The 10 Best Horror Films You Haven't Heard Of

Tired of the same old horror movie clichés? Fear not, Esquire has 10 lesser known nail-bitters well worth getting your hands on

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1 | Martyrs

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Director: Pascal Laugier
Cast: Morjana Alsoui, Mylene Jampanoi
Year: 2008
Country of origin: France
Sub genre: Psychological/Gore
In a nutshell: A young woman, kidnapped and abused as a child, seeks revenge on her captors. Brutal and genuinely horrifying. Consider that a warning.
 

2 | Repulsion

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Director: Roman Polanski
Cast: Catherine Deneuve
Year: 1965
Country of origin: USA
Sub genre: Psychological
In a nutshell: Chronicling the mental decline of a young French woman (Deneuve) as she battles her childhood demons alone in her sister's London flat. Relentless.


3 | Funny Games

Director: Michael Haneke
Cast: Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt
Year: 2007
Country of origin: USA
Sub genre: Psychological/Crime
In a nutshell: A remake of the 1997 Austrian film of the same name, in which an American couple and their son are terrorised by youths in their remote country home. Disturbing.
 

4 | [REC]

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Director: Jaume Balaguero, Paco Plaza
Cast: Manuela Velasco, Ferran Terraza
Year: 1997
Country of origin: France
Sub genre: Psychological/Gore
In a nutshell: A TV crew break into a residential block following its quarantine and soon wish they hadn't. Later remade into the slick, but not quite as scary English language film, Quarantine

5 | A Serbian Film

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Director: Srdjan Spasojevic
Cast: Srdjan Todorovic, Sergej Trifunovic
Year: 2010
Country of origin: Serbia
Sub genre: Psychological/Erotic
In a nutshell: An ageing porn star, in a bid to reboot his career, agrees to partake in an art project which takes a very dark and gruesome turn. Not for the faint-hearted. 


6 | Eden Lake

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Director: James Watkins
Cast: Kelly Reilly, Michael Fassbender, Jack O'Connell
Year: 2008
Country of origin: UK
Sub genre: Psychological/Crime/Suspense
In a nutshell: A young couple's romantic weekend away in the country is interrupted by a gang of youths with horrific results. One of the best British suspense films in recent years. Terrifyingly believable.


7 | Suspiria

Director: Dario Argento
Cast: Jessica Harper
Year: 1977
Country of origin: USA
Sub genre: Supernatural/Mystery/Suspense
In a nutshell: The film that inspired 2010's Black Swan follows a new recruit to a New York ballet school who is drawn into the macabre and sinister goings-on after hours. 
 

8 | Pulse

Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Cast: Haruhiko Kato
Year: 2001
Country of origin: Japan
Sub genre: Psychological/Gore
In a nutsehll: J-horror original which follows a group of students who investigate a recent influx of suicides in their hometown. Turns out there's a higher power at work. Don't be put off by the terrible US remake in 2006.  


9 | Snowtown

Director: Justin Kurzel
Cast: Lucas Pittaway
Year: 2011
Country of origin: Australia
Sub genre: Physiological/ Crime/Violent
In a nutshell: Technically not a horror if you're being a stickler, but makes the list due to the heightened suspense director Kurzel manages to create.


10 | Session 9

Director: Brad Anderson
Cast: David Caruso, Stephen Gevedon
Year: 2001
Country of origin: USA
Sub genre: Mystery/Suspense/Supernatural
In a nutshell: An asbestos crew take on a job in a disused mental hospital, but – you guessed it – they're not alone. 


Any we've missed?

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