12 Recent Horror Movies That Flew Under The Radar (And How To Watch Them)
Hidden gems lurking in the shadows.
I, as well most of the horror community, was shocked by the recent success of one of my personal favorite 2022 horror movies, Skinamarink. Why? Because, these days, most new horror movies with an extremely low budget and experimental narrative structure fail to achieve Blumhouse-levels of attention and make back 60 times their budget at the box office.
Related: 12 Jordan Peele Movies And TV Shows And Where To Watch Them (opens in new tab)
Indeed, there are many horror movie hidden gems that get lost in the shuffle among the latest installments of classic horror movie franchises or Stephen King adaptations, for instance, and struggle to find their audience. Sometimes, all it takes is a hardcore fan of the genre to point viewers like you in the direction of the best horror movies you might not have seen, such as these recent, freaky favorites.
Saint Maud (2020)
A young nurse from Wales (Morfydd Clark) believes helping a terminally ill dancer (Jennifer Ehle) find God is her key to spiritual redemption.
Why it is an under-the-radar horror flick worth your time: Like many 2020 horror movies (for obvious reasons), not enough audiences got to see the A24-produced thriller Saint Maud, which bears some breathtaking pacing and amusing commentary on faith from director Rose Glass’ script.
Stream Saint Maud on Amazon Prime (opens in new tab).
Stream Saint Maud on Paramount+ (opens in new tab).
The Empty Man (2020)
The investigation of a friend’s missing daughter leads a former cop (James Badge Dale) to discover a cult tied to a terrifying urban legend.
Why it is an under-the-radar horror flick worth your time: Perhaps the most vastly underseen and underrated horror movie of 2020 was this mind-bending adaptation of the comic book The Empty Man from writer and director David Prior, who went on to helm one of the best episodes of Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities, “The Autopsy.”
Stream The Empty Man on FuboTV (opens in new tab).
Buy The Empty Man on Amazon (opens in new tab).
A young woman (Maika Monroe) begins to have deadly suspicions about her voyeuristic neighbor.
Why it is an under-the-radar horror flick worth your time: Director Chloe Okuno makes a stunning feature-length debut with the startling Shudder exclusive Watcher, starring modern Scream Queen and It Follows star, Monroe.
Stream Watcher on Shudder (opens in new tab).
Rent (or buy) Watcher on Amazon (opens in new tab).
A disturbed man (Sean Harris), accompanied by his unsettling puppet, returns to his childhood home to confront his traumatic past.
Why it is an under-the-radar horror flick worth your time: In a recent wave of comedians-turned-horror masters (i.e. Jordan Peele, Barbarian’s Zach Cregger), one such filmmaker who deserves more notoriety for such an achievement is British comic Matthew Holness, whose feature-length directorial debut, Possum, is a hauntingly visceral and uniquely poignant nightmare.
Stream Possum on Tubi.
Stream Possum on Freevee through Amazon (opens in new tab).
A sheltered young woman (Zelda Adams) discovers she has bizarre and dangerous abilities that her mother (Toby Poser) attempted to hide from her.
Why it is an under-the-radar horror flick worth your time: Real-life mother/daughter duo Adams and Poser deserve a place among the top horror movie Scream Queens after collaborating on Hellbender — an irresistibly inventive take on witchcraft lore — as co-directors and co-writers, along with Poser’s husband, John Adams.
Stream Hellbender on Shudder (opens in new tab).
Rent (or buy) Hellbender on Amazon (opens in new tab).
Soft & Quiet (2022)
A simple meeting between a group of women turns grim when its organizer, an elementary school teacher, encounters someone from her past.
Why it is an under-the-radar horror flick worth your time: Our own Eric Eisenberg named Soft & Quiet one of his favorite movies of 2022 without giving away much about the story, but horror junkies who have sought out writer and director Beth de Araújo’s feature-length debut have praised its bold, unapologetic brutality and inventive narrative structure.
Rent (or buy) Soft & Quiet on Amazon.
A young girl unwittingly puts her demanding family in danger by hiding and caring for a mysterious egg in her room.
Why it is an under-the-radar horror flick worth your time: The horror fans who have sought out director Hannah Bergholm’s Finnish fantasy thriller Hatching have praised its bizarre, dreamlike imagery and clever symbolism.
Stream Hatching on Hulu (opens in new tab).
Rent (or buy) Hatching on Amazon (opens in new tab).
There’s Someone Inside Your House (2021)
A group of high school seniors become targeted by a masked killer who intends to reveal their darkest secrets.
Why it is an under-the-radar horror flick worth your time: With better publicity and, perhaps, a more high-profile cast, this fun, old-fashioned teen slasher — based on Stephanie Perkins’ novel, There’s Someone Inside Your House — could have been considered as one of the best Netflix horror movies sooner.
Stream There’s Someone Inside Your House on Netflix (opens in new tab).
A couple (Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg) become trapped inside a desolate suburban neighborhood as part of an otherworldly experiment.
Why it is an under-the-radar horror flick worth your time: I believe Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling would have been proud of co-writer and director Lorcan Finnegan’s Vivarium, which is certainly the weirdest movie starring Poots and one of the weirdest I have ever seen.
Stream Vivarium on Amazon Prime (opens in new tab).
We're All Going To The World's Fair (2022)
A lonely teenager (Anna Cobb) begins documenting the strange effect that an online role-playing game seems to have on her.
Why it is an under-the-radar horror flick worth your time: Writer and director Jane Schoenbrun’s quasi-found footage thriller, We’re All Going to the World’s Fair, is a chilling and intriguing analysis of the internet’s recent obsession with the cryptic genre of analog horror and urban legends known as “Creepypastas.”
Stream We're All Going to the World's Fair on HBO Max (opens in new tab).
Rent (or buy) We're All Going to the World's Fair on Amazon (opens in new tab).
A disgraced Internet personality (Joseph Winter) attempts to win back his followers by live-streaming his experience in a supposedly haunted house.
Why it is an under-the-radar horror flick worth your time: Co-written and co-directed by Winter with his wife, Jessica, Deadstream is my personal favorite found footage thriller release in 2022 and one of the most entertaining horror-comedy movies on Shudder.
Stream Deadstream on Shudder (opens in new tab).
Mad God (2022)
An exploration of an underground world of apocalyptic ruin inhabited by monstrous creatures, as seen through the eyes of a masked loner.
Why it is an under-the-radar horror flick worth your time: I would call Mad God one of the best horror movies on Shudder, but this kaleidoscope of grungy, unsettling, otherworldly imagery without any sense of a linear narrative from legendary stop-motion animator artist Phil Tibbett really transcends genre.
Stream Mad God on Shudder (opens in new tab).
Rent (or buy) Mad God on Amazon (opens in new tab).
Perhaps, if we can learn anything from the success of Skinamarink, horror movie hidden gems like these still have a shot at becoming legendary classics.
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Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.