Underrated and Under Appreciated Movies

Over the years I have watched quite a few movies, some good, some bad, and some down right terrible. I own over 1000 DVD’s, some of which were a waste of money but thankfully I discovered Netflix and have saved myself quite a bit of cash lately. So I figured I’d do a small rundown of some semi-mainstream/random movies that I feel are quite underrated and under appreciated today. Now these are just my opinions and you may think that some of the movies I’ve listed are actually great movies or maybe you think they are terrible, that’s your opinion. Some of these may just be low budget movies that never got the mainstream attention that maybe they deserved, but couldn’t afford. Or they could just be movies that I enjoyed and my friends didn’t like or maybe never even heard of.

Either way this is just a small list that I put together based on the movies I own (it was the easiest list of movies I have access to at the moment), so I’m sure there are other movies that I would agree with you on and if you post them in the comments I may amend my post here to include your suggestions. And of course I’ll give a little description of the movie and why I feel it was underrated. So head on through the jump and check out the list.

Automaton Transfusion
– Very low budget “zombie”-type movie. A group of kids find their town becoming over run with zombies and try to fight back. This movie seems to get a lot of flack, but I enjoyed it. Yeah the acting isn’t the greatest and it’s very low budget (similar to The Roost if you’ve seen that), but it was a cool zombie film with pretty good violence and gore.

Battle Royale
– This is one of many Foreign movies on this list, but I believe it’s being remade for the US (there was a movie called Condemned with Stone Cold Steve Austin that had a similar plot, but sucked). The movie is about a government taking 40+ delinquent kids from a school and sending them off to an island to kill each other. Each kid is given a bag of random stuff, some contain weapons some don’t, and the last person standing wins a ticket back into society. It’s pretty brutal and doesn’t skimp on the blood and it’s always a little unnerving to watching kids die or kill each other. It is foreign so it’s not in English which could have been the reason for it’s underrated-ness, but it’s definitely a great movie that you should check out.

Black Christmas
– Possibly the birth of the slasher film. Killer stalks a sorority house for reasons unknown. This was made before Freddy and Jason were introduced to the world and took the idea of a killer stalking teens to new levels. Some would say that Texas Chainsaw Massacre did this a little earlier in the same year, but I feel that the movies were quite different in their ideas. Black Christmas doesn’t give you any explanation or back story what so ever as to why the killer is killing people. It also made great use of the 1st person view, you actually felt like you were in the killer’s body as he stalked the sorority house. Personally I think it still holds up today, but with all these higher budget, big production Michael Bay horror movies coming out today, most kids are probably going to find this pretty dumb in comparison.

The Blair Witch Project
– Under appreciated now, but was ground breaking at the time. Three kids set out to make a documentary about the Blair Witch. They head to a small town and interview the towns people and then head out into the woods to see the actual landmarks for themselves. After losing their map they end up lost and never heard from again… until their film footage is found and that footage is what makes up the movie. I saw it in the theater and can remember loving every minute of it. It had gotten so much hype by the time it reached major theaters that the place was packed. At the conclusion of the movie I can remember not knowing if what I had just watched was an actual snuff film or not, but I was immediately a fan either way. It was also the first movie to run a successful viral marketing campaign on the internet which just added to the idea of it being actual real footage that was found. And at just over $25,000 to produce and film it originally (theatrical release was budgeted at closer to $750,000 after Artisan acquired it at Sundance) it is one of the most profitable movies of all time bringing in close to $250 million theatrically world wide.

– This is a Canadian horror/sci-fi movie that could have been where the writers of SAW got their idea from. The movie opens with people waking up to find themselves trapped inside a room (a cube), there is a door/hatch on each side and they have no clue how they got there. Eventually the people that a trapped find each other as each door leads to another cube, some of which have traps in them. The movie is then spent trying to figure out why they are there and how to get out. The movie itself is just downright cool, the first time I saw this I was just amazed by it. The whole movie was filmed inside just one “cube” that the producers built and to make it seem like it was a different one everytime they just lit it with different colors. This is one that I highly recommend to anyone that enjoys sci-fi/mystery/horror type movies.

District B13
– Another foreign flick, but this one doesn’t have a whole lot of engaging dialogue that you’ll need to read. Basically the cool thing about this one is the action and use of parkour throughout the movie. For those of you that don’t know what parkour is, it’s a form of freestyle running. Basically doing flips and running along walls, jumping from ledge to ledge, etc. The opening scene of Casino Royale had a bit of parkour in it and if you search youtube you can find some pretty ridiculous videos of people doing it. The basic plot of the movie is that some terrorist has stolen a large bomb and hidden it within District B13, which has been completely walled off by the government since it was overrun with crime and of course the lone cop is sent in to try to retrieve the bomb before it explodes. It’s a little bit of a change from your typical run and gun action movies of late and definitely worth checking out.

High Tension
(Haute Tension)
– I really enjoyed this one despite what a lot of other people thought. I had originally ordered the French version DVD to watch before it came out in theaters in the US and loved every minute of it. The story follows 2 girls as they head out to one of their parents house for the weekend to study. And in true horror fashion as soon as they start getting ready for bed there’s a knock on the door and the killings start. Now while I agree that what happens at the end is kind of a cop out to actually wrapping things up and coming up with a creative way to end it, the movie itself is still a great horror movie, it’s bloody, the killings are pretty intense and the suspense is there. If you’ve seen the movie you know what I’m talking about at the end, but if you haven’t don’t let the fact that I’m telling you the end is a little disappointing, keep you from seeing the movie.

– Mike Judge, creator of Beavis and Butthead, King of the Hill and of course Office Space, released this movie a couple years back and the studio hated it. The studio pretty much did everything they could to keep from releasing it in theaters, but luckily for Judge it spawned a huge following once it hit DVD. Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph star as 2 people that volunteered for a military experiment that was supposed to put them to sleep for like 10 years or so, but soon after they were put under the experiment lost funding and the 2 were forgotten. They awake 500 years in the future to a world that has basically become retarded. As American culture progressed, the smart people of the world were the ones waiting to have kids, having maybe one or two and that’s it, where as the dumb people of the world were just popping out dumb kids left and right. So in the end, 500 years later, the world’s population has becoming extremely stupid to the point where they have replaced all of the water with a sports drink similar to Gatorade called Brawndo. They use Brawndo for everything from drinking fountains to watering plants and yet they can’t figure out why the plants won’t grow. So obviously when Luke Wilson wakes up in this time period he is instantly dubbed the smartest man in the world and is supposed to be their savior. I thought this movie was hysterical and probably fairly accurate to the state of the world if educated people start to become the minority. Definitely worth a look.

The Orphanage
– This movie tried to ride the coat tails of the success of Pan’s Labyrinth by sticking Guillermo Del Toro’s name on it when in fact he was only the producer on the flick and not the actual writer or director. Despite the confusion, the movie itself was very creepy. It’s your typical haunted house type movie with creepy little kids running around. It is in Spanish, but the story is not hard to follow with the subtitles. Kids in horror movies are generally creepy, but this one just seemed to be able to make them even creepier. The atmosphere throughout the whole movie just gave me chills.

Pan’s Labyrinth
– Guillermo Del Toro is a genius, it’s as simple as that. I couldn’t believe when some of my friends said that they didn’t like this movie at all. The movie is about a little girl who uses her imagination to create a world outside of the real, war torn world around her. Del Toro creates an amazing fantastical world with some of the creepiest, most beautiful creatures you can ever imagine. It’s an amazing movie and one of my favorites. And while it did have relative success ($37 million total box office) I still feel as though it’s been under appreciated by people. How can you not love this movie…

– A guy and his girlfriend are going camping for the weekend for their anniversary when they are car jacked by some thug and his girlfriend. The 4 start driving and eventually the car starts to overheat forcing them to stop at a gas station, but what they discover at the gas station isn’t what they were expecting. Some sort of creature has infected the clerk working at the gas station and is now trying to kill them, but the only place they have to go is inside the gas station convenience store. I thought this movie was amazing, one of the better horror movies I’ve seen in the past couple years. It’s another lower budget movie, but not nearly as low budget as Automaton Transfusion, it actually stars that stoner guy from Road Trip. Again this is another one of those movies that didn’t get much recognition and not too many people have heard of, but definitely deserves more attention.

– Everyone knows Danny Boyle’s name now, but not really because of the movies he did prior to Slumdog Millionaire. Sunshine is about a group of scientists/astronauts that are sent on a mission to restart the sun. The sun is dying and the only way to save the world is to restart it using a huge nuclear device shot straight into it. Now I thought the movie was amazing start to finish, but a lot of people were disappointed in the last act as it turned into more of an “Event Horizon” type movie rather than just a sci-fi drama type movie ala 2001. And while I agree that the 3rd act was a little off compared to the rest of the movie, I still think it was overall a great movie and definitely under appreciated.

The Thing
– Kurt Russell stars in one of, if not, my favorite horror movies of all time. A group of scientist in Antarctica stumble upon an alien-type shape shifting creature that starts infecting them and killing them one by one. Just a great movie in general and definitely still holds up to viewings today. The special effects are incredible for the time and the overall suspense-fulness of the movie is amazing. This is one of those movies I can watch over and over and never be bored. I’m honestly not sure if this movie was underrated when it came out (as I wasn’t born), but I know that most of my friends have never seen it and I never saw it in the 80’s when I was watching Jason and Freddy hack and slash people up, so it feels like it may have gotten lost when the slasher genre starting picking up steam. If there’s one movie from this list that you’ll want to watch it’s this one.