This is the fifth part of the series of "The 5 Best Films to Watch" in order to learn your craft. If you haven't done so already, you may want to have a look at the other sections though there is no order in which to watch them. I hope you get a good insight into a few horror films by reading this article.
Here's a tip: in order to get started on your new project, you may want to have a look through articles like this one. You may get some ideas, some theme analysis done or you may just get something that relates to the project you're doing.
Let's move on with the films then:
One of the defining films of the 21st Century, The Ring is quite possibly one of the most famous horror films ever made. In the film, we have various themes of nightmares, metaphors for suicide, ideas about death and we have mass unnatural happenings. In the scene "Samara Comes to You" we see the all-too-famous "climbing out of the TV" moment. It is a classic of the poltergeist world and proves that even though it has been used before, it's not a dead idea. It's a brilliantly filmed scene so make sure you pay attention to it.
Insidious Chapter 2
Insidious Chapter 2 uses a lot of the same techniques as The Conjuring but, has a far more concentrated storyline. If you're looking to investigate storyline and have your project stretched out over a couple of films concentrating on the same set of people - then even though The Conjuring does that as well, I'd still recommend concentrating on Insidious instead. Chapter 2 is probably the best one as it has a lot more to work with. In the others, I found the balance was good, but not as good as Chapter 2. Take a look at the scene with the ghosts in the child's bedroom especially, it's very well-filmed.
Drag Me to Hell
Drag Me to Hell may not be a very effective horror film, but there is a lot to learn from when watching the film. There's a great sense of atmosphere created by the gypsy woman and, the ending really brings a lot of closure to the film whilst still leaving a completely open ending. Designed very well, the film makes for a good watching experience if you're looking to study how a horror film closes without closing; so make sure you pay attention to that final scene.
As Above, So Below
As Above, So Below is an overlooked horror film of the 21st Century but it creates brilliant atmosphere and has some very effective scenes. Pay attention to the scene entitled "We Have to Keep Going" - the car is one fire and everyone is underground. Not only is this a massive danger but we also have a very out-of-place scene which means we anticipate what comes next. Make sure you watch all the way to the end or else the scenes will just confuse you. The ending is priceless.
The Amityville Horror
"The Bleeding House" scene is one of the most famous scenes in all of horror history and there's a reason for that - because it's so well-made. The Amityville Horror was released in 1979 and scared the living daylights out of everyone. Just look at the way the thunder creates that terrifying atmosphere and that fast-paced nature required to be able to feel the violence in the film. It was a film far ahead of its time and requires a lot more appreciation.
I hope you've enjoyed this post on the best horror films to watch to learn your craft and I'll be back with another shortly. Hopefully, you're now watching a range of horror films and learning what the trends are and how to make the different sub-genres of horror. Remember to also focus on the writing - good writing and good themes/atmosphere/symbolism creates good characters and a good film.
Good luck with you next project!