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The 20 little-known movies you might have missed in 2015

11. Beyond Clueless

The story: Charlie Lyne's deconstruction of the teen movie is told entirely through clips of over 200 coming-of-age outings, from Idle Hands and I Know What You Did Last Summer to She's All That and Clueless.

Why you should watch it: Eschewing the usual talking head format of a documentary, Lyne's essay is a compelling and fascinating analysis of our obsession with the teen movie, the lessons they can provide and where the long-standing conventions of the genre started. And has the added bonus of husky narration from The Craft's Fairuza Balk.

10. The Gift

The story: A chance encounter with an old high school acquaintance (Joel Edgerton) tears apart the life of married couple Robyn (Rebecca Hall) and Simon (Jason Bateman) as she begins to question how well she really knows Simon.

Why you should watch it: Potentially one of the year's most surprising gems was Edgerton's directorial debut, which he also scripted. A smart and unpredictable psychological thriller that constantly doesn't go where you expect it to, it's a gift you'll want to unwrap again and again.

9. The Hallow

The story: Conservationist Adam (Joseph Mawle) moves into the Irish forest with his wife and baby, but soon finds out that they're far from welcome. Ignoring the locals' advice to stay away from the forest, he soon finds himself dealing with folklore creatures.

Why you should watch it: If you've wondered why Corin Hardy was given the job of rebooting The Crow, then The Hallow will show you. Creating one of the year's most memorable creatures (and pleasingly with practical effects), he delivers a suitably creepy backwoods horror that crafts atmosphere rather than relying on cheap jump scares.

8. Dope

The story: Malcolm (Shameik Moore), living in a tough neighbourhood in Los Angeles, soon comes to regret doing a small favour for a local drug dealer which eventually sees him carrying around MDMA in his backpack, and decides the only way forward is to sell it.

Why you should watch it: One of the stand-out hits of this year's Sundance Film Festival, Dope is a fresh, smart and irreverent coming-of-age tale that's propelled by a hugely likeable turn from Moore and strong support from Zo Kravitz, Kiersey Clemons and more.

7. Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

The story: Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney turns his attention to the Church of Scientology, profiling eight former members and exploring the Church's roots and its rise in popularity in Hollywood.

Why you should watch it: Featuring interviews with Crash director Paul Haggis and Sylvia Taylor (who has worked closely with John Travolta), Gibney's documentary is a horribly fascinating and compelling watch that doesn't shy away from the darkness of Scientology. It's so good, the Church tried to block its screenings in the UK.

6. The Falling

The story: A mysterious fainting epidemic breaks out at an all-girls' school, seemingly led by the enigmatic Lydia (Maisie Williams) after her friend Abbie (Florence Pugh) suffers from a similar episode when she discovers she is pregnant.

Why you should watch it: A beguiling and challenging work from exciting film-maker Carol Morley, The Falling offers no easy answers to its central mystery yet remains captivating throughout. Williams is astonishing, cementing her place as one of the UK's brightest acting talents.

5. Spring

The story: Escaping to Italy following the death of his mother, Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) meets the enchanting Louise (Nadia Hilker) and romance blossoms. But Evan soon discovers she's not everything she first appears to be.

Why you should watch it: An affecting romance with genre trappings, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead's second feature is superbly crafted and wholly unique. Come for the sumptuous long tracking shot after Evan discovers Louise's secret, stay for the strong chemistry between Taylor Pucci and Hilker as the potentially ill-fated lovers.

4. Appropriate Behaviour

The story: Shirin's (Desiree Akhavan) perfect Persian family don't know that she's bisexual, and her girlfriend Maxine (Rebecca Henderson) doesn't understand why she won't tell them. After they break up, Shirin tries to work out what went wrong.

Why you should watch it: It's easy to see why Akhavan got cast in HBO's Girls once you watch her acidly funny and sharply observed debut feature, which she also stars in and wrote. Shirin's adventures may be small but they offer up plenty of laughs and heart, including this year's most awkward threesome scene.

3. The Diary of a Teenage Girl

The story: Based on Phoebe Gloeckner's novel, Minnie (Bel Powley) begins a love affair with her mother's boyfriend (Alexander Skarsgrd) as she undergoes a sexual and artistic awakening.

Why you should watch it: A frank and engaging coming-of-age tale, The Diary of a Teenage Girl has been sharply and artfully adapted for the big screen. It boasts a trio of superb performances, none more so than Powley's break-out turn that has already seen her win best actress at this year's Gotham Awards.

2. The Duke of Burgundy

The story: Butterfly researcher Cynthia (Sidse Babett Knudsen) and her lover Evelyn (Chiara D'Anna) repeatedly carry out a sadomasochistic role-playing game, but Cynthia soon becomes uneasy with Evelyn's desire to be the subservient sex slave.

Why you should watch it: The year's other BDSM movie and the superior one at that, Peter Strickland's follow-up to the deranged Berberian Sound Studio is a lush and defiantly unusual study of love and the power shifts that occur within a relationship. Essential viewing.

Entertainment journalist who's an avid FrightFester and genre lover, as well as being a Marvel geek.