The Five Scariest Indie Horror Flicks That Other People Won’t Know to Rent


You’ve forgotten to put an obligatory horror movie in your NETFLIX queue and you feel like watching something scary, stat.

At this point in Halloweek, your options are limited to whatever edited STEPHEN KING movie TBS is playing at 11 p.m. or the picked over selection of unrecognizable titles left at the video store.

Just because it’s not THE RING doesn’t mean it’s not good. It’s time to think outside of the mainstream box.

That’s why we’ve asked the independent film experts at New York’s ROOFTOP FILMS — a non-profit, outdoor film festival that has been showing films on rooftops, in parks, and along waterways in New York since 1997 — for their expert recommendations.

Read on for picks from DAN NUXOLL, Rooftop’s Program Director after the jump, and if you live in New York check out their free indoor screening tonight at Chelsea Market: 10 Scary Short Films from Around the World.

SESSION 9 (BRAD ANDERSON, 2001) An underappreciated and extremely creepy low-budget horror film shot in a genuine abandoned mental institution that features one of the very few decent acting performances of David Caruso’s career.

MURDER PARTY (JEREMY SAULNIER, 2007) Saulnier’s feature debut screened at Rooftop Films in 2007 and is now available on DVD. Well executed from start to finish, Murder Party starts as a biting satire of the Williamsburg art-star scene and finishes as a deliciously violent chainsaw slasher flick.

THE DESCENT (NEIL MARSHALL, 2006) Terrifyingly claustrophobic, The Descent takes five sexy female extreme-sports fanatics and sticks them in a cave with a race of subterranean freaks for 90 tense minutes. It doesn’t sound like much, but somehow it taps our primal fear of entombment to a degree few films ever have.

GINGER SNAPS (JOHN FAWCETT, 2000) Which is more unsettling: watching your teenage sister go through puberty or watching her turn into a werewolf?

HONOGURAI MIZU NO SOKO (Dark Water) (HIDEO NAKATA, 2002) The American remake isn’t terrible, but there is definitely a great deal lost in translation. Nakata’s original is heart-breaking and unsettling, and by the end both the ghosts and the living demand your sympathy…yet it’s still pretty terrifying.