While horror fans pause for breath between the release of Rings and Annabelle 2, it’s heartening to realize that there are still movies being made that aren’t intended for an audience of rhesus monkeys. You won’t see these films in multiplexes but they’re worth seeking out because they show Hollywood how it’s done.
It used to be that true innovation in the genre came not from studio blockbusters but from cheap, independently made pictures that were free to push the envelope. Night Of The Living Dead, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Halloween were all made for peanuts and helped bring horror into the modern era, but anyone looking for their modern equivalent needs to go overseas.
The horror movies pouring out of Japan, South Korea, Spain and France make Hollywood look like Hammer Films in the early 1970s, content to crank out sequel after sequel with only a few minor concessions to the changing times. If that sounds unfair, bear in mind that 2017 still has Insidious 4, Saw 8 and Jeepers Creepers 3 in store.
Instead of flocking to multiplexes for more of the same, you’re far better off scouring Netflix for each of the following.
10. Scherzo Diabolico
Going nowhere at work and ignored at home, a bored accountant devises what he thinks is a foolproof plan: he’ll kidnap his boss’ daughter and when the stress causes his boss to quit, the top job will be his for taking. Simple.
Nothing goes according to plan in this Mexican thriller, and anyone expecting a standard issue kidnap drama with cops, wiretaps and a scene where a ransom is delivered will be surprised by what must be the oddest (and nastiest) movie of its type since Fargo. Revealing any more will spoil your enjoyment because this is a movie that’s best viewed without the usual spoilers, but know this: however you’re expecting things to turn out, you’re wrong.
Part Coen brothers, part Takashi Miike, Scherzo Diabolico (Italian for diabolical practical joke) is the perfect movie for viewers tired of slick, conventional Hollywood product. It won’t change your life, but at a slender 91 minutes it’s time well spent.