Whether you’re a horror junkie or a casual viewer, there is something undeniably captivating about a good horror film. With the vast amount of streaming services at your disposal, there is now a seemingly infinite amount of horror movies to pick from. Making the right choice can be difficult, so here is a handy list of fun and scary horror films!
William Eubank’s Underwater could have easily been another Alien knockoff, but it has so much more to offer. While it does have a similarly tense atmosphere to that of Alien, Underwater brings new Lovecraftian elements that ensure that it will become a cult classic with those of you who love scary horror films. Underwater may have opened to a mixed reception from popular review sites, but the horror community embraced it. For instance, Meagan Navarro of Bloody-Disgusting called Underwater “the perfect popcorn movie, full of splendor and chills.” Kristen Stewart stars as Nicole Price, an engineer working at a drilling facility at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. After an earthquake damages their facility, Price and the other facility crew members must attempt to get to safety. If you have ever been scared of what may be living in murky water or if you struggle with claustrophobic scenes, Underwater may prove to be quite the scary viewing experience.
The Lighthouse (2019)
The Lighthouse is director Robert Eggers’s second film and his follow-up to the critically acclaimed The Witch. Eggers has a knack for making visually striking period films loaded with historically accurate dialogue. The Lighthouse stars Robert Pattinson as Ephraim Winslow, a wickie in training, who has recently arrived at the titular lighthouse to work under Willem Dafoe’s Thomas Wake. As the plot progresses and the tension between Winslow and Wake slowly grows to a boiling point, the film gains an almost Lynchian surrealist quality. The Lighthouse is simultaneously a surrealist nightmare and a showcase for beautiful film language and striking visuals. These details led to The Lighthouse being nominated for an Academy Award for cinematography. If it is not already on your watchlist, you should definitely add The Lighthouse and prepare yourself for one of the weirder scary horror films you have ever seen.
Director Ari Aster may only have two feature films under his belt, but he has already made his mark on the horror community and is known for delivering truly scary horror films. Midsommar, Aster’s follow-up to his critically acclaimed debut film Hereditary, was released to much fanfare. The film stars the incredible Florence Pugh as Dani, a traumatized young woman who gets roped into a trip to Sweden with her boyfriend. Dani’s failing relationship with her boyfriend proves to be one of the central parts of the film and their inevitable breakup is truly disturbing. Midsommar is not necessarily scary in the traditional sense. It is not loaded with jump-scares, nor does it take place in a dark setting. Most of Midsommar‘s most effective sequences take place in broad daylight, with Pugh’s performance conveying the sense of unease and dread that viewers might otherwise get from the setting. Midsommar is more likely to leave you feeling disturbed and uneasy than it is to scare you. It is a movie that sticks with you after you reach the credits. While Midsommar might make you rethink your next European vacation, it will definitely make you excited for the future of horror films. New filmmakers like Ari Aster and Robert Eggers are making it an exciting time to be a horror fan!
The Invisible Man (2020)
Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man is an entirely new take on the classic Universal property. While this film certainly references the classic Universal monster film, it is less of a remake and more of a reimagining. Remaking classic intellectual properties can be troublesome. You only have to look at the poor reception to Universal Studio’s attempted “Dark Universe” to see the difficulties associated with remaking cult classics. Fortunately for Universal, and for all of us, Leigh Whannell has seemingly done the impossible. For one, Whannell has redirected Universal’s “Dark Universe” remakes away from the action-centric tone of The Mummy (2017) and has seemingly redirected the studio towards producing scary horror films. The 2020 version of The Invisible Man stars Elizabeth Moss as Cecilia, an architect who recently escaped from her abusive husband. After his apparent suicide, Cecilia is convinced that her husband has found a way to become invisible. Whereas the classic Universal film focused on the titular Invisible Man, this reimagining follows Elizabeth Moss throughout its runtime, with the idea of the Invisible Man being representative of the power that an abuser can hold over you even when they are not present. With The Invisible Man, Whannell manages to both craft a scary movie and portray the sensitive subject matter respectfully.
Ready Or Not (2019)
If you prefer your horror films to have some comedic relief, then Ready or Not might be the right choice for you. Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, Ready or Not follows Samara Weaving’s Grace as she attempts to survive a deadly game of hide-and-seek on her wedding night. As its title suggests, Ready or Not‘s central premise revolves around the game of hide and seek, with Grace having to survive her new family’s sadistic tendencies. Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett weave in commentary on wealth and class disparity throughout the film, oftentimes through comedic moments. By conveying this commentary through comedic moments and visual cues, Ready or Not manages to avoid being preachy and deliver plenty of scares during its runtime. Much like some of the other films on this list, Ready or Not was well received by horror fans and promises to be a cult classic in the coming years.
Panos Cosmatos’s second feature film is essentially a heavy metal acid-trip that lets Nicolas Cage act insane for its two hour runtime. Mandy is a revenge movie that sees Cage’s Red Miller hunting down the hippie cult who brutally murdered his wife. While some might argue that Mandy does not belong on a list of scary horror films, it certainly showcases horror elements. Luckily for this list, Cosmatos’s revenge flick offers everything a horror fan could want – namely nightmarish visuals and intense gore. Mandy seems to have already achieved cult movie status, with pictures Cage’s blood covered face appearing all over social media sites. Given its focus on visuals, you really just have to see Mandy to understand its appeal.
Damien Leone’s Terrifier is a gory throwback to the slasher movies of the late 70’s and early 80’s. Of the scary horror films on this list, this film is the closest to conventional horror. The film follows Tara and Dawn as they try to make their way home from a Halloween party, only to be stalked by a killer clown. David Howard Thornton delivers an incredibly charismatic performance as the film’s murderer, Art the Clown. Thornton’s performance really makes the film. Despite the fact that Art has no dialogue and has heavy facial prosthetics, Thornton steals every scene he is in. Terrifier is also known for its graphic violence. This film is a 1 hour and 22 minutes of uncensored gore. Damien Leone seems to have gone to great lengths to make the setting of Terrifier as disgusting as possible. To put it simply, this is a disgusting film. If you are looking for a casual gore-fest, however, Terrifier is a must watch.