16. Jaws (1975)
Steven Spielberg’s greatest blockbuster entertainment taps on our primordial sense of fear. The tricky editing and sudden looming of shock images derives as much dread and tension as the great white shark. Spielberg’s superb orchestration of fear is perfectly balanced with the trio’s magnetic performances. It’s an impeccable mixture of set-pieces and well-defined story. John Williams’ unforgettable soundtrack soars up the menace and frenzy to unbearable levels. Four plus decades since its release, this populist American cinema still possesses the power to shock us.
17. Insidious Chapter 2 (2013)
James Wan’s Insidious Chapter 2 is as gimmicky and uneven as its predecessor. Nevertheless, it manages to terrorize us with inventive jump scares. The story picks up exactly where it left in the first part. The narrative jumps back and forth as the Josh family tries to chase away the ghost living in Josh’s body, back to its astral kingdom. Like The Conjuring, this is solely designed to satisfy the fans of ‘poltergeist’ scares. And director Wan very well triumphs in that aspect.
18. Oculus (2013)
Mike Flanagan’s Oculus, although a derivative ghost story, conjures something truly haunting. The MacGuffin is a mirror named ‘Lasser Glass’. It has ruined the lives of Kaylie and her brother Tim, and killed their parents. The grown-ups go to their childhood home, set up state-of-the-art equipment to weed out the evil force inside the mirror. While the backstory is full of clichés, the elements of horror are far better than the usual ‘boo’ moments. The scares consist of some good, subtle mind games.
Also read: 15 Best Horror Films of 2016 Ranked
19. Scream (1996)
Wes Craven’s Scream is one of the most witty and cleverly-written horror films. It pokes fun at the slasher flick conventions, while also creating a genuinely scary mayhem. The story revolves around young Sidney Prescott. A crazy, horror-movie obsessed serial-killer stalks her. The narrative, as one could guess, is all about unmasking the identity of the killer. The self-mocking style, in-jokes, and ghastly games offer pure trashy fun. The other parts of the franchise were too contorted and self-aware to cloak its badness.
20. The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)
If you are not a fan of found-footage sub-genre, Adam Robitel’s film may not change your opinion. However, ….Deborah Logan offers an unnerving horror movie experience, considering the long list of underwhelming found-footage horror. The elderly Deborah Logan is in early stages of Alzheimer’s. Her daughter doubles up the role of a caretaker. Deborah gets lot worse as an unexplainable phenomenon takes over. Apart from the routine, clichéd third-act, the film is suspenseful.
By Arun Kumar
Get more stories like these straight to your email inbox. Subscribe to Flickside.