Top Ten Blumhouse Productions

Jason Blum and his corresponding production company, Blumhouse, have been a dominating force in the world of indies and indie-horror since its first film debuted in 2000, with 62 releases to date. New coming and seemingly washed up filmmakers have had their start with Jason Blum behind them, and their film’s almost always do well; critically and fiscally. With the release of Insidious: The Last Key (read our review here) this weekend, let’s look back over the past nine years of the studios filmography and select the Top Ten Blumhouse Productions:

*I, unfortunately, have yet to see The Belko Experiment nor In a Vlley of ViolenceI’m looking forward to, just with such a push to see 2017 films to make my Top Ten Films of 2017 list, I do not think I will find the time.

10. The Purge: Anarchy  

Throughout The Purge all I could think about was how badly I wanted to leave the uninteresting story that was Ethan Hawke and his family and go see the rest of the country on the night. Well, director James DeMonaco heard my concern and a year later gave us a sequel that was more about the night than the family. The idea of the Purge is such a unique idea and one that is horrifying and though-provoking when experienced.

9. The Bay

The Bay is a under-seen found-footage horror flick that responded well with critics but not with audiences. Legendary director Barry Levinson left his comfort zone of Oscar-bait to dip his toe into horror. Beware to dip that toe, though, because the water may be contaminated with a flesh-eating parasite much like the water in the film. It may not reshape found-footage as we know it, but it’s a fun and gory sci-fi/horror flick that deserves more praise than it currently has.

8. Split

Split was a much welcomed surprise, as many didn’t know if M. Night Shyamalan would be able to keep his return going after his positively reviewed The Visit. Consisting of a great performance by Anya Taylor-Joy and a career-defining performance by James McAvoy; the thriller was a well-made film, even containing his patented Shyamalan twist.

7. Paranormal Activity 3

After a disappointing sequel, Oren Peli’s franchise brought us back to true scares with the third film in the saga. The comical breaks between the terror makes it much more than what many of PA’s sequels had become. Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman went on to direct one of the worst reviewed efforts, Paranormal Actitivty 4, but will still be remembered by the breathe of fresh air they gave us.

6. Insidious 

With Saw and Dead Silence under his belt from a half decade prior, James Wan was no stranger to horror. Insidious, though, was his first in the genre of supernatural, and what a divergence it was. A leading pair of veteran actors with Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson helped give authenticity to the story, while the tone brought by Wan was peculiar but welcomed. Production design of the “further” mixed with the dreadfulness of the “Lipstick Faced Demon” culminated in a horror classic that has spawned three sequels.

5.  Paranormal Activity

Thought to be the cause of the resurgence which was the “Found Footage” film, Paranormal Activity had a campaign unlike any other. Made for $15,000 and only brought to theatres after a YouTube movement “demanded it”. A $107.9 million U.S. take in proved that demanding it was something that audiences ultimately wanted. The lack of score and early myth that it may not be fabricated helped give the film five (nearly unwanted) sequels; though no one will forget the event that was the original scare.

4. Get Out

On almost every critic’s top ten of the year list, holding a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, and having a good chance to be one of the first horror Oscar nominees for best picture since The Sixth Sense makes Get Out something truly special and one of the highest highs of Jason Blum’s career. Director Jordan Peele created a genre with the “social-conscious thriller” and took the horror world by storm by giving us a surprising and received take on his view of modern racism. The scares hold up to the filmmaking and the script is one of the greatest by a first time writer in years.

3. Unfriended

This film holds my accolade: “most criminally underrated Blumhouse film.” A scant 83 minutes (merely 3 minutes longer for than my minimum time stamp that expresses my definition of a feature length film), the horror-comedy (in that order) uses a group online chat format to tell its story. A 63% critics score verse a 37% user on RT, the film is divisive to say the least. Clever, witty, and a whole lot of fun; as your guide for all things cinema (a self-proclaimed role) I beg you to give Unfriended the chance it deserves!

2. Sinister

Before Scott Derrickson was poached by Marvel and gave us Doctor Strange, he helmed one of the great R-rated supernatural horrors in contemporary cinema. The director wasn’t an unfamiliar with the genre, bringing us the underappeciated horror-courtroom drama (that’s one you don’t hear often) that was The Exorcism of Emily Rose. I wholly believe that to be a debated proclamation, but hey, this is my top ten; go make your own. Not only is it well directed by Derrickson and well-acted by Ethan Hawke, but the idea of home snuff films was horrifying to think of, and even more horrifying to witness. The short clips littered throughout caused the most profound scares of the film, and probably of recent memory.

1. Whiplash

I bet you didn’t know this was a Blumhouse film! The only non-horror film on the list (though it could be argued it’s more horrifying than most) brought in 3 Academy Awards and nabbed a best directing and best picture nomination. Damien Chazelle, 29 at the time of the release, brought out raw and untapped emotion from his cast of Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons. My number one film of the year, Whiplash became an instant classic and the fan favourite of 2014.

Honorable Mentions: 

– The Visit

 Insidious: Chapter 3

– Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

– The Town That Dreaded Sundown

– The Gift

– Oculus

– Ouija: Origin of Evil

Any we may have forgotten? Be sure to let us know!

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Mark A. Silba

Mark is the founder and editor-in-chief at Cinema 35. He currently has his BA in Film and Media studies from Arizona State University. He currently lives in Gilbert, AZ where he spends most of his time seeing the latest theatrical releases.

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