The Best Indie Horror on Netflix Watch Instantly

The Best Indie Horror on Netflix Watch Instantly

Oct 17, 2012

It's not smart for a film lover to draw too big of a distinction between "studio" and "independent" movies because, at the end of the day, there are geniuses and there are jerks in both arenas, and the source of a film's production money should really have no bearing on how one approaches a specific film.

But you know what? The Exorcist gets enough love, dammit. Let's shine the spotlight on 15 semi-recent indie horror films that are definitely worthy of your attention this October. Or even next month. Anytime between today and when Netflix takes them offline, really, because after that you'll have to spend actual money, and nobody wants that.

 

Absentia (2011) -- With several strong performances from relative newcomers, a small but enjoyable appearance from the great Doug Jones, and a screenplay that actually seems to care about the odd miseries of its central characters, Absentia certainly won't blow your speakers (or your mind), but it's still a very strong piece of independent genre filmmaking: a melancholy tale of loss that's only peripherally a horror flick, but a good one all the same.

Netflix Page | Full FEARnet review

 

Black Death (2011) -- Nicely shot, edited remarkably well, and boasting a period-piece production value that's really quite impressive, Black Death is a smart, scary occult thriller that takes firm aim on various aspects of Christianity (and religion in general) but never at the expense of telling a dark little story.

Netflix page | Full FEARnet review

 

Grave Encounters (2011) -- If you'd like to see what sort of footage would show up if those cable-friendly "ghost hunters" actually ran smack-dab into precisely the sort of horrors they were tracking, Grave Encounters will suit a nice, dark weekend screening very well.

Netflix page | Full FEARnet review

 

Wake Wood (2011) -- Sort of a combination of the Irish campfire tales found in Outcast and the "crazy kid" material found in Pet Sematary, Wake Wood is, for the most part, a restrained and refined little horror tale, albeit one that's not afraid of doling out some shocks and gruesomeness from time to time.

Netflix page | Full FEARnet review

 

The Ward (2011) -- Thematically and structurally, John Carpenter's The Ward is perhaps best described as a "throwback" horror flick in that much of it feels like a thriller from 1978, but of course there's no generation gap on good scares, and this movie has a big juicy handful to toss at you.

Netflix page | Full FEARnet review

 

The Woman (2011) -- Had this wild woman descended upon an innocent family, we'd probably have a very basic but enjoyable horror tale, but McKee and Ketchum are, to their credit, interested in much more than just offering a potentially horrific villain who'll destroy a bunch of screaming innocents.

Netflix page | Full FEARnet review

 

Cold Sweat (2010) -- Frequently loose with logic but admirably fast-paced throughout, Cold Sweat acquits itself quite well in the realm of fast-paced survival horror that breezes over its silliness through sheer force of suspense, gore and a consistently slick visual presentation.

Netflix page | Full FEARnet review

 

The Corridor (2010) -- What could have easily turned out like an overlong and overwrought, if rather gruesome, episode of The X-Files is instead a stark and sobering rumination on the fragility of sanity, the dangers of conformity, and the horrific side of man's egocentric nature. But that makes The Corridor sound a bit like a stodgy Psych 101 lecture; it's not.

Netflix page | Full FEARnet review

 

A Horrible Way to Die (2010) -- Generally sedate and low-key, but peppered with frequent moments of gallows humor, shocking horror, and unexpectedly sincere “character moments,” A Horrible Way to Die is a crafty and calmly mysterious little road thriller.

Netflix page | Full FEARnet review

 

 

Dream Home (2010) -- The sort of import that the genre fans should try to champion. Not because it's almost mercilessly gory, but because it packages some really interesting ideas (and some truly impressive filmmaking prowess; it's shot like a dream, for example) into a full-bore horror film that works just as well on the surface as beneath.

Netflix page | Full FEARnet review

 

Outcast (2010) -- Even when the flick is at its least accessible and slightly confusing, it moves forward at a very brisk clip while delivering an Irish-Scottish-Celtic-inspired horror mash-up that's equal parts intelligent, engaging and unexpectedly creepy.

Netflix page | Full FEARnet review

 

Primal (2010) -- The difference between “homage” and “rip-off” lies in both a film’s tone and its presentation, and while Primal is certainly beholden to several other horror films, it feels more like a “greatest hits” remix from a bunch of Australian horror fans/filmmakers than it does a blatant knockoff, retread or copycat.

Netflix page | Full FEARnet review

 

Rammbock: Berlin Undead (2010) -- This might be a short feature film, but it does offer some fascinating subtext to munch upon; without spoiling anything, Rammbock takes the zombie apocalypse and uses it as a backdrop for a story about love, loss, loyalty and betrayal.

Netflix page | Full FEARnet review

 

The House of the Devil (2009) -- Once the scary bits start flowing in full, one is unconsciously grateful for all that mood-setting foreplay. It's a risky approach (especially when dealing with the slam-bang-gore-happy horror fans of the world), but it works alarmingly well in The House of the Devil.

Netflix page | Full FEARnet review

 

The Burrowers (2008) -- Deals with issues of honor, loyalty and bravery -- but it does so in a quick and efficient style that makes the "talky" bits work and the spooky sections shine. Petty is more than content to dole out his monster moments at well-spaced and appropriate sections, but when the beasties DO show up, well, they almost steal the whole damn show.

Netflix page | Full FEARnet review

Categories: Features, Horror, Indie
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