So there are a lot of lists like this out there - of movies that the casual film goer probably hasn't seen. I'm making this here list for both the casual film goers and film-fanatics that are tired of reading lists of movies they actually have heard of before!
I'm not guaranteeing these are movies you won't have heard of - these are all extremely high quality films - but there's a fair chance you won't know any of the films mentioned below.
1. La Habitacion De Fermat [Fermat's Room]
In this high-concept Spanish thriller from 2006, four mathematicians are called to an isolated room in the countryside to solve the worlds greatest enigma. But there's one problem. The room is shrinking and will crush them all to death if they don't solve it in time.
While this may sound like something out of the (actually very good) 'torture-porn' horror film Saw, Fermat's Room is anything but. With absolutely stellar acting and tight plotting, Fermat's Room is well worth the 85 minutes of your time it will take.
2. Dark Skies
In this absolutely insane psychological horror film from 2013, aliens are portrayed in a new kind of light as they become more than "little green men" and become something that could truly haunt your nightmares…
Genuinely one of the most terrifying films I've seen, with one of the craziest endings in recent film history… reminiscent of The Shining in it's third act, this is an overlooked gem you won't regret watching.
3. Upstream Color
You may have heard the name Shane Carruth before, in association with his earlier film Primer - a low budget indie time travel sci-fi movie. Upstream Color, however, is a little harder to peg down: is it another low budget time travel film? A science movie? A romance? Hell, an arthouse exploitation film?
We don't know, other than that we love it.
4. Brzmienie Halausu [Sound of Noise]
Sound of Noise is a high-concept indie musical comedy from Sweden. I will say literally nothing more, because it will spoil way too much. Just go watch it. You won't regret it. A deconstruction of the pretentious critical crowd (AKA me), Sound of Noise is like nothing else you've ever seen before.
Gus Van Sant is not an easy filmmaker to pin down. Literally: who else would even attempt a shot-for-shot color remake of Psycho? Many believe that Elephant is one of his best films: loosely conceived around the Columbine massacre, Elephant is a film in which you know how it ends when you begin the film, you know what it's based around. But the difference here is that the film is so meticulously constructed (the film covers approximately a 15-30 minute time period over 90 minutes) that you almost - almost - forget why you started watching, until the bloodbath that closes the film sets in.
Absolutely one of the most controversial films on this list, it's one of the most realistic true-story films ever made.
6. Ivanovo Destovo [Ivan's Childhood]
Andrei Tarkovsky is perhaps the most beloved of all foreign-film directors, and Ivan's Childhood is his first film, and arguably his most entertaining. To give much more than this away would be a crime, but Ivan's Childhood is a true cinematic experience - if you watch and enjoy this, Tarkovsky's later films Solaris, Stalker and Andrei Rublev are worth watching as well.
Compliance is perhaps the most exhausting film you will ever see. It's a tough watch; no matter whose end of the story you're on. Dreama Walker and Ann Dowd both deliver knock-out performances in this inspired-by-a-true-story film directed by Craig Zobel based around a prank-caller who ended up committing multiple acts of sexual abuse.
The tension builds perfectly to an unnerving conclusion which will stay on your mind for days after viewing.
8. The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog
One of Alfred Hitchcock's earliest films, The Lodger is arguably on par with some of Hitchcock's classic films such as Psycho, Rear Window or Vertigo. Following a family who take in a new lodger to stay with them who fits the description of a Jack-the-Ripper-like murderer on the loose as they try to work out whether the newcomer is dangerous or not. Perhaps the most underrated, underheard of Silent Films ever made, The Lodger uses some of the most creating camera techniques in cinema history.
9. The Babadook
This entry is sorta cheating. Because you know. The movie isn't out yet. Seeing as I viewed it as part of the NZ International Film Festival this year, I've been itching to rewatch it. But it's nowhere. As soon as it comes out in your area, be it on DVD or in theaters (ok, Australia, you win, seeing as you already have it) go watch it - it's one of the most unique horror films of the 21st century so far, and indeed of all time.
10. Mr. Nobody
To tell you anything other than the title, poster, or trailer would be a crime. While Mr Nobody is not a film that succeeds on every front, it's certainly one of - if not the - most ambitious films of all time. So, without saying any more, take a look at the trailer for this gem of a film: