown in the mix. I don’t want to waste my time watching ungraceful and lazy attempts at the process of building, maintaining and releasing suspense. I want impressive scenography and keenly planned cinematography, and characters, the directors and writers have invested serious amounts of creative energy in.
If you are wondering why torture porn is not on my list (with the sole exception of The Hills Have Eyes), then here are the reasons: I feel bad when I watch it, mentally as well as physically. SAW, Hostel, Texas Chainsaw Massacre – I’ve watched them, but I wish I hadn’t. Some of the imagery is stuck in my mind, and I could honestly do without. Secondly, the plot tends to get too fixated on the process of escalating the violence. And to me, it feels like the directors are more obsessed with the lengths, they can push their audience to, than crafting a compelling plot.
I’d rather hear of pain and suffering through the voice of the narrator or the dialogue than watching it on-screen. Although hearing about horrifying stuff tends to engage my imagination much more vividly, as compared to purely visual input.
Then there are movies like The Conjuring (1+2), Annabelle and Lights Out. Sinister would be on this list, had it not been for the soundtrack (composed by Christopher Young). Sinister 2, however, is. So is Insidious 3, The Witch, and Blair Witch (not to be confused with The Blair Witch Project). They are not on my list either. Why?
All of these flicks score a decent amount of votes on e.g. IMDB, but in my point of view, they s.u.c.k because they had so much potential, but then they went and wasted it. So sad.
Done with the talking. Let’s move on to the list:
Triangle “The story revolves around the passengers of a yachting trip in the Atlantic Ocean who, when struck by mysterious weather conditions, jump to another ship only to experience greater havoc on the open seas.” (Text: http://www.imdb.com)
The Dark “In mourning over the tragic drowning of their daughter Sarah, James and Adèle are visited by Ebrill, a young girl who claims she died 60 years ago – and bears a startling resemblance to Sarah.” (Text: http://www.imdb.com)
Darkness – “A teenage girl moves into a remote countryside house with her family, only to discover that their gloomy new home has a horrifying past that threatens to destroy the family.” (text: http://www.imdb.com)
The Taking of Deborah Logan “An elderly woman battling Alzheimer’s disease agrees to let a film crew document her condition, but what they discover is something far more sinister going on.” (Text: http://www.imdb.com)
The Blair Witch Project “Three film students vanish after traveling into a Maryland forest to film a documentary on the local Blair Witch legend, leaving only their footage behind.” (Text: http://www.imdb.com)
The Babadook “A single mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son’s fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her.” (Text: http://www.imdb.com)
Alien “After a space merchant vessel perceives an unknown transmission as a distress call, its landing on the source moon finds one of the crew attacked by a mysterious life-form, and they soon realize that its life cycle has merely begun.” (Text: http://www.imdb.com)
Jacob’s Ladder “Mourning his dead child, a haunted Vietnam War veteran attempts to discover his past while suffering from a severe case of dissociation. To do so, he must decipher reality and life from his own dreams, delusion, and perception of death.” (Text: http://www.imdb.com)
The Devil’s Backbone “After Carlos – a 12-year-old whose father has died in the Spanish Civil War – arrives at an ominous boys’ orphanage, he discovers the school is haunted and has many dark secrets that he must uncover. ” (Text: http://www.imdb.com)
The Orphanage “A woman brings her family back to her childhood home, which used to be an orphanage for handicapped children. Before long, her son starts to communicate with an invisible new friend.” (Text: http://www.imdb.com)
A Nightmare on Elm Street “Several people are hunted by a cruel serial killer who kills his victims in their dreams. While the survivors are trying to find the reason for being chosen, the murderer won’t lose any chance to kill them as soon as they fall asleep.” (Text: http://www.imdb.com)
The Shining “A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.” (Text: http://www.imdb.com)
Sinister “Washed-up true-crime writer Ellison Oswalt finds a box of super 8 home movies that suggest the murder he is currently researching is the work of a serial killer whose work dates back to the 1960s.” (Text: http://www.imdb.com)
(This movie is on my list, not for the plot, which is somewhat silly, but for the soundtrack)
As Above, So Below “When a team of explorers ventures into the catacombs that lie beneath the streets of Paris, they uncover the dark secret that lies within this city of the dead.” (Text: http://www.imdb.com)
A Cure for Wellness “An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps, but soon suspects that the spa’s treatments are not what they seem.” (Text: http://www.imdb.com)
The Butterfly Effect “Evan Treborn suffers blackouts during significant events of his life. As he grows up, he finds a way to remember these lost memories and a supernatural way to alter his life by reading his journal.” (Text: http://www.imdb.com)
The Cell “An FBI agent persuades a social worker, who is adept with a new experimental technology, to enter the mind of a comatose serial killer in order to learn where he has hidden his latest kidnap victim.” (Text: http://www.imdb.com)