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Culture > Entertainment

Hitting a Wall for Movie Night? Here’s the Best Horror Films Out Now

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at JMU chapter.

Horror has always been a popular genre in film, creating some of the highest-grossing franchises in entertainment history. These types of films like to take advantage of deep fears and unsettling thoughts that lay in the back of your head. Genres have no limitations or rules, but there’s no time for horror like the season of Halloween. Ranging from films about revenge-seeking mask bearers to teens being haunted via video chat, there’s something for everyone. Some of the films below will either leave you shrugging as the credits roll or wondering what may be lurking in the darkness of your closet. Most of the films that are listed are just the first of its franchise, but this list includes standalone films as well!


Originating in the 1970s, slasher films overall have the same formula, but provide their thrills nonetheless. The killer(s) in these movies usually have a personal vendetta against their victims, using a knife or various other tools to perform their killings. Almost all of these types of films feature final girls, which are female protagonists who either escape from or kill the killer at the end of the movie. Listed below are some slasher classics as well as some new franchises that have been introduced in the past few years:

  • The Purge (2013)
  • Scream (1996)
  • Halloween (1978)
  • Fear Street (2021)
  • Friday the 13th (1980)
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
  • Wrong Turn (2003)

supernatural horror

Supernatural horror can range anywhere from scary ghosts to religious cults. It’s another main subgenre of horror movies and has produced several of my favorite franchises. Most of the supernatural horror relies on the common fear of the unknown or unexplainable. These types of movies love to utilize jumpscares as well as eerie music and sound effects. You’ll probably recognize most, if not all, of the movies and franchises mentioned in the list below:

  • The Exorcist (1973)
  • Insidious (2010)
  • The Conjuring (2013)
  • Poltergeist (1982)
  • The Ring (2002)
  • Carrie (1976)*
  • The Evil Dead (1981)
  • Sinister (2012)
  • It (2017)

found footage films

In my opinion, found footage films are the scariest type of movie. This subgenre has only been around for about fifty years, its unique method of filming creating an illusion that what the viewer is watching is real footage. Since found footage films are supposed to replicate actual camera footage, they rely on jumpscares and ‘natural’ sounds (or silence) for their scare aspect. These films usually incorporate some other subgenre of horror into their stories, mainly supernatural horror. Below are some of the most eerie films I’ve ever seen, but also some of my most watched:

  • As Above So Below (2014)*
  • Cloverfield (2008)**
  • The Gallows (2015)
  • The Blair Witch Project (1999)
  • Unfriended (2014)
  • Chernobyl Diaries (2012)*
  • Paranormal Activity (2007)

Lastly, I’d like to introduce my own personal recommendation: Coraline (2009). While not treated as a classic horror movie, it’s extremely unsettling, especially for being listed as a movie for children. I didn’t even watch it until I was a tween because it was so frightening to me. It’s a great choice for friends who aren’t crazy over jumpscares or gruesome scenes while still wanting a film that’ll induce a few goosebumps.

*Standalone films

**Cloverfield is a franchise, but Cloverfield (2008) is the only one that is filmed as found footage

Taryn is a junior Biology major with minors in Pre-Veterinary Medicine and WGSS Studies. On the weekends, you can usually catch her adding recipes to her baking list while listening to her favorite albums on vinyl. She's also involved in GIVE, an international volunteer organization, and volunteering at the RSPCA. Taryn's been writing since as long as she can remember and has loved every second of it.