I’ve been a horror fan since the shower scene in the television version of IT traumatized me so badly in the sixth grade that I had to leave the bathroom door open for four months. I still remember my grandpa yelling at me, “Nicolas! Close the door!” while I took a shit at Grandma’s house. I love art that draws you into a closer relationship with the world around you, even if that relationship centers around a greater suspicion of clowns traveling through toilet bowls. The horror films that appeal to me take a sharp cultural insight and stab you over and over again with it – you know, like a toilet clown.
FYI: All of these films are scary to very scary, so if you’re looking for something more family-friendly, you might want to look at another list. Let sixth-grade Nico be a lesson!
Speak No Evil
This claustrophobic thriller centers around a family who accepts an invitation to spend a few days at the house of some new friends. If you’ve ever fallen victim to cultural misunderstandings, or feel like a people-pleaser who can leave boundaries on the sideline to avoid any awkwardness, this is gonna hit home for you. I loved it.
The Night House
This psychological horror film follows a recently widowed woman as she discovers uncomfortable truths about her dead husband. It’s perfectly paced, with a mystery that keeps you guessing the whole time, and the subject matter feels extremely relevant in a time where it seems like we learn dark secrets about beloved men every other week.
This fast-paced slasher follows a group of college kids who decide to spend their night at an extreme haunted house, only to realize the stakes might be a little too extreme. As someone who has never trusted the people who sign up to scare you at haunted houses, this movie allowed me to cathartically realize my worst fears. Out of the films on this list, this one may be the most bloody and scary, so watch with caution. If you do venture forth, you’ll be rewarded with some great set pieces and inventive plotting all the way to the end.
This movie was surprisingly scary with a fairly simple premise of what if a creepy smile was contagious? This is a fairly mindless horror movie, but it’s very fun and shifts into a strong supernatural horror film by the end, in the vein of It Follows and The Ring.
The Invisible Man
This is a brilliant psychological sci-fi thriller starring Elizabeth Moss as a woman who thinks her dead ex-boyfriend is somehow stalking her. It’s twisty and turny, with some breathtaking sequences and an excellent performance from Moss. This one is for all the people who frivolously use the term “gaslighting;” watch this and then go delete your tweets.