How often do you watch horror films in which a happy family gets itself into a new home in some isolated corner of the world for the sake of nature and once they have started living in it, weird, unexplainable incidents begin to happen and eventually, turns out it’s a haunted house? How annoying do you find the one person, mostly the father, who refuses to believe in what the rest of the family says? And do you wonder what’s up with the basements or those cupboards, why do spirits stay in those places?
Well, horror films have been a lot of gigantic, lavish but haunted houses. Even though this plotting has made some amazingly successful films, like Conjuring (I can watch that uncountable times), Amityville and The Messengers, new concepts of horror films are equally pleasing. If you’re looking for some good horror films with different concepts, here are five films you can start watching. (You can scroll down, it’s spoiler-free).
Five Haunted Films without a Haunted House
Horror films have a lot to do with the history of the place or the history of the people. Sometimes it is an object, sometimes a game and sometimes it is rituals and practices that make things go wrong. Here are five films you might watch if you are a horror film lover.
Director – Claron Foy
Watch this horror film on – Netflix
Suffering from a rare disease that forces him to wear an astronaut’s suit most of the time, Eli, an eleven-year-old, is allergic to impurities present in the air. His parents take him for his treatment to a place so isolated and strange. Dr Horn, who is going to treat Eli, convinces his parents that she can save his life. Soon after they have settled down, unexplainable incidents bring Eli to suspect the place. As expected, his parents don’t believe him, instead, they believe Dr Horn who says that things would go worse before they get better. What is it that Dr Horn was up to and why are his parents quiet? Turns out, nothing is what it looks like – the mansion, the doctor, the parents and Eli himself.
Eli comes to a point where he doesn’t know whom to trust and he’s in a gigantic house in an estranged location from where escaping is no longer an option. He’s scared of the place where he keeps seeing spirits of children who are trying to take him out of the house, perhaps for good. It takes us to the same old huge mansion in an isolated land but then, with a different idea. Watch it for the mystery, thrills and unpredictable climax. Don’t watch it to believe it.
Director – Paco Plaza
Watch this horror film on – Netflix (translation available)
Along with her two friends Rosa and Diana, Veronica conducts a seance to summon her dead father at the time when the entire school is witnessing the solar eclipse outside. During the session, things go wrong and Veronica loses consciousness, begins whispering something continuously and ends with a loud, devilish scream.
With a single mother busy working in a hotel, Veronica is left alone to look after her younger siblings. After the Ouija board session, Veronica begins to experience things to which she doesn’t know how to respond, like someone preventing her from eating, claw marks appear on her body, and she could hear voices and see a shadow. By the time she finds out the cause of these occurrences and the dark future that awaits her it gets too late. Her friends too have abandoned her after the incident.
Taking you to one of those Ouija board films and yet calling it a bit different from the rest of them is because, first, the film excludes all the dumb activities that the teenagers do after messing up with an Ouija board. Secondly, Veronica is based on true events, with actual proof and testimonials by a policeman. The film focuses on the miserable girl and her attempts to protect her little siblings from the devilish apparition that has entered their peaceful lives.
Director – Jennifer Kent
Watch this horror film on – Amazon Prime
The story begins with Amelia’s nightmare – of a car accident on the way to the hospital during her labour, in which her husband died. Amelia looks worn out, which indeed she is with her son Samuel. Sam has some behavioural disorder, he’s preoccupied with his imaginary monster and invents weapons to fight him. He is clingy, which Amelia hates. He’s also an insomniac.
One night Amelia narrates to him the story of The Babadook, a picture book for children. After that, Sam insists on seeing the Babadook in the house and makes gadgets to fight it. As one would naturally do, Amelia burns down the book. As anticipated, the book returns right at their doorstep. Soon after that, horror incidents begin to occur and it is Amelia’s duty now to protect her son.
The film is special because while it is horror, it is also psychological. The Babadook is metaphorically Amelia’s grief. Hence, the monster doesn’t die or leave them forever. When Amelia learns to manage the Babadook (her grief), she becomes more empathetic towards her son and begins to see a better side of life.
Before I Wake
Director – Mike Flanagan
Watch this horror film on – Amazon Prime
To overcome the grief of their dead son, Jessie and Mark adopt an eight-year-old Cody. Cody is a loving, well-mannered boy, but there’s something strange about him. The boy carries with him a box full of energy drinks and a book about butterflies and doesn’t sleep at night. Gradually, it becomes known to his foster parents that Cody has an amazing power – whatever he dreamt of in his sleep manifested in reality.
Jessie becomes desperate to meet her dead son, Sean, through Cody’s dreams and makes him think of him. But then, the reason why Cody avoids sleeping in the night is not the manifestation of his dreams, which mainly constituted butterflies, but the manifestation of his nightmares which brings to life the Canker man that kills his parents.
The way the story unfolds is quite unpredictable. It doesn’t take us to a happy ending, but a positive one. With a fairy tale feel to it, the story is about how incidents affect children’s minds. Without any jumpscares, the film is going to terrify you, especially if you see the events from an eight-year old’s point of view. Talking about uniqueness, yes it is. If you are looking for a mild scary film with a brilliant storyline Before I Wake should be your next watch.
The Influence (La Influencia)
Director – Denis Rovira
Watch this horror film on – Netflix (Translation available)
Along with her husband Mikel and daughter Nora, Alicia returns to her mother’s home, the place where she had spent her childhood. Alicia’s sister Sara is the only person who stays in the house looking after their dying mother. The family is nearly running empty. Eventually, Alicia finds a nurse’s job in a hospital, Mikel’s work is unloading fish while Nora struggles to adjust to the new environment.
Alicia’s lack of empathy towards her ailing mother testifies that they did have a crooked past. No matter how hard Alicia tries to pretend to have forgotten all of that, it is extremely impossible that she ever would. Through flashbacks, we see the ugly and suffocated past, their horrific childhood when her mother practised witchcraft.
Talking of witchcraft, it has always been creepy and this film is all the more so. The dark corridors and the big halls, the history and the sound of the ventilator that beeps hopelessly will fill you with creepiness. When granny Victoria will meet granddaughter Nora, she will give Nora all her fortunes and something more.
Why do I like to watch horror films?
Looking back to old horror films, as old as the House of The Devil, or say the German Film Nosferatu, the horror genre has been a way of putting across complex ideas in a simplified manner. It is sometimes the monster that horrifies us, sometimes a creature and sometimes it is the humans or the evils breeding within us. I like it for the mystery, thrills, and jump scares.
It is said that the horror genre is made up of real fears, be it fear of zombies, animals, insects, aliens or a psychopath. It can also be a myth that creates fear, a social issue, wars or even a person’s experiences in life. The horror genre is a representation of people’s mind and their fears. The horror genre is also an expansion of creativity and a manifestation of truth through distorted figures.
The good news is you can watch these horror films and many more are available on OTT platforms Netflix and Amazon Prime with subtitles and translations. It has paved the way for anybody, with a subscription, to explore cinema on a world level. What’s more? Those who are quite through with almost all Hollywood and Bollywood horror films get a whole new world for touring.