10 Lesser-Known Horror Movies That Deserve More Recognition

10 Lesser-Known Horror Movies That Deserve More Recognition
Image credit: globallookpress, Legion-Media, Alchemy, Archlight Films, Drafthouse Films, Phase 4 Films, Metrodome Distribution, Snowfort Pictures

They may be lesser known, but by no means they are less scary.

Lake Mungo (2008)

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So, you thought your family had secrets? Wait until you delve into the dark, twisting mystery that is Lake Mungo. This Australian mockumentary-style horror follows the grieving Palmer family as they uncover deeply buried secrets following the death of their daughter. But beware: these secrets aren't just skeletons in the closet – they're full-blown hauntings. Despite flying under the radar, this chilling film boasts an impressive 96% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)

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Now, here's a film that will make you rethink ever signing up for a student documentary project. Initially, it seems like a heart-rending depiction of an elderly woman, Deborah Logan, suffering from Alzheimer's disease. But as the narrative unfolds, the story descends into something far more sinister.

A blend of found footage and supernatural horror, this film dives deep into the horrors of possession and the terrifying spectacle of watching a loved one lose themselves. With an impressive 91% score on Rotten Tomatoes, this underappreciated film proves that sometimes, the most profound horrors lie within the human mind itself.

The Blackcoat's Daughter (2015)

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Everyone remembers their first time away from home, right? The loneliness, the homesickness, the demonic possession. Wait, what? That's right. This atmospheric thriller follows two girls left alone at their boarding school during winter break, resulting in chillingly haunting consequences.

Directed by Oz Perkins (son of Psycho star Anthony Perkins, out of all people), this film showcases his pedigree with its chilling atmosphere and slow burn terror. While it didn't break the bank at the box office, it's become a cult favorite amongst horror aficionados, with a 75% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Starry Eyes (2014)

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Ever thought of trading your soul for fame? Well, in Hollywood, that's just a regular Tuesday. In Starry Eyes, Sarah, an aspiring actress, does just that. This isn't your typical rags-to-riches story. It's more like rags-to-ritual-sacrifices. With a budget of only $56,000, this independent horror film showcases that you don't need big bucks to deliver big scares. So, aspiring actors out there, next time you get an audition, remember: if the casting director starts chanting in an ancient language, maybe stick to community theater.

Excision (2012)

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High school is a tough time for anyone, but for Pauline, our protagonist, it's a bloody nightmare, and I mean that literally. This bizarrely disturbing film isn't for the faint of heart; it's a trip into the deranged mind of a teenager with dreams of becoming a surgeon (not in a cute, Grey's Anatomy way). Despite its lack of mainstream recognition, Excision has a cult following and a respectable 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. The director, Richard Bates Jr., turned his short film into this full-length horror feature.

The Invitation (2015)

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Ever been to a dinner party that felt like it lasted a lifetime? Well, The Invitation takes that feeling and adds a generous helping of paranoia, tension, and yes, a literal cult. The film follows Will, a man attending a dinner party at his former house, hosted by his ex-wife and her new husband. With an 89% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this intense thriller will make you rethink your RSVP to that upcoming reunion dinner.

Session 9 (2001)

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Ever had a tough day at work? Well, the asbestos removal crew in Session 9 might just have you beat. Hired to clean up an abandoned mental hospital, the crew members find themselves unraveling after they discover a series of disturbing recorded therapy sessions (hence the title).

This under-the-radar gem, starring a pre-Criminal Minds David Rossi (Joe Mantegna), is a masterclass in psychological horror and atmospheric tension. The film was shot at the real-life Danvers State Mental Hospital, which was closed in 1992 and has since been partly demolished.

Absentia (2011)

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Forget monsters under the bed, Absentia puts them in a pedestrian tunnel. The film revolves around two sisters, Tricia and Callie, as they grapple with the mysterious disappearance of Tricia's husband seven years ago. When they start to link his disappearance and others to a local tunnel, they uncover something far more disturbing than they could've ever imagined.

Made on a shoestring budget, this film is a testament to director Mike Flanagan's knack for suspenseful storytelling, which he would later bring to The Haunting of Hill House and Doctor Sleep. Despite its limited release, Absentia sits at a solid 87% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Borderlands (2013)

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As if the idea of paranormal investigations wasn't scary enough, The Borderlands throws in ancient, rural churches and demonic pagan rituals. In this British found footage horror, a team of Vatican investigators is sent to a remote church to explore reports of paranormal activity, but what they uncover is beyond their worst nightmares. Although the movie did not make a significant impact at the box office, it has steadily accumulated a dedicated fanbase for its chilling climax and unique perspective on found footage horror.

Triangle (2009)

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If you thought your last boating trip was a disaster, wait until you hear about the ill-fated journey in Triangle. This mind-bending British-Australian horror stars Melissa George as a yachter who becomes trapped in a nightmarish time loop on a deserted ocean liner. What follows is a terrifying blend of psychological horror and slasher thrills, set against a backdrop of existential dread.

It earned a decent $1.4 million at the box office and has gained a cult following over the years for its complex narrative and chilling atmosphere. With a commendable 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, Triangle stands as a prime example that, in horror films, the sea is as scary as space. No one can hear you scream in either.