Horror is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.
How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.
How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.
To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.Show less
When you think of low-budget horror, films like Paranormal Activity and Blair Witch Project probably pop into your mind. While these films certainly were produced on a budget, they managed to make a big splash in theaters.
The following are also low-budget horror flicks, but they might not be ones that you've heard of until now. While they didn't make a huge dent in Hollywood, these films offer more than just your average jump scare.
Don't believe me? Why not put one on when you're home alone at night?
1. Grave Encounters
What starts off as a superb spoof on shows like Ghost Adventures turns terrifying in Grave Encounters. This Canadian found-footage horror film follows the crew of a ghost hunting show whose cast and crew disappeared in 2003. Their footage is found in 2010 and details how their final investigation at Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital led to their disappearances.
The pacing of the movie is steady, building tension as the plot unfolds. There are jump scares, but they aren't obnoxious or unwarranted. And the ending? It will leave you wondering if you should watch Grave Encounters 2. (Hint: Don't. They ruined a good thing with tropes and a sloppy script.)
Here's another found-footage horror film for you to try. Seething is a foray by the Irish film-making group The Mohinders into the found-footage horror sub-genre. In this film, a group of roommates find themselves the subjects of a stalker. One of the guys, Gary, keeps finding little pieces of ripped paper with drawings on them and believes that the man on the balcony he saw is the one stalking them, then throws the paper out the window, creating a lovely cinematic effect.
As the days continue on, it becomes obvious that Gary is the intended target of the stalker. This drives Gary to become seemingly an entirely different person, showing subtle psychological shifts over time.
While this film is definitely low-budget and could have used slightly more creative editing, it focuses on developing its plot and characters in a way that is meant to mentally unsettle the viewer.
3. The Conspiracy
Who doesn't love a good conspiracy? Don't worry, you won't have to break out your tinfoil hat for this one (but you can if it will make you feel safer). The Conspiracy isn't strictly horror, but its premise is pretty horrifying.
Filmmaker friends Aaron and Jim are delving into the dangerous realm of conspiracy theories when one of their interviewees goes missing. Jim becomes engrossed in trying to find him while family-man Aaron takes a more cautious approach. In order to find out the truth, the men have to sneak into the ultra-secretive Tarus Club, an organization for the world's elite that pays homage to the Roman god Mithras (who is similar to Jesus Christ and predates the Bible by about 2,000 years) and participate in a terrifying ritual.
The most unsettling thing about this film is how closely it mimics real conspiracy theories. And, let's face it, some of those "theories" might be more fact than fiction. Sometimes, reality is the scariest thing of all.
4. The Taking of Deborah Logan
PhD candidate Mia (played by Michelle Ang) is filming her doctoral thesis, which centers around the steady cognitive and physiological demise of an older woman named Deborah Logan. Deborah's daughter Sarah serves as her caretaker and participates in the filming.
What makes this movie so brilliantly scary is its ending. It is composed of a startling juxtaposition that leads the audience to believe the contrary of what is being spoken by a journalist reporting on the event involving Deborah.
This movie doesn't rely on jump scares to frighten you. The realistic tone is enough to psychologically rattle you.
5. Session 9
Imagine this: You're part of a hazmat crew working to clean out an abandoned mental institution. You come across a series of old tapes documenting a doctor's interviews with a patient with dissociative identity disorder. As time goes on, the sanity of the entire team seemingly starts to slip. Someone goes AWOL. The job seems fruitless. The stress is on you to be the sole provider for your family, so if you don't complete the job...
That's how Session 9 plays out. The atmosphere is grim and unsteady, the plot slow but threatening as tension mounts. Viewers see cracks in the surface of each character as the movie rolls on. And the ending? It will leave you needing to re-watch the film so you can figure out what the hell just happened and why.
Also, David Caruso treats the audience to the best one-liner ever uttered in film. That alone is reason enough to watch.