8 must-see modern horror movies you've never heard of

Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch star in the super-scary under-the-radar horror movie The Autopsy of Jane Doe. (Photo: IFC Midnight/courtesy Everett Collection)

With Halloween fast approaching, horror fans are obviously in the mood for a few good scares. Yahoo Entertainment provided some inspiration for bloodcurdling binge-viewing with our list of 25 modern horror classics, from 2000’s Final Destination to 2017’s Get Out. If you’ve already worked your way through those movies, we’ve got a bonus list of eight terrifying titles that you may not have heard of. Watch them … if you dare. — Brett Arnold

Pontypool (2008)
It’s easy to see why Bruce McDonald’s film is so divisive: It’s a horror film that’s 90 percent dialogue and 10 percent action. But that doesn’t mean it’s not 100 percent terrifying. In this film, set entirely at a radio station during what may be the end of days, we hear the horrors of the outside world filtering through to the characters stuck inside. It’s an understated, unique take on the zombie-apocalypse genre that will have you debating its merits among your pals once the credits roll. (Available for purchase on iTunes.)

Triangle (2009)
Writer-director Christopher Smith fuses mind-bending sci-fi elements with gruesome horror to create an unforgettable — and shockingly bleak — experience. Jess (Melissa George) goes on a cruise with her friends, but their yacht capsizes in the Bermuda Triangle, and she and her pals wind up taking refuge on a giant ocean liner that appears to be abandoned … except for the person onboard who wants them dead. It also appears the boat is stuck in some sort of time loop, as Jess keeps reliving the same scenarios from the outside looking in. Don’t let that plot wrinkle throw you: Triangle is never confusing, and the ending hits you like a ton of bricks. (Available for rent or purchase on Amazon and iTunes.)

Backcountry (2014)
The less you know about this movie, the better. Seriously. All you need to know is this: A couple (Jeff Roop and Missy Peregrym) go on a camping trip and all hell breaks loose. Their relationship troubles are on full display from the opening scene: She’s a workaholic and he’s a wannabe outdoorsman, who’s so confident in his abilities that he refuses to take a map of the area before they venture deep into the woods. If watching their relationship deteriorate before your eyes isn’t bad enough, the third act takes a drastic turn toward the truly horrific that’ll have you rethinking your next camping trip. (Available on Netflix.)

Honeymoon (2014)
Leigh Janiak’s incredibly unsettling debut is a triumph for many reasons — it’s not only horrifically scary and gory, but also a brilliant examination of everyday human anxieties and relationship troubles. The film follows newlyweds Bea and Paul (Rose Leslie and Harry Treadaway) en route to a remote lake house for their honeymoon. The first night there, Paul finds Bea wandering in the woods, disoriented. She blames it on sleepwalking, but we soon learn that there’s maybe something more sinister going on. A classic two-hander with excellent performances, Honeymoon is creepy without skimping on the gross-out horror. (Available on Netflix.)

Let Us Prey (2014)
It may feature a Game of Thrones star (Liam Cunningham, aka Davos Seaworth), but that didn’t stop Let Us Prey from flying entirely under the radar. Directed by Brian O’Malley, the film plays like a horror-centric update of John Carpenter’s classic 1976 thriller, Assault on Precinct 13, and it’s every bit as awesome as that sounds. When a rookie cop (Pollyanna McIntosh) works her first night shift, she reports for duty in what appears to be a mostly abandoned police station in a Scottish backwater town. Or is it actually purgatory? It’s an incredibly tense watch, beginning as atmospheric and creepy and eventually veering headfirst into total insanity. (Available on YouTube Movies and Shudder.)

Starry Eyes (2014)
Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer’s film is rendered even scarier in the climate of post-Harvey Weinstein Hollywood. Determined to become a movie star, Sarah (Alex Essoe) is willing to do whatever it takes to catch her big break. After several callbacks, she finally lands her dream role, but it’s not long before she is physically and mentally transformed into something horrible. A darkly satiric look at the exploitation of women in Hollywood, Starry Eyes has gross-out body horror, extreme violence, and an impossibly bleak narrative that goes even further than you’d expect. (Available on Netflix.)

The Invitation (2015)
Karyn Kusama’s third feature is the very definition of a slow burn, but it’s also one of the best horror films of the decade, hands down. Taking place over the course of one evening at a dinner party hosted in a lovely Los Angeles home, the film mixes psychological horror with a savage indictment of L.A.’s New Age yuppie culture. It all builds to a killer final shot that’s sure to send a chill up your spine. (Available on Netflix.)

The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
One of last year’s least-seen great movies is this unexpectedly scary and tense psychodrama, anchored by great performances from Emile Hirsch and Brian Cox as father-and-son coroners employed in the same morgue. When an unidentified corpse shows up with no external signs of trauma, they discover that her internal organs tell a different story … one that’s medically impossible. The autopsy itself makes up the majority of the film, and it’s as intense as can be, thanks to André Øvredal’s clever, patient direction. (Available to purchase on Amazon, iTunes, YouTube, and Vudu.)

Check out the podcast The New Flesh to hear these movies, and many more, being discussed in gruesome detail.

Watch: It director explains how he engineered Pennywise for maximum scares:

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