5 More Great Underrated Horror Movies

PoppaScotch

So since the first installment of 5 Underrated Horror Movies was such a success, I've decided to go ahead and conjure up a second version.  ( You can read the first one here, 5 Underrated Horror Movies ) The following films, I feel for one reason or another, don't get the credit that they deserve.  They sit on the bottom shelves at the DVD store or in the discount DVD bin waiting to be rented or viewed with no one casting a second glance at them.  Maybe they aren't on the top tier of horror film classics, but at the same time they are entertaining and worth watching. They are constantly being left out of academic film criticism or untouched by popular horror films lists all over the internet and now, finally they are getting their due.  So enjoy 5 MORE Underrated Horror Movies.

Final Destination 2 (Dir: David R Ellis – 2003) Synopsis:  19 year old Kimberly Corman (A.J. Cook) has a premonition of a horrible Highway Pile up she would be involved in.  Why she summarily freaks out and her and her friends cheat death, death comes back to take them out one by one.

  • Popular First Impression: "The first one was only OK"
  • Why it's Underrated:  Final destination 2 pretty much immediately got pushed to the side as a horror sequel that no one really cared for.  Final Destination was good and original, but how could the second film compare?  Surprisingly the sequel was actually better than the first in terms or gore and the creative ways that people can perish.  Match that with a story that is very well aware that it is in "B" territory and a lot of graphic violence and you have a movie that may not be the best horror film ever, but it still doesn't deserve to be dismissed.
  • If for nothing else:  Great gore.  If you like gore, I guarantee you won't be bored.

Below (Dir: David Twohy – 2002) Synopsis:  In World War II, a submarine comes across a few survivors of a downed British ship.  Soon after, strange occurrences start to happen on board the U.S.S. Tiger Shark.

  • Popular First Impression: "Never heard of it.  Are you talking about U571?"
  • Why it's Underrated: Because apparently only one good submarine movie is allowed to come out every ten years and in 2000 U571 was released.  Below took a little bit of the same story as in a group of people on a submarine and made it into a terrifying adventure exploring the haunting past of the ship and a delightful commentary on the mistakes of our past.  Mix that in with some lessons about taking responsibilities for your actions and you have a lot more going on under the surface than originally though.  Plus the movie was written by Darren Aronofsky who directed Requiem for a Dream, Pi, and coming soon – The Wrestler.
  • If for nothing else:  There are a lot of great character actors here.  IMDB Zach Galifianakis, Jason Flemyng, and Holt McCallany and you will see for yourself.

The Frighteners (Dir: Peter Jackson – 1996) Synopsis: After a terrible car wreck that took the life of his wife, Frank Bannister (Michael J. Fox) can now see spirits walking the earth.  He uses them to run a scam business until a dark being starts taking the lives of everyone around him.

  • Popular First Impression:  "This isn't the Lord of The Rings.  You're talking about Dead Alive right?"
  • Why it's Underrated:  I don't think that the film is really underrated, it's just that no one knows about it or they just don't remember it.  The fans of this film are passionate about it, but that is also where in lies the problem.  This isn't exactly the type of movie that the Lord of the Rings crowd would like at all.  Take it into account that Jackson's earlier efforts (Dead Alive, Bad Taste) were much more campy and fun, and then the Frighteners gets lost in the fold.  It's a shame because it's a great movie and one of the last performances that Michael J Fox was the leading man.  And lest we not forget the FBI occult specialist played by Jeffrey Combs.  That guy is worth a re-rental right there.
  • If for nothing else:  R. Lee Ermey's cameo. 

Race with the Devil (Dir: Jack Starrett – 1975) Synopsis: Two couples go on a RV trip into the woods to temporarily escape their high octane motocross lifestyle.  When they accidentally see a satanic cult performing a ritual sacrifice, they suddenly become the hunted.

  • Popular First Impression: "What?  This is old and I haven't heard of it so it's probably bad."
  • Why it's Underrated:  For a lot of reasons that the Frighteners is underrated, mainly, no one knows about this gem.  It's especially sad because this one is really a treat.  Peter Fonda plays the main character and he and his buddy Warren Oates take out crazy satanic followers in one of the earliest non noir everyone-is-in-on-it movies.  It has some great car chases and stunt work which often gets overshadowed by the mainstream action films of the time.  Everyone back in 1975 dismissed it as drive-in garbage, and it never really recovered.
  • If for nothing else:  There are some really great car chases and man to man battles on moving vehicles.  If you are into car chases, pick this up immediately.

Fallen (Dir:  Gregory Hoblit – 1998) Synopsis: Homicide Detective John Hobbes (Denzel Washington) witnesses the death of a serial killer named Edgar Reese.  After Reese's execution, Hobbes starts to see more killings, done in Edgar Reese's style.

  • Popular First Impression: "Denzel? As a cop?  Sounds new and interesting!"
  • Why it's Underrated:  Denzel Washington would go on to play a cop or other authoritative figure in almost every single movie that he has been in since 1996.  This one, since it didn't have the marketing campaign of Crimson Tide (95), Training Day (01), or Man on Fire (04) it got lost in Denzel's imdb page.  But this is really a great movie where as the devil's spirit can pass from one person to anther through just a touch.  The scene where a busy New York City street's residents keep bumping into each other, passing the devil around in mid sentence still kind of freaks me out.  Also the only DVD versions released were either the 1999 cardboard case version of a mash up of 7 dollar three pack Denzel movies doesn't help at all either.
  • If for nothing else: John Goodman is in it and he is King Ralph.  He doesn't pop up in too many movies so it's good to see him anywhere.

So what do you think?  Is this list better than the first one?  Did I forget any of your favorites?  Should I not quit my day job?  Let me hear about it in the comments!

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