Top 10 Best Horror Movies
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Watching horror movies can turn out to be anti-climactic affairs a lot of the time. You sit through 90-120 minutes of build up, only to be left disappointed with how the whole thing ends.
Often times we feel frustrated with unexplored opportunities, or what could have been. Either that or we find that these movies can rely on jump scare tactics every 10 minutes or so to get a rise out of audiences. That's not to say all horror movies are like this, some are actually excellent.
Below we've compiled a list of the Top 10 Best Horror Movies that don't fall into these traps. The following movies have a sense of finality and purpose, and provide real psychological scares.
As with all of our Top 10 Verdicts, this is a dynamic page and will be updated with new releases but only if we feel they're worthy of a top 10 slot that is. Read on and enjoy.
The Silence of the Lambs is one of the best examples of horror movies that rely on psychological horror to tell a coherent tale.
Intelligence and psycho analysis is the name of the game in this movie in order to catch a serial killer. Jodie Foster plays an FBI agent who works with Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal. Hopkins' character works with the FBI to help catch another killer on the loose, aiding them with his superior IQ and powers of deduction.
The interactions between Foster and Hopkins are fascinating to watch and really have you at the edge of your seat. The Hannibal role was made for Hopkins and really put him on the map back in 1991.
Scenes are shot with tension and intensity, making the audience fearful of what may happen next.
Hannibal is portrayed to be a believable, if not relatable monster, with complex mental deficiencies (depending on who you ask). Hopkins' performance as Hannibal was crucial in making this movie work as well as it did.
28 Days Later is a movie that reignited people's interest in the zombie horror movie sub-genre.
These days it can feel like zombie stories have been told to death, but this wasn't always the case prior to the release of this movie.
The idea of zombies as slow moving, lethargic creatures was revamped completely. Here we had sprinting zombies, multiplying the terror of being pursued by a horde of them by a hundred.
Great effort was also placed on characters feelings and chemistry. This isn't just your typical gore fest of a zombie movie, the interactions in this movie are designed to give the audience a glimpse of what things would be like in the world in the event of an actual zombie apocalypse.
We've seen different interpretations of this idea in recent times with shows like The Walking Dead and movies like World War Z. All of these projects have taken a lot of inspiration from 28 Days Later and may not have existed otherwise.
Scream is a unique horror movie in many ways. It works as somewhat of a parody of the horror movie genre while not crossing over into becoming a silly affair.
There's also the element of the overarching 'guess who' game that runs from beginning to end for the audience as far as the masked killer is concerned.
Most importantly it works well as a great horror movie. It appears as though all the characters are clued on to the many cliches and conventions of the horror genre, so they won't fall into any of the typical traps right? Wrong. The killer always seems one step ahead of everyone, and just when all our victims think they have the answers, the killer changes the questions.
Scenes of suspense are carried through the movie in a way that doesn't seem forced. In the end you get a movie that takes the audience through a roller coaster of emotions including terror, suspense and laughter. All of this is pulled of so seamlessly, which is rarely seen in other horror movies.
The Invisible Man became an instant classic upon it's release - opening to critical and commercial success.
The tale of the Invisible Man has been told many times before - generally focusing on a man that's invisible who goes on a mission throughout the movie to rid himself of this condition. Simple.
This idea is thrown out the window with the 2020 version of the movie. The new version of the movie cleverly explores the concept of domestic violence as the 'invisible man.' An issue that is so prevalent in society today, but goes unnoticed far too often.
Cecilia is our main character, who is played expertly by Elisabeth Moss. She is tortured, stalked and psychologically damaged by her partner - seemingly even upon his death. Cecilia is convinced that her partner has actually found a way to become invisible to continue making her life feel like hell under the radar.
Suspense is used so well in this movie, it's unbelievable. You'll wait and wait for something to happen, only for it to seemingly never materialise. When something shocking does eventually happen, you find yourself completely caught off guard and shaken. A tactic used throughout the movie so consistently - and so well that you never see it coming.
A thoughtful, clever and intense movie that is a must watch for any horror fan.
At the time of this movie's release, haunted house stories had generally focused on desolate mansions and old Victorian style structures. For the first time, a ghost story was told about a 'normal' home.
This is one of the first movies to make us believe that our very own homes could be haunted. You get ghouls and ghastlies popping out of every corner in this movie, attacking you from left, right and centre. It's hard to catch your breath before the next strange thing pops out to scare the pants off you.
Let's not forget the disturbing white noise voice coming from one of the characters mouths, and the zombie swimming pool people. Definitely not a house you'd want to live in.
Poltergeist is one of the earlier movies to rely on the jump scare formula. It was original back then, and worked very well with the narrative of the movie. To this day we get an abundance of new horror releases that follow the blueprint set out by Poltergeist.
The Blair Witch Project is the first of it's kind when it comes to faux documentary style horror movies, and a true trail blazer for this sub genre. Movies like Paranormal Activity just wouldn't exist without this horror movie icon.
This movie created quite a buzz when it was released. At that point in time, the internet was still relatively new to most folks. Instead of being a spoiler portal like it is these days, the internet was cleverly used by the movie studio to employ marketing techniques in an attempt to manipulate the audience to believe that the events of the movie actually may be real. Pure genius.
The uncertainty viewers went into the theaters with is what optimized the scare factor of this flick, and it worked an absolute treat.
Today we know that it's all fiction of course. That being said, Blair Witch is still more than capable of making you suspend your disbelief and scare the socks off of you.
Jaws is a movie that needs no introduction. Everyone and their grandmother knows what it's about.
This shark tale stands apart from pretty much every other horror movie on our list in that it's probably the only ever sea monster movie to do what it does oh so well. There have been half hearted attempts at copy cat movies over the years, but none have even come close to this original masterpiece.
Jaws is about a monstrous shark who terrorizes aquatic explorers by capsizing boats and eating humans that cross paths with this terrifying sea titan.
Does anything else really need to be said about this movie? As if all of that isn't terrifying enough.
Halloween is a true pioneer in the slasher horror movie sub genre. Although 'Psycho' and 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' came before this movie, it can be argued that neither of those movies were able to refine the slasher movie conventions and protocols in the way Halloween did.
This movie also saw the birth of Michael Myers - the relentless, silent, masked, merciless killer who to this day remains a massive pop culture icon. If ever you want to see true evil manifested in human form, this is definitely your guy.
Myers goes on a killing spree in a holiday camp hunting down his victims one by one. He seemingly has one main target in mind - Laurie Strode (played by Jamie Lee Curtis). The whole movie is essentially a gory and violent cat and mouse game between these two, and it is absolutely wonderful to watch.
Halloween inspired many copy cats and reboots over the years, and the success of each of these projects has varied. None have quite matched up to the impact of the original Halloween, however, as audiences hadn't seen anything quite like this movie prior to it's release.
The Shining is one of the best horror movies ever made for a number of reasons.
This movie is based on arguably Stephen King's best and most successful novel. Interestingly it is also the best and most successful adaptation of a King novel both critically and commercially.
The premise of the movie is that Jack Torrance (played by Jack Nicholson) is tasked with being the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel for the winter. Strange forces are at work inside this demonic place, which leads to Jack's mental demise, which then ultimately leads him wanting to murder his family in cold blood.
Jack's psychological breakdown is disturbing to watch and the many ghastly creatures his son Danny encounters inside the Overlook are equally frightful.
This movie has had a huge impact on pop culture with the many TV show references and parodies it has influenced over the years. The iconic scene of Jack breaking down a door with an axe and screaming 'here's Johnny!' is a scene known to most horror movie fans on the planet.
A true horror classic on many levels, and a great watch even today.
The Exorcist is without a doubt the best and scariest horror movie ever made.
The premise of the movie is simple, but it's the execution that makes the whole thing genius. The story is centered around a little girl that's possessed by a demon.
What makes this movie so good at scaring people to their core is that it makes us all believe these events can be happening right down the road or even in our own homes.
The build up is incremental and disturbing. It all starts with noises emanating from the attic. Regan is then progressively completely taken over by the demon and in the end it is up to two priests to rid her of this unwavering and powerful evil.
Every scare in this movie comes from a place of psychology, which is why it is so effective. If you're a person of faith and believe in heaven and hell, then the way this movie unfolds will make you completely believe these events can happen to anyone in the real world.
Never before or since has a movie been able to tap into people's deepest rooted fears in the way this one does. The Exorcist is hands down the best horror movie of all time.
Do you agree with our list of the Top 10 All Time Best Horror Movies? Let us know in the comments below.
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