This Canadian zombie film follows Grant Mazzy, a former big city radio shock jock who is reassigned to a station in the small unincorporated village of Pontypool, Ontario. With a blizzard raging outside, Grant and his co-workers decide to stay on the air to help inform their listeners as the town seemingly descends into madness. The film features excellent writing and performances, and a unique twist on how zombies work, which I will not spoil here. Seriously, the best way to experience this film is to go into it with as little knowledge as possible.
This horror-comedy has a good number of famous people in the cast, including Elijah Wood and Rainn Wilson, both of whom play elementary school teachers. This is because the film takes place inside an elementary school and all the zombies are, yes, elementary school students. If you’ve ever wanted to see Frodo Baggins and Dwight from The Office fight a bunch of zombified eight-year-olds, this is the movie for you.
The Final Girls
A tribute to slasher films of the ’80s, this film follows a group of friends who get sucked into Camp Bloodbath, a slasher film from the ’80s, and must use their knowledge of horror movie clichés to survive. There are amazing performances by everyone involved, and while there is a cheesy line here or there, the movie definitely makes them work. Not to be confused with Final Girl, a thriller also released in the same year.
This New Zealand horror-comedy follows Kylie after she is placed under house arrest (ankle monitor and all) and forced to live with her mother who, as Kylie finds out, believes their house to be haunted. A good mix of scary and funny, and the idea of Kylie being legally prevented from leaving the house is a neat take.
Ernest Scared Stupid
Local handyman and idiot Ernest P. Worrell must save Halloween and his hometown after he unintentionally releases an ancient troll who steals the souls of children. Part of the direct-to-video series, including films like Ernest Goes to Camp and Ernest Saves Christmas, this goofball film is an excellent time capsule of what horror films for kids were like in the early ’90s. The film also, weirdly, has one or two legitimately scary parts.
Fifty strangers wake up in a dark featureless room, standing on glowing circles and unable to move. A device in the centre of the room kills one of them every few minutes, and once they realize they can control which of them dies, they begin to turn on each other. Essentially a combination of the film 12 Angry Men and the party game known as Mafia or Werewolf, this incredibly intense film discusses topics such as racial prejudice, sexism, and morality with an intentionally diverse cast.
Wasting Away, or Aaah! Zombies!! (It’s been released under both titles)
A group of friends unknowingly eats a batch of tainted ice cream that turns them into shambling zombies. However, they do not know they are zombies. This horror-comedy is a zombie movie from the rarely considered zombie perspective. A light and funny film with some clever ideas on why zombies do what they do.
Sleep Tight, or Mientras duermes
This Spanish horror-thriller follows Cesar, the concierge of an apartment building, as he secretly works to crush the joy in the lives of each of his tenants in increasingly invasive ways. The film manages to make you root for him just a little bit at times — until you remember that he is a terrible, terrible person.
A dark horror-comedy starring a post-Green Lantern, pre-Deadpool Ryan Reynolds as Jerry, a mentally unwell man who talks to his cat and dog, and takes their advice when they answer him. The comedy scenes and the horror scenes are made all the more intense by how quickly the film switches back and forth between the two, making this one of the darkest films to involve talking pets.
While not technically a feature film, this YouTube web series follows Jay as he sifts through strange film footage shot by his missing friend Alex, after the latter suddenly stopped production on their college film and disappeared. Marble Hornets heavily contributed to the rise in popularity of the Slenderman urban legend and was the first, if not only, well-made production on the subject, quickly receiving praise from award-winning critic Roger Ebert.
This web series is super creepy, and perfect to binge on a dark and rainy night. There is a playlist available on YouTube which contains all the entries. A feature film based on the web series was later made in 2015, and it was terrible.