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The Best Overlooked Horror & Halloween Movies on Netflix

Jared Jones | 31 Oct 2015 15:00
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The Sacrament

Speaking of "cult" films, Ti West's The Sacrament is about as straight-forward a foray into the cult subgenre of horror as it gets (almost to a fault in terms of how its story resolves, unfortunately). Based heavily on the events of the Jonestown massacre, The Sacrament centers around a mysterious religious commune run by a charismatic, incredibly Southern (aren't they always) leader known simply as "Father," who wouldn't you know, isn't exactly what he seems.

I won't say much as to how The Sacrament unfolds, but I will say that West displays much of the same knack for subtle, suspense-building that he displayed in House of the Devil - a fact made all the more incredible by the fact that The Sacrament is shot in the much maligned "found footage" style that has been a go-to for hacky, low budget thrillers ever since The Blair Witch Project.


A loose adaptation of Tony Burgess' 1998 novel Pontypool Changes Everything, Pontypool tells the story of Grant Mazzy, a former shock jock turned morning radio show host, who becomes trapped in his studio during a mass hysteria event. While that may sound like every "single setting" zombie movie ever made, Pontypool is anything but. For starters, the "zombies" in question are not the dead risen or really dead at all, but rather people who have fallen victim to a strange disease that spreads through infected words, slowly consuming their minds and driving them insane.

But beyond that, Pontypool is unique in use of restraint over excess to instill fear, an increasingly foreign concept in an era of horror filmmaking that has practically become defined by the jump scare. The entirety of Pontypool takes places from inside Mazzy's studio, shielding the protagonist -- and by extension, the viewer -- from the carnage outside, which both heightens the violence that does occur and allows the film to build as one massive crescendo until its destructive and revelatory final moments.

Capturing much of the vibe that made Burgess' novel such a unique read (perhaps because the screenplay was written by Burgess himself), Pontypool is an at times silly, at times terrifying, and always disorienting film that redefines the possibilities of the zombie genre beyond, say, adding boy scouts into the mix.

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