Before Netflix’s Ghoul, watch horror pioneer Blumhouse’s 5 best films

Before you watch Netflix’s latest Indian original series Ghoul, familiarise yourself with the unique brand of horror that Blumhouse has pioneered.

tv Updated: Aug 22, 2018 10:13 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Radhika Apte stars in Ghoul, her third Netflix original, after Lust Stories and Sacred Games.

Netflix’s upcoming Indian original series, Ghoul, is notable for many reasons, one of which is that it is the first in the exciting collaboration between India’s Phantom Films and the horror pioneers, Blumhouse.

Both production houses are united by similar philosophies that champion filmmakers above everything else. And both have been disrupting traditional distribution models in their respective countries over the years. Blumhouse has seen major success in the horror genre thanks to the fresh directorial voices in their stable, innovative marketing, and targeted releases that focus on horror fans.

What began in 2007, when Jason Blum spotted potential in Paranormal Activity and was instrumental in making it a global smash hit, has resulted in more dramatic fare. Blum has two Academy Award nominations under his belt, one each for Whiplash and the recent Get Out.

Ghoul is similar to Get Out - and fellow Blumhouse hit The Purge - in many ways, in that it uses horror as a means to make meaningful social commentary about the world.

So here are five horror films by the prolific studio - excluding the more popular ones - that you should watch before (or after) Ghoul’s release on Friday.

Creep

At a time when the found footage subgenre was being talked about as a passing fad - and admittedly, as far as mainstream horror was concerned, it was - along came a precious little movie called Creep, a twist on the serial killer genre. Like most of Mark Duplass’ works, it was a mishmash of tones and themes, equally dark and funny. But its most impressive feat was that it really understood the immediacy that the found footage style of filmmaking brings to a story.

The Gift

Besides making more micro-budget hits than any other active studio, Blumhouse also has a knack for finding strong directorial voices. We’ll talk about Mike Flanagan shortly, but the studio has also given directors such as James DeMonaco and Jordan Peele an outlet, as well as veteran filmmakers such as Scott Derrickson and M Night Shyamalan a new lease. The Gift is a psychological thriller from actor Joel Edgerton, who made his directorial debut with the film, about a psycho stalker who seeks revenge on the man who bullied him in high school.

Unfriended

Producer/director Timur Bekmambetov recently made a curious declaration. Like the micro-budget version of James Cameron, Bekmambetov said that he would henceforth make only one kind of movie. Just like Cameron has said that he will only direct Avatar sequels from now on, Bekmambetov said that he plans to make a dozen movies set entirely inside a computer screen. And it all began with the brilliantly subversive slasher Unfriended, about a group of teenagers who may or may not have been complicit in a friend’s death.

Ouija: Origin of Evil

Director Mike Flanagan is one of the most creative horror filmmakers working today. He previously collaborated with Blumhouse on Oculus and Hush. Ouija: Origin of Evil is one of those rare horror sequels that significantly improved upon their predecessors - thanks mostly to Flanagan.

In a Valley of Violence

Just to mix things up, here’s a non-horror film to cap this list off. It’s curious then that director Ti West is known mostly for his small horror pictures, those that would be perfect for Blumhouse. But this one is a Western, a sort of period version of John Wick, starring Ethan Hawke and a fabulously over-the-top John Travolta.

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First Published: Aug 22, 2018 10:08 IST