There’s some great horror being made in all mediums but let’s be real – films are where horror shines the best. Here are some of the best, most terrifying horror movies for you to put on for your next movie night.
If I’m going to recommend any horror movie for beginners to the genre it would be The Conjuring. The movie is based on the ‘true story’ of a haunted house, and the beseiged family whose circumstances force them to stay there. As the terrifying events escalate, they call for the help of (real life) ghost hunters/demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, who are also the cornerstones for the extended Conjuring universe. While the setup is typical, The Conjuring gets that haunted house balance just right – with just enough scares and tension, yet also a certain amount of warmth and character building that’ll make you really care about the fate of this family.
You can watch The Conjuring on Netflix.
Train To Busan
I’m not a big zombie fan, but I would still recommend Train To Busan to anyone. An apocalyptic-level zombie infection has broken out in Korea, and a small number of survivors band together to make it to safe haven. The Korean zombie flick takes place almost entirely on a train (as you might expect from the name), and the claustrophobic setting is deliciously tense in this story of survival. Just like with The Conjuring, however, you’ll fall in love with the characters and their stories, keeping you on the edge of your seat while you wait to find out whether they live or die (or are horrifically reincarnated as a flesh-craving zombie).
Catch Train To Busan on Netflix.
We don’t need to tell you that Hereditary is worth the watch, right? The most recent movie here, Hereditary is 2018’s breakout horror hit (at least so far), having been compared to classics like The Exorcist. It’s a masterwork in building dread – though don’t expect a traditional horror film full of jump scares.
Hereditary is still in cinemas, or you can wait for the home video release.
A surprisingly little-known gem in the horror genre, Mama takes the tropes of creepy kids and horrifying entities and does something more interesting with them. You’ll probably recognise its titular Mama from a series of scary gifs that regularly circulate the internet, but the full movie is definitely worth the time.
You can rent or buy Mama from the Microsoft Store or YouTube.
The Blair Witch Project
I would still consider The Blair Witch Project one of the scariest films I’ve ever watched, despite its general lack of jump scares. The film is relentless in building tension, never giving you a single moment to unwind as you watch the doomed camera crew sink further and further into their supernatural predicament.
You can stream The Blair Witch Project on Foxtel Now.
Paranormal Activity gets a bad reputation from some horror fans for its endlessly repeatable and budget-friendly formula, but in my opinion the first film easily lives up to The Blair Witch Project as a classic of the found footage genre. The haunted house tale is perfectly paced, building tension the whole time while never quite giving too much away. Unfortunately the numerous sequels never quite recapture the same magic, though.
You can stream Paranormal Activity on Stan.
V/H/S is an anthology film made up of five distinct horror shorts by different directors, as well as an overarching framing narrative to tie them together. As with all anthologies, some of the shorts are better than others, but overall V/H/S is worth the watch for some great practice in bite-sized horror, and some truly unique concepts.
You can rent or buy V/H/S on iTunes, PlayStation, YouTube or Google Play.
The Autopsy Of Jane Doe
Okay, mortuaries are kind of cliche in horror, but The Autopsy of Jane Doe does it so well I’m willing to forgive it. From the first moment you’re introduced to the fact that corpses are fitted with little bells on their ankles just in case they’re not actually dead, you know you’re in for a wild ride. Good luck.
You can stream The Autopsy of Jane Doe on Netflix.
Any claustrophobes out there? The Descent will take you deep into the dark recesses of the earth because caves are really damn creepy. There are a couple of cave-themed horror movies floating around, but The Descent is by far the best. Note that there’s two versions of this film – the bleaker original cut and a more ‘optimistic’ American cut which is missing a small scene from the end of the film.
You can rent or buy The Descent on iTunes.
This Netflix original plays with the classic Blair Witch lost-in-magical-woods theme, and it does it well (though unlike Blair Witch, The Ritual isn’t a found footage film). Follow this hapless stag party as they stumble around lost in the woods while being hunted by some terrifying supernatural creature.
You can stream The Ritual on Netflix.
The Taking Of Deborah Logan
My last film is, surprise surprise, also a found footage film. While there are a lot of horror films made in this genre, not everyone does it well. Deborah Logan, however, does. Follow this documentary crew as they discover that a sick old woman is much more unwell than she first appears…
You can rent or buy V/H/S on iTunes, Microsoft, YouTube or Google Play.