15. The Den (2013)
The words "found footage" tend to generate snarks and sneers nowadays. A style that's been fully exhausted throughout its post-Blair Witch resurgence, is there really anything new left in this grainy, shaky sub-genre?
The Den answers that with a resounding yes. While its use of "screen-capped footage" may elicit eye rolls, there's a clever playfulness to the way this story is told that pumps fresh blood into the format. A young woman receives a grant to study the behavior of users on a site called The Den, an online video-chat service that matches up strangers for the purpose of idle chatter. When she witnesses what she believes to be a murder, the perpetrator targets her and begins to take control of her computer. Eerie and scary-as-hell, if you thought Unfriended was spooky, give this a try.
14. Train to Busan
Zombie films reached saturation point in the last ten years, yet if this South Korean horror is anything to go by, there's many miles left for those shambling, flesh-hungry corpses. Well, except the undead figures in Train to Busan move at a fair clip. Imagine Snowpiercer crossed with 28 Days Later and you're somewhere close to what's on offer, as a bunch of strangers unite to fend off a gaggle of zombies invading their train.
As is often the case with confined spaces and the imminent threat of death, the group soon begins to turn on each other, as the stakes are raised and more people succumb to the zombies. Oodles of great set pieces and the fast-pace of the story will have you gripped from start to finish.
13. Beyond the Gates (2016)
Beyond the Gates is a terrific '80s throwback for fans of the video store era. It's got a synth-heavy soundtrack and a feel of straight-to-video B-flick silliness, along with interestingly, a bit of an adventurous edge.
Shortly after their father's strange disappearance, two brothers discover an interactive VHS board game in the inventory of the family's video store. When they realise it was the last thing their dad watched, they load the cassette into the VCR and quickly find out that this is no normal game, oh no. It's a portal to another dimension. Paying homage to cheeseballs horrors of yesterday, it might not be a genre-changer but it's a lot of fun.
12. The Invitation (2015)
Region: UK, US
Everybody loves an awkward dinner party, don't they? For poor Will (Logan Marshall-Green, not Tom Hardy) that evening begins on a sour note and proceeds to get worse. Will, his new girlfriend and a group of old pals spend the night at his former abode with his ex-wife, her new partner (Game of Thrones' Michiel Huisman) and side order of WTF? This dinner party movie edges into weirdness early on, and continues to make you feel like something fucked up is happening... you're just not entirely sure what.
From Jennifer's Body director Karyn Kusama, The Invitation is unlike any other horror of recent years. It's a slow-burning, beautifully-shot affair and one I strongly recommend going into knowing very little.
11. The Wailing (2016)
Region: UK, US
On the surface The Wailing might look like any old Asian horror: something spooky's going on and there's a kid with long hair, a blank stare and evil intentions behind it all. Luckily this South Korean slow-burner steps into new territory.
The story revolves around a cop investigating a string of unexplained murders in a small town. He soon discovers the killings are linked with the arrival of a mysterious stranger, and that it all may have something to do with a bizarre illness. When his own daughter falls ill, the officer decides to call in a Shaman. Currently rocking a 99% Fresh rating over at Rotten Tomatoes, The Wailing proves there's still plenty of ways the horror genre can surprise you...
10. 30 Days of Night (2007)
The basic premise of 30 Days of Night is a corker: a small town in Alaska experiences a month with no sunlight and it also happens to be overrun by vampires. Unfortunate for the residents of Barrow, fantastic for us.
This cruel-yet-killer idea is based on Steve Niles' graphic novel, and stars Josh Hartnett and Melissa George as an estranged couple who head up the town’s law enforcement. Things get bad when Danny Huston's head bloodsucker turns up with his loyal herd. Chock full of gore and jump scares that aren't of the "there's a cat!" variety, 30 Days takes the tired vampire genre and gives it a major infusion of fresh blood.
9. Trollhunter (2011)
Filmed in the same style as Blair Witch - but with less shaky, snotty camerawork - Trollhunter is made up of found footage from a crew of student filmmakers in Norway. The trio's initial plan to capture film of supposed bear poacher Hans swiftly takes a turn for the mythic, when they stalk him for an interview and discover that bears are the least of their worries. Deep in the wilds of the north those legendary Scandinavian creatures, rumored to turn to stone when sunlight hits them, do in fact exist.
The question of whether they should continue to follow Hans is irrelevant once they spot one of the towering behemoths for themselves. It's that first sighting - for them and us - which separates the movie from being 'just another Blair Witch knockoff.' You actually get to lay eyes on the dreaded things.
8. You're Next (2013)
Just when you thought the home invasion horror had taken its last breath, along comes Adam Wingard's scary-as-hell slasher. Things go very wrong for the Davison family reunion, when it turns into a bloodbath after a gang of masked assailants start taking people out. Their calling card is leaving the words "you're next" in blood beside each warm corpse.
Part of a new-wave of horror with roots fixed in the mumblecore crowd this isn't your typical scarefest. Yes, it's violent and scary, but it's also very, very funny. Keep your eyes on Sharni Vinson, who kicks butt from start to finish.
7. Gerald's Game (2017)
Region: UK, US
Stephen King's hot streak brings with it an adaptation many said was unfilmable. This recent stab proves those naysayers wrong. This is perhaps the most loyal King adaptation, bringing a tome shuddering to life that consists mostly of a woman chained to a bed, alone, in the middle of nowhere. The woman is Jesse, whose husband, Gerald, drives her to a peaceful retreat for a weekend of nookie and $200 steak. His ticker gives up and she's left handcuffed to the bedposts with a strange dog for company... oh, and a creeping demon that lurks in the shadows when night falls.
Carla Gugino's stunning performance piles on the layers of horror from throughout Jesse's past, until the sting in the tail you won't see coming.
6. Hellraiser (1987)
Clive Barker chose to write and direct the feature based on his novella The Hellbound Heart, after the poor treatment of his earlier work Rawhead Rex by another filmmaker. While there's a case that authors should remain distanced from their adaptations, some can craft solid recreations of their source material - and Barker's an example of how that can be achieved.
The result is Hellraiser. With a modest budget the movie explores a realm where pleasure and pain are indistinguishable. Well, by a group of ghastly beings known as Cenobites, who reside within a puzzle box waiting for someone to solve it and release them. Frank Cotton does, and is torn to pieces, slowly resurrected after a drop of his brother's blood splashes his remains. His revival spurs a whole story of bizarre sexual realisations and gore-soaked chaos.