10th: Apartment 1303 (2007)
Apartment 1303 is a Nippon film revolving around Mariko (Noriko Nakagoshi), a girl who tries to solve the mystery behind her sister Sayaka’s sudden death and the suicides occurring in her apartment, while trying to survive herself.
The Ghosts of Past Tenants
During her investigation, Mariko starts seeing Sayaka’s ghost and discovers clues that lead her to the secret of apartment 1303. She finds out that the first two tenants – a mother and a daughter – died tragically.
After moving in, the two lived a peaceful life, but soon the mother started behaving abusive towards her daughter and even ripped the girl’s earrings out of her ears. Tormented, the daughter killed the mother and then committed suicide, this way placing a curse on the apartment.
There Hoes Another One
All the following people who lived in the two women’s former home end up being hunted and murdered and Mariko realizes that Sayaka was no exception.
With the help of a detective, Mariko tries her best to prevent anyone from moving in and to put an end to the murders and haunting. Does she succeed? Does she fail? Watch Apartment 1303 and you’ll find out!
Fighting the Cons
If you hear bad things and read negative reviews about Apartment 1303, they all refer to the 2012 American-Canadian. Not all remakes are good and this one is a failure compared to the original Japanese version.
9th: The Innocents (1961)
Nothing beats an old black and white haunted film. Based on the novella “The Turn of the Screw”, directed by Jack Clayton and with Deborah Kerr as the leading actress, The Innocents is a British gothic horror movie which follows Miss Giddens (Kerr) as she becomes the governess to two orphans, Flora and Miles.
The children are under the care of their rich uncle (Michael Redgrave), but his lack of interest towards the two pushes him to hire Miss Giddens. While the woman connects with the children, she discovers that their beautiful country estate is filled with disturbing ghastly secrets. And once you see things, you can never unsee them.
Poor Rich Kids
Between Miss Giddens and Flora forges a friendship and, shortly after her arrival, the boy, Miles, comes back from boarding school after being expelled.
Miles seems a friendly and polite boy incapable of any bad manners, but soon his sister and he start behaving oddly and improperly, sharing a secret which their governess is willing to discover as soon as possible.
Do They Ever Return to Possess the Living?
Upset by the orphans’ mystery and starting hearing unexplained voices and seeing faces, Miss Giddens is informed by Mrs. Grose (Megs Jenkins), the housekeeper, about the disturbing relationship and tragic fate of the previous governess, Miss Jessel, and the uncle’s valet, Peter Quint.
Eerie voices, cries for help, locked doors, ghastly apparitions and an invocation everything leads Miss Giddens to conclude that not only the estate is haunted, but the two ghosts are possessing the orphans’ bodies. And she is the only one who can stop them.
Fighting the Cons
Not everyone appreciates a classical movie. The lack of typical jump scares and its horrifying plot twists and allusions might not be what people search for nowadays, but at the same time, people are tired of the same modern plots and settings.
“The Innocent” is exactly the movie that a horror movie lover needs to watch in his life time. And the sooner, the better.
8th: The Uninvited (2009)
The Uninvited is an American adaptation after the South Korean psychological horror “A Tale of Two Sisters”. The story follows Anna (Emily Browning), a young woman who was institutionalized in a mental hospital after the death of her mother and a suicide attempt.
Back home to her sister Alex (Arielle Kebbel), father and his new lover, Anna tries to cope with the idea that her mother was replaced and that she needs to live on.
The Cat Among the Pigeons
If Anna is calm around her father and his girlfriend, Rachel (Elizabeth Banks), her sister is not. Alex doesn’t hesitate accusing them of having an affair since back then when their mother was still alive and Rachel was her nurse.
Although constantly ignored by the others, Alex manages to convince her sister that Rachel is not what she seems and that Anna’s hallucinations are messages from beyond meant to warn them about Rachel.
With no memories from the night of her mother’s death, but with nightmares revealing clues and with her old boyfriend Matt being the only one who knows the truth and is willing to tell her, Anna seems closer to finding more missing puzzle pieces.
But, when her boyfriend doesn’t come to their meeting and is later found to have drowned, Anna realizes that things are far worse than she thought. Matt might not have died accidentally and neither did her mother.
Fighting the Cons
While watching the first half of this movie, one might assume it is just a drama or a psychological thriller. The lack of patience might lead you to miss the actual plot twists from the final minutes. Who is Rachel in reality? What is the truth behind the death of the two girls’ mother? Who is haunting Anna? You will know everything only when you’ll see The Uninvited.
7th: 1408 (2007)
1408 is a psychological horror film based on Stephen King’s eponymous short story. The movie centers on Mike Enslin (John Cusack) an author who, after the death of his daughter, started writing novels meant to destroy any supernatural myth. In search of a new subject, Enslin is drawn to The Dolphin hotel in New York and its infamous Room 1408.
56 Dead People and Counting
If The Dolphin hotel and Room 1408 are famous for something, that is for the number of 56 deaths in 95 years and the fact that no one lasts more than one hour inside the grisly chamber.
Unimpressed by the warnings of the hotel manager, Gerald Olin (Samuel L. Jackson), Enslin adventures himself insisting on proving that everything is just a scam.
It’s Not Just Publicity
While staying in 1408, the author experiences strange encounters – the clock radio suddenly starts playing a song, the sprinklers are activated out of the blue, spectral hallucinations of the room’s other victims and of his daughter appear to haunt him, the temperature drops and the rooms shakes violently.
Whether or not it is everything just part of his imagination, the result of some intoxication or great special effects or if the room is actually haunted, it is up to Mike Enslin to discover and to release himself from the most terrifying place in New York City.
Fighting the Cons
The skepticism of Mike Enslin can become tiresome as he later seems to ignore his own theories, but the themes and the Hitchcock-like setting are a great change and a mouth of fresh air to the horror genre.