REC (2007): If you’re freaked out by movies that use tight spaces and darkness as devices to ratchet up the suspense, you’ll definitely enjoy REC. This Spanish horror flick inspired the really good shot-for-shot U.S. remake, Quarantine. For more chills, however, the Spanish version is the way to go. One of the better films that use the first-person “shaky-cam” genre, it takes place in an apartment building where a TV reporter and her cameraman have gone to investigate an outbreak of an unknown origin. The scares begin when they’re locked into the building with residents and rescue workers by the government. As more of the locked in characters become infected with a virus and begin attacking each other, the chills amp up. You’ll never look at your neighbors the same way again.
The Orphanage (2007): Another film that was remade in the States. Unlike the American remake of REC, however, this one is superior and remains the one to watch. A couple and their child return to the wife’s home, an orphanage where she grew up. As with most ghost stories, this where things start to go wrong. The son starts talking to imaginary kids, the history of the house begins to wreak havoc on the marriage and the well-being of everyone now there and outsiders with hidden agendas show up. Plus, the “imaginary” kid wears a sack like the lead psycho in The Strangers. It’s definitely scary stuff, but with an ending so depressing that it takes the genre to another level. Not just one of the best horror movies to come out of Spain, but one of the best, period. (Available on Netflix streaming.)
So there you have it. Hopefully these films can get you through Devil’s Night until the last minutes of Halloween night. That is, unless the yellow SpongeBob outfit’s cries become too much. If that’s the case, put down the special candy and put on another movie!