32 Top Terrifying Movies

Horror films can be so scary because they’re able to bypass our knowledge that we’re watching something and trigger a real fear reaction. Neuroscientists have started studying people when they watch films, and filmmakers are consistently able to trigger similar emotional reactions in viewers, especially with scary movies.

As filmmakers get a better understanding of the science and technology improves, this effect will get even more powerful. Let’s see the list of the best modern horror movies!

32. The Conjuring 2 – 2016

Ed and Lorraine Warren travel to North London to help a single mother raising 4 children alone in a house plagued by a supernatural spirit.

“I’ve never been much of a fan of sequels but The Conjuring 2 was incredible. I’m never one to jump at everything ‘scary’ I see in movies as usually you’ve seen it all before & let’s be honest, nothing really scares you much when your not a teenager anymore.

However The Conjuring had me jumping all over the place. At one point I even yelped, much to my embarrassment, but that’s why we go to horror movies! To be scared & the conjuring didn’t disappoint. All actors gave amazing performances & the story had you never in a state of boredom.”

31. Split – 2016

Three girls are kidnapped by a man with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities. They must try to escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th.

“What a remarkable film! The premise of the film seems quite superficial at first but as the layers are peeled back there’s so much more beneath. It’s a horror film without special effects gore, an action flick without any car chases.

A high-tension psychological thriller for viewers with active imaginations, who don’t need to be spoon-fed every explanation. The acting is top-notch, the script sympathetic, the cinematography and set fantastic, and the music/sound subtle enough not to be noticed, consciously, while building the tension inexorably. It’s gripping!”

30. Hereditary – 2018

When her mentally ill mother passes away, a woman named Annie (Toni Collette) and her husband (Gabriel Byrne), son (Alex Wolff) and daughter (Milly Shapiro) all mourn her loss. The family turn to different means to handle their grief, including Annie and her daughter both flirting with the supernatural.

They each begin to have disturbing, otherworldly experiences linked to the sinister secrets and emotional trauma that have been passed through the generations of their family.

“I never want to see this film again. And I mean this in the best way possible. The spectrum of emotions you go through range from sheer terror to complete hopelessness and sorrow. The movie picks at the human psyche in all the right ways. It’s both hard to watch and impossible to look away. Hands down the best horror films I’ve ever seen, perhaps one of the best films in general.”

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29. It – 2017

In the summer of 1989, a group of bullied kids band together to destroy a shape-shifting monster, which disguises itself as a clown and preys on the children of Derry, their small Maine town.

“I had the pleasure of seeing an advanced screening of IT in Brisbane. The film is absolutely brilliant. Bill Skarsgård has taken Pennywise and made the role his own. Creepy, disturbing, humorous, IT really possess the creep factor, giving audiences a new reason to fear clowns.

The entire casting choices were sensational. All actors really held their own, creating a sense of comradery between the characters. Like most people, I do hold the miniseries with Tim Curry close to my heart, but after seeing this adaptation, I was beyond pleasantly surprised. So much so that upon IT being released into cinemas, I’ll be back in line to see it again.”

28. The Enemy – 2011

The story begins a couple days after the war has ended. A group of Serbian soldiers in charge of clearing the fields from mines discovers a man sealed inside a factory’s basement. A mysterious man says he is ‘ours’, he doesn’t feel cold, isn’t hungry and only asks for cigarettes. As soon as he is brought along, people start disappearing, and the infighting begins. Who is the mystery man?

“The Hard Truth – that I would call it… Real truth of life. There’s a bit of Devil and a bit of God in everyone of us. Watch it – think of the real Enemy. The only movie in the last ten years for which I am sorry that I have not watched on the big cinema screen!!!

Spooky, mind blowing, horror and a thriller, with a little bit of psychological drama – just not to take viewers for granted. Zecevic gives us first-class blockbuster. What is the meaning of life? Do we exist? How does God look like? What is the Devil? Is there a God? And all that happens around a small group of Serbian military de-miners working on fresh minefield in the center of an even more fresher peace.”

27. The Devil’s Backbone – 2001

After Carlos – a 12-year-old whose father has died in the Spanish Civil War – arrives at an ominous boys’ orphanage, he discovers the school is haunted and has many dark secrets which he must uncover.

“The Devil’s Backbone may just be the finest ghost story ever put on film. No need for a twist ending or Hollywood shocks here, this is intelligent, thoughtful, imaginative film-making at its best. Guillermo del Toro is one of the most talented directors working today and this is the best film he’s made so far.

Seeing this movie makes The Others and The Sixth Sense look gimmicky and weak. Set during an orphanage during the Spanish Civil War we are treated to wonderful performances by the kids and adults, a very cool and creepy ghost (who always appears to be underwater), and a nice dash of action. All and all this is horror film-making at it’s best, del Toro is truly a master as evidenced by this and his debut film Cronos.”

26. The Orphanage – 2007

A woman brings her family back to her childhood home, which used to be an orphanage for handicapped children. Before long, her son starts to communicate with an invisible new friend.

“I saw this at the Frightfest and its AMAZING, did the previous reviewer even see it? No real shocks!!, I’ve never seen a cinema jump like the audience at Frightfest for this film. I’m kind of tempted to name the shocks but I wont. Its such a stunningly made film, creepy, atmospheric, shocking, great story, beautifully directed, the main woman is incredible.

I was never really sure if it was supernatural or psychological, but as it reveals…wow, its excellent. Its so well done I cant write more without giving stuff away, but go and see it. I was expecting a low rent ” pan’s Labyrinth ” but I think it might be even better than PL, though very different. Best film i’ve seen in ages.”

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25. REC – 2007

A television reporter and cameraman follow emergency workers into a dark apartment building and are quickly locked inside with something terrifying.

“Now.. Not being a fan of “home-made” cinema I was extremely suspecting about this film. The first 5 minutes really put you down.. I was thinking “Oh no.. Not another amateur experiment please!”.. But that’s exactly what they are meant for.

After you relax and even prepare for occasional laughter at how bad a film it is the story slowly swirls and sinks in you with pulsating intensity and believe me: You are going to jump all over your seat for the rest of the film. Please: Do not take kids with you unless they are grown up enough to deal with horror movies or you are up to a few non-sleep nights full of tears and nightmares.”

24. Tucker and Dale vs Evil – 2010

Affable hillbillies Tucker and Dale are on vacation at their dilapidated mountain cabin when they are mistaken for murderers by a group of preppy college students.

“Seriously, I am not a fan of horror or spoof movies. I only ended up watching this movie because my husband was in the other room, cracking up and I had to see what was so darn hilarious.

I’m glad I didn’t miss too much of this movie, because I can’t remember how long it’s been since I laughed this hard at a movie of any kind. I didn’t want it to end. The acting was great, and the material was priceless. Often times in this type of movie, the “ridiculous” situations and people are kind of an insult to your intelligence. In this one, they managed to do it just right. This movie deserves some recognition and I hope they get some.”

23. Grindhouse – 2007

Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s homage to exploitation double features in the 60s and 70s with two back-to-back cult films that include previews of coming attractions between them.

“There was no doubt in my mind that Grindhouse would be awesome. Two great directors making back to back movies. All films paying homage to the old grindhouse films the two filmmakers grew up on. I have just returned from the advanced showing of the picture and will have to say I am completely satisfied with this great film, or should I say films.

The audience was cracking up and cheering and it made the entire experience more memorable. This is the kind of film where I will always remember the first time I saw it. Rodriguez seems to have the most fun with his film Planet Terror. The film is Rodriguez’s dream project that he has wanted to make since he was a teenager. Quintin seems to take his a little more serious, but delivers an original story with one of the most satisfying endings. 10/10 is the rating I give this film. I recommend this movies to anyone who is a lover of films.”

22. The Wailing – 2016

Soon after a stranger arrives in a little village, a mysterious sickness starts spreading. A policeman, drawn into the incident, is forced to solve the mystery in order to save his daughter.

“This movie was a hell of a ride. About 40 minutes into the movie, I stopped to look at how much time was left and was actually RELIEVED to see that there was still so much left. That’s how engaging and interesting the story was for me.”

21. The Conjuring – 2013

Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren work to help a family terrorized by a dark presence in their farmhouse.

“This film was easily one of the scariest films of the decade, complete with a horror package that will make even those new to horror love it, if they are a fan of fear that is. This movie had every guy in the group at the edge of their seats with their girlfriends….it was an intense experience that cannot be missed in theatres.

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmega hold their own as the Perron’s and EVERY SINGLE child actor owned the screen. All acting was top notch and gave the viewer a throwback to original days of good horror, not the stuff we’ve seen nowadays. Time can only tell when a movie like this will come out again but we know now that James Wan is one of the best horror directors of our time.”

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20. Upgrade – 2018

Set in the near-future, technology controls nearly all aspects of life. But when Grey, a self-labelled technophobe’s world’s turned upside down, his only hope for revenge is an experimental computer chip implant.

“This has seriously become my favorite AI movie to date. I can’t believe it was low budget because it’s impossible to tell apart from the unknown actors who all do an excellent job. I will do my best to replace its lack of marketing with recommeding it to everyone.

I was expecting something entertaining and instead got an amazing plot with a mind-blowing ending. If you enjoy this genre, you can’t let this one pass you by. What everyone says is true, it’s like a long, perfectly executed Black Mirror episode. I rated it 10 stars for the simple reason that I could not fine anything wrong with it or anything I didn’t like. From beginning to end, this movie is amazing. I cannot recommend it enough.”

19. Train to Busan – 2016

While a zombie virus breaks out in South Korea, passengers struggle to survive on the train from Seoul to Busan.

“I’m just a civilian of the US but I do follow my zombie movies and this one is particularly good I give you guys thanks all around for it. Don’t tell the Americans but better than a lot of what they come up with lately. I’m American by the way but I honestly don’t like it.”

18. A Quiet Place – 2018

In a post-apocalyptic world, a family is forced to live in silence while hiding from monsters with ultra-sensitive hearing.

“I really loved this! One of the most tense experiences at theatres i have in a while. The characters are believable, and you can’t help but care about them.

Yet, i think one of the most remarkable things about the film is that even with its almost unexistant dialogues it manages to be thrilling, mostly, because something as basic as sound, can be a live or death factor to the family.”

17. The Invisible Man – 2020

When Cecilia’s abusive ex takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.

“First of all, I liked that Elizabeth Moss was chosen as the main character, especially since there are many similarities between her character in the movie and her character in “The Handmaid’s Tale”. I watched the premiere, without seeing any reviews about it before, and enjoyed every second of it.

The movie from the very first scene, fascinates you in a way that you can’t stop watching and gets you excited about every little thing that’s gonna happen. Great plot, great cast. The music was a bit too loud. Over all it was a breathtaking movie, so much that once the movie ended I was still shaking.”

16. John Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns – 2005

With a torrid past that haunts him, a movie theatre owner is hired to search for the only existing print of a film so notorious that its single screening caused the viewers to become homicidally insane.

“What an awesome way for Mr. Carpenter to get back into the swing of things. This 1 hour of brilliance will FREAK YOU THE HECK OUT! Filled with surprises, twists and turns that don’t stoop to the pathetic level of modern movies. However, its a signature Carpenter flick, thus it takes a few minutes for the movie to take off.

I will not sit here and tell you what the movie is about, thats your job to go and witness that for yourself. However, I will say that it is worth your time and money to pursue the entertainment of this flick. I haven’t seen any of the other MAH movies, and I really have no desire to. There isn’t anyone who can give me the thrill that John Carpenter does. There isn’t a modern horror movie worth watching I might add. Nobody does it like John.”

15. Battle Royale – 2000

In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary “Battle Royale” act.

“This has to be one of the most if not THE most original film i’ve ever seen… There’s so much that it has on the plus side. There’s bucket loads of action, the directing and acting is phenomenal and the plot, Oh my god the plot! Fantastic and strikingly original. Your given a plot, no no…a game where violence and mayhem will take place, your even given a time limit.

I myself enjoy tartan Asian movies and i think that there are some fantastic foreign movies that don’t get half enough attention, e.g. Oldboy, Brotherhood (one of the best war movies ever!) and Hard Boiled. This film is well up there with those fantastic titles and is on my top list without a doubt I was extremely impressed and if you like action and originality then sit back and enjoy!”

14. The Others – 2001

A woman who lives in her darkened old family house with her two photosensitive children becomes convinced that the home is haunted.

“This film is yet another horror film that proves that big budget special effects suck! This film is scary, and it only had a $17m budget. The Others did great at the box office, and deserved every buck it earned.

It’s a creepy film, that has its very scary moments. This is a film that will not be forgotten. It’ll be stuck in my mind for a long time. This really reminded me of an old 40’s or 50’s film. I highly recommend this film to every fan of ghost stories.”

13. SAW – 2004

Two strangers, who awaken in a room with no recollection of how they got there, soon discover they’re pawns in a deadly game perpetrated by a notorious serial killer.

“This film was, in my opinion, exciting, thrilling, and an overall entertaining film to watch. It delivered the necessary chills, to keep its audiences fully awake, and engaged. This was an enormous achievement for Aussie newcomers – James Wan, and Leigh Wannell.

The two have created a well-deserved horror/thriller, without the necessary clichés.The film is not too scary that it becomes unwatchable, so the full potential of its enormity will not be missed. definitely two thumbs uo for me.”

12. The Skin I Live In – 2011

A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.

“Only a true genius can make one film after another and somehow manage to shock and awe the audience each and every time with his unique talent to transform the deepest darkest subjects of fantasies we could possibly imagine into not only art but into sheer beauty and a total masterpiece.”

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11. 28 Days Later… – 2002

Four weeks after a mysterious, incurable virus spreads throughout the UK, a handful of survivors try to find sanctuary.

“28 days later is a classic end of the world movie. These type of movies are my favourite kind of thriller. As I said before if you have seen Resident Evil the movie I am sure you would agree that this movie could almost be a continuation of what would happen with a sequel to it. The scariest thing for me about the movie was the speed of the infected.

They are much like zombies, once the virus enters the bloodstream the victim becomes infected within 10-20 seconds, not much time to say your goodbyes. However these ‘zombies’ move fast, gone are the days of movies like ‘Day Of The Dead’, where if you had to you could just run past your attacker! Once these critters are on your tail they are hard to shake off.”

10. Zombieland – 2009

A shy student trying to reach his family in Ohio, a gun-toting tough guy trying to find the last Twinkie, and a pair of sisters trying to get to an amusement park join forces to travel across a zombie-filled America.

“Zombieland was quite fun in it’s own way. Of course for the first look you know that this isn’t that type of films that going to change the world. It has a tasteful humor with a lot of morbidity combined with the parody of average zombie films.

The actors are great: Emma Stone is gorgeous as always, Woody Harrelson is giving the best for his character, Jesse Eisenberg is just Jesse Eisenberg. I really enjoyed the Bill Murray scenes. There’s a lot of rock music in the film, which I found a good choice. The make up and the zombies looked real-like. I would say it worth to give it a try. All in all Zombieland is a nice idea if you just want to ease with your friends, or on a Saturday night.”

9. American Psycho – 2000

A wealthy New York City investment banking executive, Patrick Bateman, hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers and friends as he delves deeper into his violent, hedonistic fantasies.

“This movie is a masterpiece, and it is so underrated. So many quotable moments, true perfect cult piece. Violence is measured, much milder than in the book, which is improved on. It shows the true side of Wall Street morality, of all the little Eichmanns that lived and still live in Manhattan.

Dark comedy genius, with classic shiny ax scene perfectly in tune with “Hip to be Square” music, that Weird Al and Huey Lewis parodied in perfect meta homage. This movie works on so many levels, and although it was hated by the corporate elite and their paid hypocrite critics, time has shown that this movie is going to last. This is Wolf of Wall Street on steroids, wrapped in metaphysical, if murderous, clothing.”

8. One Cut of the Dead – 2017

Things go badly for a hack director and film crew shooting a low budget zombie movie in an abandoned WWII Japanese facility, when they are attacked by real zombies.

“A bit confused at first, since we don’t know what to expect.. but man.. half way through, we GOT it and we couldn’t stop laughing.. we even still laughing hard just thinking about it. This movie is pure genius. Highly recommend especially for those who love comedy.”

7. What We Do in the Shadows – 2014

Viago, Deacon and Vladislav are vampires who are finding that modern life has them struggling with the mundane – like paying rent, keeping up with the chore wheel, trying to get into nightclubs and overcoming flatmate conflicts.

“When you very nearly spray a mouthful of drink over the person in front of you, its generally a good indicator the movie is pretty funny. The sandwich joke had me in stitches! This movie doesn’t rely on just a few jokes to carry it, they maintain a subtle layer of humour throughout and then have you in stitches with some brilliant jokes.

The cast in this movie are well picked, and Stu was brilliantly played by…well Stu. Taiki Waititi & Jemaine Clement really get the whole dilemma of everyday life as a vampire! Hopefully this gets picked up and the masses get a chance to enjoy this wee gem. Loved this movie and would definitely recommend it. A must see!!”

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6. Get Out – 2017

A young African-American visits his white girlfriend’s parents for the weekend, where his simmering uneasiness about their reception of him eventually reaches a boiling point.

“Get Out is that movie, one which I have throughly enjoyed watching. It’s a damn good horror movie because it has psychological horror about being powerless and trapped in a world you can’t escape. That’s really powerful and it’s great to see a movie focus on this often unexplored psychological aspect of fear.

It felt like watching a really good Twilight Zone episode that just so happened to have a black actor in the leading role. Daniel Kaluuya kills it as Chris Washington, he is such a cool everyman. You can really relate to this guy regardless of who you are, he seems like an average chill dude who you want to hang out with. This perfectly helps you relate to a character. He’s our outlet into the story and our way of becoming immersed in the horror.”

5. The Lighthouse – 2019

Two lighthouse keepers try to maintain their sanity whilst living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.

“Film festival sweetheart The Lighthouse is a movie that a lot of film buffs have been looking forward to.

The buzz has been real since it’s premiere at Cannes festival and has been my personal most anticipated movie of the year for a while now. I’m more than happy to report that this movie lived up to my expectations in every way imaginable and is probably the best movie from 2019.”

4. I Saw the Devil – 2010

A secret agent exacts revenge on a serial killer through a series of captures and releases.

“I Saw The Devil is a bloody masterpiece. Jee-woon Kim has proved himself to be a master storyteller. Beautiful shots, a creative script, perfect acting and intense violence make I Saw The Devil a must-see movie for anyone who calls themselves a horror fan.

It’s a breath of fresh air in a seemingly stagnant genre full of the same old vampire and zombie stories being retold over and over. And yes, there have been loads of revenge movies before, but I Saw The Devil takes it to the next level.”

3. The Chaser – 2008

A disgraced ex-policeman who runs a small ring of prostitutes finds himself in a race against time when one of his women goes missing.

“There’s only a little thing that you should bare in mind: If you actually don’t like Korean (or Asian movies for that matter), than this won’t be for you. Especially if you like your movies to be according to a somewhat linear structure.

While with other movies of this nature, you might foresee things happening, I was baffled (in a good way) with the directions this movie took. Very brave choices and a great script. The actors of course are phenomenal too. It all fits together in one whole perfect piece. If you like your thrillers to be … well thrilling, than this is the one to watch!”

2. Let the Right One in – 2008

Oskar, an overlooked and bullied boy, finds love and revenge through Eli, a beautiful but peculiar girl.

“I had just finished reading the book when i went to see this movie. I had big expectations, which i didn’t want to have because than you can get disappointed, but oh my god was i happy when it was even better than i expected. Every second of the movie is just brilliant film-making, thanks to Tomas Alfredson who has proved that he is a master.

Also the acting is great and believable, and the cinematography and music is beautiful. There was some things that i missed from the book that wasn’t in the movie, but i expected that. This movie is a masterpiece and every single human being should see it. Well perhaps not every singe one since this is a horror movie, don’t see it with your young ones.”

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1 Shaun of the Dead – 2004

A man’s uneventful life is disrupted by the zombie apocalypse.

“I’ve seen this movie at least 10 times and it never gets old, makes me laugh at each viewing. Having seen Dawn of the Dead, i was expecting just another spoof (as the name implies).

But was pleasantly surprised to find a completely original story with some great comedy moments and superb acting all around. The first of the rom-com-zom genre, Shaun of the Dead will certainly set the standard for future zombie flicks of its kind, and i can see Pegg having a bright future in comedy.”

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