Choosing a list of the scariest movies is never easy, and it’s a safe bet that the contents of this list will change over time. Take your heart medication folks, because here are my picks for the 10 scariest movies.
Even the skeptical side of me can’t shake this tale of a young woman exploring the urban legend of the Candyman. Will she escape the nightmare Candyman has woven her into? Short answer? No.
2) Event Horizon
A group of astronauts embark on a salvage mission only to discover that they are trapped in hell. Gory and angry with a unique plot, this movie seems 90s silly on the surface, but it will stick with you.
3) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
It really doesn’t get any better than this. It’s hard to believe that sane people created this film. Plus, is there a more aggressive sounding instrument of destruction than a chainsaw?
4) Last House of the Left
There’s a reason you have to tell yourself that this is “only a movie.” This bleak revenge film has little regard for the feelings of its audience. It’s incredibly graphic for its time–even if the graphics are mostly mental.
5) The VVitch
This frightening film gets its edge as much from the barren setting and uncompromising moral beliefs as anything that might be lurking past the forest’s edge.
Even though I am a Dana Scully-level skeptic, the idea that eternal suffering is only a puzzle box away never fails to send a shiver up my spine. This is a horror film that balances intellectual horror and violent imagery with near elegant grace.
7) The Exorcist
It’s a classic choice, but The Exorcist makes the top of my list because it scared believers and nonbelievers alike.
8) Funny Games
If my fear were a theme the constant refrain would be helplessness. Funny Games takes all of the control out of the protagonists hands in a way that makes me crazy scared. Even before the ultra-meta twist, this film fills the viewer with an insidious sense of doom–and for good reason.
9) Cheap Thrills
Although not terrifying in the traditional sense, this movie left me feeling sick for days as I reflected on the depths of human depravity in the face of monetary gain. This is another one that will stick with you because of its proximity to reality.
10) Green Room
No plot will make you feel more helpless than this one about a band under siege by skinheads. It’s made all the more chilling by it’s near plausibility. Not only my favorite film of 2016, Green Room is one of my favorites of all time.
Sure, it’s super famous and for a very good reason. But just stop for a minute and think about that scenario: Snowbound. Giant Hotel. Redrum. Ax. It’s timelessly terrifying and one of the most beautiful horror films ever made.