Horror is one of those genres that actually benefits from repeated viewing. Even an average horror movie should scare you on the first viewing, but the best in the genre actually continue to bring the thrills after dozens of watches.
That's perhaps why it is so important to purchase horror films in a format that will let you not only watch the films as many times as you like, but that will allow you to bring the movies on the go so that you can share the scares with others.
If you're in the market for horror movies, you've actually got quite the selection from which you can pick. Horror movies are notorious for having lower production values and quick turnarounds, so they've long been the go-to for studios that are looking to make a quick buck.
If you want a real scare, though, you've got to look at the best of the best. That's why this list exists - so that we can help you to find the horror films that are not only going to give you a fright, but also those that will continue to scare you for years to come.
Top 5: Horror Movies On DVDs Review
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Neil Marshall's 2005's The Descent plays on a number of fears that aren't always featured in the horror genre. This is very much a movie of claustrophobia and fear of the dark, to say nothing of the fears of friendship gone wrong. It was a lower-budget surprise that worked in all the best ways.
While this is technically a monster film, the real threat here is the tension. The movie is shot in such a way that you never really know what's going on, not even in the last few moments. This one is a film for those who want to be on edge until the credits finally roll.
The Descent is really one of the first 'modern' horror films to be released. Coming out of the era of Scream, it put a lot of bite back into the genre. It's a rough movie to watch at times, but that's all the better for horror fans who were ready to see more serious films.
If you're looking for a good film that's going to keep you guessing, The Descent is for you. It's dark and uncomfortable at times, but that's not always a bad thing. Take a look if you are comfortable with the idea of never going into a cave again.
IT is probably the best-known horror film to come out in the last few years. Both an adaptation of Steven King's book and a remake of an older television film, this is a kind of primal horror that absolutely refuses to pull any of its punches.
A lot has been said about Pennywise, and those who have a fear of clowns will definitely feel dread every time he's on the screen. What's impressive, though, is how that feeling of dread sticks around even when the character isn't on screen.
Yes, IT is uncomfortable at times and it's only half the story, but it's still a spectacular return to form for horror. This is one of those big-budget releases that helps to breathe life into the genre, paving the way for many more movies in the future.
IT is definitely a conversation-piece movie, one that people are going to watch over and over again. It gains quite a bit on repeated viewings, especially once you're firmly enmeshed in the universe. You'll definitely end up with this one on repeat.
If you want great modern horror, IT is a good place to start. It's a little lighter on the gore than indie fare but no lighter on the terror. This one is worth watching if you like any type of horror.
There's something to be said for going back to the classics. If you're looking for one of the moments when modern horror came to the fore, it's with Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Now retouched and with tons of extras, this is one movie on which you absolutely can't sleep.
If you haven't already seen the movie, you've probably seen one of the dozens that liberally crib from its contents. Leatherface and family are great foes, but it's the quiet sense that things are going wrong during the whole movie that was so important to its success.
The movie was revolutionary in 1974, but it actually still holds up today. While the effects are cheesy and the acting is B-level, it still hits story beats with the force of a freight train. It's easy to see how this movie gave birth to the modern slasher.
If you are looking for one of the best slasher films ever made, you have to watch this one. Likewise, this is a great movie for any horror history buff. It's a fun watch, but it's also one that will teach you a lot about the genre.
The Cabin in the Woods is one of the best horror movies released in the last few decades, largely because it's both a love letter to the slasher films of the 1980s and a meta-commentary on horror films in general.
The set-up here is one you've seen before - a group of teens goes to a Cabin in the Woods, one that's just a little creepier than you might expect. From that point on, though, even discussing the plot treads on spoiler grounds. Needless to say, this one goes to some weird places.
Incredibly well-reviewed by critics and consumers alike, Cabin in the Woods is a special kind of horror movie. It's definitely going to give you goosebumps on the first go-round, but it stands out more with each individual watch.
The film also looks and sounds great, thanks to its relatively recent release. It has a number of notable actors and a really great visual language, one that picks and chooses from some of the best horror movies on the list. It's really a special film.
If you're looking for a good scare that's smarter than average, this one is for you. It's a great commentary on horror in general as well, so it's a must for genre fans. Clever and scary, it's the best of all possible worlds.
Great horror movies try to break away from the pack. After years of horror films that tried to either use clever visual tricks or excessive gore, Insidious broke out by simply being legitimately scary. This is the kind of movie you watch with the lights on.
Where Insidious succeeded was with building a world that was all-too-believable. Yes, there are demons and frights, but the worst things come out of the film because you can believe that it all could happen. The tension throughout the film could be cut with a knife.
Even if you're not looking for something groundbreaking, you have to admit that Insidious is a solid piece of craft. It's shot well and all of the actors are great at their jobs. This is horror elevated to a fantastic level.
If you're looking for horror that comes with real frights instead gore, Insidious might be for you. It's spooky to be sure, but it will also stay with you. Give this one a shot if you want a good look at where modern horror is going.
Horror Movies and You: A Guide
If you're totally new to horror, you might not know exactly why these movies are worth watching. There's a lot more to horror films than blood and guts, after all, and picking a movie that suits your taste can be rough. That's why it's good to have a little help when you start.
We would definitely recommend looking at why you're pursuing horror before you start. If you want to be scared, try to think about what scares you. There's a huge difference between a pleasant thrill and feeling uncomfortable, so know your limits before you start.
Horror is a genre that encompasses everything from radioactive monsters to human serial killers. It also preys on many different fears, from the primal to the esoteric. Knowing what scares you really is one of the best ways to enjoy building up a horror collection.
It's important to watch out for "bad" horror, though. Unless you're looking for something cheesy, there's a lot out there that bills itself as horror but that's really an excuse to put out a movie for very little money. Don't get fooled by a title or cover - reviews will help you figure out what's actually worth watching.
A Quick Horror Q&A
Is All Horror Gory?
No! In fact, many horror movies have no blood or gore at all. Psychological horror and tension is very important to the horror genre.
Are All Horror Movies Rated R?
No. While many horror films push the boundaries, there are plenty of PG-13 horror films. Some of the older classics are even tamer than modern PG-13 films!
Are Horror Films Appropriate for Kids?
The answer to this question depends on the parent and the child's age and maturity. Make sure to read content warnings and to use your own best judgment. It's hard to tell when a child is ready to watch this kind of movie and when it might be a bit too early.
Is 'X' a Horror Movie?
There's no governing body that determines what's a horror film. In fact, there are plenty of films in other genres that cross over with the horror genre. A good rule of thumb is that if the movie wants to scare you, it's a horror movie.
Are All Horror Movies Cheesy?
Horrors movies definitely have a reputation for being a little tongue-in-cheek, but many are deadly serious. Horror movies definitely differ in tone depending on the plot, director, and time period. It's not unusual to find laughs in a horror movie, but they are usually just there to defuse the tense situations.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Insidious, Cabin in the Woods, IT, and The Descent are a really good set of films for those who love horror in all of its forms. Each of them is definitely a prime example of a sub-genre, with each representing something special in horror.
Honestly, all five of these films are must-own movies for horror fans. They show a great progression in the golden ages of horror, as well as good looks at what makes great horror films work. If you want to build a horror collection, you should pick up these films today.