Today i’m going to be counting down my top 10 horror films for people who do not like horror films. This is the season for all things spooky but if you are like me not a fan of being scared, then these are some great entry-level horrors you can indulge in without being haunted for the rest of your life. I hope so hold your pumpkin spice latte and hear me out.
For a film to qualify for my list, it had to adhere to three conditions
- Firstly it must be post-millennium. There are plenty of great classic horror films. For the most part, I feel like their special effects no longer hold much water in terms of the scare factor. I mean the OG film the arrival of a train scared plenty of audience members in 1896. It would be classified as an experimental short film these days.
- Secondly no parodies. Yes, i know that zombie land what we do in the shadows scary movie and Shaun of the dead are all brilliantly written. However, predominantly their purpose is to make us laugh rather than scream in terror.
- Thirdly sadness doesn’t count. Something like The boy in the striped Pajamas, i would argue is a lot scarier than many films labeled horror but for very different reasons.
I am looking for films that still have that short-term visceral satisfaction. Films that you can watch on halloween without getting depressed at the dire state of humanity.
Those were my conditions let’s get on with the list.
10. Ready or not 2019
Ready or not has a fantastic premise that produces hilarious results. It takes a massive satanic what if and turns it into reality. Where many horror films ignore plausibility, ready or not embraces the ridiculousness of having contemporary characters believe in curses. The characters themselves address, that some are prepared and some are not. There’s a fun unpredictability introduced by this in the gory bits.
9. Get out 2017
Get out is a film that is often included in horror film lists such as this one. Though i have endeavoured to provide more unique picks in my list. I couldn’t not include it. A lot of the horror in this film comes from the unexpected behaviour of the side characters including that deer. Get out also provides important social commentary that is cleverly interwoven throughout a thrilling story of deception and disillusionment. As a horror it is truly unsettling.
8. Funny games 2007.
Michael Hannicker understands how to create suspenseful dialogue in tense situations. Funny games is one of his best examples of this. Two psychopathic men take a family hostage in their cabin. Such a simple premise and yet it makes for an uncomfortably profound exploration into human nature and our fascination with violence. It invites the terrifying question of what if, this were to happen to you.
7. Carrie 2013
Remakes are a marmite discussion. Carrie is no exception purists will hate it but i personally like this update. There’s plenty of blood great fanatical religious ravings from the brilliant Julianne Moore. Unlike many teenagers in horror films who die mid-canoodling. Carrie takes revenge seriously. If you are not familiar with the story then i would highly recommend this film.
6. IT 2017
This film is included on this list with the caveat of do not watch this film if you have a fear of clowns for obvious reasons. If you do not suffer from such a fear then this film offers a lot more than your typical horror. In it the protagonists are faced with vivid incarnations of their deepest childhood fears, which taps into a universal part of growing up. Don’t get me wrong pennywise is terrifying. Bill Skarsgard absolutely nails it. The discomfort goes much deeper than a quick wince at those sharp teeth.
5. The shallows 2016
Jaws may be the go-to shark film but given its increasingly less scary mechanical shark. It was about time for a new edition of the idea. One that doesn’t involve Jason’s stratum and a mythical creature given a cute nickname. The shallow sustains the suspense masterfully carried by the visceral performance from Blake Lively. The effective cinematography editing and sound that really bring this token of horror to life.
4. I am legend 2007.
Ah the tale of a man his dog and a pandemic. Forget contagion if you’re looking for a worthwhile film on the topic of a rapidly spreading disease then this is the film for you. Will smith and his four-legged co-star are absolutely riveting. When the scary people start appearing things get last of us level of terrifying. It has a lot of heart in amongst the horror which provides a perfect balance for people looking for scares with a side of hope.
3. Bright burn 2019
The origin story of the villain will always be intriguing especially when that villain is an alien child gifted from the skies to a human mother struggling with infertility. Bright burn takes this image of innocence and turns it into pure evil. With that hand sewn and eater looking mask in tow Brandon Breyer is one heck of a nightmare.
2. Life 2017
Here is a film that i debated including in this list for fear. It might be a little too unsettling. I for one get seriously creped out at the idea of an unidentified being trying to invade my body. In that respect the original chest buster from Ridley Scott’s alien still holds up quite well. But in life we have a CGI organism that is a little too realistic, uncomfortably cute and terrifyingly smart.
Honorable mention THAT SUGAR FILM 2014
Taking a more abstract interpretation of horror, i give you that sugar film an engaging documentary that i thought was deserving of a mention. It may not have any blood eagles but the ritualistic mountain jew drinking is definitely a sight to behold.
1. Midsummer 2019
Midsummer is a wild ride it uses a traditionally joyous celebration as the backdrop for a set of messed up rituals inspired by ye old extremist practices from around Europe. It is a fantastically visceral horror that doesn’t work through jump scares but from the lack of them. Brightly lit and colorfully presented. It is the fairy tale that nobody wants to be a part of.
There we have it my top 10 horror films for people who do not like horror films and i hope you have a spooky day.