I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again – I love horror movies. I understand that they might not be for everyone, but I don’t think anything can get my heart pumping like a good old-fashioned horror movie. Saying this, I’m not too picky when it comes to choosing, my list could go on for days and that’s not even mentioning the satirical ones. But I don’t think horror films are all necessarily meant for scaring, jump scares, rocking chairs. I think the best horror films are those who follow a narrative and a plot so thorough that you can imagine yourself being in that situation and it feeling that little bit more real.
Personally I am not a fan of the Conjuring universe. I know it has its diehard fans, and people rate them as the scariest, but seeing the ghosts looking like something straight out of CGI really feels childish and comedic. Where 12-year-old me would’ve been clutching a pillow, when I recently watched The Nun, I didn’t even think about hiding, it was pretty funny.
And I would love to add the purge onto this list, mainly because I think every film is nail-bitingly adrenaline-pumping-unpredictable mess, but I’d rather align those movies with action rather than horror. I will rave about the purge movies until the day I die.
Personally, in this list, I wanted to choose horror films that are set to freak both horror movie buffs and those who are easily scared. Like the ones you’ll find yourself thinking about for days, and maybe google the ending explained so that you can fully understand the movies. But I know that I don’t spend my nights hiding from the ghosts in the closet, and I know horror movies.
- Us (2019)
I think this movie is a film you can think about for years and follows the idea that every person has a clone, that lives secretly underground, until these clones revolt and take over the human world. The original human is killed for the ‘shadow’ to take its life. With twists, turns, jump scares and without ruining the plot, some freaky turns that are genuinely scary in many ways. No wonder it receives such applause in the horror community.
2. The Invisible Man (2020)
This movie isn’t exactly scary, but it is a psychological thriller and something you could imagine being straight out of someone’s nightmares. The movie follows an abused woman, who tries to escape by fleeing in the night. She later receives news that her abuser has died but finds that events start to unfold that indicate some kind of lingering presence. She discovers that he isn’t in fact dead but is invisible and causing destruction and chaos in her life. It includes a bit of gore, a bit of screen yelling excitement and is just a really good example of psychological horror.
3. Escape Room (2019)
I can’t lie, I have watched a few different escape room horror movies in my time, but nothing quite equates to this one. More of a creepy, nail biting extravaganza, I don’t know what it quite is, but this movie has a high production value and is excellently articulated. It follows a group of individuals who are seeking financial help from a millionaire, enter a game that will cost many of them their lives. It’s a great one to watch if you are into escape room horror and want some action.
4. Blair Witch (2016)
This is another accelerating one, but definitely worth a watch, especially if you are a fan of the original Blair Witch project. The narrative follows the younger brother of ‘Heather’ from the originally movie, but you wouldn’t need to necessarily have watched the first one, as this comes with enough information to work with. The group seek to find what happened to his sister with the reclaimed footage, littered with creepy wooden dolls, a terrifying monster, gore and the deep dark wilderness, its nightmare material waiting to happen. It plays excellently and really is unpredictable. Diehard Blair Witch fans will complain of its similarity to the original, but the slickness of the reboot makes it terrifying to a whole new audience.
5. Greta (2018)
Greta may not be classified as a horror film, but there are some scenes in it that are seriously disturbing enough to make you class it as a horror movie in your own head. The story follows a young girl, who finds a handbag on the train and seeks to return it to the owner, Greta. The two form a close friendship, until she realises that Greta has left a host of the same handbags in public places to entice multiple people. It’s an unexpected horror that really is freaky, and some of the scenes will haunt you for years into the future, it definitely has with me.