The Best Horror Movies to Watch Now

The Best Horror Movies to Watch Now

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The horror genre can be notoriously divisive, with cult favorites derided by critics and critical darlings called out as pretentious by the genre’s fans. At agoodmovietowatch, our job is to bridge that gap—recommending you a healthy dose of scary movies that offer more than your standard blood and gore and jump scares, but that still scratch your itch to see something creepy and messed up. Here we’ve prepared a list of horror films we still think are underseen by most people, but whose quality we’d cross our hearts and hope to die for.

20. Sunshine (2007)

7.6

Country

UK, United Kingdom, United States of America

Director

Danny Boyle

Actors

Benedict Wong, Chipo Chung, Chris Evans, Cillian Murphy

Moods

Dramatic, Thrilling

Sunshine is a sci-fi thriller that details pretty much exactly what you don’t want to happen on your journey into space. It follows the struggles of a crew who know that they are humanity’s last hope to rekindle a dying sun and save their loved ones back home. Out of radio contact with Earth, relationships become strained and when things start to go horribly wrong the diverse cast give a fantastic performance as they encapsulate both the terror and humanity that arises from such an alien situation. Directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later).

19. The Babadook (2014)

7.6

Country

Australia, Canada

Director

Female director, Jennifer Kent

Actors

Barbara West, Ben Winspear, Benjamin Winspear, Carmel Johnson

Moods

Challenging, Thrilling

In an age where recent horror films mostly use the jump-scare as a crutch to make their CGI-spawned (not to mention generic) creatures seem scary, The Babadook portrays real scares, relatable characters and a moving story. Jennifer Kent (director and writer) sets this on the backdrop of heavily Lars von Trier-inspired cinematography, elevating The Babadook from a shot at an amazing horror to a resemblance of an art house film. The unease felt during this film only increases as it creeps towards its conclusion. Whenever the Babadook (the monster of the film) is seen lurking in the peripherals of the camera, appearing in television sets and the shadows to create a sense of omnipresence that disturbs the viewer on a deeper, more primal level than that of so many recent horror films could even hope to reach. It leaves the audience with the sensation that they are being lowered onto a lit candle, spine-first. In short; the seamless acting, the beautiful shots, the slow-burning terror together creates a masterpiece that strides past any horror film of the past decade (maybe even further) and stands toe-to-toe with the greats without even breaking a sweat.

18. Barbarian (2022)

7.7

Country

United States of America

Director

Zach Cregger

Actors

Bill Skarsgård, Brooke Dillman, Georgina Campbell, J.R. Esposito

Moods

Dark, Grown-up Comedy, Intense

Rarely do we get horror movies that are as dedicated to toying with audience expectations as Barbarian. Even rarer is a horror movie that pays so much attention to setting, and how men and women approach and interact with physical spaces in different ways. It’s a film that’s ultimately about entitlement—except it’s delivered to us with jet-black humor and manic energy, shifting from romantic to ridiculous to raving mad. But with instantly charming performances from Georgina Campbell and Bill Skarsgård—and Justin Long doing a brilliant job playing an absolute jerk—Barbarian never leaves you grasping in the dark, even if it leads you deeper into hell.

17. The Innocents (2021)

7.7

Country

Denmark, Finland, France

Director

Eskil Vogt

Actors

Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Irina Eidsvold Tøien, Lisa Tønne, Marius Kolbenstvedt

Moods

Challenging, Dramatic, Raw

The Innocents is a Norweigan thriller that follows four kids who discover they have supernatural powers over the summer. They play around and experiment in the woods nearby, but what begins as harmless fun quickly develops into something much more disturbing and sinister.

This unnerving film, a blend of fantasy and horror, doesn’t waste time explaining the origins of its mysticism. Instead, it goes straight into action—bending, twisting, and splitting open anything and anyone that gets in its way. This kind of rawness is shocking given the age range of the characters, but it also works to subvert what we’ve come to expect from kids, youth, and goodness. The Innocents isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you can manage some bloody and unhindged scenes, then it’s sure worth checking out. Directed by Eskil Vogt, co-writer of critically-acclaimed films like Thelma and The Worst Person in the World

16. One Cut of the Dead (2017)

7.8

Country

Japan

Director

Shin'ichirō Ueda

Actors

Ayana Goda, Donguri, Harumi Shuhama, Harumi Syuhama

Moods

Action-packed, Challenging, Grown-up Comedy

Another indie zombie movie? Far from it. One Cut of the Dead, written and directed by Shin’ichirô Ueda, became a global sensation following its small theatrical run in Japan for its creative and original screenplay. A hack director and film crew are shooting a low-budget zombie movie in an abandoned WWII Japanese facility when they are attacked by real zombies. That’s all you need to know about the plot, as the film is full of surprises that will catch you off guard. Wondering how an independent film with a budget of just $25,000 was able to gross over $30 million worldwide? The answer lies in the film itself. 

15. The Lighthouse (2019)

7.8

Country

Brazil, Canada, United States of America

Director

Robert Eggers

Actors

Jeff Cruts, Kyla Nicolle, Logan Hawkes, Preston Hudson

Moods

Dark, Slow, Weird

Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe are the only two actors starring in this eccentric movie, and they deliver such grand performances that it feels like another actor would have been one too many.

They star as lighthouse keepers in the 19th century, left on an island to interact only with each other and their rock. It’s a fascinating premise of how these men, left on their own, deal with boredom, loneliness, and being annoyed with one another.

Incredible performances, an interesting aspect ratio, and perhaps excessive weirdness, make this movie unforgettable.

14. Midsommar (2019)

7.8

Country

Sweden, United States of America

Director

Ari Aster

Actors

Agnes Westerlund Rase, Anders Back, Anders Beckman, Anki Larsson

Moods

Challenging, Depressing, Thrilling

You may have heard about this 2019 critic-favorite from clips like this one of a kid running to flee the movie theater during a screening. “little billy ran the f**k out the door”, the caption reads.

You will want to do the same. Recovering from losing her sister and her parents in a single incident, a young girl goes on a trip to Sweden to observe a ritual within a bizarre commune that occurs every 90 years. This cult’s idea of death and their traditions intersect with the girl’s grief to create unthinkable monstrosities.

Note: while some readers praise the movie for its depiction of anxiety, I highly recommend against watching Midsommar if you suffer from panic attacks.

13. Under the Shadow (2016)

7.8

Country

Iran, Jordan, Qatar

Director

Babak Anvari

Actors

Arash Marandi, Avin Manshadi, Babak Anvari, Behi Djanati Atai

Moods

Intense, Suspenseful

Horror movies have always been creepier to me when they play on our fear of the “unknown” rather than gore. Under The Shadow does exactly that. The story is based around the relationship of a woman, Shideh, and her daughter, Dorsa, under the backdrop of the Iran-Iraq war. As widespread bombings shake the ground beneath their feet, the two grapple with a more insidious evil that is faceless and traceless, coming and going only with the wind. The movie’s dread-effect plays strongly on feelings of isolation and helplessness. The scares are slow and it’s obvious the director takes great care in making every single second count and in raising the unpredictableness of the action. Like the bombs, the audience never knows when or how the next apparition will materialize. The former is always on the edge of fear, wondering what is no doubt there, but is yet to be shown on the frame. In terms of significance, Under The Shadow features too many symbolisms to count and will most likely resonate with each person differently. But one thing remains relatively unarguable: this is a wonderful movie.

12. Trollhunter (2010)

7.8

Country

Norway

Director

André Øvredal, André Øvredal

Actors

André Øvredal, Anton Yelchin, Eirik Bech, Glenn Erland Tosterud

Moods

Funny, Weird

Filmed as a “found footage” of a Norwegian college film crew investigating local poachers, this movie really surprised me. To be fair, I didn’t really know what to expect. But I definitely didn’t expect to like this movie as much as I did. The pacing is on point. The suspense hits you at just the right times. There are a few drops of humour trickled throughout to keep a smile on your face. And that’s how my face stayed when the credits rolled.

11. The Return of the Living Dead (1985)

7.9

Country

United States of America

Director

Dan O'Bannon

Actors

Allan Trautman, Beverly Randolph, Brian Peck, Cathleen Cordell

Moods

Action-packed, Easy, Funny

Perfect for Halloween marathons with friends, The Return of the Living Dead treads the now well-worn template of zombie apocalypse movies with outstanding practical effects and a refreshingly unserious attitude. What the film might lack in terms of character writing or deeper themes, it more than makes up for with a relentless forward momentum. There isn’t any grand mission to be accomplished when these morticians collide with a group of young punks, other than understanding what drives the undead creatures outside in order to survive the night. As a result, this is a movie that lives firmly in the moment, with thrills aplenty and its greatest moments found in the freaked-out reactions of its ensemble cast. The late James Karen, with his hilariously exaggerated hollering and whimpering, only nearly steals the show from the film’s wonderful animatronics and disgusting prosthetic makeup. It’s a great zombie movie for the reluctant horror newbie.

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