It seems like virtually every horror movie released nowadays is all about graphic, gory violence and little else. Here are some horror films for the viewer who wants a film that’s more thought-provoking than nausea-inducing. These films feature some surprisingly big-name actors and directors. Note: descriptions are all from IMDB.
Ravenous (R, 4/5 stars, closed captions available, currently priced at $2.99 to rent in SD, $3.99 to rent in HD, $9.99 to buy in SD and $14.99 to buy in HD)
Captain John Boyd (Guy Pearce) receives a promotion after defeating the enemy command in a battle of the Mexican-American War, but because the general realizes it was an act of cowardice that got him there, he is given a backhanded promotion to Fort Spencer, where he is third in command.
The others at the fort are two Indians, George and his sister, Martha, who came with the place, Chaplain Toffler (Jeremy Davies), Reich, the soldier; Cleaves, a drugged-up cook; and Knox, who is frequently drunk. When a Scottish stranger named Colquhoun (Robert Carlyle) appears and recovers from frostbite almost instantly after being bathed, he tells a story about his party leader, Ives, eating members of the party to survive.
As part of their duty, they must go up to the cave where this occurred to see if any have survived. Only Martha, Knox, and Cleaves stay behind. George warns that since Colquhoun admits to eating human flesh, he must be a Wendigo, a ravenous cannibalistic creature. - Written by Scott Hutchins
Angel Heart (4.5/5 stars, closed captions available, currently priced at $2.99 to rent in SD, $3.99 to rent in HD)- directed by Alan Parker.
It’s 1955. Small time New York City gumshoe Harry Angel (Mickey Rourke) is hired through a law firm by a mysterious man named Louis Cyphre (Robert DeNiro). Cyphre tells Harry that choosing him as the private investigator for this case was by no accident despite Harry not knowing who Cyphre is or in turn Cyphre not directly stating why he chose Harry. The case is to locate a man by the name of Johnny Favorite, a popular singer before World War II, who served in the war and supposedly was institutionalized due to his injuries since, although Cyphre has not seen Favorite during that time.
As Harry progresses through the case, he doesn’t quite trust Cyphre as every step Harry takes leads to people angry about his questions and/or who want to beat him. Johnny’s associates are highly populated by those into mysticism and particularly voodoo, which takes Harry to New Orleans. As Harry continues his investigation, one by one, the people he interviews turn up dead. Although Harry isn’t sure if he wants to continue with the case, he does so if only to satisfy his own curiosity as to Johnny’s whereabouts and why Cyphre wants to find him. - Written by Huggo
Jacob’s Ladder (R, 4.5/5 stars, closed captions available, currently priced at $9.99 to buy in SD, $14.99 to buy in HD, currently FREE for Amazon Prime members to view) – directed by Adrian Lyne.
New York postal worker Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins) is trying to keep his frayed life from unraveling. His days are increasingly being invaded by flashbacks to his first marriage, his now-dead son, and his tour of duty in Vietnam.
Although his new wife tries to help Jacob keep his grip on sanity, the line between reality and delusion is steadily growing more and more uncertain. - Written by Jean-Marc Rocher
Dead Ringers (R, 4.5/5 stars, closed captions available, currently priced at $2.99 to rent in SD, $3.99 to rent in HD, $9.99 to buy in SD, $15.49 to buy in HD) – directed by David Cronenberg.
One Amazon reviewer says:
The film is actually inspired [by] actual events (how much of this twisted tale is truth and how much is embellishment I wonder), chronically the rather bizarre behavior of a pair of identical twin gynecologists [both played by Jeremy Irons] who traded identities, lovers and, well…everything during their career. Beverly is the more prudish yet obviously more impressionable brother, and Elliot is the more suave, morally despicable one. When they both wind up [in love with] the same actress, things get heavy and soon Beverly is slipping off the deep end, allowing his newfound obsession to control his every waking thought. Elliot, dissolving under his own breed of selfishness, snaps at the fibers of his brothers sanity by pushing him too far in areas he doesn’t quite realize are `dangerous’, attempting to help him in ways he knows will leave him most satisfied.
It doesn’t work.
…my love for the film is eclipsed by my respect and admiration for everything Jeremy Irons pulled out of himself for this film. He really goes there, fully fleshing out two completely different yet similarly lost souls, giving them enough shades of difference to highlight their individual declines. It is a stunning work of art, one that grows stronger and stronger with each passing frame.
In the end I highly recommend this film. It is disturbing yet intoxicatingly so, showing a mature side of Cronenberg; a side I haven’t often seen.