Editor reviews his top Sundance horror films

Index+Editor+Brendan+Swogger+traveled+to+the+Sundance+Film+Festival+during+winter+term.

Brendan Swogger

Index Editor Brendan Swogger traveled to the Sundance Film Festival during winter term.

Brendan Swogger, Student Life Editor

I’m a huge horror movie nerd, so when I got the chance to go to the Sundance Film Festival this year as part of one of Pacific’s travel study courses, I was beyond excited. Some of my favorite horror films have premiered at Sundance (Hereditary, The Witch, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night) so the possibility of getting to see my next favorite film in Park City was a dream I couldn’t wait to make reality. I was fortunately not disappointed by what this year’s slate of films had in store. For any other horror buffs out there, here are three films to keep on your radar this year…

The Night House dir. David Bruckner

I’m not usually big into jump scares in horror movies. I think a lot of times they can be overdone and a bit pointless. But The Night House proved that a good jump scare can deliver just the exact pump of adrenaline needed to accent the atmosphere and create a truly tense scene. Though the plot of Brucker’s film gets a bit muddled with it’s excess of twists and turns throughout, there’s no denying that the atmosphere he creates–jump scares and all–will make The Night House one of the most terrifying films of 2020.

His House dir. Remi Weekes

This was the first film I saw at Sundance this year, and boy was it a great way to kick things off. Weekes’ debut feature looks at the trauma and struggles refugees face in finding home after the perils of escape, and packages it in an ingenious, tense, and darkly beautiful haunted house story. If you’re a fan of Jordan Peele’s Us or Get Out, this one should definitely be on your radar. The final scene will stick with you for a while. Find it on Netflix later this year.

Relic dir. Natalie Erika James

I cannot give this movie enough praise. As I said, one of my favorite films of all time is Ari Aster’s Hereditary, and from the very first scenes of Relic, it reminded me of everything I loved so much about that film. With a part family drama and part haunted house chiller, director Natalie Erika James explores the pains of watching a loved one fall victim to Alzheimer’s,  inspired by her own grandmother’s battle with the disease. The way she explores the heartbreak of the situation while packaging it all in a truly terrifying horror plot is nothing short of brilliant.