Top 10 InSession List: Blumhouse Productions
Every week, InSession Film will feature a top 10 list highlighting our favorite movies and television shows, coinciding with that week’s podcast, created by list maker extraordinaire Kristen Ashly. We welcome any opinions, please share.Founded in 2000 by Jason Blum, Blumhouse Productions is an American based production company specializing in low-budget horror flicks. With 96 titles under the name, Blumhouse is essentially a horror film rocket launcher; everything they touch is hot and reaches the top fast.
One of their newest titles, The Gift, is receiving incredible praise and outstanding ticket sales. With all eyes on Jason Blum, and his choice to take a chance on Joel Edgerton, there’s no doubt that fans are scouring the movie section, looking for his work.
So, InSession wants to save you a little time on that movie search, and list our top ten picks representing Blum glory. Blum is a horror genius, let us show you why.
10) Creep (2014)
Director Patrick Brice stars as Aaron, a videographer who answers a Craigslist ad claiming to need assistance in a one-day project. What Aaron discovers, is that Craigslist is always going to house creepers.
This “found-footage plus” film had mixed reviews. It was generally agreed upon that Mark Duplass did a very good job of convincing the audience he was creepy. Some critics, however, said the film was too simplistic, and lacked clear direction. We couldn’t disagree more.
Check out Creep for an unnerving tale on our digital age.
9) Unfriended (21014)
Told through the computer screen of the protagonist, Blaire, a group of high school friends are suddenly haunted by the supernatural presence of their dead friend.
A clear statement on online bullying, Unfriended did something new for the horror genre: told the entire movie through social media. A truly horrifying thought in today’s society: what if a ghost got to you through all your online accounts?
8) The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)
Acting as a meta-sequel to the first, The Town That Dreaded Sundown told the story of a small town bordering Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana, and the reappearance of a masked serial killer after 65 years. In true slasher movie form, a high school girl is the only one able to stop the killings.
Another movie with mixed opinions. Yet, the film acted as a classic example of how a meta-sequel can work to an advantage.
Important note: Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Horror Story) also helped produce this film.
7) The Bay (2012)
A typical found-footage film, The Bay documented a town’s reaction to an ecological disaster. It’s not pretty, and it’s not curable.
The Bay took a very possible disaster, and created a horror masterpiece surrounding the events. Just don’t watch the film on a full stomach.
6) Dark Skies (2013)
Blumhouse proves it’s not a one style junkie, and releases the alien flick Dark Skies. In one of the creepiest invasion films yet, the Barret family’s peaceful suburban life is rocked by an escalating series of disturbing events, which seems to come from out of this world.
The film is dark, foreboding, and gets under your skin. The cast, and especially the creepy youngest son, do an amazing job at convincing the viewer that aliens could already be here…here for a very long time.
5) Oculus (2013)
Elaborating on the idea that objects can be possessed, a young woman tries to exonerate her brother, who was accused of killing their father, by trying to prove that a haunted mirror was the cause.
Oculus took my two favorite horror genres and mixed them together into a deliciously horrific movie swirl. Psychological and spiritual horror work together to provide endless mind games, a richly historic landscape, and created an atmosphere where safety is not guaranteed. The movie blurs the lines between the events of the past, and the present day, causing the time plane to transform into a loop. It will cause you to doubt everything, and you’ll it.
4) The Purge (2013)
The idea was simple enough, and simple enough to make horror film history: what if, for 12 hours, you could commit any crime you wanted–even murder, and you wouldn’t get punished? In fact, it would be sanctioned and encouraged by your country.
That was the idea behind The Purge, and two installments in to the franchise, the creators are finding news angles of the question to explore. The original followed the well-off Sandin family, who has hunkered down for the night with the security system Mr. Sandin sells. When the son decides to harbor a man who was intended for purge destruction, their lives are in danger, as well.
The movie explores moral destruction, and class warfare. Something not all entirely new to horror, but executed in a way that is.
3) Sinister (2012)
Another Ethan Hawke best, Sinister reminded movie goers what truly scares us: children murderers. Those creepy children, controlled by a child soul consuming demon named Bagul, murder their own families in terrifying ways, all while filming it. Ethan Hawke plays Ellison Oswalt, and his family is next up on Bagul’s to do list.
The film is unnerving and, well, sinister, in subtle ways. The dark cinematography, the children actors, the otherworldly bad guy, and the creepy soundtrack. Sinister is another campaign Blum ran perfectly.
Seemingly always placed within the same sentence as Sinister, Insidious takes a similar story to the one in Poltergeist, and turns it on its head. The Lambert family uncover family secrets, as they try to rescue their comatose child from “The Further”, a place haunted by evil ghosts and demons who will stop at nothing to live again.
Insidious is James Wan’s masterpiece. Everything about the movie is unsettling and other worldly. It doesn’t need to try hard to create a creepy outer layer, it does so between the spaces and silence.
1) Paranormal Activity
What is arguably the most successful film of Blumhouse Productions’ existence, Paranormal Activity reinvigorated the found-footage genre, after it went dark following The Blair Witch Project‘s release. The movie follows the story of Micah and Katie: a couple who start to experience a demonic and supernatural presence within their home, attaching itself to Katie.
The movie grossed $193,355,800, overall. With a micro budget of $15,000, the film was a huge success financially, and critically. It set the tone for the goal of small, independently produced films to become huge box office successes and remain iconic. It did what a successful horror film should do: creates terrifying realizations in quiet spaces, provides huge buildups, forces the viewer to pay close attention, and then scares them to death because they were. Paranormal Activity is easily the juggernaut that sent Blum to the top.
Kristen Ashly is the master list creator for InSession Film. You can follow Kristen on Twitter @KristenAshly.