Between the box office topping horror franchises and Oscar winners, Blumhouse has made some truly great movies, and they're seemingly incapable of doing wrong. Led by Jason Blum, Blumhouse have cultivated an astounding filmography in its near 20-year existence, releasing almost a dozen movies a year across theaters and on-demand streaming services.
Counting not just hits, but also the amount of Hollywood heavy-hitters Blumhouse has allowed to shine, the studio has one of the keenest eyes in the whole industry for talent. Not just creators with great ideas, either, but ones that know their way around those ideas as well, who can produce them within modest deadlines and budgets. It's no wonder Blumhouse is producing The Invisible Man for Universal Pictures now (and possibly rebooting their Dark Universe).
Listing the best films Blum has lent his name to is no easy task with amount of quality releases, but when considering for criteria like influence and forward-thinking, the selection becomes somewhat easier. Here are the best Blumhouse movies released so far.
12. Happy Death Day
This 2017 slasher directed by Paranormal Activity writer Christopher Landon is a funny, creative spin on some well-trodden ground. Merging Groundhog's Day with Scream, Happy Death Day has Jessica Rothe's Tree stuck living a hungover day from hell over and over as she's stalked by a killer among her college friends, each new death bringing her closer to figuring out the assailant.
Darkly comic, Happy Death Day is only held back by its own lob-sided tonality and an over-sentimental second act that reduces the pace to a crawl before coming into the finale. It's a testament to the well-constructed mystery that, despite this, the big reveal is still shocking enough to end on a high note.
11. The Gift
Jason Bateman has amassed a number of credits over the last several years that display his range beyond comedy, and Joel Edgerton's directorial debut, The Gift, is among the best, perhaps only second to Netflix's Ozark. Bateman plays Simon, a middle-aged man who's just moved to Los Angeles with his wife, Robyn (Rebecca Hall). Just after moving, they run into Gordo (Edgerton), an old high-school buddy of Simon's, who swiftly moves from polite acquaintance to family terror.
As writer and director, Edgerton displays real mettle in the relentless way we watch Simon's life be dismantled, never over-playing his hand or losing focus. Hitchcockian, tactile, and devastating, The Gift is as its name implies, though not for the faint of heart.
10. Paranormal Activity
Paranormal Activity is easily one of the cheapest films to make over $100 million, and certainly the soundest investment Blumhouse has ever made. Paranormal Activity's minimalist, surveillance-fueled take on found footage is quaint and maybe even boring by many standards, but in 2009 it turned heads.
The household staging and lack of movement worked in heightening the drama, making the bigger scares truly pop. Releasing with two different endings helped fuel social media chatter, then only starting to become the marketing necessity it is now. Like it or not, there's no denying its place in Blumhouse's library.
Making movies about social media and modern technology is difficult. Between greenlighting a project and getting it into theaters the tech involved could already be out-dated, and then there's convincing audiences the thing produced has any substance.
Unfriended is a novel, commendable effort to capture the essence of internet community, and the fears therein, in a film. Taking place entirely within a Skype call, the finished product is overlong, melodramatic, and loses its way in the second half, but the core idea is solid. Blumhouse has a reputation for putting themselves on the cutting edge of interesting, savvy filmmaking, and Leo Gabriadze's project is firmly emblematic of that.
Can you believe there was a time when Mike Flanagan wasn't one of the hottest horror directors and Karen Gillan wasn't a blockbuster actor? Well, there was, and it wasn't too long ago. In 2014 the two collaborated on Oculus, an angst-ridden haunted house yarn about family trauma.
Needless to say, Flanagan's expert handling of the psycho-geography of such hefty material has gotten him far as a filmmaker, as has Gillan's nuanced way about vulnerability. Oculus looks its budget in places, but it's one that's standing the test of time, and for good reason.
Similar to the previous entry, Sinister features two talents for whom Blumhouse were instrumental to their careers. The oppressively grim tone of director-and-writer-duo Scott Derrickson and Robert C. Cargill's work here is a far cry from the mind-bending alternate realities of Marvel's Doctor Strange.
Ethan Hawke does what he does best as moody, introverted father Ellison trying to figure out the shady, murderous past of the house he's just moved his family into. Haunted by a specter and its gang of ghoulish children, Ellison gradually comes to realize there are forces at play beyond his comprehension, and they harbor a hopelessness it's impossible to escape. Slow and just the right kind of unfulfilling, Sinister is an excellent example of a-typical horror that still plays within the lines.
6. The Purge: Election Year
The Purge is a fun, daft concept that, somehow, Blumhouse has manufactured into a politically vital franchise that uses violence to plainly exhibit the faults in America's current political structure. The chaotic third part to a disordered trilogy, The Purge: Election Year goes for broke in taking a baseball bat to the head of organized religion and political corruption, all the while exhibiting the small bubbles of hope we can still find therein.
It's weird that the third movie in a property whose core concept is showcasing the unnerving nihilism of bigotry sports an ending we'd all now love to see as reality, but here we are. James DeMonaco's garish, left-leaning anti-establishment action-horror is one of the decade's most vital series.