The Independent Recommends: The Five Best Films

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A Simple Plan (15)

Cult horror director Sam Raimi makes a dramatic entry into the mainstream with this chilling, snowbound thriller about a $4m windfall that brings nothing but ill. Bill Paxton, Bridget Fonda and Billy Bob Thornton star.

Happiness (18)

Set in New Jersey, Todd Solondz's second film is a dark comedy of loneliness and sexual deviancy that reaffirms this young writer-director's talent.

Best Laid Plans (15)

Brit director Mike Barker's first American movie neatly rolls a warped love story and a blackmail thriller into one, and features strong performances from Alessandro Nivola and Reese Witherspoon.

Orphans (18)

Peter Mullan's darkly comic tale of four siblings and a funeral movingly captures the emotional stresses of bereavement over the course of a storm- tossed Glaswegian night.

eXistenZ (15)

David Cronenberg plunges deep into the grotesque in this futuristic tale of a computer-games designer (Jennifer Jason Leigh, far right) on the run from a fatwa. Dark, comical, not for the squeamish.

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