Most Unsettling

The films on this list aren’t necessarily the scariest you’ll ever watch but they are ones which will make you feel very uneasy when watching them, for one reason or another. These are in no particular order. This is also a list I suspect I might add to, hence it not being a round ten once again…sorry…

The Pact (2012)

The Pact

A fairly simple plot with a very small cast, this is still a film which will pack a punch. Although there are no absolute outright scares and probably no moments that’ll make you jump, the sense of tension and mystery that is built up throughout will easily send a few shivers down your spine. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pact_(2012_film))

Audition (1999)

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This film already featured on my ‘Top 10: Asian Horror’ list and is worthy of its place on both lists. The slow build-up and the whole mystery surrounding just who Asami is and what she is up to makes the brutal final act all the more chilling. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audition_(1999_film))

May (2002)

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Similarly to The Pact there are no real, huge scares in this film but watching the slow, drawn-out collapse of May’s mental state is really unnerving and unsettling at times whilst at the same time dealing with a fair few issues that I’m sure many people deal with in their lives – albeit with a more gruesome ending. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_(film))

The Last Exorcism (2010)

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A hidden gem in amongst the recent over-saturation of the found-footage genre, The Last Exorcism is simply put a very well-crafted, well-scripted and well-acted film and is certainly worth a watch. It’s several steps above other recent attempts at exorcism/found-footage genre films….*ahem* The Devil Inside Me *ahem* (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Exorcism)

Martyrs (2008)

Martyrs

One of the bloodiest and most brutal horror films to have come out of France in the last few years (nearly up there with Inside in terms of all-out gore). A very clever if thoroughly disturbing concept with a completely brutal ending. Not for those with weak stomachs! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martyrs_(film))

Kill List (2011)

Kill List

The one and only British entry in this category but equally deserving of its place as any of the others. The slow breakdown of the main character’s marriage and, subsequently, his mental state combined with some weird, cult-y goings-on help to make this a real squirmer of a horror film. Just like Martyrs this film does not shy away from some heavy and very realistic gore. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kill_List)

Absentia (2011)

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I’ve always felt that it’s what you don’t see that’s scarier than what you do see – maybe I just have an overactive imagination – which is probably why I was genuinely scared the first time I watched Blair Witch Project. This film employs a similar technique by only giving you brief glimpses and very vague descriptions of exactly what it is that is taking people. For such a low-budget indie this is a seriously creepy and tense film at times and definitely not one to be overlooked. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absentia_(film))

The Exorcism Of Emily Rose (2005)

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The second exorcism film on this list, though not in found-footage style this time. Again, this is certainly not the best or scariest film around but Jennifer Carpenter’s performance as a possessed young girl is chilling in parts – even more so when you find out how few effects they had to use to achieve the final result. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Exorcism_of_Emily_Rose)

The Orphanage (2007)

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SACKBOY! Need I say more? Shivers galore in this Spanish-language effort. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Orphanage_(film))

Funny Games (1997)

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The fourth non-English language and fifth non-American film on this list – take that Hollywood! Having not seen the American remake I can’t compare the two but the Austrian original is unsettling enough. In places this is quite a fun film (as the title might suggest) but the entire time you are fully aware of an over-riding feeling of uneasiness as there seems to be no discernible reason behind the brutality being inflicted by these two young home invaders. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funny_Games_(1997_film))

Banshee Chapter (2013)

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Due to a clash with The Borderlands (which is, incidentally, a film I would highly recommend) I didn’t get to see this when it had it’s UK premiere at FrightFest 2013. However, having heard it was really good, I managed to track down a copy and was not disappointed. Although it was unclear for quite a while exactly what format the film was supposed to be (it seemed like a real mix of found-footage/mockumentary/single-camera film at times which it sort of is…) it’s still a fantastic film. It’s another that just makes your skin crawl on so many occasions (like many on this list) and has the odd bog-standard jump-scare (see picture above) just to keep you on your toes! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee_Chapter)

Honourable Mentions

Candyman is not a particularly scary film and certainly didn’t make me feel particularly uneasy at any point. Nevertheless, it gets an honourable mention on this list because I still can’t bring myself to say ‘Candyman’ into a mirror three times! A classic of the horror genre.

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