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Top 10 Best Indie Horror Films

VO: Matthew Wende
Written by Owen Maxwell On a small budget and without the help of a major studio, these movies managed to deliver scares on an epic level! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Indie Horror Films! But what will take the top spot on our list? Will it be the Blair Witch Project, The Evil Dead, or Halloween? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: Big thanks to Ohsnap155 and mac121mr0 for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Best+Indie+Horror+Films

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You don’t need a lot of money to scare people. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Best Indie Horror Films.

For this list, we’re looking at films that scared our socks off without the help of big studio budgets and tricks. We’re basing our choices on a mix of the sheer terror these movies evoke, the quality of the stories and the effects each film features despite their minimal resources.

#10: “Green Room” (2010)

A struggling punk band gets offered a gig at a seedy club in the middle of the woods in Oregon. What they soon discover, however, is that the club is filled to the brim with Neo-Nazi thugs, leaving them considerably on edge. Things take an even darker turn when they discover a corpse and get locked in the green room, forced to fight their way out to survive the violent onslaught of goons and their calculating boss. This thriller takes its top-notch cast for a violent ride, striking fear into its audience, while also making them think about what they’d do in the same position.

#9: “Saw” (2004)

In this disturbing horror flick, two men wake up in a room with their legs shackled to the wall, with only an audiotape to tell them what to do next. With the choice of either murdering each other or cutting off their own feet to escape, the two quickly realize they’re trapped by the Jigsaw Killer, who captures victims he considers guilty and forces them to solve bloody puzzles to get away. Full of gore, and plenty of twists and turns, “Saw” not only launched a successful franchise, but the gore-porn genre as well.

#8: “The Babadook” (2014)

What if the monsters you read about were real? As widow Amelia tries to raise her young son Sam, he becomes troubled and almost uncontrollable after reading a book about the scary Mister Babadook. He even has his own creepy nursery rhyme that you just know will come back to haunt the characters. Thanks to the book’s mysterious powers, the story comes to life, and Amelia becomes more and more troubled and exhausted, trying to deal with Sam and keep her home in one piece. Packing a surprisingly powerful message about grief, this indie horror success wooed fans and critics alike.

#7: “Paranormal Activity” (2007)

How do you make a haunted house movie scarier? Make it seem like it really happened. Bringing found footage horror back from the dead, this groundbreaking spook-fest follows a couple as they move into what they find out is a haunted house. From a few unexplained items moving in the night to full-on shrieks and burning Ouija boards, things quickly descend into darkness for this poor couple. Possessions and weird footage abound, and there’s no end to the creeps this film offers. Leaving viewers to catch everything the characters miss, the sense of helplessness this movie prompts made this an instant classic not soon forgotten.

#6: “The VVitch” (2015)

One of the few timeless fears is fear of the unknown. Taking place in 1600s New England, a family of puritans is struggling to survive in their secluded house in the woods. After their infant disappears, the finger is pointed at their daughter Thomasin, who’s believed to be a witch that’s cursed their family to suffer. With mystical happenings and mysterious strangers luring the family closer and closer to their ruin, and coincidences further incriminating Thomasin of witchcraft, the horrors of humanity surround her as her family tries to purify her of evil. Newcomer director Robert Eggers successfully created an atmosphere of terror, depicting historical events in a terrifying new light.

#5: “It Follows” (2014)

STDs are scary enough, but what if they actively tried to kill you? Jay scores an amazing date, but after sleeping with him, she soon finds out that she’s the target of a mysterious It. This entity starts to follow her, and there’s the added terror that it will kill her if it touches her. Forced to either die or pass it on through sex, she and her teenage friends sort out rules and make plans to escape the terrifying being. With cinematic and musical nods to horror masters like John Carpenter – as well as some of the most bone-chilling scenes in recent years – this quickly became a fan favorite.

#4: “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” (1974)

Meat is definitely murder in this gruesome tale. When a group of teens hops in a van to go to visit their old family home, they aren’t prepared for the gory terror that awaits them. After finding the neighbors’ house seemingly unattended, they soon get picked off one by one by the skin-masked Leatherface. With brutal impalement by meat hooks, furniture made from human bones and of course death by the titular chainsaw, this was one of the bloodiest affairs on film. Intensely gritty, the movie’s horror goes in many demented directions, ensuring you leave uncomfortable one way or another.

#3: “The Evil Dead” (1981)

Ever hear the one about some teens alone in the woods? After shacking up for a vacation in an old cabin, Ash and his friends accidently unleash evil upon themselves with a demonic book and some incantations. As they’re attacked and transformed by the vicious demons, as well as attacked by the trees outside, it becomes seemingly impossible to win or escape when even dismemberment doesn’t work anymore. Thanks to its low-budget ingenuity and endless amounts of blood, the film launched Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell to fame, and its ensuing sequels quickly turned the genre on its head through their comedic hijinks.

#2: “Halloween” (1978)

No one knows horror quite like John Carpenter. Back when he was filming on a more limited budget, Carpenter directed this story about teens that get stalked and killed by a masked lunatic on the one night everyone’s wearing masks. Following Laurie Strode as her friends drop like flies around her, she has to survive being hunted by the grizzly Michael Myers. With some creative kills, and one of the most haunting point-of-view sequences ever committed to celluloid, it quickly became a go-to for horror fans, and its referential love of the genre and eerie soundtrack by Carpenter himself certainly didn’t hurt.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “You’re Next” (2011)
- “Let the Right One In” (2008)
- “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night” (2014)

#1: “The Blair Witch Project” (1998)

This forefather of found-footage horror was so scary; even the screams of its stars were genuine. Film students hunting a legendary witch in the woods are bound to get themselves into trouble, but watching from their perspective was more than most viewers bargained for. Putting the audience in the middle of every scare, the mounting spooks perpetrated against the students during their camping trip get harder and harder to explain away, as it becomes clear something nefarious is afoot. With film crews creeping through the woods at night to scare the film’s stars, their fright was often real, as they had no idea what was happening.

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