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If you're planning on a night in—and you have a willing partner to grab hold of during jump scares—you might want to check out some of these underrated independent horror offerings of the past decade. Nothing beats this summer heat like a good case of the shivers, after all.
1. Stake Land
These vampires sure don't sparkle. In a post-apocalyptic world in which most people have mutated into grisly, bestial beings, one orphaned boy must head out on the road trip of a lifetime with a mysterious older stranger who represents his only hope for survival. There's a good mix of brooding, cinematically gorgeous scenery (the outer reflecting the inner desperation the characters attempt to keep in check) and good old-fashioned blood and guts/body horror, so it's sure to satisfy most types of horror fans.
Some people feel this film fits nicely into a specific genre of horror, but I won't give too much away. The harrowing final moments of the film still have nothing on the slow burn leading to it. Our protagonist, who is trying to make her life better professionally and romantically, is stuck in her mother's house and watching her life seep away slowly when a horrible encounter with a mysterious man leads her to develop some... unsettling symptoms. Dwelling on important themes such as consent, gender and sexuality, aimlessness, anger, and depression, this movie is so much more than a scary send-up of the ubiquitous mumblecore film starring millennial ennui.
A short, not-so-sweet gimlet of a thriller. The "haunting" is, as so many horror movies are, psychological—the secrets, guilt, shame, and alienation haunting the characters makes the ghost almost secondary. However, she is damn spooky in her own right. This flick is a guilty little pleasure you can quaff down when there's nothing else on to satisfy a craving for the creeps.
4. We Are Still Here
Reeling from the tragic death of their son, a couple hunkers down for the winter in their New England home. However, the townspeople have a dark secret, and even in the throes of grief, our protagonists can't ignore it. The environments of this movie are stunning; from shots of the tundra-like, isolated expanse of snowy land around their house to the basement that you wouldn't go down in a million years, the setting alone is enough to give you the willies. Bonus points for the scariest scenes ever to take place in broad daylight since Samara Morgan crawled out of a TV that one sunny morning in The Ring.