16 votes

Your favorite low budget indie flicks

I recently came across this preview for the low budget film Bike Thieves: Pumped up and I got a hankering for some low budget movies.

I'd love to see what indie gems you folks cherish!

41 comments

  1. [5]
    tomf
    Link
    It depends how low you want to go.. but here are some off the top of my head. Primer (2004, ~68%, [Science Fiction, Drama, Thriller]) Budget: $7K Blue Ruin (2013, ~72%, [Crime, Drama, Thriller])...
    7 votes
    1. [2]
      cloud_loud
      Link Parent
      Blue Ruin is fantastic. So is the director’s next film Green Room. If we’re doing films in the millions, I’ll also add Minari, Submarine, Lost in Translation, Boy, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Hunger.

      Blue Ruin is fantastic. So is the director’s next film Green Room. If we’re doing films in the millions, I’ll also add Minari, Submarine, Lost in Translation, Boy, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Hunger.

      4 votes
      1. tomf
        Link Parent
        ha yeah. I didn't want to list more than one per director -- but Upstream Color is also killer. If the budget data were consistent, it'd be interesting to see the highest rating per buck.

        ha yeah. I didn't want to list more than one per director -- but Upstream Color is also killer.

        If the budget data were consistent, it'd be interesting to see the highest rating per buck.

        3 votes
    2. [2]
      rosco
      Link Parent
      Great suggestions! The only ones I've seen before are The Lobster and Oldboy (also the biggest budget films). Definitely going to check out the original 12 Angry Men, Blood Ruin, and Pi!

      Great suggestions! The only ones I've seen before are The Lobster and Oldboy (also the biggest budget films).

      Definitely going to check out the original 12 Angry Men, Blood Ruin, and Pi!

      4 votes
      1. tomf
        Link Parent
        12 Angry Men is a classic. It was also remade with Tony Danza --- but get the original film... unless you really love Tony. This thread is full of gold.

        12 Angry Men is a classic. It was also remade with Tony Danza --- but get the original film... unless you really love Tony.

        This thread is full of gold.

        2 votes
  2. [4]
    lou
    Link
    The Invitation (2015) is a superb horror taking place mostly in a single location. Coherence (2013) is the same, but science fiction instead.

    The Invitation (2015) is a superb horror taking place mostly in a single location. Coherence (2013) is the same, but science fiction instead.

    6 votes
    1. [3]
      rosco
      Link Parent
      Very cool, they both kind of feel like a retake on The Exterminating Angel.

      Very cool, they both kind of feel like a retake on The Exterminating Angel.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        lou
        Link Parent
        In the sense that they all take place at a single location in a dinner-party situation, yes, absolutely. But only The Exterminating Angel is surrealist.

        In the sense that they all take place at a single location in a dinner-party situation, yes, absolutely.

        But only The Exterminating Angel is surrealist.

        2 votes
        1. cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          If that's your jam, you should check out The Man from Earth too. IMO it's another good, low-budget, single location dinner-party type movie, with a great premise. Just do yourself a favor and...

          If that's your jam, you should check out The Man from Earth too. IMO it's another good, low-budget, single location dinner-party type movie, with a great premise. Just do yourself a favor and don't watch the sequel though; It's terrible.

          cc: @rosco

          1 vote
  3. [18]
    kwyjibo
    Link
    I don't know what you mean by low budget, but I'll list some of my favorite indie films. I consider most, if not all indie films, low budget so hopefully your criteria fits mine. (I'll try to keep...

    I don't know what you mean by low budget, but I'll list some of my favorite indie films. I consider most, if not all indie films, low budget so hopefully your criteria fits mine. (I'll try to keep it under $2M.)

    In the order of their release date:

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      rosco
      Link Parent
      Thanks for the exhaustive list! I never actually heard of any of these (save for Buffalo 66, but only from the Wet Leg song). Most excited to check out Sieranevada, Blue Collar, and Goodbye to...

      Thanks for the exhaustive list! I never actually heard of any of these (save for Buffalo 66, but only from the Wet Leg song).

      Most excited to check out Sieranevada, Blue Collar, and Goodbye to Language.

      4 votes
      1. kwyjibo
        Link Parent
        My pleasure! I hope you enjoy exploring them.

        My pleasure! I hope you enjoy exploring them.

        1 vote
    2. [15]
      tomf
      Link Parent
      A few years ago I made a dialog free cut of Jeanne Dielman... and it holds up. I should have posted it somewhere. It was a total pain in the ass to make, but only took a night. This is a great list!

      A few years ago I made a dialog free cut of Jeanne Dielman... and it holds up. I should have posted it somewhere. It was a total pain in the ass to make, but only took a night.

      This is a great list!

      3 votes
      1. [14]
        kwyjibo
        Link Parent
        Thank you! Jeanne Dielman is my favorite film ever, by far. It was a complete revelation for me. I first watched it back in 2017 and I still think about it from time to time. Especially when I do...

        Thank you! Jeanne Dielman is my favorite film ever, by far. It was a complete revelation for me. I first watched it back in 2017 and I still think about it from time to time. Especially when I do something out of habit. I cannot believe how Akerman pulled that film off at the age of 25.

        I'd love to see your cut if you are able to share it!

        2 votes
        1. [13]
          tomf
          Link Parent
          I wish I had kept the cut. I should redo it sometime. There isn't a lot of dialog, so I basically took room noise from a few scenes, took out any clinking or shuffling, then looped that through...

          I wish I had kept the cut. I should redo it sometime. There isn't a lot of dialog, so I basically took room noise from a few scenes, took out any clinking or shuffling, then looped that through parts where I took out dialog at a lower level, then brought in stuff from that same scene so it felt natural.

          I had no idea he was 25. That's remarkable! Its such a simple, beautiful film.

          If I ever remake it, I'll post it. It'll probably be much faster the second time around. Some movies come with an isolated score. Cocoon, of all films, comes with one. Its an interesting way to watch a film.

          2 votes
          1. [12]
            kwyjibo
            Link Parent
            Ah, that's too bad, but yes, there isn't a lot of dialogue. The most of the dialogue is with her son. Those conversations do provide a lot of context to Jeanne's life but if you've already watched...

            Ah, that's too bad, but yes, there isn't a lot of dialogue. The most of the dialogue is with her son. Those conversations do provide a lot of context to Jeanne's life but if you've already watched the film, a dialog-free cut could be an interesting experience.

            By the way, if you're a fan of dialog-free films, check out The Naked Island. It's an excellent, excellent film.

            2 votes
            1. [11]
              tomf
              Link Parent
              nice! its been in my massive watchlist for ages. I should do it up. Too many films... I've got 164 days of films marked down that I want to watch -- haha.

              nice! its been in my massive watchlist for ages. I should do it up. Too many films... I've got 164 days of films marked down that I want to watch -- haha.

              2 votes
              1. [10]
                kwyjibo
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                Ouch! I am definitely familiar with the feeling of an ever increasing size of one's watchlist. 😄

                Ouch! I am definitely familiar with the feeling of an ever increasing size of one's watchlist. 😄

                2 votes
                1. [9]
                  tomf
                  Link Parent
                  it used to stress me out, but ever coming close to finishing isn't realistic. Lately I've spent more time building the whole watchlist workbook than watching anything, too, which doesn't help.

                  it used to stress me out, but ever coming close to finishing isn't realistic. Lately I've spent more time building the whole watchlist workbook than watching anything, too, which doesn't help.

                  2 votes
                  1. [8]
                    kwyjibo
                    Link Parent
                    Yeah, I have no expectation of being done with my watchlist. I used to watch 3-4 films in any given day and not fall asleep halfway through them, but now there are more options than just watching...

                    Yeah, I have no expectation of being done with my watchlist. I used to watch 3-4 films in any given day and not fall asleep halfway through them, but now there are more options than just watching films and I simply don't have as much time. I have a backlog of classics I've yet to watch, but there are also exciting contemporary indie films coming out every year and I don't want to miss out on them, so it's kind of a balancing act between all those variables.

                    In other words, getting old sucks in many ways!

                    2 votes
                    1. [7]
                      tomf
                      Link Parent
                      I should get back into the rhythm. I kind of burned out by going through french new wave -- doing one a night for the longest time. are you into 70s kung fu? If so, I muxed the best copy of The...

                      I should get back into the rhythm. I kind of burned out by going through french new wave -- doing one a night for the longest time.

                      are you into 70s kung fu? If so, I muxed the best copy of The Mystery of Chessboxing available :)

                      2 votes
                      1. [6]
                        kwyjibo
                        Link Parent
                        Some exceptions aside (like Varda and Rohmer, but only because they were more conventional in their formalism), French New Wave films are not easy watches. Sounds like you didn't make it easy on...

                        Some exceptions aside (like Varda and Rohmer, but only because they were more conventional in their formalism), French New Wave films are not easy watches. Sounds like you didn't make it easy on yourself with your marathon!

                        Martial art films (including wuxia) aren't my cup of tea, unfortunately. ☹️

                        2 votes
                        1. [5]
                          tomf
                          Link Parent
                          the FNW kick started because a local theatre was doing a Six Moral Tales marathon. I opted out of the theatre for it, but once I got started, I figured I should see it through. I really like a lot...

                          the FNW kick started because a local theatre was doing a Six Moral Tales marathon. I opted out of the theatre for it, but once I got started, I figured I should see it through. I really like a lot of the films in there, but my french is weak.

                          2 votes
                          1. [4]
                            kwyjibo
                            (edited )
                            Link Parent
                            Rohmer is a good starting point, so at least you were lucky in that regard. Imagine if you had started with Rivette!

                            Rohmer is a good starting point, so at least you were lucky in that regard. Imagine if you had started with Rivette!

                            2 votes
                            1. [3]
                              tomf
                              Link Parent
                              ha. I'd die. :)

                              ha. I'd die. :)

                              2 votes
                              1. [2]
                                kwyjibo
                                Link Parent
                                That's close to what I felt after I finished watching Out 1!

                                That's close to what I felt after I finished watching Out 1!

                                1 vote
                                1. tomf
                                  Link Parent
                                  almost 13hrs... that's too much. wtf.

                                  almost 13hrs... that's too much. wtf.

                                  1 vote
  4. imperialismus
    Link
    I recommend The Man from Earth (2007).

    I recommend The Man from Earth (2007).

    4 votes
  5. [2]
    cloud_loud
    (edited )
    Link
    I don’t really watch movies in that budget range, or even in that “indie” style but I’ll recommend a couple of low budget movies I really like. The Brother from Another Planet Boss N***** Combat...

    I don’t really watch movies in that budget range, or even in that “indie” style but I’ll recommend a couple of low budget movies I really like.

    The Brother from Another Planet

    Boss N*****

    Combat Shock

    Bless Their Little Hearts

    The Celebration

    The Dirties

    Edit: Let me add a few more:

    Bronson

    Once

    Clerks

    3 votes
    1. rosco
      Link Parent
      There look to be so many gems in here. I'm a big fan of early blaxploitation movies, so those first 2 are definitely getting a watch from me. The later giving a similar feel to The Harder They...

      There look to be so many gems in here.

      I'm a big fan of early blaxploitation movies, so those first 2 are definitely getting a watch from me. The later giving a similar feel to The Harder They Fall.

      I was a little confused by the trailer to The Dirties, but it was enough to entice me. If it's going the direction I think it's going, it'll be interesting to watch in the wake of the most recent wave of school shootings.

      I really enjoyed Bronson and Clerks so I'm excited to check out Once.

      Thanks for all the suggestions. Definitely a lot to dig into!

      1 vote
  6. [2]
    ahatlikethat
    Link
    Robert Rodriguez made El Mariachi (the predecessor of Desperado, which was essentially a high-budget remake) for only $7000 in 1992. Personally I think the original is way more fun than the remake.

    Robert Rodriguez made El Mariachi (the predecessor of Desperado, which was essentially a high-budget remake) for only $7000 in 1992. Personally I think the original is way more fun than the remake.

    3 votes
    1. rosco
      Link Parent
      I love El Mariachi, good call!

      I love El Mariachi, good call!

      3 votes
  7. [2]
    monarda
    Link
    One of my favorite low-budget films is Ink - IMB link which can be watched on youtube here. I think the budget in 2009 was 250k. I've watched it more than once. A synopsis:

    One of my favorite low-budget films is Ink - IMB link which can be watched on youtube here. I think the budget in 2009 was 250k. I've watched it more than once.

    A synopsis:

    As the light fades and the city goes to sleep, two forces emerge. They are invisible except for the power they exert over us in our sleep, battling for our souls through dreams. One force delivers hope and strength through good dreams; the other infuses the subconscious with desperation through nightmares. John and Emma, Father and Daughter are wrenched into this fantastical dream world battle, forced to fight for John's soul and to save Emma from an eternal nightmare. Separate in their journey, they encounter unusual characters that exist only in their subconscious. Or do they?
    —Kiowa Winans

    3 votes
    1. rosco
      Link Parent
      That's a really interesting concept. I'll definitely be giving it a watch.

      That's a really interesting concept. I'll definitely be giving it a watch.

      3 votes
  8. [4]
    TemulentTeatotaler
    (edited )
    Link
    It isn't as low budget as I originally thought ($1M) but I think Miami Connection (1987) fits and it's a treasure. Grandmaster Y.K. Kim wrote/directed/starred in this film which features orphan...

    It isn't as low budget as I originally thought ($1M) but I think Miami Connection (1987) fits and it's a treasure.

    Grandmaster Y.K. Kim wrote/directed/starred in this film which features orphan housemates in a Taekwando group/band (Dragon Sound) who find themselves embroiled in a fight against drug dealing ninja bikers.

    The execution was awkward, but it was sincere and had a wholesome feel to it. I think I remember that to keep the budget low they had a few scenes shot at a local biker bar and got some bikers to act for beer/food?

    The Evil Dead (1981, $375k), too.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      rosco
      Link Parent
      Miami Connection looks AMAZING!

      Miami Connection looks AMAZING!

      2 votes
      1. cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        That’s because it is. Not OP who recommended it, but I wholeheartedly second it. And Evil Dead is also an absolute classic, but I suspect that’s not news to anyone. P.s. If you like no/super-low...

        That’s because it is. Not OP who recommended it, but I wholeheartedly second it. And Evil Dead is also an absolute classic, but I suspect that’s not news to anyone.

        P.s. If you like no/super-low budget B-movies, you should check out RedLetterMedia’s Best of the Worst series. They mostly watch genuinely awful movies, sometimes stumbling on “so bad they’re good” movies, but on rare occasions they also find some hidden gems that blow everything else out of the water, like Miami Connection does. E.g. Here is the episode (major spoilers) where they watched and reviewed Miami Connection amongst others, including one that Jay actually voted for as his BotW that episode, Deadly Prey.

        1 vote
    2. lou
      Link Parent
      I'm pretty sure $1M is low budget in the context of Hollywood now. Maybe that wasn't the case in 1987.

      I'm pretty sure $1M is low budget in the context of Hollywood now. Maybe that wasn't the case in 1987.

      2 votes
  9. HotPants
    Link
    Bad Taste It's not a good movie. It's not a mediocre movie either. But it's also not a bad movie. So why is it my favourite? It is memorable. Once you have seen it, you will never forget it, which...

    Bad Taste

    It's not a good movie. It's not a mediocre movie either. But it's also not a bad movie. So why is it my favourite? It is memorable. Once you have seen it, you will never forget it, which is just as well, as you likely will never want to see it again.

    It's Peter Jacksons first movie, and I often find myself wondering if the person who gave Peter Jackson the 93 million USD to make Lord of the Rings ever saw this movie.

    Budget of $25k NZD. Which is incredibly low for the 80's. 80's was pre digital. Works out to about $15k USD back then, which is about $40k USD inflation adjusted.

    2 votes
  10. FishFingus
    Link
    Who Killed Captain Alex?, produced for 200 USD with the assistance of the director's village and edited on his self-built PC. It features his own voiceover narration as the VJ (Video Joker). Heard...

    Who Killed Captain Alex?, produced for 200 USD with the assistance of the director's village and edited on his self-built PC. It features his own voiceover narration as the VJ (Video Joker). Heard about it through IHateEverything on YT.

    EDIT: Probably the entire unhinged filmography of Neil "I'm Feeling Less Stable" Breen.

    1 vote
  11. NoblePath
    Link
    I can’t say I have a favorite, but phantasm should be on this list. O e or two of the films may have had a decent budget, but not the series overall. And it’s amazing.

    I can’t say I have a favorite, but phantasm should be on this list. O e or two of the films may have had a decent budget, but not the series overall. And it’s amazing.

    1 vote