As The Black Phone drops into cinemas, we’re looking back and nailing down what the best Blumhouse horror films are.
Blumhouse Productions is a studio renowned for its horror films. Along with A24, Jason Blum’s production company is arguably the leader in popular horror today. While certainly an intrinsic part of the genre’s contemporary makeup, its reputation is admittedly mixed. It’s undoubtedly brought audiences some of the century’s most loved new horror films, but Blumhouse is also guilty of cashing in on low-quality, conveyor belt style genre offerings.
The latest of their films to be released is Scott Derrickson’s The Black Phone, which has already been likened to some classic Stephen King adaptations. Time will tell whether or not Derrickson’s latest film becomes a frightening fan favourite or a tactless studio cash grab. But new releases aside, what are the best Blumhouse horror films to watch right now?
Unfriended: Dark Web
With cryptocurrency, NFTs and the dawn of Web3 becoming increasingly inescapable in our everyday online lives, it’s interesting to reflect on the darker side of modern technology in the underappreciated sequel, Unfriended: Dark Web. In a complete departure in tone from its supernatural predecessor, this screen-life horror film lets audiences in on the genuine horrors of the dark web. Many features that serve as crucial components of its story are increasingly creeping their way into our technology and culture today. It’s intriguing and somewhat unnerving to see how far we’ve come in the short time since the film was released. But considering where we might be in the near future is maybe even scarier.
The man behind the screenplays for the first three Saw films, Leigh Whannell, really captured audiences’ attention with his sci-fi action Upgrade, a film that leans heavily into the horror genre. His eye for directing a killer action scene and his inclusion of shocking and graphic violence make Upgrade the wildest of rides. It’s unsurprising then that Whannell is in talks to direct The Green Hornet and Kato for Universal.
When his work on Upgrade is considered, the action possibilities he could bring to these popular characters is an incredibly exciting prospect. It might be easy to dismiss a man known mostly for his work in the horror genre for such a project, but we challenge anyone to watch Upgrade and tell us he’s not a good fit.
The Invisible Man
Whilst you’re at it you should definitely check out Whannell’s The Invisible Man, which is unquestionably his best film to date. Ramping up the terror he tapped into with Upgrade, Whannel creates a nerve-shredding reimagining of the classic horror tale. His use of technology which he makes intrinsic to the plot updates the narrative perfectly, whilst never compromising on the atmosphere, which is actually enhanced by this modernisation. Elisabeth Moss is spectacular as the film’s lead, portraying a woman abused physically and emotionally. With cinema now flooded with countless female revenge flicks in the wake of the #MeToo era, this is one that demands to be seen.
The Belko Experiment
Whilst before the pandemic working from home would have been an alien concept to most, now it’s a fully established part of vocational life. The debate rages on about whether or not it’s time to return to the office, with many people having already begun the transition. But wait, not so fast! Maybe give The Belko Experiment a watch first. In this gnarly, high-concept horror an entire office block is sealed off and the workforce is commanded to kill each other. Suddenly there’s the possibility of revenge against that coworker who used your mug, the supervisor who doesn’t know the difference between a meeting and an email, or even your horrible boss who does no work but takes all the credit. However, give this film a watch and we think you’ll end up being more than content staying home where the biggest horror you’re likely to encounter is a zoom call.
Happy Death Day
Who’s got the patience for a time loop movie anymore? Surely they’re repetitive and done to death by this point? Rewind back to 2017 and Christopher Landon’s time loop slasher Happy Death Day reminded us that maybe there is hope for this exhaustive genre yet. His trashy slasher has been coined as Scream meets Groundhog Day and it still feels as fresh as it did upon its release. It even garnered a sequel, Happy Death Day 2U and whilst there are no official plans for a third chapter to the time loop series, Jason Blum has recently confirmed that it’s still very much a possibility. With that in mind it might be an idea to turn back time and relive Happy Death Day again…and again…and again…
Since we’ve already mentioned Landon, we should also talk about his upcoming remake of Arachnophobia. After being announced as the director, he’s admitted he’s potentially ill-fitted for the job, considering his fear of the eight-legged freaks. Consequently then, it couldn’t hurt to explore some of his other work.
Look no further than his body-swap horror-comedy, Freaky. Starring Vince Vaughn as a serial killer who swaps bodies with a high school student played by Kathyrn Newton, this genre mash-up is good old-fashioned nasty fun. Landon really perfects the tone and if he can bring this same balance of fun and frights to his upcoming Arachnophobia remake, we’re all in for a treat, although maybe not if like Landon, you’re also an arachnophobe.
Let’s face it, it’s always a good time to watch Get Out. Jordan Peele’s outstanding directorial debut is arguably the all-time greatest film to be produced by Blumhouse. Introducing much of the world to Peele’s genius, including his razor-sharp social commentary, it became a huge commercial success and even more impressively it made waves on the awards circuit. This is usually something that’s unheard of for a film from the horror genre, yet It was nominated for four Oscars with Peele eventually winning for Best Original Screenplay. With his third feature film, Nope in UK cinemas this August there’s no better time to revisit the film that set him on his impressive horror genre career trajectory. It’s so good we’d recommend it twice, or maybe even a third time if we could.
What are your favourite Blumhouse horror films? Let us know over on our Twitter.