Horror movies are a great way of passing the night, especially when it’s cold and chilly. Why do we love to be scared? Honestly, I don’t know. But what I do know as a fact that over the years horror has proved to be the most commercially viable genre of them all. That’s why you will notice that not a month passes by without a horror release. Are all of them good? Certainly not! That’s why we are here. To help you select the best out of hundreds of options that you have.
19. The Innkeepers (2011)
Yankee Pedlar Inn hasn’t had any customers for a long time and is about to be shut down. In its final weekend, before it will end its run for good, Claire and Luke are the only ones working there. Question: Why would anyone want to work in a place that is about to be shut down? Because that place has a notorious history of haunting sights and the employees are paranormal enthusiasts who want to unravel its mystery while they have the chance. However, tinkering with things that are supposed to be left alone has rarely been a good idea. It doesn’t take much time for Claire and Luke to figure that out.
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18. Behind the Mask (2006)
By now, we have seen a lot of films and TV shows that have taken us through the lives and crimes of all sorts of serial killers, real or imaginary. This film is set in a world where all the imaginary killers, the ones that you must have seen in the slasher films, are very much real. And more importantly, we see this world in a documentary style. A female journalist is prepping, along with her cameramen, to document the life of Leslie Vernon, a budding serial killer. She wants to understand what makes him what he is, what motivates him and what methods he employs in his work. However, soon, she discovers that indulging a psychopathic killer is not a good idea.
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17. The Canal (2014)
Paranoia is rarely a good thing. The problem with it is that once it settles, it keeps building up and there is no way one can shake it off because it is too hard to break the spell. David has the same problem. Too many things, bad ones, happen all at once for him which lead him to a path that produces devastating results for everyone around him. The first thing is that his marriage is in shambles. He suspects that his wife is cheating on him. The next thing is that a new information about his house comes to light. Turns out, it was the site of a murder back in 1902. After he witnesses an apparition and his wife turns up dead, David decides to uncover the truth about the murder.
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16. Barracuda (2017)
Inclining a bit more on the side of a thriller than horror, ‘Barracuda’ is the story of two sisters or half-sisters, so to speak. When her father, who was a country-musician, dies, Sinaloa decides to find her half-sister, Merle who lives in Texas. At first, intimidated by her presence, Merle is wary of Sinaloa and her intentions. But there is something about her half-sister that awakens a sense of music in her. However, things soon start to take a chaotic turn and Merle finds herself in the middle of it all.
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15. The Last Man on Earth (1964)
It has been three years since the whole world fell prey to a plague that turns people into vampires. Robert Morgan’s family fell to the same thing while he was left alive because of his immunity to the plague, owing to another incident that had happened previously in his life. With everyone dead or turned into a vampire, Morgan spends his days gathering food and weapon and killing vampires, if he can find any. At night, however, he finds it best to barricade himself in his house so he can live to see another day.
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14. The Woman in Black (2012)
Based on the book of the same name, this film tells the story of a man named Arthur Kipps. His wife dies in childbirth which makes him a distraught man. A couple of years later, he is sent to a remote village to get some documents and start proceedings of the sale of an estate that has been deserted for a long time. Arriving in the village, he feels unwelcomed and discovers that there are stories surrounding the estate that he needs to sell. Furthermore, he has to stay in that house which doesn’t turn out to be such a good idea.
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13. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
There are a handful of films by this name, but the one you really want to watch is this 1968 classic. After a space probe blows up, it contaminates the Earth’s atmosphere by radiation. This results in a mass frenzy which makes people kill each other. Barbara had been unaware of this event when she visited her father’s grave with her brother. There they are attacked by a man who kills her brother and pursues Barbara, relentlessly. She finds refuge in a house and finds out that only corpses reside there and everyone walking about outside cannot be trusted. She soon finds a man who helps her stay alive as the infected people close in on them.
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12. Tumbbad (2018)
‘Tumbbad’ is an Indian Hindi-language film which created quite a sensation among horror film enthusiasts all over the world when it first premiered at the Venice Film Festival. Tumbbad is a remote Indian village, where a greedy family has constructed a shrine for a malevolent god, thereby bringing in great disaster upon the land. It is believed that this God in question, Hastar, only spreads death and destruction, but can also sometimes grant you great riches. This greed is what leads to the construction of the shrine in the first place, and what follows from there brings unprecedented distress to the family concerned. The film scores rather high on the scare factor, as it gives you certain scary moments that are bound to stay with you for long.
11. Overlord (2018)
‘Overlord’ is an American horror film set during the Second World War in Nazi-occupied France. American troops are dropped into enemy territory during the night, and their first job is storming into a church and destroying a radio transmitter that has been informing the Nazis about the plans of their enemies. The soldiers infiltrate the church and go to the secret lab in the basement. This is when they realize that this base has been serving as a secret lab where some rather sinister experiments based on the undead are being carried out. The American soldiers now have to face enemies they were hardly prepared for.
10. Hush (2016)
Home invasion is a horror subgenre that has gained quite a popularity over the years. The central character of the film is a deaf writer called Maddie who lives in a secluded house and works on her novels all by herself. One night, when one of Maddie’s friends, Sarah, comes to her house, we see a bloodied and bruised girl banging on her door. However, Maddie cannot hear anything and continues her work. Meanwhile, a person kills Sarah right outside Maddie’s house. Now the killer begins to look for ways to enter Maddie’s house, and the film becomes a battle of survival between these two characters. Kate Siegel provides a solid performance as Maddie. Mike Flanagan is a competent horror director who has impressed us with many of his films, and ‘Hush’ surely ranks as one of his best works.
9. Afflicted (2013)
Everyone wants to travel the world with their best friend and post great videos about it on their social media accounts. That’s the dream, right! While most people have the liberty to shelve this dream for another day, the case is a bit different, and rather urgent, for Derek. He is suffering from a disease that will kill him sooner or later. He doesn’t want to spend his days waiting for death, so along with his friend Clif, he sets out to travel the world. While visiting Paris, he comes across a woman and spends the night with her. When he wakes up in the morning he finds the woman missing and himself turned into a vampire.
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8. We Are Still Here (2015)
When Anne and Paul’s son dies in a car accident, Anne falls into depression. In an attempt to change her surroundings to help her heal, Paul decides to move to the countryside. He buys an old house and hopes that the nature around the place will help Anne. However, Paul should have researched more before buying a place that used to be a funeral home and whose owners had a dark history. As soon as they move into the house, Anne believes that her son is there with them and tries to contact him. Soon it becomes clear that her son may or may not be there, but there are literal skeletons in their house’s closet and their ghosts are coming for them.
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7. Diabolique (1955)
Henri-Georges Clouzot made this brilliant psychological horror based on the book ‘She Who Was No More’ by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac. The story of the film begins with the characters Michel and his wife Christina running a boarding school. However, it soon becomes clear that Michel is the one who takes all the major decisions and Christina is there just to follow his orders. Eventually, she gets frustrated and starts sharing her frustrations with Michel’s mistress Nicole. Both women bond over their hatred for Michel, and eventually things come to such a point that they decide to kill him. The two women make a rather elaborate plan, execute him, and dump the body inside the school’s swimming pool to make it look like a suicide. However, when the water of the pool is drained, Michel’s body goes missing. Clouzot brilliantly blends horror and thriller elements in this film and gives us an unforgettable experience. ‘Diabolique’ is one of the best psychological horror films of all time, and watching it can be nothing short of an unforgettable experience.
6. Carrie (1976)
When horror films are the subject of discussion, can Stephen King be far behind? Brian De Palma’s 1976 film ‘Carrie’ easily ranks as one of the best screen adaptations of a Stephen King novel. The eponymous character of the film, Carrie, is a rather demure girl who has no friends whatsoever. Her mother, Mrs. White, is a religious fanatic who believes natural processes like sex and menstruation are sins and has thus never even talked about them to her daughter. When one of Carrie’s teachers tries to guide her in the right direction, she is warned by Mrs. White to not meddle with her daughter in any way. Carrie is asked out by one of her schoolmates for prom night and she decides to go with him. When a number of students start ridiculing her, Carrie discovers she has supernatural powers with which she can cause them great harm and take revenge for the way they treat her. The film’s greatness lies in the fact that besides being a brilliant horror film, it also talks about the issues faced by teenagers while growing up, including peer pressure, pressure from their families, teen angst, and so on.
5. A Quiet Place (2018)
Co-written and directed by John Krasinski, ‘A Quiet Place‘ is a film starring the director himself, and his wife Emily Blunt. The story of the film is set during a time when mysterious beings have attacked the earth and killed off most of the human population. These beings are attracted by sound, and the only way to survive their onslaught is by maintaining absolute silence. We follow the lives of the Abbott family who are surviving this ordeal by doing everything silently and communicating via sign language. Using this ploy of desperately trying not to make any sound, Krasinski creates some rather intense moments in the film which will be with you a long time after you are done watching the film. Blunt also gives one of her finest performances in ‘A Quiet Place’.
4. It Comes at Night (2017)
The world that Paul and his family live in is not the same as ours. It has been devastated by an outbreak that is highly contagious and has already victimized the human population. Paul, along with his wife Sarah and son Travis, lives in a remote location within a forest. They take great measures to ensure that they are not infected and live as normally as they can by following a set of fixed rules. When another family finds them, it feels like staying together would be a better course of action as it would mean more safety. However, in times like these, who can you trust?
3. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Roman Polanski is one of the finest filmmakers the world has ever seen, and he made an immediate mark on Hollywood with his debut English feature film, ‘Rosemary’s Baby’. Mia Farrow here plays the character of Rosemary, a pregnant woman who has shifted to a new apartment building in New York with her husband. Soon after moving in, Rosemary notices that her neighbors are way too friendly, and she starts believing that they must have some ulterior motive behind the way they are treating her. Soon enough, she starts having doubts over a number of people whom she comes across, including her husband. This is a horror film that uses the horror tropes without actually stepping over the edge. Paranoia seems to be the main theme of ‘Rosemary’s Baby’. The brilliant direction of Polanski perfectly captures the paranoia which the leading character is going through.
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2. Demon (2015)
Piotr and Zaneta are to be married in a rural estate owned by Zaneta’s family. Before the wedding, while he is digging in the yard, Piotr stumbles upon a skeleton. Although petrified by the discovery, he decides to keep quiet about it as he doesn’t want to spoil the wedding mood. Soon, he starts having visions of a girl in a wedding dress and on the day of his wedding is possessed by her spirit. As Zaneta’s family tries to get him out of it, dark secrets come to light about the estate.
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1. Nosferatu (1922)
A loose, if not true, adaptation of Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’, ‘Nosferatu’ is an expressionist horror film that has its own place in the history of films. Sued for being based on the titular novel without any consideration to the copyrights, the film was doomed as all of its copies were supposed to be destroyed. Lucky us, some copies survived and that Amazon is showing it to you means you are in for a ride. The story of Dracula is known to pretty much everyone so I can’t say that there will be an extraordinary thing on that part. For some people, this might not be the film that lives up to expectations. But for cinephiles who understand the art of filmmaking and consider that it was made almost a hundred years ago will realize the true measure of this film. And no matter what you think of the rest of it, Max Schreck’s iconic performance as Count Orlock will leave you unsettled.
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