21 Indie Horror Films That Deserve Your Attention

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As the horror genre becomes more saturated with blockbuster films, indie productions sometimes get lost in the chaos. While it’s true that indie films often lack the budget and effects of their Triple-A competition, indie horror can provide a fresh look into the genre.

Beloved classics like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Eraserhead wouldn’t exist without indie teams working tirelessly to present their ideas to the world. Today, we want to show you 21 of the best indie films that deserve your attention.

1. Skinamarink   

Photo Credit: BayView Entertainment.

This minimalistic horror film shocked the community with its bold approach to analog horror. Skinamarink is a unique film that proves that less is more when it comes to the horror genre.

The film follows two small children who become stuck in their home after the mysterious distance of their parents. Skinamarink is by far the most interesting horror film in recent years and will be discussed for generations to come.

2. We’re All Going to the World’s Fair

Photo Credit: Dweck Productions.

This coming-of-age tale is a harrowing investigation of the damaging effects of loneliness and social media. We’re All Going to the World’s Fair follows a young girl as she explores a new online trend that leads to disastrous consequences.

Directed by Jane Schoenbrun, the film is characterized by its unique sense of intimacy and found footage format. We’re All Going to the World’s Fair gives audiences a glimpse into the search for connection in our new digital age.

3. YellowBrickRoad

Photo Credit: Points North Films.

This found footage flick is both loved and hated for its ambiguous nature and refusal to provide audiences with straightforward explanations. YellowBrickRoad follows a group of researchers tracing the steps of a town that went missing in the 1940s.

Directed by Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton, YellowBrickRoad relies on the power of suggestion to instill fear in its audience. This unique horror tale is mesmerizing as much as it is frustrating.

4. Terrifier

Photo Credit: Dark Age Cinema.

The new king of gore films, Terrifier subverts all the slasher films that came before it. The film’s antagonist, Art the Clown, is a terrifying mime who stalks his prey before ending them in some of the most brutal ways the horror genre has ever seen.

Created by Damien Leone, Terrifier has quickly become a fan favorite, with the franchise’s third installment currently in the works. While this title isn’t known for its depth, it does feature some of the most inventive kill scenes imaginable.

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5. Creep

Photo Credit: The Duplass Brothers/Blumhouse Productions.

This hidden gem features a charming and unsuspecting villain. Creep follows a young man who gets contracted to create a video biography for a dying man. Little does he know that he has just entered a spider web that he will never escape.

Creep is a masterfully done film. Horror fans immediately fell in love with the film’s antagonist, played by Mark Duplass, for his calm and reassuring presence. Creep spawned one sequel, Creep 2, and the horror community cherishes both films.

6. X

Photo Credit: A24.

This indie horror is among the best entries into the evil hag subgenre. X follows a group of adult filmmakers attempting to shoot in a rented farmhouse. As the characters begin dying one by one, the more the sinister nature of the farm becomes exposed.

X is a unique take on the slasher genre and forgoes many of its typical tropes. The film is a reflection of aging, desire, and the exploitation of bodies. This smart thriller is an excellent choice for any horror fan.

7. Piggy

Photo Credit: Morena Films.

This revenge thriller focuses on bullying, body image, and social media. Piggy is the tale of a young woman constantly criticized for her weight and shamed by her peers. Things change after a serial killer comes calling in her small town.

Directed by Carlota Pereda, Piggy confronts viewers with uncomfortable topics. The film can be seen as an allegory for the effects of bullying and the lengths that people may go to escape the pain and torment.

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8. A Dark Song

Photo Credit: Samson Films.

This occult-based horror displays the brutal lengths we may go through to get revenge on those who have harmed us. A Dark Song is a beautifully haunting tale of a mother engaging in a magic ritual after her son’s death.

Directed by Liam Gavin, A Dark Song is celebrated for its research and commitment to realism regarding the occult. The small cast creates a believable tale of loss, redemption, and loneliness.

9. Absentia

Photo Credit: FallBack Plan Productions.

This psychological thriller showcases the human mind’s inability to rationalize the irrational. Absentia follows a woman after the mysterious disappearance of her husband. She discovers a series of disappearances connected to a local tunnel.

Directed by the glorious Mike Flanagan, Absentia instills a sense of looming dread in those who watch it. The film magnificently exploits our fear of the unknown in new and terrifying ways.

10. The Woman

Photo Credit: Modernciné.

This horror film asks the question: How well do you really know your neighbors? The Woman revolves around a feral woman and the family that has taken her prisoner in an attempt to civilize her. The film soon raised uncomfortable questions about society and power dynamics that are not easily answered.

Directed by Lucky McKee, The Woman is a brutal film about the undercurrents of modern domestic life that is impossible to forget. The film is based on a book by the same name written by Jack Ketchum. This writer is known for creating some of his generation’s most difficult-to-read horror books.

11. Dog Soldiers

Photo Credit: Centurion.

This British horror-comedy is one of the best werewolf films to date. Dog Soldiers follows a group of British soldiers training in Scotland designed by werewolves. The film relies on amazing practical effects, as any good horror film should, to create tense battle sequences.

Directed by Neil Marshal, Dog Soldiers is loved by horror fans for its strong character development and subversion of horror tropes. Dog Soldiers has become a cult classic for its unique take on the werewolf genre.

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12. The Night House

Photo Credit: Searchlight Pictures.

This supernatural horror film focuses on grief and loneliness. The Night House is the chilling tale of a woman who thinks she is being haunted after the tragic death of her husband. The film is applauded for its nuanced take on love and loss.

Directed by David Bruckner, The Night House brings an emotional weight not often seen in horror. The film is anchored by a brilliant lead performance by Rebecca Hall, who plays the grief-stricken wife.

13. When Evil Lurks

Photo Credit: Machaco Films.

This sleeper hit recently swept the Chainsaw Awards for its unique take on demonic possession. When Evil Lurks revolves around a mysterious virus that inflicts demonic possession upon its hosts, with the end goal of world domination and the end of humanity.

Directed by Demian Rugne, When Evil Lurks features brutal death scenes that shocked veteran horror fans. The film offers a unique variety of evil that cannot be found in any other movie. It challenges viewers’ expectations of the genre and provides an amazing ride for horror fans.

14. Sleepaway Camp

Photo Credit: American Eagle Films.

This cult classic hit is a time capsule from a bygone era. Sleepaway Camp centers around two children attending a summer camp following a tragic incident. But as members of the camp begin meeting gruesome fates, tension rises and the hunt for the killer begins.

Directed by Robert Hiltzik, Sleepaway Camp is one of the most influential slashers ever made. The film is loved for its use of camp, memorable characters, and jaw-dropping ending. The film’s legacy continues to impact LGBTQ horror films to this day.

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15. Re-Animator

Photo Credit: Re-Animator Productions.

This horror comedy is one of the earliest adaptations of the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Re-Animator is a wonderfully cheesy film that follows Herbert West as he creates a serum that will bring the dead back to life.

Directed by Stuart Gordan, Re-Animator explores themes of scientific integrity and the consequences of playing God. Horror fans adore the film for its over-the-top comedy and impressive use of body horror.

16. Harpoon

Photo Credit: 775 Media Corp.

This tense horror film is almost entirely set on a boat. Harpoon is the story of three friends who take a day trip to the ocean to blow off some steam. Unfortunately for them, the boat breaks down and traps them out at sea.

Directed by Rob Grant, Harpoon is a brilliant thriller showcasing human nature under extreme stress. The film’s clever writing and character development create a one-of-a-kind horror experience that is both hilarious and nerve-racking.

17. Superhost

Photo Credit: Superchill.

This film highlights the aspects of social media that we all hate. Superhost follows a young streamer couple trying to boost their views by staying in a picturesque cabin. The film highlights the dangers of parasocial relationships and the hunt for fame.

Directed by Brandon Christensen, Superhost effectively builds up the suspense before exploding in an unforgettable finale. Superhost has been recognized for its exploration of the dangers of our interconnected world and its brutal take on the found footage genre.

18. The Babadook

Photo Credit: Screen Australia.

This traumatic horror film focuses on mental health and resentment. The Babadook follows a mother and her special needs child trying to adjust to life after the death of her husband. The film explores themes of grief, motherhood, and how we make our own monsters.

Directed by Jennifer Kent, The Babadook is a chilling tale about what it means to be a parent. The film effectively makes the audience experience the mother’s resentment for her child while showcasing the guilt that accompanies it.

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19. The Loved Ones

Photo Credit: Screen Australia.

This Australian horror film takes teen angst to a new level. The Loved Ones is a brutal torture film that follows a young woman who attempts to capture a prom date. When things don’t go as planned, the girl settles on turning him into a Jeffrey Dahmer type zombie.

Directed by Sean Byrne, The Loved Ones is a horrifying tale not for the faint of heart. The film uses brutal body horror and pitch-black humor to explore themes of obsession, rejection, and desire. This bleak horror film offers a different kind of coming-of-age tale that no horror fan should miss.

20. Kill List

Photo Credit: Senator Film Produktion.

This British horror film impressed horror fans with its disorienting narrative. Kill List follows a hitman on a new assignment that quickly falls down a rabbit hole of occult activity. This thought-provoking thriller examines the seedy underbelly of modern life in more ways than one.

Directed by Ben Wheatley, Kill List is an exceptional film that keeps audiences on their toes. Lead actor Neil Maskell’s outstanding performance helped sell this imaginative and compelling tale of mystery.

21. Paranormal Activity

Photo Credit: DreamWorks Pictures.

Credited for the modern resurgence in Found Footage films, Paranormal Activity is a deceptively simple film. This supernatural horror flick follows a couple who set up cameras around their house after they sense a demonic presence in the home.

Directed by Oren Peli, Paranormal Activity is one of the most successful horror films of all time. Although it cost only $15,000 to make, the film pulled in almost $200 million globally. Paranormal Activity’s simple yet effective approach creates a chilling horror experience that verges on realness.

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