October is a month where one can shamelessly watch horror movies nonstop. With Halloween just around the corner, I’ve compiled a list of my 13 favorite scary movies that are sure to creep you out. To make it more fun and challenging, I only picked films from the last 13 years – one from each year. From subtle thrills to bloody tales, and even some horror/comedies along the way, there’s sure to be a film for everyone.
The newest take on Stephen King’s novel was a pleasant surprise – given that remakes often lack the same spark that made us love the original. This incarnation of the tale of Pennywise succeeded in many ways its former self couldn’t, mostly benefiting from a theatrical release and R-rating. It was a great example of how a remake can not only improve, but also create a bit of its own identity. With an amazing young cast, a frightening new look for our killer clown, and proving that a smaller budget is a horror films best friend – it’s no surprise the film has made a killing at the box office. Now becoming the highest grossing horror movie ever, among other records.
Hush places you into a horror film unlike any other. Although it appears like a slightly typical intruder flick, the difference here is that the protagonist is Deaf. Imagine being alone, unable to hear your attacker, unable to voice for help – not being able to benefit off the one sense that is most important in a scary movie. The masked man is enjoying the game and she will need to utilize her other senses in order to stay alive. It’s a thrilling film that finally places a Deaf character in the forefront, and makes her a badass one at that.
The Invitation (2015)
This film follows Will who, along with his new girlfriend, attends a dinner party at his ex-wife’s house. The behavior of his ex, as well as her new husband and friends, has Will quite suspicious from the beginning. After discussing death in an unusual way, Will believes his ex’s friends might be dangerous. While it’s a slow-building film, the suspense progresses and pays off in the end.
After getting herself into some major trouble, Kylie seemingly lucks out by getting house arrest as her punishment. Her mother and step-father are tasked to watch over her, and it’s rocky from the start as they do not get along. After experiencing some unexplained phenomenon, Kylie believes her parents home to be haunted. But in a bit of a girl-who-cried-wolf scenario, those around her think she is just making the whole thing up. Out of New Zealand, this horror/comedy is the perfect film for those who don’t do well with gore, but want some frights on Halloween.
Evil Dead (2013)
Director and writer Fede Alvarez went into this remake aiming to nix the comedy of the original. It is a disturbing take on possession that will surely please those looking for a gorey flick. Similar to IT, this film created its own identity with the backbone of a beloved classic. The film also benefited from being produced by Bruce Campbell, Robert Tapert, and Sam Raimi, who were all involved in the creation of the original films. Which made sure the film stayed close to its source material and respected the franchise.
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Speaking of the Evil Dead, this Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon satirical horror comedy mash-up took its setting straight from the horror franchise – a group of friends alone in the woods, finding themselves in the midst of something supernatural. Mocking the stereotypes and cliches that have plagued the genre, The Cabin in the Woods balances that humor of imitation with just making an awesome scary movie. It’s funny, inventive and will surprise the hell out of you. Another great film to watch for those who aren’t quite into horror films.
You’re Next (2011)
Masked intruders are definitely an easy go-to for filmmakers to create a creepy plot and successful jump scares. However You’re Next was every bit as fun as it may be in assumed predictability. Following an estranged wealthy family reconnecting over a long weekend. Their tranquil time together turns deadly when the family is tormented by three masked people picking them off one at a time. While it may appear to be similar to all the others like it (The Purge, The Strangers), it somehow finds amazing ways to distance itself.
This Blumhouse Productions film kickstarted a new supernatural world for James Wan and his collaborators. After their son falls into a mysterious coma, a family discovers that evil spirits and demons have taken a strong liking to them. It starts off as a seemingly standard haunted house film, but quickly shifts course. Heading into its fourth film next year, the Insidious franchise, as well as its sister films, are some of the best spooky ghost movies to binge this Halloween.
Trick ‘r Treat (2009)
Easily my favorite film to watch during the Halloween season, Trick ‘r Treat is all about the traditions of the holiday and what happens if you break them. Following several people all on the same Halloween night, the film tells tales of murder, monsters and the importance of respecting All Hallows’ Eve – because someone might be watching you.
You can win a Blu-ray copy of Trick ‘r Treat as part of my Halloween Giveaway. Make sure to enter before the 31st.
The Strangers (2008)
Inspired partly by the Manson Family, as well as the directors own account of neighborhood break-ins from his childhood, this film follows a couple staying in a countryside home only to find themselves terrorized by three masked villains. While it’s a common plot device nowadays, The Strangers really focuses on the tension, rather than a busy story.
The Mist (2007)
When a town finds itself consumed by a mysterious haze, a group of people seek refuge inside a grocery store. As tension builds among the townspeople, including fending off creatures unlike anything they have ever seen, they begin to realize they are no more safe in the store as they are outside. Another wonderful Stephen King story, this is a dark and tense tale of survival that has an ending that will leave you reeling.
Long before writing and directing the Guardians of the Galaxy films, James Gunn created Slither, an over-the-top monster movie starring Nathan Fillion, Elizabeth Banks and Michael Rooker. The cult classic is both disturbing and hilarious as a town is overrun by alien slugs that turn them into zombie-like monsters.
The Descent (2005)
This film is one of few that really makes you uncomfortable, even before seeing any real gore or frights. Playing off fears of darkness and confined spaces, The Descent follows a group of women who head out on a spelunking adventure. Only to find that they are not alone in the caverns. A creature feature that is unsettling from the start and holds that tension throughout – it’s perhaps the most terrifying film on the list.
I hope you enjoyed my list of my 13 Favorite Horror Movies. Let me know which ones you like, if there were any I should have included instead, and which ones you’re going to check out this October.