In the movie world, big budgets don’t necessarily translate to remarkable films. In 2010s, multimillion dollar films like Transformers and Batman vs. Superman have lured audiences because of their stunning visuals but failed to hold their attention until the very end. On the other hand, there have been many low-budget movies that had to deal with some limitations and had to focus and solely rely on good acting and a compelling plot instead.
The biggest drawback that low-budget movie has is that it has to depend on word of mouth to heighten its popularity, an example of which were Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity films. But not every small-scale films are that lucky, there are a number of movies that often are ignored by mainstream audiences. So if you happen to be on a hunt for exceptional films that deliver true art and emotions, then you have come at the right place.
Here are ExploreTalent’s picks for best low-budget movies that you need to see:
1. Another Earth (2011)
Poignant and thoughtful, these are the two words that describe the sci-fi film Another Earth best. There has actually been a trend of low-budget science-fiction nowadays, and most of them have been warmly received by critics. Another Earth is definitely on top of that list.
When Earth’s twin sister appears in the sky, it becomes a dream come true for scientists everywhere. But for aspiring astronomer Rhoda, that day is a nightmare as the young student drunkenly crashes her car and kills a man’s wife and child in the accident. Years later, she develops a relationship with the man, who is completely clueless about who she is and how she manages to drastically change his life.
2. It Follows (2015)
Budget: $2 million
As mentioned, horror movies have a way of becoming hits even if they happen to be made on a limited budget. All it really takes is a good story line and just the right amount of scares to do so. The 2015 film It Follows was a hit as it had sexual activity as the highlight. That’s right, each time a character has a sexual encounter, a supernatural entity pursues them.
The movie basically alludes themes of rape and the consequences of unprotected sex, something not many films under the horror genre normally represent. So with suspenseful sequences, notable character development, and a nostalgic ’80s throwback, It Follows is definitely a film worth watching.
3. Submarine (2011)
Budget: $1.5 million
Fans of the band Arctic Monkeys know that frontman Alex Turner penned the heartwarming soundtrack for Submarine. Maybe he did it because he bore a resemblance with the main actor Craig Roberts or maybe because he was moved by how wonderful the movie was. No matter what Turner’s inspiration behind it was, no one can deny that Submarine is one of the best coming-of-age movies out there.
The story follows Oliver Tate (Roberts) and his struggle with school, a pyromaniac girlfriend, and his parents failing marriage. It truly captures the roller-coaster of emotions and growing pains that everyone had gone through as a teenager.
4. Buried (2010)
Budget: $3 million
It is no surprise that putting an actor in a coffin won’t require a budget of more than $10 million. The real challenge here is making the most of that limited surroundings, and director Rodrigo Cortes seemed to have succeeded in combining the elements and created the suffocating (in a literal sense) movie Buried. While the movie might not be for those who suffer claustrophobia, it is a perfect thriller for individuals who like being kept at the edge of their seat.
Buried stars Ryan Reynolds as Paul Conroy who wakes up in a coffin with only a lighter, mobile phone, and flashlight to help him. Conroy knows he has limited time, so he’s going to have to act quickly in order to survive. The movie slowly gives audiences the answers as to why he was buried in the first place, and it utilizes strategic camera angles to transform the film into something that can pass in Alfred Hitchcock‘s standards.
5. Short Term 12 (2013)
Budget: less than $1 million
Brie Larson has been delivering jaw-dropping performances prior to her award-winning role in the movie Room, but her acting skills in Short Term 12 is something that cannot be simply overlooked.
Larson plays Grace, a supervisor in a home for troubled teenagers. As she struggles with her own domestic problems, Grace also finds herself entangled in the lives of these at-risk youth. The movie provides a raw look into the issues that the young generation face today, and critics pointed out that the raw emotion exhibited by the main actors shed light even more light to these problems.
Short Term 12 is not just a good low-budget movie, it also happens to be one of the best films of 2010s.