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'Eden Lake' (2008) and Other Horror Movies Set in a Small Town

Overlooked and underrated movies are speckled amongst the sea of bad horror. Allow me to steer you in the direction of some good films.

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Horror Movies Set in Small Towns Like Eden Lake

Sometimes the movie dictates that the unsuspecting victims already live inside the town, other times the hapless solitary figure or tourist group wander into a place where everything looks normal but isn't.

When you know something is awry but can't put your finger on why it sets the pulse racing. These are my favorite types of movies to watch, films that let you know there is impending unknown doom. Horror movies that utilize this set-up leave me feeling sated, especially I know there are dangers lurking around every corner.

This is a rated list to get you going if you love small or remote-town horror films.

One of my personal favorites is also The Killing Ground (2016) which has a full review on ReelRundown.

30 Days of Night is a movie produced by Columbia Pictures and distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

30 Days of Night is a movie produced by Columbia Pictures and distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

#5 30 Days of Night (2007)

30 Days of Night, an excellent horror movie, made the list due to location. It is an excellent example of a remote town. Taking place in Alaska, the sun does not rise for 30 days in the Winter. An excellent place for a group of vampires to hang out and live.

There isn't much to the story. It's a simple narrative where some vampires decide to take advantage of Barrow's long Winter and set upon the small township to hunt when and how they choose. With no pesky sunlight to think about, it's a bloodbath. I don't care that there were a couple of plot holes or that its pace is a little sloppy at times. It's got snow, vampires, and a small town where the residents are just trying to survive the onslaught.

The director of this film has so many fantastic films and series under his belt, it would be ridiculous if it were a flop. David Slade's done bits of Breaking Bad, Black Mirror, Hannibal, Hard Candy (2005), and a tonne of music videos. The original concept for 30 Days of Night is based on a bunch of comic books.

I quite enjoyed the sequel too, Dark Days (2010) and the ending is particularly good.

eden-lake-2008-and-other-movies-set-in-a-small-town

#4 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

You can't have a list of horror movies set in a small town without including The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Marketed as a true story to get the audience viewership, this classic slasher made enough money to become one of the highest-grossing films of its time despite being made for $300 000. It took over $300 million. However, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre is not a true story. But, is it inspired by the real-life serial killer Ed Gein who dug up corpses. Ed Gein made all sorts of macabre things out of bones and skin and additionally killed two people.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre takes place after a group journey to Sally's family homestead to visit her grandfather's grave. They want to investigate rumors about grave robbing in the area.

I think I have seen this movie a dozen times if not more. Many viewers will recognize certain scenes, themes, or ideas used in tonnes of popular horror since its release in 1974. A crazy murderous family living in a remote location killing people one by one.

The formidable duo of Tobe Hooper and Kim Henkel both went on to make some of the best-known horror films ever subsequently to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. During the theatre release, classifications changed several times with an original rating of X in 1976. The horror movie was threatened with fines of morality charges from some USA states after locals informed officials of the disgusting content of the film.

Whatever your impression of the film, I never tire of watching this.

eden-lake-2008-and-other-movies-set-in-a-small-town

#3 Get Out (2017)

So what if Get Out won an award for Best Musical or Comedy instead of the best horror movie award it deserved. Horror films often get overlooked as a genre label worthy of awards. Not only was it's genre niche misappropriated, but Get Out was also embroiled in massive debates about racial themes such as;

  • newsworthy attention to missing black people vs white people and,
  • slavery.

The story for "Get Out" follows a black man who uncovers a terrifying secret when he joins his girlfriend at her family's estate. Performances are Oscar-worthy, the pacing is nailbiting and the story will remain in your minds-eye for years to come. This film is scary in all the right places and disturbing to the core.

The film only cost $4.5 million to make compared to its ginormous bucket load money, raking in $255 million worldwide at the box office. This psychological horror movie was the directorial début for Jordan Peele. Before being a big name in horror and sci-fi cinema circles, after "Get Out", Peele went back to lighter filmmaking like Captain Underpants and Big Mouth (television series.)


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#2 Eden Lake (2008)

Eden Lake is a movie mentioned frequently in my horror circles when people ask for something scary and tension-filled to watch. That's how I found it and it certainly hits the mark.

The tale concerns Jenny and Steve who decide to take a romantic trip to a lake in the English countryside. Sounds lovely right? Well almost. Soon after arriving and setting up to camp, their relaxing weekend is interrupted by some rambunctious teens and their very scary dog. Not one to let such things scare him, Steven defends his manhood and his woman with some words and the teens disappear.

In the morning things go from bad to worse and then terrifying as the group of feral youngsters decide that tourists are not welcome in Eden Lake.

Is there a fear of hoodies in Britain? I don't know. But if there isn't Eden Lake is a film that may very well induce one. I did google 'Fear of Hoodies' and a large variety of articles came up so indeed there might be. The fear is real. Those that have seen Eden Lake will understand why there is a reason to beware of anyone wearing a hoodie.

Trailer, The Lost Boys

#1 The Lost Boys (1987)

Set in a small beach town called Santa Carla, The Lost Boys movie will always be close to my heart. It never loses its appeal and has stood the test of time since it's released over 30 years ago.

The Lost Boys made vampires cool and young and virile and we love it for that.

If you haven't managed to see this classic horror-comedy movie, I recommend putting it on your watch list for the soundtrack alone. The story evolves as Michael and Sam discover the town they now live in is run by a gang of vampires. When Michael falls for Star, a member of the group, he's initiated into it causing all sorts of trouble. I became a little obsessed with both Corey Haim and Corey Feldman (who is one of the Frog brother vampire killers) after seeing this film.

My very favorite scene is the one with Corey Haim singing in the bathroom while washing his hair as his brother Michael (Jason Patric) fights off his new-found vampire thirst.

Want More Small Town Horror Movies? Here Are 10 More

It

2017

Derry

The Wicker Man

1973

The Island of Summerisle

The Hills Have Eyes

2006

The New Mexico desert

The Forest

2016

Aokighara Forest, Mount Fuji

Carnage Park

2016

desert

Willow Creek

2013

6 Rivers National Forest, Humboldt County

A Cure for Wellness

2016

Swiss Alps

Population 436

2006

Rockwell Falls, North Dakota

Halloween

2007

Haddonfield, Ilinois

Children of the Corn

1984

Gatlin, Nebraska (fictional town)

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