Five Scary Horror Movies That Are Underrated, Including The Disturbing And Thought-Provoking ‘Martyrs’

'Martyrs' is not for the faint of heart, but for those who can make it to the end, the climax is unforgettable.

Triangle, one of the underrated and scary horror movies.
Icon Film Distribution

'Martyrs' is not for the faint of heart, but for those who can make it to the end, the climax is unforgettable.

If you’re looking for the best horror movies that you may have missed, there are some scary and underrated features that are well worth the watch. Whether you’re in the mood for a slasher or a scary tale of the supernatural, the horror movies listed below will likely feature a title that will suit your mood. The horror gems listed below are available on most popular VOD platforms.

Thesis (Also known as Tesis)

Co-written and directed by Alejandro Amenabar, Thesis stars Eduardo Noriega, Ana Torrent, and Xabier Elorriaga.

This 1996 Spanish horror picture tells the story of Angela (Torrent), a film student writing a thesis about violence in movies. A student adviser helps Angela’s research by searching the university’s film vault, and he discovers a secret room where he finds an unmarked video cassette.

The adviser watches the tape, and it turns out to be a snuff film that shows a young woman being brutally tortured and killed. The footage is so terrifying that the adviser drops dead from heart failure while watching it. Angela finds the cassette, and while investigating the footage, she discovers that the victim was a former student at her school.

Unnerving, thought-provoking, and scary, this is exactly what Nicholas Cage’s 8MM should have been. This gripping tale is more than just scary, it has a decent mystery that viewers will enjoy trying to solve. Angela suspects several people could be the killer, and her investigation leads her and the audience to a few unsuspecting twists.

Thesis, one of the underrated and scary horror movies.
  Vanguard Cinema

The Taking of Deborah Logan

If you’re craving more horror movies centered on a student’s thesis after the previous selection, then you’re in luck. Directed by Adam Robitel and produced by Bryan Singer, the film stars Jill Larson, Michelle Ang, Anne Elizabeth Ramsay, Ryan Cutrona, and Anne Bedian.

An elderly woman, Deborah (Larson), is battling Alzheimer’s disease. She agrees to let Mia (Ang) film her and her daughter, Sarah (Ramsey), for Mia’s PhD thesis. Unusual things start to happen around Deborah that are far from the usual findings about Alzheimer’s. It soon becomes clear that something else has taken control of the elderly woman, and it’s far more evil and scary than the incapacitating disease with which she was first diagnosed.

This 2014 feature is one of the few found-footage horror movies that really hits the mark. Usually, the subgenre is filled with redundant and generic titles. This film is hardly unique, but it’s so well acted and delivered that it’s a must-watch for horror fans. There are parts of the movie that lack logic, but not so much that it diminishes the scary sequences, the chilling imagery, and the overall story.

One of the scary and underrated horror movies, The Taking of Deborah Logan.
  Millennium Entertainment

Martyrs

This polarizing French film is the most disturbing title on this list. Written and directed by Pascal Laugier, this 2008 selection stars Morjana Alaoui, Mylene Jampanoi, and Catherine Begin.

IMDb provides the premise for one of the most unnerving horror movies of the last decade.

“Fifteen years after a horrifying experience of abduction and prolonged torture, Lucie embarks on a bloody quest for revenge against her oppressors. Along with her childhood friend, Anna, who also suffered abuse, she quickly descends, without hope, into madness and her own delusions. Anna, left on her own begins to re-experience what Lucie did when she was only twelve years old.”

Horror movies that graphically depict torture often offer little more than just needless gore and disturbing imagery, but with a powerful message and a deep story, Martyrs is one of the few exceptions. If you can handle very graphic horror movies and uncompromising gore, then this is a must-watch. If you normally pass on such films, then you should definitely skip this one. But for those who can make it to the end of the horror flick, the climax and message is one that won’t soon be forgotten. But again, be warned, this is not for the faint of heart.

Martyrs, one of the underrated and scary horror movies.
  Wild Bunch Distribution

Them

Available on VOD and Amazon Prime, this French-Romanian horror film is the scariest feature on this list. Co-written and co-directed by David Moreau and Xavier Palud, Them stars Olivia Bonamy and Michael Cohen.

With “fresh” scores from both critics and audiences alike, Rotten Tomatoes describes one of the best horror movies from 2007.

“A young couple lead a happy, quiet life in the countryside. But little do they know they’re being surrounded. When night falls, the couple will come face to face with THEM. They are everywhere, even in their home. Who are they? What do they want? The answers will take them to the very limits of fear itself.”

Like the found-footage subgenre, home-invasion horror are often generic and redundant. Once you watch this gem, it’ll be pretty clear that this was the film that so many other horror movies attempted to emulate. Even if you’re not a fan of subtitled horror films, there’s little dialogue in Them, so that shouldn’t be much of an issue. The tension builds quickly in this 76-minute scary feature, and viewers will likely find themselves on the edge of their seat through most of it.

Triangle

Written and directed by Christopher Smith VIII, Triangle stars Melissa George, Michael Dorman, Rachael Carpani, Emma Lung, Liam Hemsworth, and Henry Nixon.

A group of passengers on a yachting trip suffer an accident and take refuge on a cruise drifting nearby. Unfortunately, they soon realize they were better off on the wrecked and upturned yacht.

Not to be confused with 2016’s The Triangle, this 2009 feature is one of the most underrated and best horror movies of the mid-2000s. No matter where you search, a brief premise similar to the one above will likely be found, and that’s by design. The less you know about this feature the better, and the trailer reveals way too much information, so avoid that preview no matter what.

Triangle features great directing and excellent performances from the cast, and it features a story filled with several unsuspecting twists. This is not one of those horror movies that you can casually watch. If you don’t pay close attention to the story, then you will likely become lost by the end. The climax packs a punch that makes this a rewatchable film, and each revisit should reveal another intriguing antidote to the story.

Triangle, one of the underrated and scary horror movies.
  Icon Film Distribution

From Thesis to Triangle, some of the scariest and best horror movies are underrated gems.