3. Cloverfield (2008)
Found footage monster horror Cloverfield has garnered a cult following since 2008. Directed by Matt Reaves, written by Drew Goddard and produced by J.J. Abrams, Cloverfield centres around a group of five friends trying to escape an attack from an enormous monster that is tearing apart New York City.
Cloverfield’s clever marketing campaign included several working titles, secret trailer screenings and no information regarding the cast – the movie used actors that, in 2008, were relatively unknown. During the casting process, no scripts were sent out and auditions used scripts from Abrams’ previous projects ‘Alias’ and ‘Lost’.
Cloverfield is a highly suspenseful movie that, despite its synopsis, is definitely more of a thriller than a horror. Any jump scares and gory moments are mainly limited to one specific scene when Lizzy Caplan’s character Marlena gets bitten by a giant spider-like creature.
4. Zombieland (2009)
Another cult classic, 2009’s Zombieland is a tongue in cheek horror with plenty of laughs, a film that for every bit of blood and guts offers an iconic Woody Harrelson one-liner as a follow up.
Starring alongside Harrelson are Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin, who together make up a lovably dysfunctional group of zombie apocalypse survivors who embark on a road trip across the Southwestern United States in search of a zombie-free sanctuary.
Raking in over $100M at the Box Office, Zombieland became the highest-grossing zombie film in America from its release up until 2013, impacting the wider zeitgeist of cinema with its irreverent charm and sharp wit; two elements that are sure to keep your mood up and the scares to a minimum.
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5. Scream (1996)
Featuring an all-star ensemble cast, the first instalment of the Scream franchise was released in 1996. Partially inspired by the real-life case of the Gainsville Ripper, the comedy teen slasher film has a classic ‘whodunnit’ plotline and combines black comedy and murder mystery. The story follows Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), a high school student who becomes the target of a mysterious killer known as Ghostface.
Directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson, who completed the screenplay within three days, Scream was considered a unique film upon its release in the nineties, quickly earning its cult status.
The film has been credited for both revitalising the horror genre as well as deconstructing it, paving the way for movies such as I Know What You Did Last Summer and Final Destination.
Straight from its derided opening scene where Casey (Drew Barrymore) is home alone and receives a phone call from a threatening stranger who starts asking her about her favourite scary movie, Scream sets the bar for the future of the slasher sub-genre with its satirisation of the cliches and tropes of American horror.
It’s more gory than scary – around 50 gallons of fake blood were used on set – but with its disparaging narrative, Scream is an easy watch that won’t leave you unable to sleep in the hours that follow.
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Written by Emma Kershaw
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