Horror movies have been a long mainstay in Hollywood since the 1940s. From Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic Psycho to The Exorcist or the recent blockbuster The Conjuring, this genre has put audiences on the edge of their seats. From creepy quietness to subliminal images and spooky music horror movies have excelled in shivering our bones while we fix our eyes on the screen anticipating the extreme shock and awe.
The genre itself has deviated a lot from the classic genre but it has enabled directors to widen the source of fear and scare us more. While horror movies are not everyone’s cup of tea but if you are one of those who love to challenge your guts and crave for the extreme, here is the list of the top five must-watch horror movies for you.
5. GET OUT (2017) 7.7/10 IMDb 98% Rotten Tomatoes 85% Metacritic
Jordan Peele‘s directorial venture starring is post-modern horror with a racial tinge. Chris and Rose are interracial couples and are seeking a rendezvous at Rose’s parental house in the countryside. At first, everything is favorable. Roses parents are very nice and accommodating. Chris is overwhelmed at the way he is welcomed despite his race.
As the weekend progress, We learn that Rose’s parents run an underground organ trafficking business and they only trade the black because as one old white character says “black is in fashion”. Black men’s organs are taken out by Rose’s father and transplanted into old white people as per their needs for which they even auction out the subjects.
Rose has had affairs with many men and all of them were blacks. Because Blacks are agile and hyperactive and this quality guarantees many more years for the aging white people.
The movie was well-received by the audience and earned a rousing approval by the critics for its novel take on race and the genre itself. The title of the movie invokes urgency of the situation and as soon as we learn about Rose’s family and their sinister operations, we find ourselves in Chris’s shoes and want to get out with our wretched hero.
4. Let The Right One In (2008) 7.9/10 IMDb 98% Rotten Tomatoes 82% Metacritic
This Swedish movie takes us into the world of children. Oskar is a sensitive and bullied kid living with his mother. He is pushed to the margin by other kids and is desperate for a company. He is so miserable that he seeks revenge against those bullying kids and fortunately, he earns the love and friendship from Eli, a new migrant into the neighborhood. Clearly, the air around Eli is shady and we soon learn that her father is a serial-killer but for a reason.
The movie is a generous exercise upon a vampire genre. It’s dark and morbid yet sympathetic to the characters. Despite its violence and gory source material, we tend to identify with the characters because they are not evil by design. Eli needs blood to live while Oskar is a sympathetic bullied kid desperate for affection.
The movie is remade in English to reach wider audience but it doesn’t compensate with language what the Swedish one does with its beautiful cinematography and character depth.
If you are fond of vampire movies but desperate for a new taste, this is the one you were looking for.
3. THE WITCH (2015) 6.9/10 IMDb 90% Rotten Tomatoes 83% Metacritic
The fact that this horror movie is set in New England in the 17th century itself sets the tone for a dark and terrifying theme of the movie. The pre-industrial plantation days, ominous forests, their deep puritan ethos, and their patriarchal values are remarkable ingredients for this horror flick set in the colonial days.
Robert Egger‘s The Witch is the story of a Puritan family in exile who are just settling in their new plantation and are at the mercy of their Lord but misfortunes soon haunt them. Their crops fail, one child goes missing, one becomes bed-ridden and possessed. Paranoia soon strikes without a single clue the parents accuse their teenage daughter Thomasin for all the misfortune.
As an audience, we side with Thomasin and try to decipher the causes of her family’s wretched fate, and sympathize with her for her honesty. But we can only explore as much as she can and watch as the family succumbs to the dark forces. The movie keeps us hooked until the eye-popping climax from any recent horror movies in memory.
The highly atmospheric horror flick touches on the theme of male patriarch and female liberation while shocking us with the paranormal incidents throughout.
2. THELMA (2017) 7/10 IMDb 93% Rotten Tomatoes 74% Metacritic
Thelma is another foreign entry to the list. The titular character Thelma is an ostracized female in a highly religious family. She is capable of supernatural powers but has become a burden for her family and peers. Her parents do everything at their disposal to suppress her innate powers but she grows more catastrophic although inadvertently to devastating consequences. Only later we realize that her innermost desire is to set free from conservative parents and strict decorum.
The high tense drama is a Norwegian film starring Eili Harboe as Thelma and Kaya Wilkins as Anja, her best friend at college with whom she develops a relationship.
While the horror movies start with a spellbinding scene the climax is equally jaw-dropping. It forces us to dive into Thelma’s psyche and uncover her pathos that leads to her actions. This horror movie combines supernatural powers in the middle and in sets a contest between conservatism and liberation to equal effect.
1.HEREDITARY (2018) 7.3/10 IMDb 89% Rotten Tomatoes 87% Metacritic
The scariest movie of 2018 is director Ari Aster‘s directorial debut which became a sensation of the year for its mastery of a Satanic horror after years. The scary juggernaut is in line with the classic Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist in that the sinister force is not the character themselves but those satanic figures outside of their world bent on possessing them to gratify their long-sought agendas.
The movie centers around a Graham family in a suburb. The movie opens with the funeral of the matriarch of the Graham family dies. After her death, cryptic occurrences creep up to them. We begin to sense that ominous symptoms are creeping up in other characters slowly and gradually one by one is affected.
We are revealed that the death of grandmother triggered an urge of the demons to speed up the long-held desire of the Paimon, a satanic evil, to find a proper male conduit. Soon insanity breaks out and follows a torrential run of scares that will shiver your bones.
Your heart will clench as the movie unfolds. Just fix your eyes on the screen and anticipate the extreme horror in its most chilling anticipation. The movie will not frustrate fans of the genre but will push the bar for you.
So that was the list of horror movies for fans of this genre. The list certainly skips some memorable mentions like Raw, Annabelle, Carrie, Saw or Night at the Elm Street. But the movies mentioned here deviate from the regularly patterned classics. These movies combine genre with the political climate of our times. They foreground female liberation, racial bias, and anti-bullying agenda which pervade through today’s discourse, and above all, they are not mere jump scares, these movies will hunt you days after it concludes and force you to analyze the characters one by one.
Those who wish to push their own boundary for shock and awe then revel in midnight fright, these movies will gratify your wishes.