43 Underrated Films from the Darker Side of Cinema You’ve Probably Never Seen — A Gehenna Post Article

Greetings from the Ether,

In today’s age of cinema, where anyone with a camera can make a film, it is easy to overlook and/or under-appreciate certain movies that entirely deserve more credit when considering what they effectively achieve. In this list, you will find 43 films that we felt are lacking in recognition and that deserve more appreciation and acknowledgement. These films are in no particular order. There are a few foreign language films, but we are planning an entirely different list for them (So don’t be disappointed at the lack of representation just yet!), seeing as there are so many great pieces out there from across the world.

Without further ado, let’s begin!

Event Horizon (1997)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: A rescue crew investigates a spaceship that disappeared into a black hole and has now returned . . . with someone or something new on-board.

Not received well upon its initial release, many finding the gore to be over-the-top and the plot to be extremely sacrilegious, Event Horizon has since found a home in the hearts of modern Sci-Fi/Horror fans. It has gone on to inspire a myriad of films and franchises, perhaps most notably, the Dead Space series. The dark, gritty science fiction flick contains interesting concepts, great performances from Sam Neill and Laurence Fishburne, and a few hellish (pun intended) scenes that will ingrain themselves in your memory for ages to come.

Buy Event Horizon.

Altered States (1980)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: A Harvard scientist conducts experiments on himself with a hallucinatory drug and an isolation chamber that may be causing him to regress genetically.

A film that is unique in more ways than one, Altered States was a relative hit upon its release in 1980. Not necessarily toted as a classic in any way, though it likely deserves that type of recognition. The film explores concepts way ahead of its time, possibly considered one of the first metaphysical science fiction movies. The classic theme of science gone wrong is at play here, and with a standout debut performance from William Hurt, there is not much more to ask for. Between blasphemous imagery and baffling transhuman implications, Altered States is sure to be a fun ride for anyone open-minded enough to give it a try.

Buy Altered States.

In the Mouth of Madness (1994)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: An insurance investigator begins discovering that the impact a horror writer’s books have on his fans is more than inspirational.

From the twisted mind that brought us The Thing and Halloween, comes the 1994 sleeper In the Mouth of Madness. If the title doesn’t tell you where this film lies in the horror canon and what its goals are thematically, we encourage you to read more Lovecraft. Buried in references, characters, and themes that are Lovecraftian in nature, the film can be enjoyable simply by the clear derivations of the late horror author. There are several scenes in the movie that are intense, hallucinogenic, and some that are downright terrifying. Overall, this is a film that deserves to be revisited and for more reasons than one.

Buy In the Mouth of Madness.

Frailty (2001)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: A man confesses to an FBI agent his family’s story of how his religious fanatic father’s visions led to a series of murders to destroy supposed “demons.”

Ever see a dark film that hits a chord somewhere emotionally? Enter Frailty. Written by, directed by, and starring the late Bill Paxton, Frailty is a strange, confusing mystery that unravels in ways unsettling and macabre. Beneath the psychologically horrific plot, lies a heartfelt story of resentment and supernatural wonder. Every situation depicted is difficult to watch and heralded by superb performances from all the cast. There is not much to ask for that isn’t already presented to the audience, and the twist at the end is perhaps one of the best since the turn of the millennium.

Buy Frailty.

Jacob’s Ladder (1990)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: 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.

One of the few films on this list that not only deserves more recognition, but also deserves status as a bona fide classic, Jacob’s Ladder is a rare experience that borders themes dreamy, transient, philosophical, horrific, and redemptive. A thrill ride from start to finish, the film never lets up with the torment inflicted upon the protagonist, Jacob Singer, who is played by Tim Robbins. Masterful directing, original special effects techniques that have become staples in horror (the sped up shaking effect was first done in this film), and it is no wonder that this movie has gone on to inspire many films and franchises, like, for example, Silent Hill. Unfortunately, much like Flatliners, another film on this list, a remake has been announced, which leaves us pondering why this would ever be necessary for such a terrific film.

Buy Jacob’s Ladder.

The Devil’s Candy (2015)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: A struggling painter is possessed by satanic forces after he and his young family move into their dream home in rural Texas, in this creepy haunted-house tale.

A film that came out of nowhere this past year, The Devil’s Candy is a visceral, psychological masterpiece. Its ability to capture insanity and obsession ranks it very high among other contemporaries in the genre. Standout performances from the entire cast, a grueling score, intense sequences, and grotesque imagery, all land this film on our list with not a single doubt of its deserving to be so. If you love anything that deals with the devil, Rock & Roll, and horror, we highly recommend this art house film to satiate your hunger as Halloween approaches.

Buy The Devil’s Candy.

The Cell (2000)

IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: 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.

This is a film that is difficult to defend and also hard to criticize. Perhaps one of the most divisive films to come out since the turn of the century, The Cell has a plethora of great qualities and also a myriad of questionable characteristics. One of Vincent D’Onofrio’s greatest performances, as the serial killer whose mind Jennifer Lopez hopes to enter, helms an artistically and visually stunning film that delves into psychological moral implications. Jumping between Inception-esque plot elements and a detective story reminiscent of Se7en, there is much to love here. But most can note that often the film relies on style over substance. Regardless of its flaws, it is worth mentioning on this list and is definitely a film to see if you haven’t done so already.

Buy The Cell.

Identity (2003)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: Stranded at a desolate Nevada motel during a nasty rain-storm, ten strangers become acquainted with each other when they realize that they’re being killed off one by one.

Talk about a sleeper film. Identity is one of the movies that most people would scratch their heads when asked about. Going relatively unseen, the film has since garnered a lot of favorable reviews and mentions amongst moviegoers. The movie has many a psychological twists and some interesting and original ways of executing said twists. A mystery of many facets, Identity will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat until that shocker of an ending.

Buy Identity.

Death Sentence (2007)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: Nick Hume is a mild-mannered executive with a perfect life, until one gruesome night he witnesses something that changes him forever. Transformed by grief, Hume eventually comes to the disturbing conclusion that no length is too great when protecting his family.

Two words. James Wan. This name has become synonymous with horror and darker films, the legendary director bringing us outings such as InsidiousThe Conjuring, and SawDeath Sentence is an early film from the acclaimed horror director that follows themes of tragedy and retribution. Featuring an uncharacteristically dark performance by Kevin Baconthis film is underrated in every way and deserves far more appreciation and recognition than it currently holds.

Buy Death Sentence.

The Machinist (2004)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: An industrial worker who hasn’t slept in a year begins to doubt his own sanity.

Christian Bale lost a whopping 63 lbs for this role and some say it easily could’ve killed him, especially considering that he wanted to break an even 70 lbs. The Machinist is one of those rare experiences that unsettles your stomach and makes you feel like you need to take a bath after viewing. Twists and turns are accompanied by disgusting visuals of the emaciated Bale and his paranoid delusions that threaten to crush his reality. Taking insomnia to an entirely new level, The Machinist guarantees to haunt you with its disturbing ending and the psychological implications the finale holds.

Buy The Machinist.

The Void (2016)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: Shortly after delivering a patient to an understaffed hospital, a police officer experiences strange and violent occurrences seemingly linked to a group of mysterious hooded figures.

What happens when you combine classics like The Thing and Hellraiser? You get The Void. An obvious shout out to old body horror films of the 1980s, this movie was highly anticipated by critics and moviegoers alike. Created from a Kickstarter, the film offers no shortage of scares and practical effects that launch the viewers into nostalgic stupor. The film is clearly on a lower budget than most modern horror films, but the quality that was put into the scares compensates for this. Tie in some Lovecraftian scenes and imagery, and you have yourself a hell of a ride.

Check out our fill review for this film here.

Buy The Void.

Goodnight Mommy (2014)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: Twin boys move to a new home with their mother after she has face changing cosmetic surgery, but under her bandages is someone the children don’t recognize.

This film, and the following film, hold some similarities in the nature of their psychological horror. Goodnight Mommy is an Austrian film that delves into the psychosis of children and the terrible things they are capable of. There is no shortage of disturbing imagery throughout the duration of this movie and it stands tall as a horrific tale of isolation and the lengths of a child’s imagination. Gritty, dark, grisly, and gruesome, Goodnight Mommy will surely keep you up at night.

Buy Goodnight Mommy.

A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: A family is haunted by the tragedies of deaths within the family.

South Korea has consistently produced top-notch films over the past two decades. Most of them dealing with the darker nature of humanity. A Tale of Two Sisters is one of the greatest horror films to come from that region. Diving into the effects of trauma, regret, guilt, and psychosis, this film is unsettling from start to finish and the ending twist is one that will stick with any viewer for years to come.

Buy A Tale of Two Sisters.

Sunshine (2007)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: A team of international astronauts are sent on a dangerous mission to reignite the dying Sun with a nuclear fission bomb in 2057.

Danny Boyle is known for bringing to life films such as Slumdog Millionaire28 Days Later, and The Life of PiSunshine is one of his lesser known films. Despite a confusing tonal shift towards the final third of the film, the movie still holds many visually captivating moments and questions of morality when facing impending doom. For any science fiction/horror fans, Sunshine is worth watching. A great cast and Boyle’s signature direction lend to the feelings of isolation and the seclusive nature of the plot. Hate it or love it, one cannot deny the film holds some beautiful moments, not to mention the iconic score.

Buy Sunshine.

I Saw the Devil (2010)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: A secret agent exacts revenge on a serial killer through a series of captures and releases.

South Korea, how you continue to impress us. A common theme in many recent films from South Korea is that of vengeance. Like Chan-Wook Park’s Vengeance TrilogyI Saw the Devil explores the aspects of the human character that are subject to change under extreme circumstances. What would be worse torture? A terrible death? Or constantly wounding and maiming someone every time they attempted a nefarious act? I Saw the Devil doesn’t stray from being controversial, and it doesn’t stray form showing the true nature of the darker sides of humanity. Couple these elements with an explosive albeit “just deserts” style ending, and you have a thrill ride for the ages.

Buy I Saw the Devil.

Angel Heart (1987)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: Harry Angel is a private investigator. He is hired by a man who calls himself Louis Cyphre to track down a singer called Johnny Favorite. But the investigation takes an unexpected and somber turn.

If you were alive in 1987, chances are, you or someone you know talked about this film. One of the most controversial twists ever put to screen, Angel Heart refuses to bend the knee to societal expectations. A noir tale that explores themes of religion, sex, and the harrowing nature of the unknown, this film is guaranteed to disturb you until the shocking end. Many films have since played with the themes involved in Angel Heart, but it would be foolish to not give credit where it is due.

Buy Angel Heart.

The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: An anthropologist goes to Haiti after hearing rumors about a drug used by black magic practitioners to turn people into zombies.

Rest in peace, Wes Craven. You brought us so many fantastic films over the years. A little while after he birthed A Nightmare on Elm Street and about a decade before he gave us ScreamThe Serpent and the Rainbow likely constitutes as one of Craven’s greatest and most underappreciated films. Delving into topics of voodoo, mysticism, and the undead, the film is a hallucinogenic ride from start to finish and Bill Pullman embraces the role of our protagonist. If you are a fan of Craven’s work, we highly recommend you seeing this gem.

Buy The Serpent and the Rainbow.

Nightbreed (1990)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: A troubled young man is drawn to a mythical place called Midian where a variety of monsters are hiding from humanity.

What happens when you have Clive Barker and David Cronenberg working on a film together? The latter playing a serial killer? You get Nightbreed. A dreamy dark fantasy that exploits practical effects and classic Clive Barker storytelling, this film deserves to be seen. Offering many sequences that feel drug-induced, and others that are morose, there is no shortage of fun throughout Nightbreed. If you are a fan of body horror, practical effects, and Clive Barker’s imagination, we highly recommend this underappreciated gem.

Buy Nightbreed.

Stir of Echoes (1999)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: After being hypnotized by his sister in law, a man begins seeing haunting visions of a girl’s ghost and a mystery begins to unfold around him.

Kevin Bacon returns on this list with Stir of Echoes, a film that went relatively unseen due to its release being around the same time as The Sixth Sense. Despite the overshadowing M. Night Shyamalan’s classic ghost tale, Stir of Echoes deserves to be seen. An unraveling murder mystery at its heart, the film offers many genuine scares and frightful moments. If you enjoy haunting stories that also revolve around a mystery and whodunnit atmosphere, we highly recommend this film.

Buy Stir of Echoes.

The Pact (2012)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: As a woman struggles to come to grips with her past in the wake of her mother’s death and the disappearance of her sister, an unsettling presence emerges in her childhood home.

Despite receiving some terrible reviews from critics, we stand firm in our belief that The Pact is an underrated haunting film with some fantastic scares and an epic twist at the end. Filmed on a micro budget and starring some actors and actresses you may not recognize, The Pact delivers with substance and quality storytelling. Spawning a less-than-favorable sequel, the film has since garnered a cult following amongst moviegoers. We hope that more filmgoers will continue to watch The Pact and appreciate it for its quality and narrative.

Buy The Pact.

Shutter (2004)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: A young photographer and his girlfriend discover mysterious shadows in their photographs after a tragic accident. They soon learn that you can not escape your past.

Ignoring the dreadful American remake of the same name, Shutter exploded onto the scene from out of nowhere back in 2004. At this point in time, quality films were consistently being pumped out of Japan and South Korea, so when this Thai film was released and met with favorable attention, it was a pleasant surprise to say the least. With haunting visuals, terrifying sequences, and truly disturbing plot points that will earn your disgust towards human nature, Shutter is not a film to be taken lightly.

Buy Shutter.

The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: 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.

Speaking of films that came out of nowhere, this entry on our list breathed vitality into the dying found footage genre. In a world diluted with Paranormal Activity films and other campy takes on this subgenre, it was refreshing to see a found footage film that held some genuinely terrifying moments. The infamous snake head scene (as pictured above) is enough to spur nightmares. If you haven’t seen The Taking of Deborah Logan, we highly recommend giving it a shot.

Buy The Taking of Deborah Logan.

Last Shift (2014)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: A rookie cop’s 1st shift in the last night of a closing police station alone turns into a living nightmare.

Another micro budget film that deserves more recognition is Last Shift. Many probably had never heard of this film until it was released on Netlfix. Though the director and cast are relatively unknown, this movie offers some genuine scares and a few innovative scenes that utilize interesting techniques. If you are looking for a fun, brainless horror movie, this is your pit stop.

Buy Last Shift.

The Eyes of My Mother (2016)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: A young, lonely woman is consumed by her deepest and darkest desires after tragedy strikes her quiet country life.

A dark and brutally gripping motion picture, The Eyes of my Mother is the type of film that will haunt your conscience for years to come. Disturbing and saddening, the grim storytelling and the bleak cinematography are enough to make one feel captivated, hypnotized, and often violated by the events onscreen. We rarely get to see the point of view from the serial killer’s perspective. If you’ve ever wondered what that is like, this film will be pleased to show you.

See our full review for this film here.

Buy The Eyes of My Mother.

Flatliners (1990)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: Five medical students experiment on “near death” experiences that involve past tragedies until the dark consequences begin to jeopardize their lives.

Doomed to be remade by Hollywood, Flatliners was a film that was a decent hit when it was released amidst the height of the late-80s/early-90s subcultures. Featuring cast members like Keifer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, and Julia Roberts, there is no shortage of star power in this film. The plot is interesting, and the cinematography is trippy in a way that only this time period could allow. A fun film that is scary while also forcing you to question your views on life and death, Flatliners is a film that nearly anyone can enjoy.

Buy Flatliners.

Pandorum (2009)

Pandorum 5 edit

IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: A pair of crew members aboard a spaceship wake up with no knowledge of their mission or their identities.

Clearly inspired by Event HorizonPandorum knocks the ball out of the park with the science fiction/horror atmosphere. Standout performances and interesting plot devices lend this film’s credibility as a cult classic in the subgenre. Explicit violence and psychological turns on help cement the entertaining qualities of Pandorum, making it a fun ride that fans of sci-fi/horror would be foolish to pass up.

Buy Pandorum.

The Descent (2005)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators.

Perhaps one of the most well-directed and astutely-acted horror films to come out in the past 50 years, The Descent is of a quality superior to almost all of its predecessors and successors. The expert direction from Neill Marshall paints a claustrophobic, gritty, and brutal canvas that is nail-bitingly intense. Add characters that have enough depth to get behind or get against, and you have a culmination of a film that stands head-and-shoulders with some of the greats, and is destined to become a classic in the genre of horror.

Buy The Descent.

Donnie Darko (2001)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after he narrowly escapes a bizarre accident.

Say what you will about Donnie Darko, the film has amassed one of the largest cult followings in the history of film. With Richard Kelly’s director’s cut, a lot of questions and explanations were presented, even if we are still scratching our heads at some of them. The film has a haunting score, the acting is tremendous, and the encounters with Frank are disturbing and surreal. Donnie Darko may confuse you, but we know that it will also intrigue you and affect you in ways you never expected.

Buy Donnie Darko.

Prisoners (2013)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: When Keller Dover’s daughter and her friend go missing, he takes matters into his own hands as the police pursue multiple leads and the pressure mounts.

Talk about a film that affects you. Prisoners was a sleeper hit back in 2013 from now-acclaimed director Denis Villeneuve (the man behind 2015’s Sicario, 2016’s Arrival, 2017’s Blade Runner 2049, and the upcoming Dune remake). An unnerving, atmospheric journey into desperation, vengeance, and the search for the truth, Prisoners is dark dream that will haunt viewers with its melancholy tone and masterful, meticulous direction. Stellar performances from Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal carry the film’s noir-like tone, bringing humanity to the brooding darkness.

Buy Prisoners.

Oldboy (2003)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: After being kidnapped and imprisoned for fifteen years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in five days.

Considered the greatest film to ever come out of South Korean cinema, Oldboy holds the distinction of being one of the grittiest, thought-provoking, and morally subjective films to ever be made. Ignoring the terrible 2013 remake, it would be hard to ignore the reputation this film has garnered. Despite the respect for the film in the cinema community, many still have not seen it. Oldboy will tear your heart into pieces in every way possible while filling you with disgust and morbidity. We highly encourage anyone who hasn’t seen this film to dive into the atmospheric masterpiece that is Chan-Wook Park’s Oldboy.

Buy Oldboy.

Only God Forgives (2013)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: Julian, a drug-smuggler thriving in Bangkok’s criminal underworld, sees his life get even more complicated when his mother compels him to find and kill whoever is responsible for his brother’s recent death.

Here is a film that was booed at its premier. Nicolas Winding-Refn has never strayed from weird topics in his films and especially not from weird imagery. With little to no dialogue throughout its run time, Only God Forgives is one of those films that you either love or hate. Buried beneath symbolism, gratuitous violence, synth 80s-style music, and a lot of stares between characters, the film is definitely not for anyone. If you dig deeper into the symbolism, however, you may find enough to feel that this film deserves to be on this list in the same way we do. Deep down, there are so many metaphorical and interesting concepts in Only God Forgives that it would be difficult to not acknowledge the beauty beneath the fluff.

If you get the chance, check out Chris Stuckmann’s Analyzed Review of this film.

Buy Only God Forgives.

Twelve Monkeys (1995)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: In a future world devastated by disease, a convict is sent back in time to gather information about the man-made virus that wiped out most of the human population on the planet.

A film that was made into a decent/okay television series, Twelve Monkeys was, at the time, a sci-fi hit. Unfortunately, many modern moviegoers have never seen it. Terry Gilliam takes a more serious turn with this film, something he was seen doing in Brazil, some ten years before. Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt helm the cast with unforgettable roles, especially Pitt who was nominated for an Oscar for his stint as the loony Jeffrey Goines. The dystopian atmosphere and plot elements give this film a dark tone, despite the bright colors and direction. We highly recommend this film to anyone who has a taste for time travel and apocalyptic adventure.

Buy Twelve Monkeys.

The Innkeepers (2011)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: During the final days at the Yankee Pedlar Inn, two employees determined to reveal the hotel’s haunted past begin to experience disturbing events as old guests check in for a stay.

A ghost film that went relatively unnoticed, The Innkeepers is a fun mystery with a few well-placed scares. Director Ti West is an up-and-coming filmmaker that many pundits have encouraged horror fans to keep their eyes on. Though minimalist in nature, The Innkeepers is definitely worth seeing. An average plot and script are held up high with the worthy moments of fright and the above-average special effects.

Buy The Inkeepers.

Banshee Chapter (2013)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: Journalist Anne Roland explores the disturbing links behind her friend’s sudden disappearance, an ominous government research chemical, and a disturbing radio broadcast of unknown origin.

If you love the tales of H.P. Lovecraft, then Banshee Chapter is a must-see. Borrowing many plot elements from Lovecraft’s story “From Beyond,” Banshee Chapter stands tall above most other adaptations of the late author’s work. A film with a decent cast, good special effects, and fantastic thematic material, this movie is sure to please anyone with a love for the niche of cosmic horror.

Buy Banshee Chapter.

Primer (2004)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: Four friends/fledgling entrepreneurs, knowing that there’s something bigger and more innovative than the different error-checking devices they’ve built, wrestle over their new invention.

This sci-fi techno-thriller floored audiences when it first premiered, winning many awards in the process. Filmed on a micro budget with no special effects, a low quality camera, and a relatively unknown cast and director, Primer only has its script to succeed. And succeed it does. This film proves that a good script will always outdo a massive budget. With themes of technology gone awry, the negative implications of time travel, and many other concepts that fit frugally into the film, Primer succeeds in ways that most scripts wish they could.

Buy Primer.

Moon (2009)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet’s power problems.

Moon excels when it comes to changing tones in a short period of time. The first part of the film is filled with a good bit of humor and wonder as we are shown the moon station and Sam Rockwell’s character go through his daily routines. Couple that with some strange visions, and an accident that uncovers terrible secrets and you have a film that is as unsettling as it is inspired. Not to mention the director is the son of the late David Bowie.

Buy Moon.

Don’t Breathe (2016)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: Hoping to walk away with a massive fortune, a trio of thieves break into the house of a blind man who isn’t as helpless as he seems.

What happens when you try to steal from an ex-special forces blind man with an evil agenda? Horror, simply put. A tense, nail-biting film that makes your heart pound and the sweat bead from your brown, Don’t Breathe is relentless in its ability to convey terror. Standout performances from Stephen Lang Jane Levy and groundbreaking direction from Evil Dead director Fede Alvarez, Don’t Breathe is sure to remain coveted in the horror genre and will likely one day be considered a classic.

Buy Don’t Breathe.

Green Room (2015)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: A punk rock band is forced to fight for survival after witnessing a murder at a neo-Nazi skinhead bar.

Oh, Anton Yelchin, how we miss you so. One of the last performances of the late actor, Green Room is an adrenaline-pumping thrill ride from start to finish. Not exactly offering the humanity side of Neo-Nazis in the way that American History X did, this film instead shows the brutal and gruesome potential of humans when their own survival is in danger. Great performances all around, gut-wrenching scenes of realistic violence,  and a chilling take for Patrick Stewart, Green Room is a gem not to be missed.

Buy Green Room.

Witch (2015)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: A family in 1630s New England is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic and possession.

One of the most highly-praised horror films of 2016, Witch is still relatively unknown amongst filmgoers. An enchanting period piece with stunning visuals and disturbing sequences directly from your worst nightmares, this film is destined for legendary status. The seat-gripping tension and themes of paranoia are concurrent throughout the short runtime of this film. The cast is inspired, cinematography breathtaking, and the finale is up there with the greats as far as intensity is concerned.

Buy The Witch.

VHS 1&2 (2012,2013)


VHS: When a group of misfits are hired by an unknown third party to burglarize a desolate house and acquire a rare VHS tape, they discover more found footage than they bargained for.
VHS 2: Searching for a missing student, two private investigators break into his house and find collection of VHS tapes. Viewing the horrific contents of each cassette, they realize there may be dark motives behind the student’s disappearance.

Let’s not mention the third act of this series. The first two are the only ones that deserve mentioning. In a world of found footage catastrophes, the VHS series was a breath of fresh air. The first outing in the series was innovative, though not nearly on the same pedestal as the second. Told in an anthology-style format, with different directors at the helm of each short film, VHS offers a one-of-a-kind experience for filmgoers.

Buy VHS and VHS 2.

Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: In 1967 Los Angeles, a widowed mother and her daughters add a new stunt to bolster their seance scam business, inviting an evil presence into their home.

In a strange recent trend, films have been made (AnnabelleOuija) and then prequels to these films have come out (Annabelle: CreationOuija: Origin of Evil) and the prequels have been vastly superior. In the case of Annabelle: Creation, it is a prequel of a prequel that is superior to its sequel. Now that that confusion is over, let’s talk about this film. Director Mike Flanagan, who helmed Oculus and Hush, masterfully directs a retro-feel horror film in Ouija: Origin of Evil. Incredibly intense and using many practical effects that are rarely seen today, the film lends you the atmosphere of a 1970s horror flick while retaining the modern quality. Great outing of horror and definitely a film worth seeing.

Check out our review for Annabelle: Creation.

Buy Ouija: Origin of Evil.

Burnt Offerings (1976)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: A family moves into an old, haunted house that regenerates itself by feeding off of the life forces of its injured occupants.

Before Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and before The Amityville Horror, there was Burnt Offerings. A film that has aged drastically, though still retained some of its more terrifying qualities, Burnt Offerings is an old horror outing that is worth revisiting. There is clear inspiration in The Shining that was taken from this film, and though lost in the plethora of 1970s horror flicks, this film deserves more recognition. Several scenes are quite disturbing, and the scenes with the Grim Reaper gave many children nightmares for years.

Buy Burnt Offerings.

Videodrome (1983)


IMDB PLOT DESCRIPTION: When he acquires a different kind of programming for his station, a sleazy cable-TV programmer begins to see his life and the future of media spin out of control in a terrifying new reality.

David Cronenberg has brought many fantastic films to horror fans, including but not limited to, ScannersThe Fly, and eXistenZ. Cronenberg is the master of body horror, his films famous for their use of practical effects. Videodrome stands tall as one of Cronenberg’s best outings, offering visceral horror, sexual taboos, psychologically confusing themes, and incredibly quotable lines. If you haven’t seen this film but you consider yourself a fan of body horror, we highly recommend you sit down and escape into this strange movie. You will eventually embrace the New Flesh.

Check out our History of Body Horror article.




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9 thoughts on “43 Underrated Films from the Darker Side of Cinema You’ve Probably Never Seen — A Gehenna Post Article

  1. Now worried about watching Ouija, as I wasn’t at all impressed by Oculus…… It’s like the Solaris of horror films, I kept falling asleep every time I tried watching it


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