We’ve been inundated by a number of compelling genre films this year. We’ve seen a few kick ass anthologies, a few highly successful blockbusters and some indie productions that aren’t likely to be forgotten anytime soon. But there are also a few treasures that have yet to be completely unearthed.
Blow you’ll find a list of five new films that are either fresh VOD/disc arrivals, or standing just on the brink of official arrival. Whether available today, or next month, you’ve got to keep your eyes open to these films. They may not look like much with a single glance, but they’re all far above subpar efforts. These are horror films that belong in your personal collections.
Nocturne is an indie film with an unknown cast, very few filming locations and a budget as slim as a piece of floss. That sounds pretty dreadful, no? In truth, it’s not dreadful in the least. It’s a limited production, no doubt, but it does some things that a lot of genre fans are going to appreciate.
The first act of the film is going to leave you certain that you’re about to fall into the pit that houses low-budget, low-thrill slasher fare, but this is no slasher. Nocturne takes a wild supernatural turn, and by the midway point of the production it begins to set in that director Stephen Shimek is on a mission to deliver the unexpected.
Nocturne quickly develops into a morbid and unpredictable paranormal film that works damn hard to generate fresh scares. You’ll spot a few safe tactics being employed, but you’ll also be rather surprised by the 180 the film takes. Not only does that change in direction shock the viewer, it also helps to ensure that Nocturne is far more memorable than the standard slasher or supernatural movie.
The Mind’s Eye:
Joe Begos’ career is beginning to take off. But, given the fact that he’s still shooting low budget features, a lot of elitist fans are opting to steer clear of Begos’ work. That’s a grave mistake, as Joe is giving fans the kind of films we’ve been calling for, for years now. Likeable characters, crisp cinematography and loads of practical effects work. In theory, it’s a genre fans dream. In reality, today’s group of genre followers have become accustomed to super high speed pictures cluttered with computer generated imagery, which may leave them skirting a picture like this, even if it is receiving some solid promotion.
I’ve got to implore those who pass on smaller budget works to slow down and look into pictures like The Mind’s Eye. It’s a well-told tale that involves psychokinetic insanity, and once it gets to rolling, it won’t let go of your attention. There are some absolutely brilliant special effects and makeup work featured in the film, and it showcases enormous growth from Begos. If you thought Almost Human was awesome, you’re going to fall in love with The Mind’s Eye.
Edge of Winter:
Rob Connolly’s Edge of Winter is far more thriller than horror, but as the picture progresses, it takes an extremely dark turn that, in my humble opinion, certainly feels more like horror than thriller. Regardless of how you’d choose to categorize the flick, it’s a piece that genre fans are most certainly going to adore.
Without giving too much away I’ll say this: the story focuses on Elliot Baker, a father who begins a steady spiral into insanity when he learns that his estranged wife plans on moving his children across the map to England. The very idea of losing tangible contact with his kids drives him insane, and the intensity of that becomes profoundly amplified when he and his two boys find themselves stranded in treacherous territory, snow and ice surrounding them, no food and rickety shelter their only means of survival.
Joel Kinnaman tackles the lead role and he’s both heartbreaking and terrifying, in equal measure. If Kinnaman has failed to impress you in other films, prepare to wipe the judgmental slate clean, he’s going to completely blow your mind (this is an award worthy performance, no doubt two ways about it) in this harrowing piece of genius yet terribly melancholy film.
Thus far Flytrap has failed to catch on with a good number of critics. That however, won’t likely last too long, especially as the film rolls out in a respectable release. This is another picture that I can only damage by delivering spoilers, but what I can tell you is that it’s a character driven production with a handful of eye-popping surprises in wait.
It’s low budget, and like Nocturne you probably won’t spot many familiar faces, but you will be sucked into a nightmarish reality (okay, the “Gilligan’s Island” angle of the story is mighty entertaining and elicits more than a single chuckle) that one poor bastard with a broken down car experiences.
Flytrap is, believe it or not, a fairly original picture. We do see a few impressive visuals as the story barrels along, but the true magic here actually rests in eerie subtlety and territory that we don’t see explored on a frequent basis. I’d recommend steering clear of detailed synopses and head into the film blind. You’re going to be a bit more surprised as well as impressed by Stephen David Brooks’ twisted picture that’s loaded with spirit and inspirational performances.
The Ones Below:
We’ve seen next to no acknowledgment or praise for this super creepy flick, and that just blows my mind. One look at the cast (which includes David Morrissey and Clémence Poésy, to name just a few) and you’d expect fans to be clamoring for a chance to check the movie out, but such is not the case.
A lot of genre fans are missing a stellar movie. This is about as close to a 2016 rendition of the great Pacific Heights as it gets, and much like Pacific Heights, it boasts some horrifying scenes. Scenes guaranteed to resonate with the parents of the world. But there’s more than just baby issues here, as relationships become strained and fear permeates a couple that, by all accounts, are completely innocent.
The Pacific Heights comparison should be enough to give you a rough idea of what to expect from the film, but it would be criminal to not place a little extra emphasis on David Morrissey’s performance. If you thought Morrissey was a menacing figure in “The Walking Dead” you’re about to have your mind blown, as he’s twice as intimidating in this slow burn shocker than he ever was during his stretch in “The Walking Dead.”
Just watch this movie, and prepare for the 90-minute wave of goosebumps that’re going to sprout out across your flesh.