Ten Spooky Horror Flicks to Watch This Halloween

Tim Burton said it first; “life’s no fun without a good scare” – and what better time to indulge in that part of us that just loves to be terrified than Halloween, the spookiest time of the year? If you’re still looking for some spine-chilling titles to add to your Halloween movie binge, don’t worry: I’ve got you covered. In this article I’ve compiled my top ten favourite horror movies at the moment – some classic, some recent – for you to watch from the safety of your couch. 

1. Midsommar (2019)

Photo by Merie Weismiller Wallace, © A24

There are no words good enough to tell you just how harrowing and unsettling this movie is. It seems hard to imagine a movie being scary when it is set against a backdrop of lively folk music and a never setting sun – and yet that is exactly what Ari Aster did in Midsommar, his second ever movie after Hereditary (2018). The movie follows the story of Dani (Florence Pugh) who, still haunted by a horrible family tragedy, joins her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) and his friends as they travel to the Swedish countryside to celebrate Midsummer – however, she soon finds out that in this idyllic village, things are not what they seem.

Potential trigger warnings: suicide, gore, drug use.

2. It (2017)

© 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

The retelling of this horror classic was one of the most anticipated movies of 2017, and went on to become the highest-grossing horror movie ever made. And rightfully so – the film was praised by none other than Stephen King himself, who mentioned being particularly pleased with the casting and the portrayal of the characters. In It, a group of outcast kids who have dubbed themselves “the Losers’ Club” band together when they suddenly become the prey of a shape-shifting evil force appearing as Pennywise the clown (Bill Skarsgård). What ensues is suspense, drama, some top-notch scares, and of course – some much needed comic relief.

Potential trigger warnings: gore, abuse.

3. The Ring (2002)

A classic among lovers of the genre, it would be nothing short of an injustice to leave it out of this list. The Ring is an American adaptation of the Japanese film Ringu (1998), and while some would argue that the adaptation is nowhere near as good as the original, it certainly deserves its spot up there with the very best of them. The movie revolves around a cursed tape, which kills whoever watches it after seven days. When her niece is inexplicably found dead, Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) takes it upon herself to unravel the mystery behind this tape and the curse that rests upon it. The atmosphere and pacing of the movie is chilling to say the least – it’s the kind of terrifying that’ll leave you with a knot in your stomach for a good while after the movie ends.

Potential trigger warnings: gore, suicide, animal death.

4. The Orphanage (2007)

© 2007 - Esta Vivo! Laboratorio de Nuevos Talentos, all rights reserved

The Orphanage or El Orfanato is a movie from the brilliant mind Guillermo Del Toro, best known for his works Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) and The Shape of Water (2017). The movie takes place in a long-abandoned orphanage by the Spanish coast, where the main character Laura (Belén Rueda) was raised. She now intends to re-open the orphanage as a facility for disabled children – however, it soon becomes clear that this orphanage is still being haunted by ghosts of the past. This movie is truly frightening and combines many classic horror tropes, but all in the best possible way.

Potential trigger warnings: gore, suicide.

5. The Conjuring (2013)

© 2013 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., all rights reserved

A recent movie that has slowly earned its place among the classics, The Conjuring’s success gave way to an entire franchise of sequels and spin-offs – however, none of those quite live up to the original. The Conjuring is disturbing, with great scares throughout and a gripping story. We follow the Perron family as they move into their new home in Rhode Island which turns out not to be as peaceful as they would’ve hoped – a classic horror trope – and eventually have to call for the help of paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) to rid themselves of the evil that resides in their home.

Potential trigger warnings: apart from mild gore, nothing in particular – the movie earned its R-rating purely for its scares!

6. Ju-On (2002)

© Lions Gate Home Entertainment

Ju-On is the original of the more well-known American remake, The Grudge (2004). One of the first movies to trigger the Western obsession with so-called ‘J-Horror’, it showcases all the things we love about the Japanese way of approaching horror – relying on keeping the viewer on the edge of their seat throughout the whole movie with masterful timing, it is no wonder that it is often listed as one of the greatest horrors of all time. Our protagonist is Nishina Rika (Okina Megumi), a social worker summoned to the Tokunaga residence after the disappearance of the previous social worker there. Once she enters the house, however, a terrible fate awaits her.

Potential trigger warnings: gore, suicide.

7. It Follows (2015)

© 2014 - RADiUS/TWC

It Follows is an indie horror movie that sparked a great deal of hype around it when it was first released. And for good reason – many critics claimed it was a refreshing movie, a gem in a dying genre. The movie uniquely explores themes surrounding sexually transmitted disease and sexual abuse in a twisted game of tag, all while using classic horror tropes and being intensely creepy along the way. Our protagonist, Jay (Maika Monroe) goes on a date with a guy she’s only just met. She sleeps with him, after which he informs her that there is a strange entity following him – and now that she’s slept with him, it’s after her, too.

Potential trigger warnings: sexual themes, sexual abuse, gore.

8. Sinister (2012)

© 2012 - Summit Entertainment

From the same writer as The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), Sinister is a well-made horror movie exploring an original paranormal plot. Though it faced some mixed reviews when it was first released, it ultimately became well-loved among horror fans. The movie follows the story of Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke), a true crime writer, as he moves his unknowing family into a home where an entire family was murdered, hoping he will be able to use the case as inspiration for his new book. He finds a series of snuff films depicting a series of gruesome murders, and as he investigates, he finds out that he’s gotten himself into a situation that’s more than he bargained for. Who, or what, is the figure in the films?

Potential trigger warnings: gore.

9. The Thing (1982)

The Thing is a classic horror that hasn’t aged one bit since its release in the 80s. It’s a gripping exploration of paranoia and what happens when you’re no longer sure who you can trust – and that’s exactly what reels the viewer in and keeps them tense throughout the entire movie. The movie is set in Antarctica, where a group of American researchers investigate a Norwegian base littered with frozen corpses and burnt remains. They find a humanoid corpse that they bring back to their research station – upon autopsy, they come to the conclusion that the creature is able to imitate other beings; and not only that, the creature is still very much alive.

Potential trigger warnings: gore.

10. Let the Right One In (2008)

© Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Let the Right One In is the English title of Swedish vampire horror Låt den rätte komma in. Based on the book by John Lindqvist, the movie portrays the story of a young boy named Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), an outcast and the favourite victim of a group of bullies at his school. His life takes a turn when he meets his new neighbour Eli (Lina Leandersson) and the pair of misfits grows close – until Oskar finds out that there is more to Eli than meets the eye. Showcasing the connection between two misfits, Let the Right One In is almost more of a vampire fairytale than a horror movie, making it unique in its own right.

Potential trigger warnings: gore.