Blumhouse Productions has become synonymous with mainstream horror movies. Perhaps it’s because founder Jason Blum’s business model has paid off. The company’s business model is to produce films on a small budget, grant their directors total creative freedom, and give those movies a wide release. Blum’s strategy has given audiences massive hits such as The Purge movies, Get Out and the Paranormal Activity franchise. The list expands way beyond these titles. However, not all Blumhouse movies have received the same level of love from audiences. We’re going to examine, in no particular order, the ten most underrated Blumhouse production movies.
1. Sinister (2012)
True-crime writer Ellison Oswald is so desperate to get out of his writer’s slump that he moves his family into the home of a murdered family, so he can solve and write about their deaths. He slowly realizes an evil supernatural force may have had a hand in their deaths, and his family may be next.
Sinister latches on to one of the known truths of the horror genre — kids are creepy. Okay, not all kids are scary, but a kid possessed/influenced by a supernatural entity is a fool-proof scare tactic. Possessed kids are far scarier than possessed adults. And without spoiling the plot, let’s just say Sinister really knows how to run with this idea and sticks the landing.
2. Creep (2014)
A videographer answers an advertisement for a man with terminal cancer who is looking for assistance to create a video diary for his unborn son. As they spend their day together, things suddenly take a turn for the bizarre.
Creep does so much with so little. It clocks in at under 90 minutes with just two cast members, and essentially one location. But with stellar writing, directing, and one hell of a performance from its antagonist, Creep rises to levels of tension and dread that big-budget horror films can only dream of.
3. Creep 2 (2017)
Sara is a video artist looking for work. She is contacted by Aaron — a man claiming to be a serial killer looking for an outlet for his tell-all.
On paper, Creep 2 is nearly identical to its predecessor. A low-budget, two-hander taking place in primarily one location. But somehow, this sequel brings just as many, if not more, tense and dread-filled moments to the screen. Co-writer and director Patrick Brice accomplishes the rare feat of making a sequel that is just as good as the first.
4. 13 Sins (2014)
Recently fired, debt-ridden Elliot agrees to participate in a game that has him carrying out a series of increasingly horrifying challenges.
So many Blumhouse movies are rooted in some kind of supernatural evil, however, 13 Sins is about a different kind of monster. The film examines what it takes to push an ordinary person in that territory. The evils that lurk inside of an everyman can often be scarier than any ghoul or demon we could dream up.
5. The Belko Experiment (2016)
80 employees show up for an average day of work at the Belko Corporation. Things take a turn for the dangerous when the doors suddenly lock, and a mysterious voice announces over a PA system that they must play a game of kill or be killed.
The Belko Experiment is pure, unbridled chaos. This one is perfect for fans of the grindhouse subgenre of horror. There is not a lot of story or character development here. It’s all mayhem.
6. Dark Skies (2013)
Lacy and Daniel live an average life in the suburbs with their two sons. After a series of dark and unexplained events, they realize that something terrifying, deadly and maybe even otherworldly has begun to target their family.
Dark Skies is a good, old-fashioned alien invasion movie. Many modern horror movies go high concept to try and set themselves apart in order to be scary in unexpected ways, so Dark Skies feels like a fun throwback. The film also offers a refreshing take on alien invasions. The visitors are not here to learn, and they’re not drawn to the family for some special reasons. The aliens simply chose a family at random and inflict chaos on their lives for the fun of it.
7. Truth or Dare (2018)
A group of college students travel to Mexico for an epic spring break trip. They meet a stranger who convinces them to play a seemingly innocent game of truth or dare. The group realizes the rules are a little more nefarious than meets the eye — tell the truth or die, do the dare or die, and if you stop playing, you die.
Truth or Dare is trashy fun. It’s a clever concept with some well-placed moments of tension, and a solid ending. It’s the perfect film for those looking to dip their toe in the horror genre, without diving all the way into the deep end.
8. Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)
Widowed mother Alice works as a spiritual medium, scamming grieving customers into finding peace. But when her daughter suggests she brings a Ouija board into her act, things become all too real.
This movie is actually a sequel to a film called Ouija. Its predecessor was considered a box office failure and slammed by critics, earning a measly 6% on Rotten Tomatoes. But Ouija: Origin of Evil was hailed by critics and fans alike, being called a vast improvement on the original. For comparison, it sits at 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. Every now and then, a sequel will end up being a better movie than its predecessor, but it’s so rare to see a sequel, especially in the horror genre, end up being this much better than the first.
9. Oculus (2013)
Kaylie and her brother Tim are haunted by the violent deaths of their parents a decade earlier. Each sibling coped in their own way. Kaylie obsessively researches a malevolent mirror that she is convinced played a large role in their deaths. Tim spent time at a psychiatric hospital, convinced there was no supernatural aspect to their parents’ deaths.
Oculus is a spooky good time. It’s eerie with just the right amount of jump scares. But the thing that sticks with you ias the last few minutes. For majority of the film, this story feels like it belongs to Kaylie. But the tables turn at the last minute and the story becomes Tim’s in an incredibly unnerving way.
10. Unfriended (2014)
One night, a group of teens log onto a Skype group chat. They are suddenly joined by a user whom none of them recognize. The mysterious user claims to be Laura Barns, a classmate who killed herself exactly one year prior. And she forces the friends to confront their darkest secrets and biggest lies.
2018’s Searching received attention for pulling off the gimmick of telling a story exclusively through screens in an incredibly compelling way. Unfriended may not have the same emotional punch as Searching, but it pulled off the gimmick first. Forcing characters to confront their own personal demons is always frightening realistic, but doing it against this backdrop is wildly entertaining.
Jason Blum and his production company has had its hand in at least 90 movies, so this is not an exhaustive list of the most overlooked movies in their catalogue. But as Blumhouse’s business model is to give low-budget films total creative freedom, horror fans likely can’t go wrong with any one of their movies.
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