15 Seriously Scary Ghost Movies (And How To Watch Them)

Ghoul from Grave Encounters

Whether or not you believe in ghosts, few would deny that the mere idea of being in a haunted house is unsettling. For that reason, there are many great horror movies based on the premise of sharing a home or any isolated area with a deceased individual’s spectral remains, yet some are more frightening than others. If you are looking for a truly terrifying supernatural movie night, these scary ghost movies should do the trick.

The Shining (1980)

While trying to finish a novel, a recovering alcoholic author ( Jack Nicholson ), his wife (Shelley Duvall) and young son (Danny Lloyd) become caretakers of a desolate Colorado hotel where a sinister presence threatens to tear them apart.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: While the author himself was not a fan of Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of his 1977 novel , The Shining is considered to be among the best Stephen King movies — if not the best — for its unrelentingly eerie atmosphere and aimlessly unique depiction of hauntings.

Stream The Shining on Max . Rent or buy The Shining on Amazon .

The Changeling (1980)

A recently widowed music professor (Academy Award winner George C. Scott) becomes wrapped up in a disturbing mystery about his new home — a long-vacant mansion in Seattle — with guidance from the ghost haunting it.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: One of Martin Scorsese’s favorite horror movies is The Changeling , which is acclaimed as one of the best horror movies that address grief in a profound way in addition to its top-notch scares.

Stream The Changeling on Tubi . Stream The Changeling on Peacock . Stream The Changeling on Plex . Rent or buy The Changeling on Amazon .

Poltergeist (1982)

A real estate agent (Craig T. Nelson) and his wife (JoBeth Williams) tries to rescue their youngest daughter (Heather O’Rourke) from the evil spirits that have invaded their home and abducted her into their realm.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: Hailing from producer Steven Spielberg and director Tobe Hooper, Poltergeist is an essential haunted house movie — not just for its indelibly frightening elements, but also for its emotionally grounded depiction of parents longing to find their missing child.

Stream Poltergeist on Max . Rent or buy Poltergeist on Amazon .

The Sixth Sense (1999)

A child psychologist ( Bruce Willis ) with his own dark past tries to help a young boy (Haley Joel Osment) come to terms with his disturbing gift.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: Arguably M. Night Shyamalan’s best movie , the clever and frightening classic The Sixth Sense has a unique set of rules about the afterlife which, once you see the killer twist ending , you’ll never think of the same way again.

Rent or buy The Sixth Sense on Amazon .

Stir Of Echoes (1999)

After agreeing to be hypnotized by his sister-in-law at a party just for a laugh, it quickly proves to be no laughing matter for the man ( Kevin Bacon ) as he begins to see visions of a girl who is dead. 

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: Because it was released not long after The Sixth Sense and bore similar themes of ESP and paranormal activity , writer and director David Koepp ’s intense adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel Stir of Echoes did not get the attention it deserved, and rarely has since then.

Stream Stir Of Echoes on Tubi . Stream Stir Of Echoes on Plex . Stream Stir Of Echoes on Freevee through Amazon .

Session 9 (2001)

Relations between the somewhat normally close-knit crew of an asbestos removal company grow sour as they race to complete a job at an abandoned mental hospital with a dark past that slowly comes to light.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: From director Brad Anderson — who also co-writes with star Stephen Gevedon — and also starring CSI : Miami star David Caruso, Session 9 is yet another unfairly overlooked horror movie with some really good scares and a chilling final act.

Rent or buy Session 9 on Amazon .

1408 (2007)

A grieving father who specializes in disproving supernatural phenomena ( John Cusack ) puts the legend of an hotel room with a supposedly deadly curse to the test, only to find a reason to believe.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: From director Mikael Håfström, 1408 is another haunted hotel story from author Stephen King that mostly plays out like a spooky one-man show, while also starring Cusack’s future Cell co-star, Samuel L. Jackson .

Rent or buy 1408 on Amazon .

The Orphanage (2007)

During a visit to the foster home where she grew up, a woman (Belén Rueda) and her husband (Fernando Cayo) accidentally lose their young son (Roger Príncep) and turn to unusual measures in hopes of finding him.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: From producer Guillermo del Toro and writer and director J.A. Bayona, the Spanish-language thriller The Orphanage is already spine-tingling as a missing child story, but its ghostly elements make for an unforgettable frightening experience.

Rent or buy The Orphanage on Amazon .

Lake Mungo (2008)

A family from Australia recalls in interviews the strange events that would begin to plague their home shortly after their teenage daughter drowned to death.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: From writer and director Joel Anderson, and one of the most unlikely After Dark Horror Fest entries, Lake Mungo is an overlooked supernatural drama that's so mysteriously compelling, delicately constructed, and convincingly acted, no one could fault you for assuming this faux documentary was real.

Stream Lake Mungo on Tubi . Stream Lake Mungo on Plex . Rent or buy Lake Mungo on Amazon .

Grave Encounters (2011)

The typically skeptical crew of a docuseries that explores notorious sightings of alleged hauntings find the irrefutable evidence they never thought they would after locking themselves in an empty insane asylum.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: Part satire of paranormal investigation reality series like Ghost Adventures , and another part relentless nightmare fuel, Grave Encounters is another relatively underrated found footage thriller featuring some of the most unforgivably frightening supernatural entities you could imagine.

Stream Grave Encounters on Freevee through Amazon . Stream Grave Encounters on Tubi . Stream Grave Encounters on Plex .

Insidious (2011)

A teacher (Patrick Wilson), his wife (Rose Byrne) and their children begin to suffer from very strange and disturbing circumstances after their eldest son (Ty Simpkins) mysteriously falls into a coma.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: Writer Leigh Whannell and director James Wan of Saw fame already turned the haunted house genre on its head with the unique concept of Insidious , but rarely had a film of this kind been so visually arresting and indelibly frightening at this time either.

Stream Insidious on Max . Rent or buy Insidious on Amazon .

The Pact (2012)

After her sister goes missing not long after the death of their mother, a woman (Caity Lotz) begins to suspect that the secret behind her disappearance is tied to the unexplainable events she begins to experience in her childhood home.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: If you have never seen or heard of writer and director Nicholas McCarthy’s The Pact , I highly recommend it to people who enjoy engrossing mystery stories that do not hold back on high-stakes frights.

Stream The Pact on Tubi . Rent or buy The Pact on Amazon .

The Woman In Black (2012)

A widowed legal practitioner (Daniel Radcliffe) is shocked to learn that an abandoned manor in a small London village is haunted by a vengeful spirit who struck fear in the locals.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: Based on the novel by Susan Hill, The Woman in Black is one of Daniel Radcliffe’s best movies outside of the Harry Potter franchise in the way it harkens back to a forgotten era of gothic tales of the unexplainable, but with haunting imagery for audiences of any generation to get spooked by

Stream The Woman In Black on Paramount+ . Rent or buy The Woman In Black on Amazon .

The Conjuring (2013)

A family calls upon the help of famed paranormal investigators Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) to help rid their new Rhode Island home of the evil presence inhabiting it.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: While the more memorable antagonists in any of the Conjuring Universe movies are of the demonic sort, director James Wan’s original that started it all has its fair share of great and grandly creepy ghostly moments.

Stream The Conjuring on Max . Rent or buy The Conjuring on Amazon .

Ouija: Origin Of Evil (2016)

A mother of two (Annalise Basso and Lulu Wilson) who makes a living as a fake medium (Elizabeth Reaser) adds a new element to her performance that turns out to be much more real than she could have envisioned.

Why it is a seriously scary ghost movie: Some of the earliest proof of writer and director Mike Flanagan’s expertise in horror storytelling was the surprisingly taut and viscerally unsettling Ouija: Origin of Evil — a prequel to an almost universally reviled generic teen thriller from 2014.

Stream Ouija: Origin Of Evil on Netflix . Rent or buy Ouija: Origin Of Evil on Amazon .

If these ghost movies do not manage to scare you, we hope they at least warm your spirit as a horror fan.


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Jason Wiese writes feature stories for CinemaBlend. His occupation results from years dreaming of a filmmaking career, settling on a "professional film fan" career, studying journalism at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO (where he served as Culture Editor for its student-run print and online publications), and a brief stint of reviewing movies for fun. He would later continue that side-hustle of film criticism on TikTok (@wiesewisdom), where he posts videos on a semi-weekly basis. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.

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50 Best Ghost Movies Ever Made

From spine-chilling horror flicks to classic comedies, our ultimate list of ghost films has something for everyone.

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Whether you're looking for something scary, funny — or yes — even romantic, our ultimate list of the top ghost movies has something for everyone. There are, of course, plenty of classic horror movies and bone-chilling psychological thrillers that will keep you up all night (and even get you in the spirit for Halloween !). But for those who can't handle their horror, there are also some lighter picks that feature poltergeists and phantoms — like comedy movies , supernatural dramas and even kid-friendly scary movies that keep the frights a little more PG. The good news is: Whichever ghost flick you pick, you'll be in for a truly great watch featuring all the best specters and spirits around.

The Shining (1980)

ghost movies jack nicholson in 'the shining'

Often considered one of the greatest horror films of all time, Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of Stephen King's novel — about an aspiring writer named Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) who becomes the caretaker at an isolated hotel — delivers on all the psychological horror and ghostly terror.

RELATED: 20 Fascinating Facts About The Shining We Bet You Didn't Know

A Ghost Story (2017)

ghost movies a ghost story

For those looking for a more offbeat, unconventional ghost tale, this acclaimed A24 film centers around a recently deceased man who returns as a ghost (yes, white sheet and all) to the house he shares with his widowed wife. It's a poignant film about loss, grief and time that you won't forget.


Poltergeist (1982)

ghost movies poltergeist

Strange occurrences start to happen to a young family living in a California suburban home, as 5-year-old Carol Anne begins to communicate with ghosts through a television set. Be prepared for plenty of unnerving suspense from this Steven Spielberg horror-thriller.


The Conjuring (2013)

ghost movies the conjuring

What's more terrifying than a ghost story inspired by true events? Based on a real-life paranormal investigation, The Conjuring will certainly give you chills with a story about a family who moves into a secluded old farmhouse — only to discover it's haunted.


RELATED: How to Watch The Conjuring Series in Order for the Scariest Movie Marathon Ever

Ghost (1990)

ghost movies ghost

Because who doesn't love a ghost romance? If you haven't yet watched this '90s movie about the ghost of a murdered banker who teams up with a psychic to save his lover, you've probably at least seen that iconic scene with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore cozying up at the pottery wheel.

Ghostbusters (1984)

ghost movies ghostbusters

We couldn't forget a true classic! This iconic supernatural comedy about parapsychologists who start a ghost-hunting business in New York City started a huge franchise for a reason.

RELATED: 50 Movies From the '80s That You Totally Forgot About

Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016)

ghost movies ghostbusters answer the call

Of course, after watching the original Ghostbusters, you'll also have to watch the 2016 reboot — a hilarious take on the classic — starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones as New York City's four ghost-hunters.

The Devil's Backbone (2001)

ghost movies the devil's backbone

If you liked The Shape of Water and Pan's Labyrinth , try director Guillermo del Toro's gothic horror masterpiece from 2001. Set during the Spanish Civil War, this mournful Spanish-language film follows a boy who uncovers the secrets of a haunted orphanage.


A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

ghost movies a tale of two sisters

This acclaimed Korean film blends psychological thriller, drama and horror into one truly gripping, eerie story about two sisters who return from a mental hospital to their country home, where strange incidents begin to occur.

RELATED: The 22 Best Korean Movies to Add to Your Watchlist

The Sixth Sense (1999)

ghost movies the sixth sense

Considered one of M. Night Shyamalan's greatest works (it even earned a Best Picture nomination, a rare occurrence for a horror film!), The Sixth Sense is a chilling thriller about a child psychologist (Bruce Willis) who discovers a young boy's dark secret: He can talk to the dead.

Beetlejuice (1988)

ghost movies beetlejuice

If you're looking for something more light-hearted, you can't go wrong with this '80s cult classic from Tim Burton. Centering around two ghosts who haunt their former home, Beetlejuice will definitely play up both the laughs and the scares.

RELATED: 60 Best Halloween Movies, From Old Classics to New Cult Favorites

Candyman (1992)

ghost movies candyman

A horror film that also examines issues of race and social class, Candyman follows a Chicago graduate student researching the urban legend of a murderous ghost summoned by those daring to repeat his name five times into a mirror. Plus, if you enjoy this one, you can also watch the 2021 sequel by Jordan Peele afterward.

Personal Shopper (2016)

ghost movies personal shopper

If you're looking for a haunting ghost story that perfectly mixes horror with drama, try this critically acclaimed thriller which stars Kristen Stewart as a personal shopper in Paris who tries to communicate with her dead brother and starts to receive mysterious messages from an unknown source.

The Haunting (1963)

ghost movies  the haunting

Craving an old classic? You'll love this 1963 horror film based on Shirley Jackson's novel The Haunting of Hill House , which follows a group of guests participating in a paranormal study in a haunted mansion.

RELATED: 20 Classic Movies on Netflix That'll Make You Feel Extra Nostalgic

Coco (2017)

ghost movies coco

Sure, it may not be what you immediately think of when you hear "ghost movie," but this popular Pixar movie does center around a boy who finds himself transported to the Land of the Dead, where he meets the spirits of his ancestors. Who says ghost stories can't be cute and heartwarming?


The Changeling (1980)

ghost movies  the changeling 1980

In this terrifying psychological horror flick that's often considered one of the best horror films of all time, a composer who recently lost his wife and daughter to a tragic accident retires to a secluded mansion only to experience supernatural occurrences.

Paranormal Activity (2007)

ghost movies  paranormal activity

Known for its found-footage horror scenes, the first of the Paranormal Activity franchise follows a couple who moves into a suburban home and sets up video cameras in the house after becoming disturbed by what appears to be a supernatural presence.

Field of Dreams (1989)

ghost movies  field of dreams

Ghosts and baseball, who knew? This Academy Award-nominated sports fantasy drama film is not your typical ghost story — it's about a farmer (Kevin Costner) who becomes convinced by a mysterious voice to build a baseball field, which attracts the ghosts of baseball legends.

The Others (2001)

ghost movies  the others

Nicole Kidman stars in this gothic supernatural film set in the 1940s about a mother who moves with her two children to the English coast during World War II. She begins to suspect their secluded mansion is being occupied by mysterious “others."

The Frighteners (1996)

ghost movies  the frighteners

Be prepared for both laughs and scares in this supernatural comedy horror flick from director Peter Jackson, best known for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, that follows an architect (Michael J. Fox) with the ability to communicate with ghosts after his wife's death.

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7 best ghost movies to watch on Max, Prime Video and more

Ghosts haunt scary movies including Poltergeist, The Ring and The Conjuring

Lili Taylor and Joey King in The Conjuring

Late at night, there's nothing quite like cozying up under a blanket and indulging in a scary ghost movie. 

Even the most devoted cinephiles might not realize that the presence of ghosts in film dates back almost as far as the inception of cinema itself. During the late 19th century, when movies were in their nascent stage, trailblazer Georges Méliès breathed life into ghosts on film for the first time with his 1896 creation The House of the Devil, and in the 127 years since, hundreds of ghost stories have chilled audiences around the world. 

From sinister entities haunting homes to narratives of vengeful spirits seeking justice, and even more lighthearted horror-comedies, there are plenty of ghost movies out there for viewers ready to take an otherworldly journey with those on the other side. But which are the best of the best ghost movies? We’re counting them down, right here. 

7. The Frighteners

Before Peter Jackson became a household name with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, he directed the horror-comedy The Frighteners. In one of his last roles before retirement, Michael J. Fox stars in this film as scam artist Frank Bannister, who collaborates with the undead to scare the living into paying his bills, with mostly humorous results. However, things turn deadly serious when mysterious numbers start appearing on the living — right before they expire. 

Though the film starts out as a mostly lighthearted affair, the third act takes a very serious turn, and the film’s multiple mysteries coalesce in a shocking finale with multiple twists and turns. Though the film garnered mostly positive reviews when it was released in 1996, it didn’t impress at the box office. However, in the years since the film has become a cult hit, and many consider it a seminal entry in Jackson’s overall catalog. 

Watch on Peacock or Tubi (free with ads)

6. The Others

The 2001 film The Others, directed by Alejandro Amenábar, is a moody, gothic ghost story set in 1945, shortly after World War II, and stars Nicole Kidman as Grace Stewart, a widow who lives in perpetual darkness with her two young photosensitive children, Anne and Nicholas. When both Grace and her children start hearing voices and experiencing vivid hallucinations, Grace becomes convinced the house is haunted and takes drastic measures to protect herself and her children. 

The film takes its time unraveling its central mystery, but patient viewers will be rewarded with a truly haunting performance from Kidman as well as one of the most shocking twists ever put on film, which truly demands a second viewing as soon as the credits roll. 

Buy/rent on Vudu (starting Oct. 24)

5. The Devil’s Backbone

Guillermo del Toro often cites The Devil’s Backbone as his first real film, and fans of this director can definitely get a sense of what would eventually become his signature style in his earliest work. The Spanish-language film is set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War and follows Carlos, a young boy who is left at an isolated orphanage after his father dies in the war. 

Carlos is haunted by visions of a young boy named Santi, who disappeared the night an unexploded bomb fell. Santi warns of a large calamity that will befall the orphanage and claim the lives of many of its inhabitants, and while Carlos is initially afraid of the spirit, he realizes he must work with the ghost, not only to save as many lives at the orphanage as possible but also to bring justice to the person responsible for Santi’s fate. 

The film seamlessly blends horror, fantasy, and historical drama, and explores themes of revenge, betrayal, and the impact of war on children, all while maintaining a creepy, unsettling atmosphere that viewers simply won’t be able to look away from. 

Watch on Prime Video or Tubi (free with ads)

4. The Conjuring

When it was released in 2013, expectations were average for James Wan’s The Conjuring, which re-tells the true story of Ed and Lorraine Warren’s investigation of the Perron family haunting in Harrisville, Rhode Island. 

However, thanks to Wan’s sharp direction (which he honed on 2004’s Saw and 2010’s Insidious), The Conjuring became more than just a run-of-the-mill haunted house flick, thrilling audiences and critics with its suspenseful atmosphere, effective jump scares, and compelling storytelling, defying expectations at the box office. In response, an entire Conjuring universe has been created in the years since, which comprises 8 films as of 2023, including two direct sequels as well as the Annabelle and The Nun spinoffs. But for many, it doesn’t get better than the film that started it all. 

Watch on Max

3. The Ring

When it comes to 21st-century ghost stories, it doesn’t get creepier than 2002’s The Ring, from Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski. The film is a masterful remake of the 1998 Japanese film Ringu, and revolves around a cursed videotape that brings death to anyone who watches it exactly seven days after viewing it. 

This unsettling movie follows investigative journalist Rachel Keller (played by Naomi Watts) who is determined to unlock the secrets of the cursed videotape after her niece dies, reportedly one week after viewing the tape herself. The film’s terrifying imagery, masterful use of color, and shocking ending made it both a critical darling and a horror fan favorite. 

Watch on Paramount Plus

2. The Shining

One of the most iconic horror films ever made, Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film The Shining stands the test of time thanks to Kubrick’s arresting visuals, haunting atmosphere, and Jack Nicholson's career-defining performance in the movie. 

Loosely based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name, the film follows aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic Jack Torrance, who accepts a job as an off-season caretaker of the isolated Overlook Hotel in the Colorado Rockies. As Torrance and his family spend time alone in the desolate hotel, several terrifying events occur as the result of malevolent spirits who are revealed to dwell within. 

The film relies heavily on ambiguity and symbolism (ever notice what happens every time Jack is near a mirror?) and fans still debate exactly what they think happened at the Overlook Hotel over 40 years after its release, making this one ghost story worth revisiting over and over again. 

1. Poltergeist 

If you’re looking for a truly terrifying ghost movie, it’s hard to beat Poltergeist. The 1982 film, directed by Tobe Hooper and produced/co-written by Steven Spielberg, follows the Freeling family, whose young daughter Carol Anne has been communicating with malevolent spirits through the family's television set. 

Initially, the phenomena seem harmless, but they escalate, leading to the abduction of Carol Anne by the spirits into another dimension, where she is kept hostage by a malevolent entity known as “The Beast.” 

Despite only being rated PG, Poltergeist is known for its intense and frightening scenes, as well as its masterful use of practical effects to produce truly unsettling visuals. The film was a critical and commercial success when it was released, and remains one of the scariest ghost-related films of all time. 

More from Tom's Guide

  • 5 scary movies on Netflix right now
  • The best horror movies to stream on Prime Video
  • Horror comedy movies that combine laughs and thrills

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Amanda Kondolojy

Amanda Kondolojy is an entertainment journalist based in Florida with over 15 years of experience covering film, TV, theme parks and more. When not in front of a screen you can find her reading something at the beach (usually by Neil Gaiman, Grady Hendrix or Brandon Sanderson) or dancing around the kitchen to her favorite showtunes. 

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46 of the greatest ghost movies of all time

Of all the paranormal things that may pop up in scary films , ghosts have the power to be funny, family-friendly , scary, meaningful and deadly — sometimes all in the same film. And that makes watching any ghost picture a roller coaster ride of a different stripe than, say, serial killer movies .

"Ghost stories work best when the horror is subtle but chilling," says Bram Stoker Award-winning author James Chambers, co-editor (with Carol Gyzander) of the new ghost story anthology " Even in the Grave ." "To create the right mood for the viewer, ghost movies should hold back certain elements a prose story might include."

That's true for all of the great ghost movies we've lined up for you below. Because in the end, as most people who've claimed to see ghosts in real life understand, most spirits were once ... humans. Like us. That makes them relatable, even if they are dead, and even if they are kind of angry.

"Ghosts are an indication of what lies waiting for us after we pass away," says Bram Stoker-nominated author Gyzander. "Some may find the concept scary, while others can take reassurance from the idea that some element of ourselves or those we love will continue after death."

So turn on (or off!) all the lights and settle in with this list of fantastic phantasms from over the years, featuring new and old films, and ones reportedly based on true stories. Since some of these films are more funny than frightening, we've added in a Casper the Friendly Ghost-inspired rating system: One ghost (👻) means it's a Halloween movie is fit for the whole family ; Five means you'll want to hide under a sheet of your own.

'The Uninvited' (1944)

One of the highest-grossing films of its premiere year, "The Uninvited" is about a brother and sister who purchase a house in Cornwall and are soon surrounded by paranormal activity. With Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey, it's creepy in an old-school, non-CGI way that will still get under your skin.

Casper Rating: 👻👻👻

'The Ghost and Mrs. Muir' (1947)

So you move to a seaside house only to find there's a catch: the dead previous owner (a gruff but Rex Harrison-shaped seaman) doesn't want you there. Fortunately, you're headstrong enough to win over even the dead, and pretty soon the pair of you are collaborating on his memoirs so you can afford to buy the house and live happily ever after — if not together . At least, not for many, many years. Bonus: If you love the film, there's a TV series based on it that ran from 1968 to 70.

Casper Rating: 👻👻

'The Innocents' (1961)

Based on the 1898 Henry James novel "The Turn of the Screw," "The Innocents" focuses on a governess hired to watch over two children she decides are possessed ... and in a house that appears haunted. Deborah Kerr is a surprisingly excellent scream queen.

'The Haunting' (1963)

Another great based-on film that's frequently remade, "The Haunting" is based on Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House," which sets up a trope so familiar it almost feels cliche (now, at least): a group of people are invited by a paranormal investigator to spend a night in a haunted house. Mayhem and lots of scares ensue. But this one has the advantage of new (then, at least) technology: a wide angle lens used by director Robert Wise to create effectively creepy distortions.

'Kwaidan' (1964)

The switch from black-and-white scares to color somehow seems to ramp things up to yet another level. Beautifully photographed, this three-hour film presents four stories of people making major mistakes, or driven insane, or just in the wrong place. Japanese horror has always had a particularly sharp blade.

Casper Rating: 👻👻👻👻

'The Legend of Hell House' (1973)

Full of the overwrought acting and super-saturated visuals typical of horror movies from the 1970s, this classic ghost tale features a physicist, his wife and two mediums who dare to spend a night in a seriously haunted house where both guests and paranormal investigators have been dying for 50 years. This ghost isn't above ruining the whole house in an effort to expel invaders.

'Hasu (House)' (1977)

Don't be fooled by the totally-out-of-place theme song in the trailer, a cheery tune better suited for a 1970s sitcom than one of the trippiest, weirdest ghost films you're likely to stumble across. "Hasu" ("House" in English) is full of all kinds of strange effects (those fingers playing the piano!), hellbent cats and lots of blood. There are some off-kilter funny bits, too — but you decide how you feel about a gaggle of young women visiting a house that slowly devours them all.

'The Amityville Horror' (1979)

Few horror films have captured the zeitgeist of the moment the way "Amityville Horror" did. Based on the allegedly true experiences of a real suburban family, the tale focuses on how newlyweds with three children buy a house that one year earlier had been the site of a mass murder. It's over the top and yet incredibly creepy with the images of bleeding walls and pigs in windows.

'The Changeling' (1980)

The new resident (George C. Scott) of an old house discovers there's another being living there with him — the ghost of a child killed by his father and swapped out with another boy — but the mystery the specter raises tell him will reach all the way into some of the highest levels of government before the secret comes out.

'The Shining' (1980)

Writing a novel is hard , people. That's why it totally makes sense for writers to go on isolated retreats. But Jack Torrance's (Jack Nicholson) stint at the Overlook Hotel might be too isolated. To the horror of his wife and psychic son, Jack becomes manipulated by the spirits who also live in the hotel. "The Shining" isn't just scary for its use of a Stephen King story and the menacing brows of Jack Nicholson (playing stunted author Jack Torrance): Director Stanley Kubrick's chilly style and jump-cut editing makes it a genuinely disturbing watch. Bonus: If you'd like to lighten the mood, check out this version of a "Shining" trailer , edited as if the film were family-friendly. It decidedly is not.

Casper Rating: 👻👻👻👻👻

'The Fog' (1980)

Multi-talented John Carpenter (who directed, co-wrote the script and even created the music for "The Fog") is fully in charge of the tale of an unusual, glowing fog that takes over a coastal Californian town and provides a portal for some pretty angry mariner ghosts who died in a shipwreck a century earlier. Bonus: Scream queens Jamie Lee Curtis and her mom Janet Leigh both star!

'Ghost Story'

Based on Peter Straub's novel, this tale is about four New England businessmen and friends who get together to tell ghost stories, but when the stories turn real for them, they have to confront their role in a woman's death years earlier. Bonus: Classic actors, together at last! The cast includes Fred Astaire, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Melvyn Douglas, just for a start.

'Poltergeist' (1982)

"Poltergeist" is about a nice family who move into a nice house with a decidedly not nice history. Legend has it the house was built on a cemetery, and the buried residents aren't happy with being confined to the basement. Steven Spielberg wrote the movie and director Tobe Hooper is best known for “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre." You've been warned.

'Ghostbusters' (1984)

If you're seeing things in your neighborhood, who you gonna call? How about four guys who start their own business designed to capture and store ghosts — then have to deal with a bureaucracy that decides it's better to let them all loose? Yeah, that'll work. "Ghostbusters" (the original) is silly, a little scary and full of state-of-the-art special effects — for 1984, anyhow. Love for the franchise means there's an all-women "Ghostbusters" (2016) and a nostalgia-heavy "Ghostbusters: Afterlife " (2021) to keep you mired in the ectoplasm for a long time.

'House' (1985)

Roger's a troubled Vietnam Vet who's separated from his wife, whose son has vanished, and he just wants to write a book in a great big spooky old house — but the house has other plans, including a whole other world on the other side of the medicine cabinet. File this under the listing of "houses that tell you to get out but residents who refuse to leave," and watch as things go downhill from there.

'Beetlejuice' (1988)

Tim Burton turns the frighteners of the world into friendly, familiar specters. In this case, the ghosts aren't the puckish title character (Michael Keaton), but rather two recently-deceased homeowners (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) who don't want anyone moving into their former dream home, which they're busy haunting. Add in a new family of trendy out-of-towners (and one Goth daughter in Winona Ryder) and this is a fun, occasionally gross exercise in learning how ghosts and people can live in harmony.

'The Lady in White' (1988)

Yes, there are children at the center of this story, but "The Lady in White" might prove daunting for younger viewers. The story focuses on nine-year-old Frankie (Lukas Haas) who witnesses the ghostly apparition of a girl being murdered while he's locked in a cloakroom, and sets about not just befriending her ghost but solving the crime. There's a second ghost involved — the titular woman in white — who also lends a hand as the clues start drawing the mystery closer and closer to Frankie's home. A different take on the old ghost tale mystery, but one that does involve attacking and killing children so ... beware!

'Always' (1989)

The spectral figure in "Always" walks the fine line between a ghost and a guardian angel, suggesting they might be one and the same. A reckless aerial firefighter (Richard Dreyfuss) is killed while saving a compatriot and told in the afterlife by a spirit (Audrey Hepburn) that it's now his job to help guide the living. He interprets this as haunting his lost love Dorinda (Holly Hunter). As such, he tries to get in the middle of her grieving process, but ultimately learns how to let her go so she can heal. Directed by Steven Spielberg, "Always" is a story about grief and mourning, and is about as sweet a ghost story as you could expect.

Casper Rating: 👻

'Ghostbusters II' (1989)

Of course, there's no reproducing the original. But by setting the original "Ghostbusters" quartet on the wrong foot — they've gone out of business and are reduced to playing kids' birthday parties to make bank — we get to see them as underdogs once again, and just in time as a river of ectoplasm and loads of new ghosts spurs the team back into action. Plus, there's a walking Statue of Liberty!

'Ghost' (1990)

Ghosts continue to have a romantic, guiding touch in the classic Patrick Swayze/Demi Moore four-hankie tale. Sam Wheat (Swayze) gets shot by a mugger, leaving his girlfriend, Molly (Demi Moore), and a reluctant medium (Whoopi Goldberg) to figure out that it was no random killing after all. Meanwhile, the ghostly Sam figures out how to connect to the earthly plane to let Molly know that yes, he's keeping an eye out for her ... and possibly even saving her life. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wish you had someone to make pottery with.

'The Frighteners' (1996)

Don't let the title spook you. "The Frighteners" is a horror comedy about a man who uses the ability to commune with the dead to make some money. His supernatural schemes get serious when the ghost of a serial killer gets back to his old ways, despite being "on the other side," and only Frank (Michael J. Fox) can stop him.

'The Sixth Sense' (1999)

The kid (Haley Joel Osment) says he sees dead people, and only one psychologist (Bruce Willis) is able to help him figure out what he needs to do to fix, or understand, this particular talent. As with a lot of ghost-based stories, there's a hurdle to overcome in helping either the ghost or the living free themselves from the liminal space they exist in, but unlike in many there's a giant "gotcha" at the end which you probably already know is coming.

'Stir of Echoes' (1999)

Beware a ghost with an agenda and a blue-collar worker who's recently been hypnotized to be more "open" to the world around him. Kevin Bacon's a telephone lineman who goes under at a gathering, and returns to the waking world as an instrument for the deceased spirit of Samantha, who wants her death avenged.

'Sleepy Hollow' (1999)

In most tellings of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," things do not go well for one Ichabod Crane. But with Tim Burton directing, Crane (Johnny Depp) becomes an investigator considered radical for adhering to a scientific method, who comes to the small New York village to investigate a series of beheadings. The movie has definite scares and dark jumps, but it's not the same old story you might have grown up hearing told around a campfire.

'The Devil’s Backbone' (2001)

Made before "Pan's Labyrinth," this Guillermo Del Toro film is also set in the Spanish Civil War era and provides audiences with another kind of nightmare fuel. Adolescent Carlos (Fernando Tielve) arrives at an orphanage that reportedly has a cache of hidden gold, and soon starts seeing specters from the school. Isolated from wartime and bedeviled by treasure hunters, Carlos and his friends find themselves in danger faster than you can say "ghosts!"

'The Others' (2001)

Grace (Nicole Kidman) is having a devil of a time: Not only is she living in an isolated house in post-WWII Jersey (near the UK, not New York), while caring for her two young kids who have photosensitivity and therefore can't go out in the sunlight, she's also having problems with unwelcome visitors. Strangers seem to be moving into her house. The piano plays on its own, and time feels very slippy. Is her house haunted? Yes, but not in the way she thinks.

'Spirited Away' (2001)

10-year-old Chihiro is supposed to move into a new neighborhood with her parents when she accidentally enters a world ruled by gods, witches and spirits, and sees her parents get turned into pigs. Chihiro must work at a magical bathhouse owned by a witch named Yubaba to free herself and her parents.

'The Ring' (2002)

The beauty of "The Ring" (an American remake of the 1998 Japanese film "Ring") is found in the premise's simplicity: Characters watch some weird found footage on a video tape, get a phone call letting them know they have a week to live, and then die. More interesting is the way Rachel (Naomi Watts) goes about "investigating" the phenomenon as if it's a puzzle that can be solved after her young son views the tape. Is the girl in the well a true ghost? Has she achieved some kind of demonic abilities? And can the "Ring" curse be defeated? All of those questions have elusive answers and disturbing consequences.

‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ (2003)

A teenage girl is released from a mental institution and sent home in this South Korean film, only to find it's much more horrific than she ever remembered back there — and that the family's dark secrets are not going to stay buried for long.

‘Corpse Bride’ (2005)

Victor (Johnny Depp) and Victoria (Emma Watson) are arranged to be married when he is dragged into the land of the dead by Emily (Helena Bonham Carter), who was murdered after finding love and eloping. Now, Victor must fight to get back to the land of the living in order to save Victoria from a marriage to the villainous Barkis Bittern (Richard E. Grant).

'The Orphanage' (2007)

This Spanish film has all the great hallmarks of a ghost story: prescient children, living in a home with a past (a former orphanage for handicapped children), and the kid suddenly developing new friends only he can see. You'll be scared even through the subtitles.

'Insidious' (2010)

If a film like "Always" (see above) walks the line between guardian angel and ghost, "Insidious" walks the line between ghost and demon. Within the movie's mythology, ghosts can cross over into the bodies of the living and then animate them. Full of jump scares, "Insidious" is a film about the wickedest type of angry spirits, who fixate on a young boy who dreams a little too well.

'The Woman In Black' (2012)

High Gothic style at its most bleak and melodramatic. "Woman in Black" is about a lawyer sent to Eel Marsh estate, a remote home whose owner has died. He's meant to gather papers and prepare the house for sale, but then people start dying, houses start burning down, children get creepier and fingers start pointing ... at him. The post-"Harry Potter" Daniel Radcliffe as the beleagured lawyer is a fantastic touch, too.

'Oculus' (2013)

"Oculus" continues the cinematic tradition of ghosts being dead yet super-powered beings who can do basically anything . In the movie, a sister (Karen Gillan) tries to exonerate her brother (Brenton Thwaites) for the deaths of their parents when they were small. The real culprit? A mirror that contains mind-controlling spirits. "Oculus" is a film that will make you question what you actually just saw.

'The Canal' (2014)

When a film archivist (Rupert Evans) comes upon very old found footage of a crime scene and murder, he quickly realizes there's a direct connection between the footage and the home he lives in. Meanwhile, his cheating wife turns up dead in a nearby canal, causing him to spiral obsessively with capturing the ghost he believes is connected to the footage and who lives in his home. Things just get darker, and ghostlier, from there.

'The Babadook' (2014)

Is "The Babadook" a ghost movie? Kind of, so long as you're willing to believe the titular monster, who starts manifesting in a single mother's home after a book also titled "The Babadook," arrives. Her son desperately wants her to read it aloud, and starts acting stranger and scarier with each passing day. But the startling ending may have you questioning whether ghosts, or monsters, can ever be removed entirely.

‘It Follows’ (2014)

So, remember how in "The Ring" you died seven days after watching a videotape? Well, I have bad news and I have terrible news. In "It Follows," an entity (which is both a shapeshifter and some sort of specter) is passed from person to person through sex, after which it follows you forever. The only way you can delay your doom is to have sex with someone else, and share the ... uh, love. Then it has to kill that person before it gets to you. Seriously, this is the worst dating service ever.

'Crimson Peak' (2015)

Guillermo Del Toro returns with another kind of ghost story, this one a classic Gothic romance about con artist siblings (Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain) who start out trying to steal Edith's (Mia Wasikowska) fortune to save their sinking fortunes and his floundering inventions, but end up on very different sides about how she should be handled. Ghosts, meanwhile, are a bit on the sidelines, yet critical to the plot: Not only does one warn Edith about the mansion, later in the game one proves critical to her escape from the house of horrors. Drenched in atmosphere and packed with a great cast, this one will give you the best kind of chills.

'Ghostbusters' (2016)

For some fans of the "Ghostbusters" franchise, the "something strange" in the neighborhood wasn't ghosts with this reboot — but the fact that the ladies were finally getting to kick some spectral butt. But ignore that and just dive right in: Kate McKinnon's eccentric, wild-eyed performance is worth the price of admission, and there's Chris Hemsworth as the eye-candy receptionist, so it surely has more than a ghost of a chance.

'We Go On' (2016)

A movie that reminds you to be careful what you wish for. Miles (Clark Freeman) is on a quest, offering $30,000 to anyone who can provide definitive proof of life after death. He gets a lot of pranks and hoaxes, but three lines of inquiry seem promising ... until he gets the answers he's been looking for, and then some. It's as much an emotional journey as one with spirits who have their own agendas, and will leave you feeling, well, haunted.

'A Ghost Story' (2017)

In the spare, meditative "A Ghost Story," time is a slippery device. The story is told both backward and forward: A man and a woman (only referred to as C and M, played by Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara) live in an ordinary house. There is a tragedy. The result: The one who dies sits up in the morgue beneath a sheet, and begins wandering. No one can see this ghost, but this ghost slowly finds a way to interact with the world ... and eventually come to peace. Some ghost stories leave you in tears of fright; this one might just make you grab tissues for another reason.

'Coco' (2017)

"Coco" is set during the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead, during which spirits are said to cross over and visit the living. Celebrants hold celebrations and picnics to be with the departed. In "Coco," there's trouble when a young living boy accidentally crosses over with the dead and has to figure out how to return to the living. Though it's a family-friendly Pixar movie, there are still some scary spirits he'll have to evade, and old family secrets he'll have to unearth.

'Doctor Sleep' (2019)

OK, we're not sure we're buying that the ghost-sensitive, finger-wagging kid from "The Shining" grew up to be Ewan McGregor, but if you can get past that bit of casting, "Doctor Sleep" proves that the haunting of Dan Torrance didn't end when he and his mother escaped the Overlook hotel way back when. In this tale, he's guided by the spirit of Dick Halloran to contain the Overlook's ghosts in a special box.

'His House' (2020)

It seems particularly cruel to subject South Sudanese refugees who've escaped a living hell to a second horrifying passage by placing them into a haunted house in the U.K., where they're seeking asylum, but this is the plot of "His House." There's clearly some kind of angry spirit living in the shabby home the couple (played by Wunmi Mosaku and Sope Dirisu) has been given, but in time things become clearer: There are ghosts who have traveled along with the couple. It just goes to show that starting over isn't so easy when the baggage is spiritual.

'Candyman' (2021)

The spirit of a wrongly-accused homeless man who'd been accused of tampering with candy is far from a sweet soul. All you have to do to summon him is say his name three times in front of a mirror ... and he'll wreak some serious vengeance on you. Naturally, anyone who hears of this urban legend seems bound to taunt it in front of a mirror, which leads to a lot of bodies, a very important bee, and the transformation of a new member of Candyman's "hive." You're better off calling out for Beetlejuice.

'Ghostbusters: Afterlife' (2021)

Alas, one of the "Ghostbusters" has passed on (and in real life, too; RIP Harold Ramis), but that doesn't mean he can't be an integral part of a new look at the franchise that deals in ghostly matters. The descendents of Egon's (Ramis) pick up the story far from New York City, with some familiar enemies, some new friends (a kid who makes podcasts called ... Podcast) and a reuniting of the old gang, including a spectral Egon. Bonus: Director Jason Reitman isn't just the son of original "Ghostbusters" director Ivan Reitman, he's the kid who, in "Ghostbusters II," told Dan Aykroyd's Ray that the Ghostbusters were "full of crap."

Randee Dawn (she/her) is an entertainment journalist and author based in Brooklyn. In addition to writing for TODAY.com, Variety and The Los Angeles Times, her debut novel, Tune in Tomorrow , about a reality TV show run by mythic creatures, published in 2022. She's also the co-author of The Law & Order: SVU Unofficial Companion . When not interviewing the stars or dabbling in speculative fiction, she dreams of the next place she can travel to, or cuddles her Westie. More at RandeeDawn.com .

33 Best Ghost Movies That Seriously Deliver on the Thrills

Have the Ghostbusters on speed-dial.

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Scroll through for some of the most unnerving supernatural films and thrillers on Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu and beyond. Catch up on the original Candyman before Nia DaCosta's highly anticipated remake arrives to terrify you, or bask in a slow-burn like The Others . Recent movies like Netflix's His House mix social issues with ghost stories. But, of course, the most haunting ghost movies of all are the ones supposedly based on true stories, like the classic paranormal movie Poltergeist . And, if you prefer your frights a little more PG, we have great movies for kids starring "nice" ghosts, like Casper, and some comedies for you, too.

The Changeling

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A haunted house tale from the ‘80s, The Changeling doesn’t feel like it’s from the ‘80s. Sure, there is no high definition or modern A-list cast, but the film’s suspense transcends the decades and remains one of the spookiest specter films ever made. It’s about a composer who hunkers down in a sprawling rental to grieve the sudden loss of his wife and daughter. And—you guessed it—he’s not alone.

A Tale of Two Sisters

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Not even a viewing in broad daylight can save you from the terror the film’s helmer, Jee-woon Kim, has in store. About a pair of siblings who are tormented by a long-haired shadow figure, A Tale of Two Sisters is a chilling Korean folk tale with tonal shifts and jumps scares so jarring you may just rethink the dark corners of your household. Should you prefer the American version, The Uninvited , starring Emily Brown and Arielle Kebbel, is based on the Korean original.

Under the Shadow

Under the Shadow is a brilliant film that came and went in 2016 with hardly a whisper. A critical and festival hit, British-Iranian filmmaker Babak Anvari’s supernatural thriller arms itself with traditional genre scares but also a social subtext that depicts war-torn Tehran in the 1980s. Narges Rashidi stars as Shideh, a mother dodging evil from all directions: missiles, enforcers, and a possibly malevolent spirit.

The Devil’s Backbone

You’ve probably seen The Shape of Water . And you may have heard of Pan’s Labyrinth . But before monster maestro Guillermo del Toro’s elevated fantasies grabbed the attention of the Academy Awards, he wrote and directed an incredible, mournful Spanish-language ghost tale set during the Spanish Civil War. At its backbone: a dead little boy named Santi who wanders a war-torn orphanage.

Candyman is a terrifying movie wrapped up in the United States's own gruesome history. Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) is researching urban legends, and there's none more potent than the serial killer Candyman, whose origin story has roots in slavery and racial injustice. Tony Todd plays an unforgettable villain who is set on repeating that which was done to him. Catch up on the original before watching Nia DaCosta's Candyman remake, out this year.

The Sixth Sense

Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment explore each other’s psyches in M. Night Shyamalan’s genre-blending film about an eight year old who sees dead people and the sullen child psychologist trying to help him understand why. A permanent fixture in pop culture, the film not only received six Oscar nominations, but it remains as one of the greatest twist-ending films of all time.

The Conjuring

Based on the actual paranormal investigations of real-life ghostbusters Ed and Lorraine Warren , The Conjuring is the first installment in The Conjuring Universe and also marks the introduction to that nefarious pigtailed doll over there. It stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as the famed occult inspectors, as they head to a Rhode Island farmhouse to help the Perron family rid their home of evil spirits.

Based on the Japanese horror original, Ringu , filmmaker Gore Verbinski’s psychological nightmare stars Naomi Watts as a reporter investigating a string of teen murders. On the surface, sure, it’s a movie about a videotape that kills those who watch it. In seven days. As we all know. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find it’s a truly unsettling odyssey through all the ways a mother’s love—and hate—can affect a child.

Ouija: Origina of Evil

An origin story to the 2014 film Ouija , Mike Flanagan’s prequel is a sneaky-good movie that stands on its own. Set in late-1960s Los Angeles, Ouija: Origin of Evil spies on a widowed mother (Elizabeth Reaser) who runs a faux séance business with her young daughters, and their latest stunt—conjuring spirits with the help of an occult lettered board—proves to be a B-I-G mistake.

Nicole Kidman carries this period ghost thriller about a family who are haunted by the uninvited on her perfectly postured shoulders. She plays Grace, a manic mother of two who may or may not be going mad. Its narrative can be nicked for being unoriginal, as it definitely borrows thrills from 1961’s The Innocents . But the directors’ atmospheric touches and Kidman’s spiraling performance set this one at the top of the genre heap.

Adapted from a Stephen King short story, 1408 , is an absorbing thriller starring a fantastic John Cusack as a paranormal cynic who makes a living debunking ghost stories and hauntings. His latest gig: proving the Dolphin Hotel is merely a place to rest one’s head and not the infamous hotbed for paranormal activity its reputation says it is. We’re sure you can guess how things work out for our non-believing protagonist.

Looking for a family-friendly ghost movie? Casper was designed for watching after a long trick-or-treating session. As the daughter of a "ghost therapist," someone who communes with spirits for a living, Kathleen 'Kat' Harvey (Christina Ricci) is used to things that go bump in the night. But she'd never had a ghostly friend—before Casper, that is.

The Shining

All work and no play gives Jack Torrance a crazy case of cabin fever. A Stanley Kubrick classic that tops every critic’s best-of horror list, The Shining is the story of one man’s methodical descent into madness as he and his family care for a secluded mountain resort that’s crawling with horrific and wrathful ghosts. If you’re looking to make it a double feature, queue up Room 237 , a conspiracy theorist’s dream documentary that analyzes each dark corner and blood-soaked hallway of the Overlook.

Fans of the Netflix spine-tingler The Haunting of Hill House will understand the kind of mental workout it takes to endure a Mike Flanagan production. They will also know just how rewarding the psychological marathon can be. In Oculus , one of Flanagan’s earlier projects, a sister attempts to clear her brother of murder by proving the crime was done by a phenomenon that comes in evil mirror form. We know, but just go with it; trust us, this effective bare-bones film is one you’ll want to reflect on (sorry).

So Patrick Swayze as the ghost of Sam Wheat isn’t really all that scary. But the way he was killed is. After date night, Sam and girlfriend Molly, played by Demi Moore , brave the New York City streets on foot, only to be met with the short barrel of a mugger’s pistol. It’s a film that cleaned up during the 1991 awards season , winning two Oscars—one of which went to Whoopi Goldberg as Oda Mae Brown, the psychic Sam enlists to help solve his own murder.

The Innocents

There are some pretty creepy things going down in this black-and-white haunted house film based on the Henry James 1898 Gothic ghost novella, The Turning of the Screw . Deborah Kerr takes the lead as Miss Giddens, a governess who slowly begins to believe the country estate where the children live is haunted by a pair of evil spirits: the former valet and the woman he seduced.


Tim Burton’s stylized cult classic from 1988 mixes comedy, fantasy, and the afterlife to achieve the perfect gateway film to the horror genre: It’s not too scary, but it still brings the thrills. Michael Keaton stars as the title “bio-exorcist” who’s hired by a ghost couple to remove a family from their home. And you can bet that by the time Halloween creeps into town, we'll have watched this movie more times than it takes to summon its title character.

One disembodied groan and we’re bolting. Which is exactly what the Lambert family should be doing. Alas, Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson who play Mom and Dad stick with their new mortgage while also trying to keep their young comatose son away from the clutches of the evil spirits inhabiting another dimension called The Further. Don’t underestimate the unnerving power of super-scary makeup and a wicked wig, in this film directed by Saw creator James Wan.

What Lies Beneath

Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford play a seemingly happy couple who live in a massive lakeside dream house in Vermont that’s haunted not only by the spirit of a former college student, but also by the sins of their past. An easy watch from the start, Robert Zemeckis’s slow-burning ode to Hitchcock conjures references to several of the master of suspense’s classics including Rear Window , Psycho , and Spellbound .

Tales of grief often lend themselves to the horror genre. You have Hereditary , a contemporary take on possession, as well as The Changeling , Don’t Look Now , and others on this very list. But Lake Mungo , which indeed uses the aftermath of tragedy as its springboard into terror, is different. Executed as a pseudo-documentary, this Australian fright film plays out over interviews with a family who are mourning the death of their 16-year-old daughter while also fearing the presence that has now taken up residence in her room. Um, chills.

Headshot of DeAnna Janes

DeAnna Janes is a freelance writer and editor for a number of sites, including Harper’s BAZAAR, Tasting Table, Fast Company and Brit + Co, and is a passionate supporter of animal causes, copy savant, movie dork and reckless connoisseur of all holidays. A native Texan living in NYC since 2005, Janes has a degree in journalism from Texas A&M and  got her start in media at US Weekly before moving on to O Magazine, and eventually becoming the entertainment editor of the once-loved, now-shuttered DailyCandy. She’s based on the Upper West Side.

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The 200 Best Horror Movies of All Time

New year, new boo! We’ve re-vamped, fangs and all, our guide to the 200 best horror movies of all time, with critics and audiences now coming together in hellacious harmony to pick the freakiest, frightiest, and Freshest from horror movie history!

To assist in scheduling your film fright night, we guide you through German expressionism ( Nosferatu , The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari ) and Universal monsters ( Dracula , The Wolf Man ). Creature features ( King Kong , The Fly ) nestle with Best Picture nominees ( The Exorcist , Get Out ). Slashers ( Scream ), zombies ( Dawn of the Dead ), vampires ( Let the Right One In ) abound with terror of the more psychological persuasion ( Don’t Look Now , The Innocents ). Plus, we honor the recent stabs and strides made by female horror directors ( A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night , The Babadook , The Invitation ) and directors abroad ( Under the Shadow , The Wailing ).

To sort the list, we’re using our recommendation formula, which calculates a movie’s Tomatometer rating AND its Audience Score , along with the film’s number of reviews and year of release. And how did we pick what to initially throw into our bubbling recommendation cauldrong? We hand-picked only Certified Fresh movies with a positive Audience Score, with recent movies needing at least 100 critics reviews. What’s recent? Anything after 2016, which is when we expanded our critics pool and criteria.

Ready to settle in for dark nights of Fresh fear? Then flip the switch on the 200 best horror movies of all time. It’s alive! It’s alive!!

ghost movies in english

Alien (1979) 93%

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Let the Right One In (2008) 98%

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Aliens (1986) 98%

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Jaws (1975) 97%

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The Silence of the Lambs (1991) 95%

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Get Out (2017) 98%

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Psycho (1960) 97%

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One Cut of the Dead (2017) 100%

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King Kong (1933) 97%

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A Quiet Place (2018) 96%

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Halloween (1978) 96%

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Shaun of the Dead (2004) 92%

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What We Do in the Shadows (2014) 96%

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Diabolique (1955) 95%

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The Invisible Man (2020) 92%

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Nosferatu (1922) 97%

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Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) 98%

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Rosemary's Baby (1968) 96%

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The Wailing (2016) 99%

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Bride of Frankenstein (1935) 98%

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The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919) 96%

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The Devil's Backbone (2001) 93%

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Eyes Without a Face (1960) 97%

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A Quiet Place Part II (2021) 91%

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The Babadook (2014) 98%

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Train to Busan (2016) 95%

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The Ring (1998) 98%

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His House (2020) 100%

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Night of the Living Dead (1968) 95%

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Talk to Me (2023) 94%

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Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017) 97%

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Repulsion (1965) 96%

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Frankenstein (1931) 94%

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Vampyr (1932) 98%

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Freaks (1932) 95%

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The Night of the Hunter (1955) 93%

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A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) 95%

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The Innocents (1961) 95%

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Prey (2022) 94%

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Under the Shadow (2016) 99%

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Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979) 95%

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Border (2018) 97%

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M3GAN (2022) 93%

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Dawn of the Dead (1978) 91%

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Godzilla (1954) 93%

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Peeping Tom (1960) 95%

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A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) 96%

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Re-Animator (1985) 94%

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The Fly (1986) 93%

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Suspiria (1977) 94%

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Pearl (2022) 93%

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Zombieland (2009) 89%

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The Birds (1963) 94%

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The Innocents (2021) 97%

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What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) 92%

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X (2022) 94%

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Misery (1990) 91%

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The Cabin in the Woods (2011) 92%

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The Amusement Park (1973) 96%

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It Follows (2014) 95%

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Raw (2016) 93%

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Dead of Night (1945) 93%

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Dracula (1931) 94%

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Carrie (1976) 93%

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The Host (2006) 93%

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10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) 90%

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Kwaidan (1964) 91%

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28 Days Later (2002) 87%

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Don't Look Now (1973) 93%

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Thelma (2017) 92%

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Attack the Block (2011) 91%

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The Orphanage (2007) 87%

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Barbarian (2022) 93%

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Werewolf by Night (2022) 89%

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Us (2019) 93%

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Upgrade (2018) 88%

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Evil Dead 2 (1987) 88%

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An American Werewolf in London (1981) 89%

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Ready or Not (2019) 89%

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The Lighthouse (2019) 90%

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It (2017) 85%

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Eraserhead (1977) 89%

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Green Room (2015) 90%

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Beast (2017) 92%

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Hereditary (2018) 90%

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Drag Me to Hell (2009) 92%

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The Return of the Living Dead (1985) 91%

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The Wicker Man (1973) 90%

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Dead Alive (1992) 89%

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You Won't Be Alone (2022) 93%

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The Fly (1958) 95%

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Let Me In (2010) 88%

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Village of the Damned (1960) 93%

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Don't Breathe (2016) 88%

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The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) 89%

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The Phantom of the Opera (1925) 90%

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The Conjuring (2013) 86%

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Cat People (1942) 92%

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Horror of Dracula (1958) 91%

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The Blackening (2022) 87%

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Grindhouse (2007) 84%

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The Thing (1982) 85%

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House of Wax (1953) 93%

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The Shining (1980) 83%

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The Love Witch (2016) 95%

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Bone Tomahawk (2015) 91%

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The Descent (2005) 87%

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) 91%

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Mandy (2018) 91%

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Duel (1971) 89%

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The Cat and the Canary (1927) 93%

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The Wolf Man (1941) 91%

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Saint Maud (2019) 92%

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Poltergeist (1982) 88%

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House (1977) 91%

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The Endless (2017) 92%

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The Evil Dead (1981) 86%

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Violation (2020) 88%

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Martin (1978) 90%

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Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010) 85%

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Nanny (2022) 90%

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A Tale of Two Sisters (2003) 86%

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The Witch (2015) 90%

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Annihilation (2018) 88%

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The Dead Zone (1983) 89%

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Fear Street Part Two: 1978 (2021) 87%

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Island of Lost Souls (1933) 88%

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The Others (2001) 84%

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Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (2010) 89%

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Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) 86%

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Hatching (2022) 93%

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Santa Sangre (1989) 86%

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Theater of Blood (1973) 87%

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Gremlins (1984) 86%

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The Haunting (1963) 87%

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Fear Street Part Three: 1666 (2021) 88%

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The Night House (2020) 88%

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Sputnik (2020) 88%

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The Black Phone (2021) 81%

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Cronos (1993) 90%

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The Dark and the Wicked (2020) 91%

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The Invitation (2015) 89%

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Freaky (2020) 83%

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Tremors (1990) 88%

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The Exorcist (1973) 78%

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Evil Dead Rise (2023) 84%

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The Mummy (1932) 89%

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Carnival of Souls (1962) 87%

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The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) 88%

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Candyman (2021) 84%

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Hounds of Love (2016) 88%

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Audition (1999) 83%

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Piggy (2022) 91%

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Dead Ringers (1988) 85%

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Nope (2022) 83%

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Slither (2006) 87%

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Crawl (2019) 84%

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Doctor Sleep (2019) 78%

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Day of the Dead (1985) 86%

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The Bird With the Crystal Plumage (1970) 85%

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The Omen (1976) 84%

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The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016) 86%

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Scream VI (2023) 76%

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Fresh (2022) 81%

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Color Out of Space (2019) 86%

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The Conjuring 2 (2016) 80%

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Better Watch Out (2016) 88%

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Scream (1996) 81%

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Saw X (2023) 80%

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The Girl With All the Gifts (2016) 86%

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Predator (1987) 80%

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Goodnight Mommy (2014) 85%

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Fright Night (1985) 82%

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Midsommar (2019) 83%

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Warm Bodies (2013) 81%

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Sisters (1973) 85%

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Shadow of the Vampire (2000) 82%

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I Walked With a Zombie (1943) 85%

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Near Dark (1987) 83%

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House of Usher (1960) 84%

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Thirst (2009) 81%

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Split (2016) 78%

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The House of the Devil (2009) 85%

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Smile (2022) 79%

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Werewolves Within (2021) 86%

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Bubba Ho-Tep (2002) 79%

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Halloween (2018) 79%

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Videodrome (1983) 83%

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Overlord (2018) 82%

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Scream (2022) 76%

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Come to Daddy (2019) 88%

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Bones and All (2022) 81%

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The Lost Boys (1987) 77%

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Dawn of the Dead (2004) 76%

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Fear Street Part One: 1994 (2021) 84%

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Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) 78%

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Frailty (2002) 75%

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1408 (2007) 80%

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Little Monsters (2019) 80%

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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) 77%

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50 Greatest Ghost Movies Of All Time Ranked

Miss Giddens Gasping

Ghosts, spirits that linger on unanchored to a human body, are powerful tools in storytelling. Although typically a staple of horror movies, ghosts can be deployed in any genre, serving as an emissary into dark topics audiences usually prefer to ignore. The concept of a ghost has been around seemingly forever: exorcized in ancient Babylon , used in classical Greek plays, featured in Shakespeare's works, and passed down as folklore. 

Cinema has been an excellent form for ghost stories. You've probably encountered more movies about ghosts than you can count, from the Silent Era to the present day. With the help of rankings provided on Rotten Tomatoes and considering the cultural impact, with a sliver of personal opinion, we have ranked the 50 best movies about ghosts. While preferential treatment was shown to horror films, there is a blend of genres here.

49. The Amityville Horror (1979)

"The Amityville Horror" made a huge impact thanks to the reportedly true story making headlines years before. It also  spawned a franchise that consists of several sequels and a remake. Nonetheless, it starts off the list due to the rather confusing aspects of the supernatural occurrences. At one point, it's stated that their house contains a doorway to Hell. So, the forces tormenting them could certainly be demonic, but inhabitants of Hell would likely include souls, right? Maybe some of the utterly bonkers activity going on could have been perpetrated by ghosts.

You probably know the story already: One year after a man murders his entire family at home, the Lutzes move into the house. Strange happenings lead them to believe there is something very wrong with their home. As its effect on them grows darker, the film ratchets up the horror until culminating in a final night that is worse than they could have imagined.

Aside from the questions regarding what exactly is haunting the Lutz family, this is still an effective piece of horror with imagery and scenes that stick in your memory, haunting you long after the credits have finished rolling.

48. What Lies Beneath (2000)

As we will see with later entries on this list, the concept of unfinished business is a popular trope in ghost stories. The idea is that spirits often stick around after death to take care of something they were unable to in life. Very often, the unfinished business has to do with their own murder, as it does in the supernatural thriller "What Lies Beneath" from director Robert Zemeckis .

Zemeckis, who dabbled in horror previously with episodes of "Tales from the Crypt" and the dark comedy "Death Becomes Her," tells the story of a woman named Claire (played by Michelle Pfeiffer) coping with her husband Norman's (Harrison Ford) affair by communing with the spirit of his dead mistress, although she isn't aware that's what she's doing until later in the film.

Although the film contains some legitimately creepy moments, its primary concern is the mystery surrounding the mistress' murder and Norman's involvement. While Pfeiffer and Ford turn in solid performances, the real star of the film is its atmosphere. The gorgeous Vermont setting, incredible house, and serene lake become eerie and unsettling as the story unfolds, successfully bringing the audience into the story and holding them tightly until the film's final moments.

47. 13 Ghosts (1960)

Discussing the films of William Castle can be difficult because they were designed to be experienced, not simply watched. The notorious showman treated his movies like carnival exhibitions. He wasn't so much a storyteller as he was a promoter. He didn't want you to sit passively and marvel at the wonderful narrative; he wanted to get you to jump up and scream. He didn't do this by crafting quality films that would go on to stand the test of time; he achieved his desired effect through gimmicks.

For "Macabre," he had audience members sign an insurance policy in case they died from fright. Buzzers were installed under select seats during screenings of " The Tingler " to convince audiences the creature from the film was after them. " House on Haunted Hill " featured a plastic skeleton flying out over the audience. The original " 13 Ghosts " required viewers to put on special glasses referred to as supernatural viewers in order to see the ghosts on the screen.

While stunts like this usually have a short shelf life, several of his films, such as "13 Ghosts," are still fun to watch as a bit of retro fun. Is it scary? Not really. Does it reveal some profound insight into the human experience? Nope. It does, however, feature the greatest hits of horror movie cliches played up to their full, zany, and entertaining potential.

46. Heart and Souls (1993)

One of the first things you're likely to notice about the romantic comedy "Heart and Souls" is the incredible cast. While Robert Downey Jr. is the lead, the souls in question are played by powerhouses like the late Charles Grodin , Alfre Woodard (who reunited with Downey in "Captain America: Civil War"), Kyra Sedgwick, and Tom Sizemore. All of them are incredible actors who work exceptionally well together.

This is an unfinished business ghost story that offers several opportunities for Downey to show his acting chops. The four ghosts from 1959 who follow him around, almost serving as guardian angels, often step in to his body to achieve some of the aforementioned business and to help him fix his life. When they do, Downey has to essentially play a ghost pretending to be his character, leading to some solid physical comedy. While it may not be hilarious, the film is genuinely funny with a bittersweet tone that holds up years after its initial release.

45. Casper (1995)

Most of the time, "Casper" is a light-hearted and innocent little movie about a young girl (Christina Ricci) learning to accept change. After the death of her mother, Kat's father (Bill Pullman) immerses himself in his work, leaving her to grieve alone. Neither of them possesses the ability to communicate with each other regarding their mutual pain. When they move into a haunted house for work, Kat struggles to accept her new surroundings. Luckily, she meets a dead little boy who has such an intense crush on her that he's actually the one responsible for them moving here.

Usually, a plot about a ghost luring a girl to his home would be the plot of a horror flick. However, since Casper is a friendly ghost, it plays as cute and sad. There's a lot of that in this movie. "Casper" is actually a fairly dark film , when you think about it. Characters die and quickly return as cartoon ghosts, a man has his head completely turned around and he's still able to walk, and there's the entire film is predicated on the existence of a dead child. Good, family fun!

In retrospect, this is kind of refreshing. It isn't a film that ignores the reality of our mortality. If anything, it celebrates it. While the tone ranges from macabre to broad slapstick, it doesn't shy away from conversations regarding death. This, in its own way, seems healthy.

44. Grave Encounters (2011)

Found footage received a bad reputation thanks to a deluge of cynical filmmakers who didn't understand the format's potential. After the successes "The Blair Witch Project" and "Paranormal Activity," it seemed like anyone with a camera and half an idea thought they could make their own. Unfortunately, what these imitators lacked was any comprehension of why those films worked so well.

In 2011, when you couldn't escape found footage , "Grave Encounters" was a true diamond in the rough. Styled as the raw footage from a "Ghost Adventures"-style paranormal investigation series, the film sees greedy con artists investigating a haunted mental hospital. That alone is a fun idea, but what makes the film work so well is how it experiments with the concept as a commentary on manipulative "reality" television. 

That would be enough to make it interesting, but it's elevated even further by subverting the audience's expectations in subtle but very effective ways. If found footage fatigue (or the film's mediocre trailer ) stopped you from watching this underrated gem, give it a watch. You can skip the sequel, though. 

43. Insidious (2010)

James Wan's 2010 film "Insidious" has no right to be this good. It is, in effect, a modern take on "Poltergeist," with its own intriguing mythology. The explanation as to why this couple suddenly finds themselves surrounded by beings from beyond the void isn't as simple as "their house was built over a burial ground." Instead, it's a bit more metaphysical and unique.

The concept of creepy kids has already been done to death, but Wan found a way to make it work in a whole new way. The film is packed with genuinely frightening scenes and images. There's the pacing man outside the window who suddenly appears in the child's room, the boy standing against the wall who is barely glimpsed as Rose Byrne goes about her daily routine, and those terrifying pictures of grinning ghosts who are omnipresent but rarely seen.

Wan went on to even greater success with "The Conjuring" and its shared universe of paranormal films, but the original "Insidious" still stands as a legitimately creepy, intriguing, and suspenseful supernatural chiller that holds up on repeat viewings.

42. Lady in White (1988)

At first glance, "Lady in White" appears no different than other '80s films with kid protagonists. The opening credits are eerily idyllic, almost cozy, and the idea of a child communicating with the spirit of a girl his age certainly sounds like something Steven Spielberg might have attached his name to as a producer. Where this film differs from the likes of "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" and "The Goonies" is in its tone and the specifics of the plot.

This isn't a gender-swapped take on "Casper." This is a dark, melancholic supernatural murder mystery. Murders don't happen off-camera only to be discussed later in soft detail; in the first act, you see a girl being strangled. Yes, the strangulation is a form of repetitive haunting, so it doesn't have the same impact as watching a murder in real time, but it is harrowing. Minutes later, the boy witnessing this haunting (a pale, wide-eyed Lukas Haas) is also strangled, though he survives. It is deadly serious.

While it may not have become the cultural touchstone other films of the decade became, it does linger with you, as all great ghost stories should. For anyone who grew up watching this on cable, the nightmare-inducing scenes of the ghostly Lady in White standing outside the protagonist's window are likely still lodged in their subconscious.

41. The Legend of Hell House (1999)

Two things are made very clear within the first 10 minutes of this big-screen adaptation of Richard Matheson's novel: 1) This will not be a slow burn, and 2) Hell House is definitely haunted.

The film wastes no time getting the plot rolling. A doctor is tasked with investigating Hell House. He is assigned a small team consisting of two mediums and his own wife and they're off. What we learn about Hell House is that the man who owned it was really into debauchery and the occult. This means that the nature of the haunting is typically sexual and violent.

As Matheson (who adapted the novel himself ) did with the vampire mythology in his novel "I Am Legend," he attempts to provide a scientific explanation for hauntings. He does this to amplify the phenomena and make them more realistic. Unfortunately, it's not as successful here because he assumes the viewer is familiar with these concepts and takes very little time to elaborate.

At its core, "The Legend of Hell House" feels like a teenager's version of what they think Shirley Jackson's "The Haunting of Hill House" should have been. The violence and eroticism are overblown, the characters underdeveloped, and the science is half-baked. None of that is to say the film is bad. In fact, its flaws and the atmospheric cinematography make it incredibly entertaining and worth a watch.

40. Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" isn't a terribly exciting story. The author takes his time establishing the beauty of the village in which it takes place and detailing Ichabod Crane's personality, but the horror elements we've come to associate with the tale don't arrive until much later. The prose is all about establishing the proper atmosphere before the final payoff.

Tim Burton's film "Sleepy Hollow" is certainly atmospheric, but it ignores the long, detailed setup to tell a funny, exciting, and uncharacteristically gory mystery. In this version, the Headless Horseman isn't an elusive and mysterious phantom, he is a tool of destruction wielded by an angry and bitter individual. He stalks his prey like a silent slasher before brutally murdering them and taking their heads back to his sacred tree.

The only way to truly enjoy the film is to ignore logic, give only the slightest attention to plot, and simply soak up the imagery. As Peter Travers stated in his Rolling Stone review , "Even when the narrative stalls from too many detours and decapitations, 'Sleepy Hollow' is gorgeous filmmaking that brims over with fun-house thrills and ravishing romance."

39. Stir of Echoes (1999)

Another adaptation of a Richard Matheson novel, this time handled by frequent Spielberg collaborator David Koepp, "Stir of Echoes" is a gripping murder mystery with a flawed, unintentional hero at its center.

Released the same year as M. Night Shyamalan's "The Sixth Sense," it doesn't pack the same emotional punch, but is equally well crafted and intelligent. Opening with a creepy scene of a young boy having a conversation with someone we cannot see and asking the question, "Does it hurt to be dead?" it certainly feels like another "Sixth Sense," but it's soon revealed that the focus is actually an adult, Tom Witzky (Kevin Bacon).  

Witzky is a working-class guy who makes the mistake of allowing his sister-in-law to hypnotize him, awakening latent abilities. Following the hypnotism, Witzky begins having visions of a murder that occurred in his house. He becomes obsessed with discovering the truth. As the mystery unfolds, we can't help but identify with his determination.

For the most part, "Stir of Echoes" is a pretty standard movie with a few surprises. It may not be an earth-shattering masterpiece, but it is very well made and deserves to be talked about more.

38. The Frighteners (1996)

Before Peter Jackson was winning Academy Awards for "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," he was mostly known for his work in the horror genre—specifically, his extreme splatter flicks, like the gross-out alien invasion movie " Bad Taste ," the bonkers and raunchy puppet film " Meet the Feebles ," and the unhinged gorefest " Dead Alive ." In 1994, he successfully tried his hand at magical realism with " Heavenly Creatures ," a stylized account of the very real Parker-Hulme murder case .

He could have easily continued down the dramatic path, but 1996 saw a return to horror (albeit with a much slicker look thanks to a Hollywood budget) with the hilarious and thrilling film "The Frighteners." Starring the always-charismatic Michael J. Fox as a medium who exploits his ability to communicate with the dead for financial gain, the film is a powerhouse of comedy and creativity.

Quite frankly, "The Frighteners" is a blast. The jokes don't always land, but it moves with such a fevered pace that you don't mind. The performances are stellar, with Jeffrey Combs as a quirky FBI agent being the real standout. Also, the film cleverly deploys computer technology to allow the ghosts to interact with the real world and to craft a suitably creepy villain.

37. Scrooged (1988)

When compiling a list of ghost movies, you have to include at least one adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol." However, there are so many to choose from that the entirety of the list could be made up of the various adaptations . That's where personal choice and cultural perspective come into place. The 1988 Richard Donner film "Scrooged" won out over all the others simply for its creative and meta take on the material.

Not only is this film about a greedy curmudgeon who is visited by three ghosts who show him the error of his ways, but it also takes place in a world where Charles Dickens' story exists. The main character, played by Bill Murray, is actually overseeing a live production of the story to go out on Christmas. This allows the film to comment on the source material while honoring it at the same time.

The cast is phenomenal, Danny Elfman's score is magical, and the satire still packs a lot of bite. Of course, as great as the entire film is, it's that last moment when Bill Murray pleads with the audience to feel the Christmas cheer all year round that makes this film the uplifting classic it is.

36. The Fog (1980)

Two years after the original "Halloween" popularized the slasher film as we know it, John Carpenter made "The Fog," a classic ghost story set in an island town. While the film struggles to capture the same kind of tension and suspense Carpenter achieved in "Halloween," it does create an atmosphere that almost seems to seep its way off the screen.

The narrative is a little all over the place with several point-of-view characters, making it feel like an adaptation of a story Stephen King never wrote. This is one of the film's weaknesses, as it would have been far more engrossing to follow one character. They're all interesting and find themselves in unexpected situations once the malevolent fog rolls in bringing the ghosts of dead pirates with it, but jumping back and forth between them kills some of the momentum.

Aside from its structural shortcomings, the film has some real highlights. Dean Cundey's cinematography is always immersive and captivating. Seeing Janet Leigh in a film alongside her daughter Jamie Lee Curtis is a lot of fun. Then, of course, there's John Carpenter's mesmerizing score. Music is always important in film, but for John Carpenter movies they're crucial. In the case of "The Fog," it's the score that makes the movie truly great.

35. Candyman (1992)

Speaking of wonderful scores, Philip Glass' theme music for the 1992 film "Candyman" (titled Helen's Theme) is heartbreakingly gorgeous. It perfectly defines the nature of the film. With a title like "Candyman," one could easily assume this was nothing more than an attempt at inventing a new movie monster in the vein of Jason or Freddy. Instead, this adaptation of a Clive Barker short story is much more cerebral, mythic, and tragic than that.

Although the 2021 sequel does a much better job at discussing some of the themes introduced here, the original still stands on its own as a beautiful and grotesque gothic experience. From cinematography that makes Chicago look like something out of a damaged fairy tale, to the art direction exploring the dichotomy between modernity and myth, to Tony Todd's riveting performance, "Candyman" is a ghost story with much more to offer than the standard thrills and chills.

As Michael Rechtshaffen with The Hollywood Reporter said in his review, "This Candyman can elicit some bona fide shivers while the picture that bears his name is high-caliber horror in its purest, most primal form."

34. Crimson Peak (2015)

From one example of gothic horror to another, Guillermo del Toro's "Crimson Peak" is a huge, lavish, and twisted romance full of beautifully hideous creations, per the filmmaker's trademarks. There aren't many scares in this haunting period piece, but that's not always the intent with a dark ghost story. As we said before, ghosts can serve many purposes in a narrative, and "Peak" is an example of the supernatural being used as a metaphor for secrets and regret.

Edith (Mia Wasikowska) marries an inventor named Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), who lives with his sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain). Edith is warned by a ghost to beware of something called Crimson Peak early in the film, but she doesn't listen. She relocates to the Sharpe's manse, Allerdale Hall, which stands atop and is sinking into a red clay mine, aka Crimson Peak.

Like many gothic romances, the truth of her relationship is much more complicated and the mystery she uncovers is much darker and stranger than even the audience can anticipate. The film makes this list thanks to the sheer beauty of its artistry and striking depiction of ghosts. The film manages to feel like a classic story you've known all your life while also being fresh and new.

33. Blithe Spirit (1945)

1945's "Blithe Spirit," from the play by Noël Coward, has the kind of premise that makes one think they know exactly what they're in for before the story begins. It's about a writer who hosts a séance at his home as research for his new book. At first, it seems as though the séance was unsuccessful, but then the author's late wife Elvira walks in. Naturally, this leads to bitterness and jealousy between Ruth, his current wife, and himself. While that is true, the story takes some truly strange twists along the way.

For the most part, the three leads of the film are selfish twits. Charles, the writer, never really appreciated either wife and finds his current predicament amusing. Elvira was an unfaithful showboat who held everyone in contempt. Ruth only cares about how others see her. That should make for an unlikable story, but all of it is played for laughs, and most of the comedy still works.

While everyone is good in the movie, Margaret Rutherford steals the show as the eccentric medium Madame Arcati. From the moment she arrives, she captures your attention and rewards you with an energetic and charming performance. Arcati is pleasant, courteous, and just batty enough to keep you smiling. 

32. Monster House (2006)

The haunted house is the backbone of any ghost story. Although houses are nothing more than building materials placed together to provide shelter, humans pin their identities to them. Perhaps that's why the sight of an abandoned house often makes us feel so uneasy. Lives were lived there, but now it is a shell haunted by memories. Many stories use ghosts as a metaphor for memories, suggesting it is the emptiness in what was once a place of joy that makes a house haunted.

This is not the case with the 2006 animated horror-comedy "Monster House." There is something very wrong going on at the house in question, and there's nothing metaphorical about it. The house itself is possessed by a former occupant. Not only that, but this ghost is angry. It lashes out at anyone who dares trespass, particularly children, making it a dangerous place to go trick-or-treating.

"Monster House" should be on anyone's Halloween watchlist alongside standards like "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and "Hocus Pocus." It is that inventive, funny, and good.

31. Pulse (2001)

In order to keep telling ghost stories without them getting old, you have to try and reinvent them a little bit. A subtle tweak here and there can go a very long way. Writer/director Kiyoshi Kurosawa brought a unique perspective to the concept of ghosts in his 2001 film "Pulse" by evolving them for the 21st century.

This film posits that the world where ghosts reside is finite and, if it gets too full, the ghosts will have to start inhabiting our world. That is an interesting enough take on ghost mythology to justify the film's existence, but Kurosawa takes things a step further by suggesting human beings, in their isolated worlds desperate to connect with one another, are ghosts already.

For a movie that was made in the relatively early years of the internet boom (one protagonist barely understands how to operate a computer), it is eerily prescient about what our digital lives would become. We spend all our time online, communicating with others, but never truly connecting—just like ghosts damned to silently wander the mortal realm alone.

30. Ghost Town (2008)

David Koepp makes his second appearance on this list, this time with a very different kind of ghost movie than "Stir of Echoes." "Ghost Town" is a romantic comedy about a man named Bertram Pincus (Ricky Gervais) who can communicate with ghosts after briefly dying while under anesthesia. The film falls into the unfinished business category of ghost movies, as these spirits are desperate for him to help them resolve their respective unfinished business.

One ghost in particular,  played by Greg Kinnear , wants Bertram to stop his widow (Téa Leoni) from marrying someone new. Bertram agrees but falls in love with her himself. It's a fun way of subverting the rom-com trope of two people coming together under false pretenses. We've seen what happens when people start dating because of a bet or because of a little sociological experiment, so this is a fun little twist that keeps the narrative fresh.

It's also a nice change of pace for Gervais, who usually plays sardonic and selfish characters. In this film, he's just a lonely dentist who needed to die to learn how to live. The film won't change your life, but it will keep you smiling for the majority of its runtime.

29. 1408 (2007)

With all the stories Stephen King has published, you might think there'd be no need to adapt more than one with a similar premise. After the initial failure and later success of Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining" and King's own 1997 TV mini-series adaptation, there's really no sense in making another Stephen King film set in a hotel. Director Mikael Hafstrom did it anyway and, thanks to a great script by Matt Greenberg, Scott Alexander, and Larry Karaszewski, the result is a solid, entertaining, and suspenseful little horror movie.

The premise is simple: A man who writes books about haunted hotels stays in a haunted room in New York City. The Overlook Hotel in "The Shining" allowed for long scenes of characters slowly walking down corridors to build the tension, but "1408" is just one guy in one room. It's claustrophobic and suffocating, offering just enough space for shadows to pass just out of the corner of the eye. 

The film has just enough violence to establish the stakes without indulging in extreme gore. It also delivers the goods on the supernatural. It may not stand the test of time as the best film to be adapted from the work of Stephen King, but it certainly deserves a mention.

Like Mick LaSalle wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle, "'1408' is one of the good Stephen King adaptations, one that maintains its author's sly sense of humor and satiric view of human nature."

28. Ouija: Origin of Evil (2014)

There's no reason a sequel/prequel to the 2014 film "Ouija" should be this entertaining and interesting. The former film was nothing more than a dull attempt to build a franchise around a recognizable gimmick with absolutely nothing to say. There isn't a single concept or character worth the audience's time, despite an honest attempt by the people on screen to elevate the lackluster material.

The choice to bring on Mike Flanagan as the co-writer and director for the sequel was ingenious. Since his film "Oculus" hit it big, the director has consistently proven himself to be one of the strongest voices in horror cinema currently working. What makes him such an interesting filmmaker is his respect for the genre. He doesn't come across as someone who dabbles in horror simply because it sells. "Hush," "Gerald's Game," "The Haunting of Hill House," and "Doctor Sleep" all have depth and powerful vision behind them.

You can see some of his hallmarks starting to form in "Ouija: Origin of Evil." The visual style is engaging, the horror elements are just strange enough to be unsettling but playful, and there is a real family drama unfolding. These characters feel like real people we care about, making the terrifying events that befall them all the more tragic. 

27. Ghost (1990)

Yes, "Ghost" is the movie where Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore make pottery together. That's the moment most closely associated with this paranormal romance, but it is far from the only interesting thing in the film. For instance, it was directed by comedy giant Jerry Zucker . Aside from being a touching love story about a dead man trying to protect the woman he left behind, "Ghost" is a fascinating and surprisingly dark supernatural thriller with some excellent world-building.

It would've been easy for the filmmakers to stick with common ghost story tropes by making Moore the protagonist attempting to decipher cryptic messages, hoping it's her lost love. Instead, it's told from the ghost's point of view, and the world he inhabits isn't as simple as it appears. He has to learn how to influence the physical world from a more experienced spectral mentor. In fact, the only way he can speak to anyone directly is by possessing a psychic.

A scene that doesn't get nearly as much attention as it should is when the villain of the film is dragged to hell by shadow creatures. It's a satisfyingly dark scene in an otherwise optimistic film that sticks with you long after the parodies of the pottery scene fade from memory.

26. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

There have been so many "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies since the original was released in 2003, it's easy to forget how good that initial outing was. It's a swashbuckling comedy stuffed with exciting action, vibrant characters, solid comedy, and interesting mythology that still works to this day. Plus, as Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) points out himself, it's a ghost story.

This is the kind of adventure film that has become increasingly rare. Although it contains some truly impressive spectacles, the emphasis remains on the characters and their interactions. If you put people like this in a dangerous situation, it will be inherently exciting, because we like their interplay. As the films continued, the focus shifted to bigger and stranger action. While some of the creative choices in the sequels are admirably bizarre, they fail to measure up to the pure fun captured in the original "Pirate of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl."

25. Personal Shopper (2016)

Two movies are happening in "Personal Shopper." One reflects the title: A personal shopper (played by Kristen Stewart) for a high-profile client covets her lavish lifestyle. We have several scenes of her admiring the clothes she's buying for her boss and even trying them on. She even admits to wanting to be someone else, suggesting that she envies her boss. This sounds like the setup to a murder mystery, but that's not really the story director Olivier Assayas is telling.

The other movie is still about Stewart's character, but it's interested in her search for evidence of life after death. Her twin brother, who worked in Paris as a medium, is dead, and she is looking for a sign from him indicating he is now a ghost. She sees blurry visions of a spectral form and communicates via text message with someone who claims to know her, but whose identity is never revealed, but none of it proves to her that her brother is trying to reach her.

Both movies are separately interesting, and intertwining them as the same narrative actually detracts from the story being told. Still, it makes the list for the matter-of-fact way it deals with the paranormal. Watching a glass float across the room isn't treated as a terrifying or magical moment; it's simply a thing that happens. Also, the text exchange running through most of the film is compelling enough a mystery to keep you invested.

24. The Changeling (1980)

George C. Scott is an imposing, larger-than-life figure who commands every frame he inhabits. There's a reason this guy was famous for playing a U.S. General in "Patton": he's loud, gruff, and intimidating. Therefore, it's all the more chilling when this figure becomes withdrawn, quiet, and reflective, as he is in the 1980 supernatural film "The Changeling."

Scott plays John Russell, a composer who loses his wife and child when they are hit by a car on an icy road. Their deaths happen very early in the film and pack a punch that you can feel through the entire film, thanks to Scott's melancholic performance. This is a man devoid of direction and meaning, trying to find his way back to some sense of normalcy, but stuck wandering the quiet corridors of the secluded house he escapes to in order to continue his work.

The character's grief pulls us to the character and keeps us invested in his journey. The fact that the house is haunted only serves to pull us even further into this cold, bleak world. By the time the secrets of the house are revealed, we are so enraptured that we can't brace ourselves for an intense and emotional ending.

23. The Others (2001)

Horror films don't need to have twist endings. It is perfectly acceptable to craft a film with no major third-act revelations and still make the ending satisfying. In fact, one could argue that introducing a twist to your film's finale runs the risk of ruining the audience's understanding of the narrative, confusing them to the degree that they no longer enjoy the experience. 

That's when a twist is done badly. When it's done well, it adds texture to the rest of the film, increasing the audience's enjoyment. To do this, the film first needs to work on its own without the twist, but with enough clues to justify the surprise ending. That is exactly what "The Others" from 2001 does. From beginning to end, it is an engrossing and scary ghost story about an overprotective mother. When it reaches the end and the truth is revealed, however, it brings those subtle clues into the light and gives a new reading to everything that has gone before.

This in no way robs the film of its horror. If anything, it twists the scares into a richer and more intriguing shape. It's still a haunted house movie, but the nature of the haunting and the glimpses we get of the other world is different than we expected, making the film worth watching over again to fully appreciate the sadness at its core.

22. The Orphanage (2007)

On the surface, "The Orphanage" appears to be nothing more than a spooky kid story. Just the image of a child in simple, faded clothing wearing a sack mask over their head is deeply unsettling. The mind wonders what the mask is hiding or what kind of a child would willingly wear such a repellent thing.

Once you dive into the film, however, you learn that something much deeper and more complex is going on. Soon, you're not scared just because of the imagery, but also because many of the concepts discussed in the film work their way into you. By the movie's conclusion, the rush of emotions is so powerful you have no idea how to react. On the one hand, the truth revealed is disturbing and the protagonist's decision is agonizing; on the other, the suggestion that it is exactly what she needed to do is kind of beautiful.

Miami Herald film critic Rene Rodriguez summed up the film's strengths perfectly when he said , "The movie is so good at using its horror elements to explore deeper, less fantastical emotions. For all its bump-in-the-night suspense, 'The Orphanage' is ultimately as much about motherhood and grief as it is about apparitions and shadowy corridors." 

21. Beetlejuice (1988)

"Beetlejuice" was director Tim Burton's second feature film. Considering that the first film was "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure," it's no surprise that this story about a grimy, mischievous spirit conning his way into the afterlives of a recently deceased married couple is so funny. What is surprising, though, is just how confident and assured it is. 

Almost everything we would come to associate with Burton truly took shape here on both a stylistic and thematic level. Many of the distorted visuals and concepts are highly exaggerated and reminiscent of some of his later work. Just like "Batman," "Batman Returns," "Edward Scissorhands," "Ed Wood," and even "Big Fish," "Beetlejuice" is largely about duality: the duality between the living world and the land of the dead, the duality between the tacky Deetz family and the tasteful Maitlands, the duality between the comfort of the Maitland's home and the void outside. Even the black-and-white, double-mouthed Sandworms represent duality. While it may not be held up as the pinnacle of Burton's career, it should definitely be viewed as a cornerstone.

20. Carnival of Souls (1962)

Virtually everything about the 1962 film "Carnival of Souls" is fascinating. From the film's haunting and dreamlike atmosphere to the story of how it came to be made  and the enormous influence it's had on film , there is always something about it worth exploring and discussing in great detail. Yet, it still isn't as well known as the majority of movies on this list, which is a real shame.

That said, the movie isn't for everyone. Younger audience members will likely struggle with its pacing, obvious budgetary flaws, and lack of jump scares or driving narrative. Anyone looking for a complicated plot full of twists and turns will also be disappointed. "Carnival of Souls" is eerie and occasionally verges on truly scary, but the real draw of the film is the way it simulates the experience of trying to remember a dream.

Imagine being affected by a dream so powerful you can't shake it for the entire day, but the specifics still elude you. As you go about your normal routine, there's a haze of surreal confusion swimming around your head. It's almost as though you exist in two realms at once, stalked by ghoulish imagery that simultaneously frightens and compels you to explore further.

That is what it's like for the main character who is drifting through life after a car accident, and that is how the audience feels as we take this haunting journey with her.

19. The Sixth Sense (1999)

Perhaps no filmmaker is as closely associated with twist endings as M. Night Shyamalan. The writer/director has been mercilessly parodied for his penchant for third-act reveals  over the years . Given the nosedive Shyamalan's career took post-" The Lady in the Water ," it's understandable that many audience members might have forgotten just how powerful "The Sixth Sense" was upon its release.

Unlike "The Others," this is an example of a twist that doesn't transform our understanding of the movie, it just makes much of the dialogue more poignant. The entire time we think we're watching a man help a young boy dealing with a very unique problem when in actuality it's been the reverse. Would the movie still work without the twist? It probably would, but in this case, it makes Bruce Willis' character more emotionally resonant.

Something that doesn't get talked about as much is how scary the movie is. The reveal of the kid with the bullet wound in the back of his head is more shocking than any jumpscare, and the scene where Cole realizes it isn't his mother standing in the kitchen grips you so firmly you feel you're being strangled. So, if you've never seen the film, ignore the cliché of Shyamalan's love for twist endings and give it a chance. You might still be surprised.

18. The Uninvited (1944)

If you were to close your eyes and imagine a classic, gothic ghost story, it would probably look a lot like Lewis Allen's film "The Uninvited." It is bathed in shadow and candlelight, with mysterious breezes and shivering chills and dark secrets. It is a classic ghost story in every sense.

Where it differs from many other classic ghost movies is in its decision to not keep its ghosts completely hidden. Instead of just hearing mysterious noises and seeing the occasional object being moved by an unseen force, "The Uninvited" includes some possession. There are even a few instances of ghostly manifestations that still hold up today, occasionally resembling the kind of "real ghost" footage found in countless videos online.

That, perhaps, speaks to the film's attempts at making the concept of hauntings feel plausible. As Keith Philips pointed out in his review, "'The Uninvited' was...one of the first films to treat the supernatural seriously, and to play ghosts and hauntings as something other than fodder for comedy." The decision to treat the ghost story as something that could really happen has gone on to influence how we talk about the paranormal to this day.

17. Poltergeist (1982)

You may not have given "Poltergeist" a lot of thought lately. Maybe you saw it as a kid and have grown to think of it as quaint. You might think, "Sure, the scene where the guy rips his face off in the bathroom mirror was cool, but the movie is tame and terribly dated when compared to modern horror films." Then again, you could be more interested in the rumors of a supposed curse that came about by using actual skeletons in the film's final moments. 

Make no mistake, "Poltergeist" is terrifying. Yeah, it was rated PG when it came out, and there are way more over-done special effects than there need to be, but when this movie works—and it often does—it is gripping. Just think of the imposing tree waiting just outside the children's window, or the maniacal clown doll watching the little boy try to sleep. Conjure up memories of the demonic, ethereal skeletal dog thing roaring from the doorway, and the mundane yet chilling static buzzing away on unwatched televisions.

"Poltergeist" deserves to make any and every list of best ghost movies because it does everything a classic haunting tale needs to while supercharging it with nightmarish images that still lurk within the subconscious.

16. The Haunting (1963)

Fans of the 2018 Netflix series "The Haunting of Hill House" might be surprised and confused by the Robert Wise 1963 adaptation of Shirley Jackson's classic novel. While the series was able to conjure fear out of what you do and don't see, this psychological deep-dive into paranoia is all about suggestion. There is not a single ghost to be seen, and the film makes never overtly states that the sounds heard in the middle of the night were actually caused by the supernatural. So, why is it on this list of ghost movies? 

Well, that's the thing about the paranormal—there's no definitive evidence supporting its existence. We have anecdotal evidence, personal stories recounted by the people who experienced certain things. There's a galaxy of audio and video that could be considered "evidence," but most of it is debunked or explained rationally. Those that defy explanation still don't constitute proof.

When it comes to the question of whether or not ghosts exist, the only suitable answer is: We don't know. Therefore, when "The Haunting" ends and you find yourself wondering if there even were any ghosts in that movie, that's the point.

15. A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)

When telling a ghost story, it is possible to have your cake and eat it too. Most movies take one stance or the other: either the ghosts are real or they're metaphors. This Kim Jee-woon film has it both ways. There are two very distinct kinds of hauntings going on in the film. The obvious one involves the terrifying woman who occasionally appears to let the audience know that something seriously wrong happened in this house. The other one is about grief and guilt.

It's true, something terrible did happen in that house. Discovering this event is the mystery of the film. The resolution is what leads to the double hauntings. One haunting is a literal supernatural consequence of someone being mistreated in life and the other is a more emotional after-effect. While watching the film, you keep expecting the protagonist to stumble on some clue that takes them down the rabbit hole of mystery, but it never happens.

That may sound unsatisfactory, but that's only if you can't appreciate the fact that the film had successfully distracted you into asking the wrong questions. The last 15 minutes or so is all about answering questions you didn't know you'd had. These answers heighten make you reconsider the narrative in a similar way to "The Others." If the film were a magic trick, this misdirection would be a perfect execution of sleight of hand.

14. House (1977)

Discussing 1977's "House" is difficult because the film defies explanation. It plays out like a student film by someone who is incredibly talented but distracted by all the possibilities of editing. In the middle of an otherwise normal dialogue scene, a character will suddenly scurry across the frame to silly music and then go back to normal. The image speeds up and slows down at random. Cuts jump from one person to an object to another person with no connective tissue. Then there's the insanity of the final act, which can only be described as...different.

Honestly, nothing anyone says about this film can prepare you for the experience of watching it. We can throw out avant-garde or arthouse, but they are meaningless here. Sometimes it is fairly linear and easy to follow; other times, it's utter nonsense. Occasionally there's a scene with a genuine atmosphere, seconds later it devolves into some of the strangest comedy you've ever seen.

The reason it's so high on the list is that it's never boring and there's nothing quite like it. Some of the gorier comedy scenes remind you of "The Evil Dead," and the more surreal sound editing and camera moments evoke David Lynch, but it's even more extreme than either of those two examples. If you're tired of the same old ghost story tropes, you need to watch "House."

13. We Are Still Here (2015)

Sometimes movies follow paths from beginning to end with no real change. The plot may surprise us, but the outlook and tone of the film remain consistent throughout. Other times, a movie begins as one thing and ends as something entirely different. Both are perfectly valid, but the latter tends to provide a more enriching experience because they have taken you on a truly transformative journey. That is absolutely the case with Ted Geoghegan's film "We Are Still Here." 

When the film begins, it establishes a somber, wintery tone. This seems obvious because the film takes place in winter, but it's also because the expression on lead actress Barbara Crampton's face tells us everything we need to know about her: she is hurting. The source of that pain comes from the loss of her son. She and her husband are moving to a country house to escape the city and the memories of their son.

At first, everything progresses like your typical haunted house movie. There are strange noises and happenings that get them to think something strange is going on, but they're never totally sure what it is. About halfway through, however, everything changes, and this eerie little movie becomes an eldritch horror spectacular with deeply disturbing ghosts, maniacal humans, and showers of gore.

Some of the more sentimental moments might leave you giggling, but the horror that follows will shut you up again.

12. The Devil's Backbone (2001)

If there's one thing about director Guillermo del Toro that everyone knows, it's that he loves monsters. Few filmmakers working today have strived to make monsters feel real while still retaining their mythic status as del Toro. His entire filmography features titles that explore monsters in some way. He has reinvented them and brought them out into the light to be examined and understood in new ways for years.

With his 2001 film "The Devil's Backbone," he does the same thing with ghosts. Santi, the ghost of the film, does what the best del Toro creations always do: disgust and frighten at first glance, only to reel you in over time. He isn't a blurry apparition or a perfect human form in white makeup to make him appear ethereal. He's almost like a zombie at first, with his decaying skin and dead stare. The closer we get, though, the more we see and understand his sadness.

Similar to "Pan's Labyrinth," the film is just as much about the horrors of war as it is about the supernatural. It is clear to whom del Toro has pledged his allegiance, since the human characters are often times scarier than the things that go bump in the night. It is a unique and fascinating take on a cliché-prone genre that stands as one of the strongest pillars of del Toro's career.

11. La Llorona (2019)

Released shortly after "The Curse of La Llorona," director Jayro Bustamante's "La Llorona" was lost in the hype. It is more than just a common ghost story attempting to exploit the recognizable legend of The Weeping Woman . Instead, it re-contextualizes it into a tale that's even more socially poignant. This isn't simply a spooky story to warn children about wandering around at night; it is about what happens when terrible crimes go unpunished.

The film focuses on a fictional former dictator who closely mirrors the real-life dictator  Efraín Ríos Montt  and the failure to convict him of genocide. As people protest his home, his life begins to crumble due to illness, and the people around him begin mistrusting him. Then we meet Alma, a quiet young woman hired to look after the house. Her appearance brings strange occurrences and old secrets.

It is a deeper, sadder film that manages to honor the origins of the legend by modernizing it, as opposed to resorting to lame jump scares and tired imagery.

10. The Shining (1980)

By the time you're reading this, there is really nothing to add to the discussion surrounding Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining." Most people know the film was not a critical success when it was released and that Stephen King, who wrote the book it was based on, didn't like it . Chances are you're even aware of all the different theories about what the film means and the documentary "Room 237" that discusses them.

All we can really do here is mention what makes it such an effective ghost movie. Audiences can continue to debate every frame of the film all they want; what matters here is how Kubrick depicts the supernatural, because it is one of the strangest and truly unsettling approaches to showing the paranormal on this entire list.

Our fear of ghosts comes from a lack of understanding. We don't know what they are or even if they exist. If they do exist, we have no grasp of what it is they want or what they're capable of. Kubrick taps into that confusion masterfully. The few times we see ghosts in the film, we're not quite sure how to react. There's something inherently off-putting about them, but nothing overtly threatening—that is, until one of them tries to kill Danny.

There is an unknowable quality to the ghosts in the film that needles at our subconscious. Evading comprehension is their superpower and it's what makes them so very, very scary.

9. A Ghost Story (2017)

The image of a sheet with eyes cut into it to symbolize a ghost has been used countless times. Usually, it is a childlike interpretation of a spirit and a low-budget Halloween costume. There is a sweetness to it that harkens back to simpler times. Seeing it as an adult can make you laugh at its naïveté, but it can also be used to evoke great nostalgia and powerful melancholy.

That push and pull between perfect innocence and jaded maturity are what makes "A Ghost Story" so enthralling. We should find scenes of a ghost as a sheet goofy, but it's too familiar to be laughed at. While seeing it, we not only acknowledge what it is supposed to represent but also feel undeniable regret over the loss of childhood and our own potential. 

As our protagonist witnesses life continuing without him, we are confronted with all the choices we never made, the potential we may never fulfill, and the chances we never took. It is an uncomfortable truth we all must face and "A Ghost Story" allows us to do that with grace.

8. Ju-On: The Grudge (2002)

With the surge in popularity of American studios remaking Japanese horror movies , it's easy to forget just how unsettling and creepy some of the original films are. "Ju-On: The Grudge," which was remade in 2004 starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, is a perfect example. From the very beginning of the original, anger and darkness permeate the film and never let up.

Under most circumstances, murders are plot conveniences in ghost stories. They set up why the ghosts are shambling around and causing a ruckus. Very rarely do they cause the audience to feel anything. They exist solely to scare us later. In this film, the murders trouble us. They're more than just a functional backstory, as they give birth to the curse that goes on to claim so many victims.

The pain experienced by the murder victims prior to the main events of the film is so intense and all-consuming that the ghosts move in agonized, horrendous fashion, barely able to mimic human mobility. It is this commitment to depicting the cruelty of murder and its consequences that makes the film so scary and one of the best ghost movies ever made.

7. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

"The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" is a film about two people who simply met at the wrong time. One is a widow (Mrs. Muir) trying to make a life for herself in England. The other is a former sea captain who is used to a scrappier lifestyle and happens to also be dead. 

As is the case with many love stories, the pair aren't sure what to make of each other at first. As they spend more time together, they collaborate on a novel and fall in love. Of course, they're incapable of having a fulfilling relationship given their different living statuses and the ghost goes away, allowing her to find someone new. Having the protagonists separate only to reunite by the end is a common trope in romances, but at least in this one, it doesn't feel contrived. Usually, the couple splits up due to some moronic misunderstanding. This time, it actually makes sense and makes the film all the more rewarding when they meet again.

6. Kwaidan (1964)

When someone says you can watch a film with the sound off and still appreciate it, that's usually a form of damning something with faint praise—as if to say that everything about a film other than its visuals is a complete waste of time. However, if someone says that about the 1965 Masaki Kobayashi horror anthology "Kwaidan," it is more a positive statement on the film's complexity rather than an insult.

The film consists of four stories. Each is a fable with dark underpinnings. From a man being cursed by the deceased wife he abandoned to another man going back on a promise he made to a spirit, a musician performing for an audience of ghosts, and a writer who may still be working from a watery grave, each installment offers a chilling story that will hold you in its snare.

On top of entertaining stories being well told, every frame is gorgeous. Watching the film is like entering a reality built for a stage without borders. The film is crafted in every sense of the word and is a feast for gluttonous eyes. It is so beautiful and engaging and layered that you can enjoy it in pieces, all at once, or even without the sound.

5. Rebecca (1940)

Alfred Hitchcock's "Rebecca" is a tough one to include on this list because the haunting in question is so metaphorical and cerebral that it probably isn't supernatural at all. The decision to add it was based on the debates it can spark about the nature of hauntings. Do we need to see objects levitating, doors slamming, and mysterious breezes for it to be a ghost story? Can't a ghost simply be lingering dread that clings to the living?

"Rebecca" is a movie about a woman who becomes the second wife of Maxim, a cold man who is clearly grappling with some trauma. His new wife tries to make him happy and take the place of his first wife, the titular Rebecca, but is unsuccessful. The presence of the former Mrs. de Winter permeates the entire house. She was a bitter woman and the effects of her behavior still touch the people who survived her.

Who's to say that's not how a real haunting would work? Instead of all the spectacle, we've come to expect from other ghost movies, maybe a true haunting is just a memory that refuses to let you go.

4. Ringu (1998)

When a film is remade as successfully as "Ringu," you can't help but compare them. Gore Verbinski's take on the material ("The Ring") is creepy, stylish, and crowd-pleasing. It has everything American audiences expect from a horror film with a nice twist at the end. There's no argument that it isn't a well-made and effective film.

The original, directed by Hideo Nakata, makes the list over the remake for its lack of slick production value. Despite its fantastical subject matter (a video that kills whoever watches it), "Ringu" has a realistic quality in its production that grounds it in a recognizable world. This goes a long way in making the supernatural elements even scarier because we don't expect those kinds of things to happen in the real world.

The best way to explain this is to talk about the tapes featured in both films. They are very similar and equally unnerving, but the world depicted in "The Ring" is so visually heightened that it almost makes sense that a tape like that would exist. Within the world of "Ringu," the tape resembles nothing else we've seen up to that point. It's simpler, too, making it all the scarier.

3. Ugetsu Monogatari (1953)

A metaphor that isn't explored all that often in ghost stories is the concept of ghosts as temptation. It's a realistic interpretation since many of us are tempted to believe in ghosts because their existence suggests life beyond death. However, we're not sure what that kind of afterlife would entail. Perhaps it's everything we could have dreamed, or it's terrible beyond our worst imaginings.

Kenji Mizoguchi's "Ugetsu Monogatari" explores this idea through the lens of Japan's past. It is ostensibly about two men who leave security behind in order to achieve their dreams. Both men are married and refuse to listen to their wives' reasoning for staying home and preparing for the war instead of going off on a fool's errand. One wife even tells her husband that as long as she has him, she doesn't need anything else.

The poor life isn't for him, however, and he goes out to seek his fortune. He falls in love with a ghost, leading to the loss of everything he holds dear. Although the temptation of achieving one's dreams can sometimes consume us, we might all be chasing ghosts.

2. The Innocents (1961)

Modern audiences who dislike black-and-white films should be forced to watch Jack Clayton's adaptation of Henry James' "The Turn of the Screw" to truly understand how effective the lack of color can be. 

While Netflix's own adaptation of James' novel "The Haunting of Bly Manor" may be more to their tastes, there isn't a single moment in that wonderful series that matches the simplest scene in 1961's "The Innocents." As Flora hums a tune from a music box, the governess Miss Giddens glances over the water to fully appreciate the beautiful day they're having.

Her eyes land on a woman in black standing just far enough away to obscure some of her features, making it difficult to make out who she is or what she's doing. It's better than any jumpscare and could only work in black and white. A stark black figure rising from the light gray grass draws your attention and is visually arresting. Had the scene been shot in color, it wouldn't have been nearly as powerful.

The rest of the film operates like that as well. Some of the scary moments are simple, sometimes they're complicated, but all work in part because of the lack of color. We are watching shadows move across the screen like lonely spirits passing in the night.

1. Ghostbusters (1984)

We won't be getting academic or philosophical with this entry. Explaining why "Ghostbusters" tops this list is incredibly easy and can be summed up in three words: it's so good. There are definitely films here that are better constructed on a technical level and have higher artistic visions, but "Ghostbusters" is by far the funniest and most entertaining movie of the bunch.

Directed by the late Ivan Reitman , the film is a comedy masterpiece. No matter how many times you've seen it, you're bound to find something new to enjoy. The cast is phenomenal, playing off each other like the seasoned veterans that they are. The grimy world of New York City is tactile and real, allowing the supernatural to shine. 

It is also an example of a truly transformative movie. "Ghostbusters" begins with a creepy scene in the basement of a library and ends with four schlubs standing up against an interdimensional demon and a giant marshmallow man to stop the apocalypse.

Endlessly quotable, legitimately tense, never boring, "Ghostbusters" is as close to perfect as you can get.

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Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Death and Porridge

Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Death and Porridge

  • Thriller , Killer , Twisted Mystery | Home Invasion , Folk Horror , Isolation , Maniac

Coming in August

Never enter into someone's house without permission. You know her name. You know the consequences....

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (2024)

Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (2024)

  • Action , Creatures , Science Fiction | Animal , Dangerous Exploration , Folk Horror , Mutants , Wilderness

Coming in April

Following their explosive showdown, Godzilla and Kong must reunite against a colossal undiscovered threat hidden within our world, challenging their very existence – and our own. Delve further i...

Imaginary (2024)

Imaginary (2024)

  • Black Horror , Possession , Supernatural , Thriller | Black Horror - Thriller , Cursed , Dolls , Psychic , Single Moms , Suburbs

Coming in March

When Jessica moves back into her childhood home with her family, her youngest stepdaughter Alice develops an eerie attachment to a stuffed bear named Chauncey she finds in the basement. Alice starts p...

No Way Up (2024)

No Way Up (2024)

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Coming in February

A diverse group of survivors must overcome their inner turmoil and many underwater threats after their airplane takes a nosedive into the Pacific Ocean....

Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 (2024)

Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey 2 (2024)

  • Comedy , Creatures , Slasher | Campy , Supernatural Serial killer , Thrill Kill

Pooh and friends leave the 100 Acre Wood to take their fight to the quiet community of Ashdown....

I Know Exactly How You Die (2024)

I Know Exactly How You Die (2024)

  • Slasher , Supernatural , Twisted Mystery | Cursed , Stalker , Supernatural Serial killer , Thrill Kill

When his slasher-fiction novel manifests in real life, hack writer Rian Burman has to finish his story without getting his protagonist murdered by a seriously sadistic Stalker who will stop at nothing...

Founders Day (2024)

Founders Day (2024)

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Coming this Month

A small town is shaken by a series of ominous killings in the days leading up to a heated mayoral election....

Sunrise (2024)

Sunrise (2024)

  • Crime , Supernatural , Thriller , Vampires | Dangerous Exploration , Police , Supernatural Serial killer

When an ex-cop named Fallon returns to the scene of a horrific crime, the residents of a rural town soon discover that this dark visitor is really a vampire who feeds on blood and fear. After he is be...

Presence (2024)

Presence (2024)

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A family moves into a suburban house and becomes convinced they’re not alone....

Your Monster (2024)

Your Monster (2024)

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After her life falls apart, soft-spoken actress Laura Franco finds her voice again when she meets a terrifying, yet weirdly charming, monster living in her closet....


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The 65+ Best Ghost Movies Of All Time

Ranker Film

If you love an exhilarating chill down your spine, these good ghost movies are a must-watch. From unsettling hauntings to heart-stopping scares, ghost movies are a timeless favorite in the realm of the supernatural. The films creatively explore our fascination with the afterlife, whether it's through terrifying encounters, metaphysical mysteries, or even comic relief. Our selection brings together critically acclaimed productions, audience favorites, and iconic classics, all bound by one eerie element - ghosts.

Movies with ghosts bring the fearsome unknown to the fore, making them an irresistible draw for thrill-seekers. This curated collection of ghost movies offers a broad range of spectral experiences. From uncanny returners who spook the living to heart-rending tales of lingering spirits stuck in limbo. There's plenty of intrigue and fright to keep you on the edge of your seat.

One of the highlights is the universally lauded psychological thriller, The Sixth Sense . This film shocked audiences worldwide with its clever storytelling and unexpected twist. Joining this classic in the top ranks are the gothic horror The Others , and the bone-chilling The Conjuring and The Conjuring 2 , films about ghosts that have spawned an entire franchise of its own. These three are just a taste of what awaits in our collection of the best ghost movies of all time.

Finding these scary ghost movies to watch gets even easier, with convenient streaming buttons provided under each film. Explore a spectral world whether on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Paramount+, Disney+, or HBO Max. Shuffle around these platforms on your endless quest for your next spectral fix, all from the comfort of your home.

As these are highly immersive cinematic experiences, your personal preferences might influence your favorites. Therefore, we encourage all spectral film aficionados to interact with this ranking. Let the voting begin. Will The Sixth Sense continue to top the list, or will another ghostly tale usurp its position? Only your votes can decide. Traverse the corridors of our haunted mansion of film and vote up the ghost movies you found particularly chilling. Separate the frightful from the forgettable and let us know which supernatural stories made your heart race and sent chills down your spine. Immerse yourself in these ghostly narratives - if you dare.

The Others

  • # 339 of 772 The Most Rewatchable Movies
  • # 44 of 387 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
  • # 61 of 128 The 100+ Grossest Movies Ever

The Sixth Sense

The Sixth Sense

  • Behind The Scenes, ‘The Sixth Sense’ Was A Weird Underdog Story
  • # 9 of 50 The Biggest Movies Of The '90s, Ranked
  • # 5 of 248 The 200+ Best Psychological Thrillers Of All Time

The Conjuring

The Conjuring

  • The True Story Behind 'The Conjuring' Is Even Creepier Than The Movie
  • Why Do People Stop Watching 'The Conjuring' At The Moment Lorraine Falls Through The Floor?
  • # 36 of 248 The 200+ Best Psychological Thrillers Of All Time

The Shining

The Shining

  • The Dark History Of The Overlook Hotel From 'The Shining'
  • Behind-The-Scenes Stories About Shelley Duvall From 'The Shining'
  • # 7 of 248 The 200+ Best Psychological Thrillers Of All Time



  • Did Steven Spielberg Really Ghost-Direct ‘Poltergeist’?
  • The Herrmann House Haunting Is Said To Have Inspired The Film 'Poltergeist'
  • # 57 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

Stir of Echoes

Stir of Echoes

  • # 29 of 248 The 200+ Best Psychological Thrillers Of All Time
  • # 289 of 379 The Best Movies Of The 1990s
  • # 92 of 387 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

The Haunting

The Haunting

  • # 122 of 248 The 200+ Best Psychological Thrillers Of All Time
  • # 165 of 387 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
  • # 42 of 110 The Best Intelligent Horror Movies



  • All The Insane And Horrifying Scenes In ‘Beetlejuice’ That Were Impossible To Understand As A Child
  • Strange Things You Probably Didn't Know About The Making Of 'Beetlejuice'
  • # 17 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

The Ring

  • 15 Things You Didn't Know About The Japanese Version Of 'The Ring'
  • 15 Things You Didn't Know About the American Version of The Ring
  • # 439 of 772 The Most Rewatchable Movies

The Changeling

The Changeling

  • The Terrifying True Haunting Of A Denver Home That Inspired 'The Changeling'
  • # 240 of 387 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
  • # 67 of 110 The Best Intelligent Horror Movies

Ghost Story

Ghost Story

  • # 39 of 75 The Best Movies Of 1981
  • # 16 of 17 17 Horror Adaptations That Are Nothing Like The Books They're Based On
  • # 205 of 220 '80s Movies We Wish Would Finally Get Sequels



  • The Bizarre History Of The Dueling Ghostbusters
  • Behind The Scenes Secrets From 'Ghostbusters' Most People Have Never Heard
  • # 3 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

The Amityville Horror

The Amityville Horror

  • # 23 of 387 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
  • # 31 of 110 The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
  • # 6 of 57 The Best Horror Movies Based On True Stories, Ranked

John Carpenter's The Fog

John Carpenter's The Fog

  • # 199 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked
  • # 70 of 387 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
  • # 13 of 64 The Best Movies Of 1980

The Uninvited

The Uninvited

  • # 140 of 166 The 160+ Scariest Psychological Thrillers
  • # 1 of 15 15 Critically Acclaimed Horror Movies That Never Got The Attention They Deserved
  • # 13 of 20 Underrated Ghost Story Movies That Make Us Want To Leave The Light On

What Lies Beneath

What Lies Beneath

  • # 40 of 248 The 200+ Best Psychological Thrillers Of All Time
  • # 91 of 387 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
  • # 157 of 324 The Best Movies Of The 2000s

The Orphanage

The Orphanage

  • # 248 of 387 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
  • # 298 of 324 The Best Movies Of The 2000s
  • # 5 of 16 The Most Utterly Depressing Horror Movies Of All Time

Ghost Ship

  • # 93 of 387 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
  • # 45 of 152 The Best Movies of 2002
  • # 1 of 14 Terrible Horror Movies With One Really Good Scene

The Devil's Backbone

The Devil's Backbone

  • # 353 of 387 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
  • # 89 of 110 The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
  • # 169 of 424 The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History

The Entity

  • The True Story Behind 'The Entity' Is Even More Terrifying And Disturbing Than The Movie
  • # 235 of 387 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
  • # 22 of 57 The Best Horror Movies Based On True Stories, Ranked

The Frighteners

The Frighteners

  • ‘The Frighteners’ Is A Twisted Peter Jackson Horror-Comedy That Deserves Your Attention
  • # 207 of 379 The Best Movies Of The 1990s
  • # 189 of 387 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

The Innocents

The Innocents

  • # 350 of 387 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
  • # 104 of 166 The 160+ Scariest Psychological Thrillers
  • # 19 of 20 20 Shocking Horror Movie Endings That Took You by Surprise

Crimson Peak

Crimson Peak

  • # 133 of 248 The 200+ Best Psychological Thrillers Of All Time
  • # 241 of 387 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
  • # 20 of 27 27 Films Stephen King Has Awarded His Personal Stamp Of Approval


  • # 20 of 50 The Biggest Movies Of The '90s, Ranked
  • # 52 of 379 The Best Movies Of The 1990s
  • # 189 of 772 The Most Rewatchable Movies

Thir13en Ghosts

Thir13en Ghosts

  • The Origins Of 'Thirteen Ghosts': The Spirits Of The Black Zodiac
  • # 10 of 64 The Best Horror Movie Remakes Of All Time
  • # 45 of 113 The Best Movies Of 2001

13 Ghosts

  • # 71 of 387 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
  • # 7 of 18 Which Horror Movie Scarred You Because You Saw It Way Too Young?
  • # 9 of 14 The Scariest Horror Movies Featuring Ouija Boards

Carnival of Souls

Carnival of Souls

  • # 15 of 49 The Top 45+ Films Released In 1962
  • # 148 of 167 The Greatest '60s Movies, Ranked
  • # 17 of 41 The 100+ Best Movies Streaming On The Criterion Channel

Burnt Offerings

Burnt Offerings

  • # 14 of 17 Horror Movie Scenes That Traumatize Without Gore
  • # 11 of 20 20 Shocking Horror Movie Endings That Took You by Surprise
  • # 2 of 18 Obscure Horror Movies from the 1970s You Should Know About


  • # 45 of 248 The 200+ Best Psychological Thrillers Of All Time
  • # 84 of 387 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time
  • # 62 of 110 The Best Intelligent Horror Movies

Ghostbusters II

Ghostbusters II

  • # 119 of 403 The Best Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked
  • # 499 of 695 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films
  • # 215 of 772 The Most Rewatchable Movies
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  • Entertainment

The 14 Best Horror Movies on Prime Video Right Now

Two Jordan Peele-directed flicks are streaming now.


Prime Video has a lot to offer horror fans, from Ari Aster's Midsommar to Jordan Peele's Nope and Us. Though the service is going to start showing ads later this month ( unless you pony up an additional fee ), you can still enjoy your spooky content without commercial interruptions for now. 

Here are some highly rated horror flicks to satisfy your cravings. Dim the lights, grab the popcorn and let the nightmares begin.


'Midsommar' (2019).


Midsommar (2019)

Horrors take place in broad daylight in this haunting film from Ari Aster. Set at a midsummer festival in a remote Swedish village, Midsommar has plenty of disturbing surprises in store for its guests. Prepare for some shocking scenes and a gripping performance from Florence Pugh.

Nope is available for streaming on Peacock Premium


Nope (2022)

That's right, Jordan Peele's third film is now streaming on Prime Video. The sci-fi horror movie stars Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer as siblings who run a horse ranch in Southern California. They learn that something large and mysterious is occupying the sky, leading to a quest to capture it on camera. Us, another Peele-directed flick, is also available on the streamer.

M3gan Blumhouse


M3GAN (2022)

M3GAN the killer doll gained attention earlier this year for her unnatural dance moves, and now you can watch the rest of her story. In the movie, she's given to a young girl as a companion, but things don't work out as planned.


Mia Goth stars in this slasher that's part of a trilogy of films -- there's also Pearl, a prequel, and MaXXXine, a yet-to-be-released sequel. The cast of X also includes Brittany Snow, Kid Cudi and Wednesday's Jenna Ortega.


Totally Killer (2023)

Want to revisit the '80s? Kiernan Shipka time-travels to the decade and takes on a killer in this new Prime Video slasher comedy. Randall Park and Julie Bowen also make appearances.

Dave Bautista looms in horror movie Knock at the Cabin.


Knock at the Cabin (2023)

M. Night Shyamalan's Knock at the Cabin is based on the novel The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul G. Tremblay. A family is vacationing at a remote cabin when a band of strangers shows up with an impossible demand: The three cabin-dwellers must choose to save humanity or their family.


Smile (2022)

An unnatural grin can be utterly terrifying. This recent release takes full advantage of that. Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon, actor and daughter of Kevin Bacon) goes on a horrific journey after she witnesses a traumatic incident involving a patient.


Candyman (2021)

Jordan Peele and Nia DaCosta are at the helm of this gripping slasher. A sequel to the 1992 film of the same name, Candyman tackles issues such as gentrification and police brutality. Prepare for blood, swarming bees and people making the unfortunate decision to recite Candyman's name in front of a mirror.

Don't eat anything crunchy while you watch this. 

A Quiet Place Part II 


A Quiet Place Part II (2020)

The sequel to John Krasinski's runaway hit, A Quiet Place Part II revisits the Abbott family as they're forced to leave their home and travel into the unknown. With a brand new baby in tow, the journey is perilous and tense, as younger members of the family have to step up and take the lead.


Nanny (2022)

Nanny is an increasingly unnerving movie about a mother working in the US and separated from her son in Senegal, whom she hopes will soon join her. The powerful, chilling film -- led by a captivating Anna Diop -- takes viewers through her difficult, haunting wait.


Suspiria (2018)

If you like your horror films interspersed with a bit of contemporary dance (and who wouldn't!) then Suspiria is definitely the one for you. It tells the story of a supernatural dance academy run by a coven of witches and features themes like motherhood, guilt and abuse of power. An homage to the original 1977 film, Suspiria stars Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton. 


Better Watch Out (2016)

Better Watch Out is a home invasion flick set during the festive season. Olivia DeJonge plays a babysitter, Ashley, who's in for a less-than-cheery night on the job.

Prepare to be mindblown by 2013's Coherence.


Coherence (2014)

Coherence is a huge favorite here at CNET  and it's a terrifying watch. Not necessarily in the traditional, gory, horrific sense but more in terms of the concepts. It's a multiverse movie released before multiverses were cool and it's not what you expect. Coherence is the kind of movie you'll finish and immediately rewatch to try and rewire your brain. It's a fantastic achievement. A must watch.

Trust us, this is a must-watch. 



Train To Busan (2016)

If you're looking for a seriously impressive zombie film, look no further. Train To Busan is an action horror about a family stuck on a train amid a horrifying zombie outbreak. Not only is it gripping and intense, it's also surprisingly human for a movie about zombies. Well worth a watch!

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15 Best Paranormal Movies That Will Haunt You in Your Sleep

Posted: January 10, 2024 | Last updated: January 11, 2024

Horror stands as one of cinema's oldest and most ambitious genres, and it has cultivated a passionate fan following off the back of its ability to leave viewers a terrified, trembling mess. One of its most viscerally horrifying subgenres comes in the form of paranormal movies, with films focusing on unnatural beings like ghosts, spirits, and demons which invade our nightmares and pique our superstitions and fears.

With impeccable special effects, agonizingly suspenseful storytelling, and an ingrained sense of terror that forces us to keep watching no matter how much we want to look away, great paranormal horror films have served as one of the genre's defining pillars for decades . From timeless classics from over 50 years ago to modern masterworks that reinvent the terror for new generations, it was much more than mere jump scares that made these films the iconic hits that they are today.

'The Others' (2001)

Directed by alejandro amenábar.

A twisty, winding psychological horror, The Others excelled as a subversive haunted house horror movie that coasted on Nicole Kidman ’s compelling central performance. Taking place in 1945, it follows a devoted Catholic who moves to the English coast with her two young children who suffer from a rare photosensitivity disease while waiting for word on her husband in the war. As odd occurrences start to transpire around the house, Grace (Kidman) starts to believe something paranormal could be at work.

With an elegance that isn’t necessarily characteristic of horror, not to mention an intelligent and engrossing screenplay to boot, The Others excelled with its narrative nous alone. However, with The Others also boasting a magnetic, atmospheric chill that can have an immersive effect , it is shocking as it is tight and tidy to be an impressive and underrated horror flick.

Rent on Amazon Prime

'Suspiria' (1977)

Directed by dario argento.

One of the greatest horror movies of the 1970s which distinguished itself with a rich sense of style, Suspiria has become a true classic of the genre. It follows Suzy Bannion ( Jessica Harper ), an aspiring ballerina from America who travels to Germany to attend a prestigious dance academy, where her stay becomes plagued as a mysterious and malevolent entity haunts the establishment, sparking an idea that a supernatural conspiracy could be at play.

While the film has some genuinely unnerving scenes, what truly made it stick in the viewers’ minds was its breathtaking visual display, with Dario Argento using color to striking effect , creating a surreal atmosphere of gripping intensity. The end result is a strangely beautiful horror film that excels as an aesthetically entrancing masterpiece with a solid horror story to boot.

Watch on Tubi

'Poltergeist' (1982)

Directed by tobe hooper.

Poltergeist made television a thing to be feared. When the youngest of the Freeling family, Carol Anne ( Heather O'Rourke ) begins chatting with the static on the TV, there is something wrong. Eventually, the rest of the house becomes a horror show as well and it is overrun by malevolent ghosts who want to abduct Carol Anne.

Released in 1982, Poltergeist has become a timeless horror classic with its consistently terrifying tone which remains just as scary today as it was the day it was released. In addition to being a terrific paranormal horror film, Poltergeist is also one of the all-time great haunted house movies , one that not only gave viewers nightmares, but left them in a cold sweat when their television sets went to static as well.


Rent on Apple TV

'Smile' (2022)

Directed by parker finn.

The directorial debut of Parker Finn , adapting his 2020 short film Laura Hasn't Slept into a feature-length horror hit, Smile proved to be incredibly effective as an unnerving, creepy demon possession flick. It follows Rose ( Sosie Bacon ), a psychiatrist who believes she is being haunted by a supernatural threat after she witnesses the bizarre and harrowing suicide of one of her patients.

Smile 's use of jump scares, mounting suspense, and eerily off-putting performances offered more than enough horror to keep audiences awake at night for fear of what they would see in their dreams. As a fresh entry into the world of horror cinema, Smile was a landmark box office success, making well over $200 million worldwide, and has a sequel scheduled to be released in October .

Watch on Amazon Prime

'Last Night in Soho' (2021)

Directed by edgar wright.

While it isn't classified as a horror film, Edgar Wright 's ghost story draws clear inspiration from the genre while creeping under audiences' skin with much more than just evil spirits. Last Night in Soho follows Eloise ( Thomasin McKenzie ) a clairvoyant girl who moves to London to attend a fashion course at an illustrious arts school where her connection to the area's ugly past threatens to drive her mad as she begins experiencing the life of an aspiring singer who had her room in the 1960s.

While the film's ghoulish, faceless ghosts can certainly garner a fright, it's Last Night in Soho 's thematic focus on misogyny and abuse that made it particularly striking . It also didn't hurt that the film had a spectacular soundtrack of '60s hits , flaunted Wright's trademark dedication to style, and served as a wonderful testament to classic horror which fans could both adore and fear.

Last Night in Soho

'talk to me' (2023), directed by danny and michael phillipou.

The modern age of horror cinema has seen a number of stunning instant classics arise, but few have had such immediate success as Talk to Me . Following a group of friends as they conjure spirits with an embalmed hand for thrills, its sudden shift to paranormal terror has entrenched it among the best and most popular horror movies to be made in recent years.

The debut film of Michael and Danny Philippou , it hearkens back to classic horror movies from decades past while being imbued with some new ideas that make it completely of its time. Further enhanced by its aspirational dramatic heft, Talk to Me is a deeply unsettling film capable of rattling even the most hardened horror fans and is destined to become one of the best paranormal horror movies, if not of all time, then of its era at the very least.

Rent on Amazon

'Paranormal Activity' (2007)

Directed by oren peli.

An ingenious mix of simple yet suspenseful narrative, low-budget innovation, and the haunting, invasive feeling exuded from its home-camera gimmick, Paranormal Activity is a true masterpiece of found footage horror . As one of the 21st century's earlier horror hits, it focuses on a young couple who move into a new house where a series of strange happenings inspire Micah ( Micah Sloat ) to set up cameras to document what is occurring.

Steadily building the tension as the weird events that occur become increasingly hostile, much of the film's agonizing torment actually stemmed from the lingering moments where nothing was happening. A stressful, heart-stopping horror film, Paranormal Activity remains an acclaimed hit of the genre and one of the most intense and terrifying paranormal horror films of all time.

Paranormal Activity

Watch on Max

'The Ring' (2002)

Directed by gore verbinski.

An American adaptation of the 1998 Japanese horror film Ringu , The Ring fast became a horror hit in the early 2000s. It follows Rachel ( Naomi Watts ), a journalist covering the death of four teenage girls who investigates a cursed videotape that kills people seven days after they watch it, and must find answers to save herself after she views it out of curiosity.

Fascinatingly, the film went into production without a finished script, but it found momentum in Gore Verbinski's arresting atmospheric suspense and Watts' outstanding central performance . The Ring tapped into the internet phenomenon of chain mail horror years before it bled into the mainstream consciousness, becoming a superstitious, paranormal hit of urban legend terror and nightmarish visual terror.

'Rosemary's Baby' (1968)

Directed by roman polanski.

A true timeless classic of horror cinema which was famous for its terrifying, psychological impact which saw it linger in the mind long after the credits have rolled, Rosemary's Baby mixes demonic horror with family drama to horrifying effect . It focuses on Rosemary Woodhouse ( Mia Farrow ), the wife of a stage actor who moves into an apartment building with her husband where strange occurrences plague her as she falls pregnant, leading her to grow suspicious of her neighbors.

With a violent and overbearing satanism an underlying threat throughout Rosemary's Baby , it gradually builds a sickening dread as the sinister plot of the complex’s tenants unfolds. Powered by Farrow’s phenomenal central performance, Rosemary’s Baby doesn’t just thrive as one of the scariest paranormal movies of all time, but as a great example of female-led cinema as well.

Rosemary's Baby

Watch on Paramount+

'The Conjuring' (2013)

Directed by james wan.

Throughout the 2010s, the horror genre had a massive resurgence, with more genre films becoming mainstream hits the longer the decade went on. One of the great, early major success stories for 2010s horror was 2013's The Conjuring which follows a family who move into a haunted house and turn to demonologists Ed ( Patrick Wilson ) and Lorraine Warren ( Vera Farmiga ) to investigate the curse's origin.

A suitably terrifying picture, The Conjuring is a flawless example of haunted house horror and proved to be such a hit with fans that it spawned a successful extended franchise. Further adding to the nightmarish horror of the demonic evil and the visual frights, The Conjuring was reportedly based on true events that the real-life Warrens investigated in the 1970s.

The Conjuring

'the babadook' (2014), directed by jennifer kent.

A cult hit of an Australian horror movie that has gradually built up its audience as the years have gone on, The Babadook served as the directorial debut of Jennifer Kent . Following a widowed single mother as her son begins to act strange and speaks of a monster coming to get him, it focuses on an ominous picture book called "Mister Babadook" and the monstrous evil that comes to life from within it.

The film won international praise not only for its horror mastery, but also for its depiction of grief and loss which gave it a heart-wrenching story of family woe as its core. As for its terrifying magnificence though, Kent masterfully manufactured a truly shaking horror film without having to rely on jump scares or copious gore to leave audiences dreading the titular villain long after the movie had finished.

The Babadook

Watch on Hulu

'The Blair Witch Project' (1999)

Directed by eduardo sánchez and daniel myrick.

Still standing as the magnum opus of the found-footage subgenre over two decades after its release, The Blair Witch Project remains one of the most viscerally terrifying movies ever made. It follows three film students who seek to make a documentary about the legend of the Blair Witch, and venture into the supposedly haunted woods to find out more about the myth only to find themselves lost and being stalked by a wicked and malevolent force.

The low-budget documentary approach gave The Blair Witch Project a jarring, grounded realism which elevated the horror by only giving audiences a very narrow viewpoint of what was unfolding. It allowed the imagination to run wild with all manner of dreadful thoughts, and also led to a very real sense of motion sickness which made many patrons in theaters physically ill .

The Blair Witch Project

'hereditary' (2018), directed by ari aster.

A groundbreaking debut from modern horror maestro Ari Aster , Hereditary became an instant classic with a startling reputation as being one of the greatest and scariest movies ever made . The famed horror flick follows a grieving family mourning the loss of an elderly relative who begins to fear they are being haunted by a demonic entity as they discover more of their disturbing ancestry amid a series of worrying occurrences.

The narrative takes some deeply disturbing turns to build an unbearable sense of dread which serves as an embodiment of nightmarish terror. Hereditary 's commentary on loss, guilt, and family is brilliant, not only in its depth but also in how it works into the horror , further enhancing it as the story unfolds right up until its scarring ending which has undoubtedly led to nightmares for millions of viewers around the world and marked Hereditary as one of the best supernatural horror movies ever made.

The Shining (1980)

Directed by stanley kubrick.

As one of the most renowned horror movies of all time, The Shining has endured for decades as a genre-defining masterpiece capable of generating an immense and weighted sense of dread that hangs heavy over the audience. From acclaimed filmmaker Stanley Kubrick , it follows a young family who relocates to the remote Overlook Hotel to serve as the resort’s winter caretakers where the patriarch begins to go mad as the hotel’s violent intent unravels.

With a runtime of 146 minutes, the film utilizes an agonizingly slow pace to draw out every ounce of dread and eerie suspense. It may not be the most immediately terrifying movie, but The Shining does prove to be an exhausting, lingering nightmare that can haunt viewers long after the credits roll .

The Shining

'the exorcist' (1973), directed by william friedkin.

When young Regan ( Linda Blair ) becomes possessed by a demon, her family calls for an exorcism to vanquish the evil. As Regan's condition worsens, she wreaks havoc on her household as she battles the demon for power over her very being, all while two Catholic priests work tirelessly to exorcise the demon from her body.

The Exorcist broke barriers for the genre, becoming an instant and lasting phenomenon that incited widespread fanfare and spectacle while also inspiring derision and even legends of a cursed production. Despite all the hysteria surrounding the film though, the one thing about The Exorcist that has endured is its masterful execution of paranormal horror, something that has made the movie the scariest film of all time in the eyes of many who have seen it.

The Exorcist

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A choice of 296 of the best horror movies released from 2000 to 2024. In reverse chronological order and purely subjective. Horror Links: Genre: Horror: Most Popular Horror Titles Genre: Horror: Most Popular Horror Feature Films Genre: Horror: Most Popular Horror Feature Films Released 2000 to 2023 With At Least 5 Votes Horror Movies in the IMDb "Top 250": Most Popular IMDb "Top 250", Horror Feature Films Horror Movies in the IMDb "Top 1000": Most Popular IMDb "Top 1000", Horror Feature Films Horror Movies for 2018: Most Popular Horror Feature Films Released in 2018 Horror Movies for 2019: Most Popular Horror Feature Films Released in 2019 Horror Movies for 2020: Most Popular Horror Feature Films Released in 2020 Horror Movies for 2021: Most Popular Horror Feature Films Released in 2021 Horror Movies for 2022: Most Popular Horror Feature Films Released in 2022 Horror Movies for 2023: Most Popular Horror Feature Films Released in 2023 Horror Movies for 2024: Most Popular Horror Feature Films Released in 2024 . Horror Guide: Scary Good

  • Movies or TV
  • IMDb Rating
  • In Theaters
  • Release Year

1. Thanksgiving (I) (2023)

R | 106 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

After a Black Friday riot ends in tragedy, a mysterious Thanksgiving-inspired killer terrorizes Plymouth, Massachusetts - the birthplace of the infamous holiday.

Director: Eli Roth | Stars: Patrick Dempsey , Ty Olsson , Gina Gershon , Lynne Griffin

Votes: 28,530

2. When Evil Lurks (2023)

Not Rated | 99 min | Horror

In a remote village, two brothers find a demon-infected man just about to "give birth" to evil itself. They decide to get rid of the body, only to end up unintentionally spreading chaos.

Director: Demián Rugna | Stars: Ezequiel Rodríguez , Demián Salomón , Silvina Sabater , Luis Ziembrowski

Votes: 20,551

3. Saw X (2023)

R | 118 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A sick and desperate John travels to Mexico for a risky and experimental medical procedure in hopes of a miracle cure for his cancer only to discover the entire operation is a scam to defraud the most vulnerable.

Director: Kevin Greutert | Stars: Tobin Bell , Shawnee Smith , Synnøve Macody Lund , Steven Brand

Votes: 64,120

4. Birth/Rebirth (2023)

R | 101 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

A morgue technician successfully reanimates the body of a little girl, but to keep her breathing, she will need to harvest biological materials from pregnant women. When the girl's mother, a nurse, discovers her baby alive, they enter into a deal that forces them both down a dark path of no return.

Director: Laura Moss | Stars: Marin Ireland , Judy Reyes , Breeda Wool , Monique Gabriela Curnen

Votes: 4,469

5. Evil Dead Rise (2023)

R | 96 min | Horror

A twisted tale of two estranged sisters whose reunion is cut short by the rise of flesh-possessing demons, thrusting them into a primal battle for survival as they face the most nightmarish version of family imaginable.

Director: Lee Cronin | Stars: Mirabai Pease , Richard Crouchley , Anna-Maree Thomas , Lily Sullivan

Votes: 129,510

6. El Conde (2023)

R | 110 min | Comedy, Fantasy, History

After living 250 years in this world, Augusto Pinochet, who is not dead but an aged vampire, decides to die once and for all.

Director: Pablo Larraín | Stars: Jaime Vadell , Gloria Münchmeyer , Alfredo Castro , Paula Luchsinger

Votes: 7,767

7. Beau Is Afraid (2023)

R | 179 min | Comedy, Drama, Horror

Following the sudden death of his mother, a mild-mannered but anxiety-ridden man confronts his darkest fears as he embarks on an epic, Kafkaesque odyssey back home.

Director: Ari Aster | Stars: Joaquin Phoenix , Patti LuPone , Amy Ryan , Nathan Lane

Votes: 52,179

8. Infinity Pool (2023)

R | 117 min | Crime, Horror, Mystery

James and Em Foster are enjoying an all-inclusive beach vacation in the fictional island of La Tolqa, when a fatal accident exposes the resort's perverse subculture of hedonistic tourism, reckless violence and surreal horrors.

Director: Brandon Cronenberg | Stars: Alexander Skarsgård , Mia Goth , Cleopatra Coleman , Dunja Sepcic

Votes: 50,965

9. Scream VI (2023)

R | 122 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

In the next installment, the survivors of the Ghostface killings leave Woodsboro behind and start a fresh chapter in New York City.

Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin , Tyler Gillett | Stars: Courteney Cox , Melissa Barrera , Jenna Ortega , Jasmin Savoy Brown

Votes: 114,273

10. X (II) (2022)

R | 105 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

In 1979, a group of young filmmakers set out to make an adult film in rural Texas, but when their reclusive, elderly hosts catch them in the act, the cast find themselves fighting for their lives.

Director: Ti West | Stars: Mia Goth , Jenna Ortega , Brittany Snow , Kid Cudi

Votes: 159,933

11. Pearl (2022)

R | 103 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

In 1918, a young woman on the brink of madness pursues stardom in a desperate attempt to escape the drudgery, isolation, and lovelessness of life on her parents' farm.

Director: Ti West | Stars: Mia Goth , David Corenswet , Tandi Wright , Matthew Sunderland

Votes: 86,502

12. Talk to Me (I) (2022)

R | 95 min | Horror, Thriller

When a group of friends discover how to conjure spirits using an embalmed hand, they become hooked on the new thrill, until one of them goes too far and unleashes terrifying supernatural forces.

Directors: Danny Philippou , Michael Philippou | Stars: Ari McCarthy , Hamish Phillips , Kit Erhart-Bruce , Sarah Brokensha

Votes: 120,029

13. M3GAN (2022)

PG-13 | 102 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

A robotics engineer at a toy company builds a life-like doll that begins to take on a life of its own.

Director: Gerard Johnstone | Stars: Allison Williams , Violet McGraw , Ronny Chieng , Amie Donald

Votes: 136,286 | Gross: $93.88M

14. Barbarian (2022)

R | 102 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A woman staying at an Airbnb discovers that the house she has rented is not what it seems.

Director: Zach Cregger | Stars: Georgina Campbell , Bill Skarsgård , Justin Long , Matthew Patrick Davis

Votes: 171,604

15. Smile (V) (2022)

R | 115 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

After witnessing a bizarre, traumatic incident involving a patient, a psychiatrist becomes increasingly convinced she is being threatened by an uncanny entity.

Director: Parker Finn | Stars: Sosie Bacon , Jessie T. Usher , Kyle Gallner , Robin Weigert

Votes: 150,223

16. The Menu (2022)

R | 107 min | Comedy, Horror, Thriller

A young couple travels to a remote island to eat at an exclusive restaurant where the chef has prepared a lavish menu, with some shocking surprises.

Director: Mark Mylod | Stars: Ralph Fiennes , Anya Taylor-Joy , Nicholas Hoult , Hong Chau

Votes: 371,108

17. Bones and All (2022)

R | 131 min | Drama, Horror, Romance

A young woman embarks on a 1000 mile odyssey through America where she meets a disenfranchised drifter. But all roads lead back to their terrifying pasts and to a final stand that will determine whether love can survive their otherness.

Director: Luca Guadagnino | Stars: Timothée Chalamet , Taylor Russell , Mark Rylance , Kendle Coffey

Votes: 54,362

18. Deadstream (2022)

Not Rated | 87 min | Comedy, Horror

A disgraced internet personality attempts to win back his followers by livestreaming one night alone in a haunted house. But when he accidentally pisses off a vengeful spirit, his big comeback event becomes a real-time fight for his life.

Directors: Joseph Winter , Vanessa Winter | Stars: Joseph Winter , Melanie Stone , Jason K. Wixom , Pat Barnett

Votes: 16,431

19. Piggy (2022)

Not Rated | 99 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

An overweight teen is bullied by a clique of cool girls poolside while holidaying in her village. The long walk home will change the rest of her life.

Director: Carlota Pereda | Stars: Laura Galán , Richard Holmes , Carmen Machi , Irene Ferreiro

Votes: 12,218

20. Terrifier 2 (2022)

Not Rated | 138 min | Horror

After being resurrected by a sinister entity, Art the Clown returns to the timid town of Miles County where he targets a teenage girl and her younger brother on Halloween night.

Director: Damien Leone | Stars: Lauren LaVera , David Howard Thornton , Elliott Fullam , Sarah Voigt

Votes: 44,607

21. Soft & Quiet (2022)

R | 92 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

Playing out in real time, an elementary school teacher organizes a mixer of like-minded women, when she encounters a woman from her past, leading to a volatile chain of events.

Director: Beth de Araújo | Stars: Stefanie Estes , Olivia Luccardi , Dana Millican , Melissa Paulo

Votes: 9,385

22. Crimes of the Future (2022)

R | 107 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

Humans adapt to a synthetic environment, with new transformations and mutations. With his partner Caprice, Saul Tenser, celebrity performance artist, publicly showcases the metamorphosis of his organs in avant-garde performances.

Director: David Cronenberg | Stars: Viggo Mortensen , Léa Seydoux , Kristen Stewart , Scott Speedman

Votes: 39,219

23. Nope (2022)

R | 130 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

The residents of a lonely gulch in inland California bear witness to an uncanny and chilling discovery.

Director: Jordan Peele | Stars: Daniel Kaluuya , Keke Palmer , Brandon Perea , Michael Wincott

Votes: 255,373 | Gross: $123.28M

24. You Won't Be Alone (2022)

R | 108 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

In an isolated mountain village in 19th century Macedonia, a young girl is kidnapped and then transformed into a witch by an ancient spirit.

Director: Goran Stolevski | Stars: Noomi Rapace , Alice Englert , Anamaria Marinca , Sara Klimoska

Votes: 10,475

25. Watcher (I) (2022)

R | 96 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

A young American woman moves with her husband to Bucharest, and begins to suspect that a stranger--who watches her from the apartment building across the street--may be a local serial killer decapitating women.

Director: Chloe Okuno | Stars: Maika Monroe , Karl Glusman , Burn Gorman , Tudor Petrut

Votes: 39,298

26. Hatching (2022)

16+ | 91 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

A young gymnast, who tries desperately to please her demanding mother, discovers a strange egg. She hides it and keeps it warm, but when it hatches, what emerges shocks them all.

Director: Hanna Bergholm | Stars: Siiri Solalinna , Sophia Heikkilä , Jani Volanen , Reino Nordin

Votes: 14,363

27. Prey (I) (2022)

R | 100 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Naru, a skilled warrior of the Comanche Nation, fights to protect her tribe against one of the first highly-evolved Predators to land on Earth.

Director: Dan Trachtenberg | Stars: Amber Midthunder , Dakota Beavers , Dane DiLiegro , Stormee Kipp

Votes: 220,916

28. What Josiah Saw (2021)

18+ | 120 min | Horror, Thriller

A family with buried secrets reunite at a farmhouse after two decades to pay for their past sins.

Director: Vincent Grashaw | Stars: Robert Patrick , Nick Stahl , Scott Haze , Kelli Garner

Votes: 3,986

29. The Black Phone (2021)

R | 103 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

After being abducted by a child killer and locked in a soundproof basement, a 13-year-old boy starts receiving calls on a disconnected phone from the killer's previous victims.

Director: Scott Derrickson | Stars: Mason Thames , Madeleine McGraw , Ethan Hawke , Jeremy Davies

Votes: 184,642 | Gross: $90.12M

30. The Innocents (2021)

Not Rated | 117 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

During the bright Nordic summer, a group of children reveal their dark and mysterious powers when the adults aren't looking. In this original and gripping supernatural thriller, playtime takes a dangerous turn.

Director: Eskil Vogt | Stars: Rakel Lenora Petersen Fløttum , Alva Brynsmo Ramstad , Sam Ashraf , Mina Yasmin Bremseth Asheim

Votes: 23,581

31. The Cursed (2021)

R | 111 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

In rural 19th-century France, a mysterious, possibly supernatural menace threatens a small village. John McBride, a pathologist, comes to town to investigate the danger - and exorcise some of his own demons in the process.

Director: Sean Ellis | Stars: Boyd Holbrook , Kelly Reilly , Alistair Petrie , Roxane Duran

Votes: 15,208

32. Malignant (I) (2021)

R | 111 min | Crime, Horror, Mystery

Madison is paralyzed by shocking visions of grisly murders, and her torment worsens as she discovers that these waking dreams are in fact terrifying realities.

Director: James Wan | Stars: Annabelle Wallis , Maddie Hasson , George Young , Michole Briana White

Votes: 106,138 | Gross: $13.39M

33. Titane (2021)

R | 108 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

Following a series of unexplained crimes, a father is reunited with the son who has been missing for 10 years.

Director: Julia Ducournau | Stars: Vincent Lindon , Agathe Rousselle , Garance Marillier , Laïs Salameh

Votes: 54,265

34. Last Night in Soho (2021)

R | 116 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

Aspiring fashion designer Eloise is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s, where she encounters dazzling wannabe singer Sandie. But the glamour is not as it seems, and the dreams of the past crack and splinter into something darker.

Director: Edgar Wright | Stars: Thomasin McKenzie , Anya Taylor-Joy , Matt Smith , Diana Rigg

Votes: 170,371

35. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It (2021)

R | 112 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

The Warrens investigate a murder that may be linked to a demonic possession.

Director: Michael Chaves | Stars: Patrick Wilson , Vera Farmiga , Ruairi O'Connor , Sarah Catherine Hook

Votes: 135,524 | Gross: $65.63M

36. Lamb (2021)

R | 106 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

A childless couple discovers a mysterious newborn on their farm in Iceland.

Director: Valdimar Jóhannsson | Stars: Noomi Rapace , Hilmir Snær Guðnason , Björn Hlynur Haraldsson , Ingvar Sigurdsson

Votes: 36,568

37. You Are Not My Mother (2021)

16+ | 93 min | Drama, Horror

In a North Dublin housing estate Char's mother goes missing. When she returns Char is determined to uncover the truth of her disappearance and unearth the dark secrets of her family.

Director: Kate Dolan | Stars: Hazel Doupe , Carolyn Bracken , Ingrid Craigie , Jordanne Jones

Votes: 5,620

38. The Sadness (2021)

TV-MA | 99 min | Horror

A young couple trying to reunite amid a city ravaged by a plague that turns its victims into deranged, bloodthirsty sadists.

Director: Rob Jabbaz | Stars: Berant Zhu , Regina Lei , Ying-Ru Chen , Tzu-Chiang Wang

Votes: 17,963

39. Freaky (2020)

R | 102 min | Comedy, Horror, Thriller

After swapping bodies with a deranged serial killer, a high-school senior discovers that she has fewer than 24 hours before the change becomes permanent.

Director: Christopher Landon | Stars: Vince Vaughn , Kathryn Newton , Celeste O'Connor , Misha Osherovich

Votes: 70,524

40. A Quiet Place Part II (2020)

PG-13 | 97 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

Following the events at home, the Abbott family now face the terrors of the outside world. Forced to venture into the unknown, they realize the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats lurking beyond the sand path.

Director: John Krasinski | Stars: Emily Blunt , Millicent Simmonds , Cillian Murphy , John Krasinski

Votes: 265,260 | Gross: $160.07M

41. Possessor (2020)

R | 103 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

An agent works for a secretive organization that uses brain-implant technology to inhabit other people's bodies - ultimately driving them to commit assassinations for high-paying clients.

Director: Brandon Cronenberg | Stars: Andrea Riseborough , Christopher Abbott , Jennifer Jason Leigh , Rossif Sutherland

Votes: 44,373

42. The Empty Man (2020)

R | 137 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

On the trail of a missing girl, an ex-cop comes across a secretive group attempting to summon a terrifying supernatural entity.

Director: David Prior | Stars: James Badge Dale , Marin Ireland , Sasha Frolova , Samantha Logan

Votes: 37,015

43. The Invisible Man (I) (2020)

R | 124 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

When Cecilia's abusive ex takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.

Director: Leigh Whannell | Stars: Elisabeth Moss , Oliver Jackson-Cohen , Harriet Dyer , Aldis Hodge

Votes: 250,019 | Gross: $70.41M

44. The Night House (2020)

R | 107 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A widow begins to uncover her recently deceased husband's disturbing secrets.

Director: David Bruckner | Stars: Rebecca Hall , Sarah Goldberg , Vondie Curtis-Hall , Evan Jonigkeit

Votes: 65,158

45. The Call (2020)

TV-MA | 112 min | Crime, Horror, Mystery

Two people live in different times. Seo-Yeon lives in the present and Young-Sook lives in the past. One phone call connects the two, and their lives are changed irrevocably.

Director: Chung-Hyun Lee | Stars: Park Shin-Hye , Jeon Jong-seo , Kim Sung-ryung , Lee El

Votes: 41,839

46. The Dark and the Wicked (2020)

Not Rated | 95 min | Horror

On a secluded farm in a nondescript rural town, a man is slowly dying. His family gathers to mourn, and soon a darkness grows, marked by waking nightmares and a growing sense that something evil is taking over the family.

Director: Bryan Bertino | Stars: Marin Ireland , Michael Abbott Jr. , Julie Oliver-Touchstone , Lynn Andrews

Votes: 21,548

47. His House (2020)

TV-14 | 93 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

A refugee couple makes a harrowing escape from war-torn South Sudan, but then they struggle to adjust to their new life in an English town that has an evil lurking beneath the surface.

Director: Remi Weekes | Stars: Sope Dirisu , Wunmi Mosaku , Malaika Wakoli-Abigaba , Matt Smith

Votes: 47,443

48. The Hunt (II) (2020)

R | 90 min | Action, Horror, Thriller

Twelve strangers wake up in a clearing. They don't know where they are, or how they got there. They don't know they've been chosen - for a very specific purpose - The Hunt.

Director: Craig Zobel | Stars: Betty Gilpin , Hilary Swank , Ike Barinholtz , Wayne Duvall

Votes: 125,567 | Gross: $5.81M

49. Hunter Hunter (2020)

Unrated | 93 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

Joseph and his family live in the remote wilderness as fur trappers, but their tranquility is threatened when they think they are being hunted by the return of a rogue wolf, and Joseph leaves them behind to track it.

Director: Shawn Linden | Stars: Camille Sullivan , Summer H. Howell , Devon Sawa , Nick Stahl

Votes: 12,592

50. Relic (2020)

R | 89 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A daughter, mother and grandmother are haunted by a manifestation of dementia that consumes their family's home.

Director: Natalie Erika James | Stars: Robyn Nevin , Emily Mortimer , Bella Heathcote , Steve Rodgers

Votes: 29,505

51. The Platform (2019)

TV-MA | 94 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

A vertical prison with one cell per level. Two people per cell. Only one food platform and two minutes per day to feed. An endless nightmare trapped in The Hole.

Director: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia | Stars: Ivan Massagué , Zorion Eguileor , Antonia San Juan , Emilio Buale

Votes: 263,429

52. Saint Maud (2019)

R | 84 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A pious nurse becomes dangerously obsessed with saving the soul of her dying patient.

Director: Rose Glass | Stars: Morfydd Clark , Caoilfhionn Dunne , Jennifer Ehle , Marcus Hutton

Votes: 45,286

53. Midsommar (2019)

R | 148 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A couple travels to Northern Europe to visit a rural hometown's fabled Swedish mid-summer festival. What begins as an idyllic retreat quickly devolves into an increasingly violent and bizarre competition at the hands of a pagan cult.

Director: Ari Aster | Stars: Florence Pugh , Jack Reynor , Vilhelm Blomgren , William Jackson Harper

Votes: 386,328 | Gross: $27.33M

54. The Lighthouse (I) (2019)

R | 109 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Two lighthouse keepers try to maintain their sanity while living on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s.

Director: Robert Eggers | Stars: Robert Pattinson , Willem Dafoe , Valeriia Karaman , Logan Hawkes

Votes: 247,491 | Gross: $0.43M

55. La Llorona (2019)

Not Rated | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Horror

An aging paranoid war criminal, protected by his faithful wife, faces death while being haunted by the ghosts of his past.

Director: Jayro Bustamante | Stars: María Mercedes Coroy , Sabrina De La Hoz , Margarita Kenéfic , Julio Diaz

Votes: 7,582

56. Zombieland: Double Tap (2019)

R | 99 min | Action, Comedy, Horror

Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita, and Little Rock move to the American heartland as they face off against evolved zombies, fellow survivors, and the growing pains of the snarky makeshift family.

Director: Ruben Fleischer | Stars: Woody Harrelson , Jesse Eisenberg , Emma Stone , Abigail Breslin

Votes: 197,486 | Gross: $73.12M

57. It Chapter Two (2019)

R | 169 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Twenty-seven years after their first encounter with the terrifying Pennywise, the Losers Club have grown up and moved away, until a devastating phone call brings them back.

Director: Andy Muschietti | Stars: Jessica Chastain , James McAvoy , Bill Hader , Isaiah Mustafa

Votes: 295,667 | Gross: $211.59M

58. Us (II) (2019)

R | 116 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

A family's serene beach vacation turns to chaos when their doppelgängers appear and begin to terrorize them.

Director: Jordan Peele | Stars: Lupita Nyong'o , Winston Duke , Elisabeth Moss , Tim Heidecker

Votes: 334,130 | Gross: $175.08M

59. The Mortuary Collection (2019)

Not Rated | 108 min | Fantasy, Horror

An eccentric mortician recounts several macabre and phantasmagorical tales that he's encountered in his distinguished career.

Director: Ryan Spindell | Stars: Tristan Byon , Eden Campbell , Hannah R. Loyd , Clancy Brown

Votes: 14,297

60. The Lodge (2019)

R | 108 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A soon-to-be stepmom is snowed in with her fiancé's two children at a remote holiday village. Just as relations begin to thaw between the trio, some strange and frightening events take place.

Directors: Severin Fiala , Veronika Franz | Stars: Riley Keough , Jaeden Martell , Lia McHugh , Richard Armitage

Votes: 55,969

61. Crawl (I) (2019)

R | 87 min | Action, Adventure, Horror

A young woman, while attempting to save her father during a category 5 hurricane, finds herself trapped in a flooding house and must fight for her life against alligators.

Director: Alexandre Aja | Stars: Kaya Scodelario , Barry Pepper , Morfydd Clark , Ross Anderson

Votes: 92,646 | Gross: $39.01M

62. Ready or Not (I) (2019)

R | 95 min | Action, Comedy, Horror

A bride's wedding night takes a sinister turn when her eccentric new in-laws force her to take part in a terrifying game.

Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin , Tyler Gillett | Stars: Samara Weaving , Adam Brody , Mark O'Brien , Henry Czerny

Votes: 176,859 | Gross: $28.71M

63. The Golden Glove (2019)

Not Rated | 115 min | Crime, Drama, Horror

A serial killer strikes fear in the hearts of residents of Hamburg during the early 1970s.

Director: Fatih Akin | Stars: Jonas Dassler , Vasiliki Georgina Pseimada , Christine Jensen , Greta Sophie Schmidt

Votes: 17,588

64. Color Out of Space (2019)

Unrated | 111 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

A secluded farm is struck by a strange meteorite which has apocalyptic consequences for the family living there and possibly the world.

Director: Richard Stanley | Stars: Nicolas Cage , Joely Richardson , Madeleine Arthur , Elliot Knight

Votes: 54,934

65. Hereditary (2018)

R | 127 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

A grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences.

Director: Ari Aster | Stars: Toni Collette , Milly Shapiro , Gabriel Byrne , Alex Wolff

Votes: 366,703 | Gross: $44.07M

66. All the Gods in the Sky (2018)

110 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

30-year-old factory worker Simon lives a solitary existence on a decrepit farm in the remote French countryside. Devoting his time to caring for his sister Estelle, who was left severely ... See full summary  »

Director: Quarxx | Stars: Jean-Luc Couchard , Melanie Gaydos , Zelie Rixhon , Thierry Frémont

67. Halloween (I) (2018)

R | 106 min | Crime, Horror, Thriller

Laurie Strode confronts her long-time foe, Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.

Director: David Gordon Green | Stars: Jamie Lee Curtis , Judy Greer , Andi Matichak , James Jude Courtney

Votes: 167,208 | Gross: $159.34M

68. Climax (I) (2018)

R | 97 min | Drama, Horror, Music

French dancers gather in a remote, empty school building to rehearse on a wintry night. The all-night celebration morphs into a hallucinatory nightmare when they learn their sangria is laced with LSD.

Director: Gaspar Noé | Stars: Sofia Boutella , Romain Guillermic , Souheila Yacoub , Kiddy Smile

Votes: 77,508 | Gross: $0.80M

69. A Quiet Place (2018)

PG-13 | 90 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

A family struggles for survival in a world where most humans have been killed by blind but noise-sensitive creatures. They are forced to communicate in sign language to keep the creatures at bay.

Director: John Krasinski | Stars: Emily Blunt , John Krasinski , Millicent Simmonds , Noah Jupe

Votes: 572,097 | Gross: $188.02M

70. Suspiria (I) (2018)

R | 152 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

A darkness swirls at the center of a world-renowned dance company, one that will engulf the artistic director, an ambitious young dancer, and a grieving psychotherapist. Some will succumb to the nightmare. Others will finally wake up.

Director: Luca Guadagnino | Stars: Chloë Grace Moretz , Tilda Swinton , Doris Hick , Malgorzata Bela

Votes: 89,853 | Gross: $2.47M

71. The House That Jack Built (2018)

R | 152 min | Crime, Drama, Horror

The story follows Jack, a highly intelligent serial killer, over the course of twelve years, and depicts the murders that really develop his inner madman.

Director: Lars von Trier | Stars: Matt Dillon , Bruno Ganz , Uma Thurman , Siobhan Fallon Hogan

Votes: 89,210 | Gross: $0.09M

72. The Swerve (2018)

95 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

A woman with a seemingly ideal life battles insomnia.

Director: Dean Kapsalis | Stars: Azura Skye , Bryce Pinkham , Ashley Bell , Zach Rand

Votes: 1,799

73. In Fabric (2018)

R | 118 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

In Fabric is a haunting ghost story set against the backdrop of a busy winter sales period in a department store and follows the life of a cursed dress as it passes from person to person, with devastating consequences.

Director: Peter Strickland | Stars: Sidse Babett Knudsen , Marianne Jean-Baptiste , Julian Barratt , Steve Oram

Votes: 13,663

74. Mandy (I) (2018)

Not Rated | 121 min | Action, Fantasy, Horror

7 new horror movies to stream on Netflix, Shudder, Peacock and more in January 2024

From a delightfully weird recent slasher to Lovecraft horrors

Heather Graham holding a gun and looking frantic in the movie Suitable Flesh

It's the new year! Time to set a bunch of new year's resolutions that involve over-ambitious movie watchlists! Luckily, we're here to help you make headway on that goal because, honestly, what better way to kickstart 2024 than by settling in for a slew of the best horror movies on the likes of Netflix , Paramount Plus and Peacock .

Whatever you're in the mood for there's something on this list for you. This month's selection accommodates all tastes with a '90s sci-fi classic, recent hits from James Wan and Jordan Peele, and a handful of brand new flicks hitting horror streamer Shudder that you cannot afford to miss if you're a genre fan.

Event Horizon (1997)

When: January 1 Where to stream it: Paramount Plus (US, UK), rent or buy (AU)

If Alien mastered the haunted house in space concept, then Event Horizon drenched that idea in blood and grue and dragged it across space and time. Paul WS Anderson's late '90s sci-fi horror is a magnificent exercise in over-the-top performances and stomach-churning grot. Set in 2047, the movie follows the crew of the rescue vessel Lewis and Clark, tasked with investigating long-lost starship Event Horizon when it mysteriously reappears. 

While its plot resembles direct-to-video flimflam, this ensemble cast and its commitment to bloodshed make its cult classic status. Sam Neill steals the show as Dr. Weir, chewing all of the scenery and dispensing a trove of one-liners.

Malignant (2021)

When: January 1 Where to stream it: Netflix (US, UK), Foxtel Now (AU)

Taking a break from Aquaman movies, James Wan dives back into horror for a wacky body horror that feels plucked from the 2000s. Akela Cooper's screenplay warrants acclaim for its ability to pull off a maelstrom of twists and wild setpieces all at the same time. Annabelle Wallis stars as Madison Mitchell, a woman whose life begins to untangle with the onset of visions chronicling the actions of a serial killer. Of course, nothing is as it seems, and before long Madison realizes she may be connected to the murderer. If you've not yet had the twist spoiled then read nothing else about this campy horror and savor the madcap revelations.

The Lodge (2020)

When: January 1 Where to stream it: Max (US), Netflix (UK), rent or buy (AU)

Snow-capped landscapes! Christmastime! A quaint holiday village! Don’t be fooled by the wintry components of this 2020 thriller – this isn’t a warm and fuzzy horror flick. The Lodge is an uncomfortable and deeply disturbing watch that revolves around a family who venture to a remote cabin for the holidays. When Richard (Richard Armitage) has to leave on a work commitment, he leaves his two children in the care of their stepmom Grace (Riley Keough) for the duration. 

What follows is a twisted nightmare when a blizzard traps Grace and the children indoors, where it's unclear who or what is happening. Don't expect a happy ending but instead a journey into the abyss that concludes with a wild final act.

Destroy All Neighbors (2023)

When: January 12 Where to stream it: Shudder (UK, US, AU)

Cruise into 2024 with this wild, madcap horror comedy directed by Josh Forbes. Destroy All Neighbors conjures the early movies of Peter Jackson (think gross, gloopy FX) with a musical twist. William Brown (Jonah Ray Rodrigues) is a rocker whose mission in life is to craft a prog opus despite everyone in his life refusing to support his goals. 

That includes his new neighbor from hell Vlad (an unrecognizable Alex Winters) whom he accidentally decapitates during a heated confrontation over the noise. William is then taunted by Vlad's corpse who refuses to leave him in peace while trying to craft his masterpiece, which, honestly, fair?

The Passenger (2023)

When: January 15 Where to stream it: Shudder (UK, US, AU)

Are we in the era of Kyle Gallner? The indie actor continues to dominate horror with stand-out performances in recent pics Scream , Smile , Mother, May I? [I remember him in the phenomenal but under-watched Veronica Mars ! - Ed] and now The Passenger  in which he tackles the part of an unhinged fast food employee. 

The critically-acclaimed film follows Gallner's character Benson, who goes on a workplace rampage in an effort to support his co-worker Randy (Johnny Berchtold), but instead makes his life a living hell. Horror hounds will recognise director Carter Smith who helmed 2008 plant horror The Ruins , Jamie Marks is Dead and 2022's Swallowed . Expect this one to be part of the social-media chatter when it drops mid-month.

Nope (2022)

When: January 18 Where to stream it: Peacock (US), Sky Cinema (UK), Netflix (AU) 

Proof that lightning strikes thrice for Jordan Peele. The comic-turned-horror filmmaker delivers another winning entry into the genre canon with Nope . Despite its unabashed horror tropes, it carries a summer blockbuster aesthetic thanks to its locale; sunny Agua Dulce in California. 

Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer play siblings Em and OJ Haywood, who inherit their family's horse training business following the mysterious death of their father. The pair discover a mysterious object flying above their home which may be responsible. To say more would ruin one of last year's most surprising and genuinely creepy horror movies. Watch and be amazed at the lengths Peele goes to to prove the villainy of its monster.

Suitable Flesh (2023)

When: January 26 Where to stream it: Shudder (UK, US, AU)

A Lovecraft adaptation that sheds light on one key factor most of the modern world has overlooked: Heather Graham deserves to be a bigger genre star. In this modern retelling of The Thing on The Doorstep , Graham tackles the lead role of psychiatrist Elizabeth Derby who becomes enveloped in the world of one of her patients Asa Waite ( The Babysitter 's Judah Lewis) who comes to her with a strange proposition: he believes his body is sporadically occupied by his father. Joe Lynch directs the hell out of this otherworldly premise that co-stars horror legend and Lovecraft stalwart Barbara Crampton.

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Gem Seddon

Gem Seddon is a Seattle-based freelance entertainment writer with bylines at Vulture, Digital Spy, TechRadar, GamesRadar+, Total Film, What to Watch, and Certified Forgotten. Librarian by day, scribbler by night, Gem loves 90-minute movies, time travel romance, single-camera comedy shows, all things queer, all things horror, and queer horror. Alien and Scream are tied as her all-time favourite movie. She won't stop raving about Better Things. 

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The Most Underrated Horror Movies On Streaming

Catch up with these horror titles that you might have missed..

Matt Donato Avatar

With horror being one of the most plentiful movie genres in terms of the sheer number of yearly releases, there’s usually a nice variety between sitewide “Best Of” lists. Here at IGN, Talk to Me took top honors in 2023. Other popular choices include When Evil Lurks, Evil Dead Rise, and Thanksgiving (to name a few). These seem to be the overall consensus when it comes to high-end ranks, but this year had so, so , much more to offer.

Let’s talk about those damn fine horror films that might have missed out on “Best of Horror” lists but still deserve their special recognition. Everything from prominent summer theater releases to absurd sorority slashers about killer sloths. I watched 100+ new horror flicks that were released in 2023 (plus another 30 or so at film festivals that are slated for 2023 release), so I promise I won’t lead you astray. Note: Not all of these films are streaming originals, so streaming platform may change after time of publish.

The Most Underrated Horror Titles On Streaming

ghost movies in english

The Boogeyman (Hulu)

ghost movies in english

Rob Savage’s adaptation of Stephen King’s short story The Boogeyman is the definition of “solid” horror filmmaking. Every culture has a “boogeyman,” and Savage coaxes out the fundamental terrors of a shadow-lurking beast with beady eyes piercing through the darkness. A cast including Sophie Thatcher, Chris Messina, and David Dastmalchian anchor a story about a fractured family fighting against a devilish creature, keying into intrinsically childhood paranoias that require a nightlight. “Savage doesn’t shy away from in-your-face jump scares, which are [the film’s] addictive bread and butter,” I wrote in my IGN review . Some killer lighting usages from flashing reds as the entity inches closer with each pulse, to a glowing moon orb rolled to inspect sounds from afar, help the otherwise formulaic storytelling structure stand out. It’s not the best horror movie of the year, but might be the most crowd-pleasing by standard horror expectations.

The Blackening (Starz)

ghost movies in english

"We Can't All Die First" might be the best tagline of 2023. As you probably guessed, it's referencing the trope that Black characters always die first in horror movies. Enter The Blackening, where every character is Black, and the commentary is sharper than Jason's machete or Michael's knife. It's a raucous horror comedy from the Black perspective that's more the realm of comedy than horror, but big laughs don't weaken intended impacts. Writers Tracy Oliver (of Girls Trip fame) and Dewayne Perkins know funny, and while the film's third act thins any slasher thrills, it never lets up roasting the horror genre for decades of whitewashed normalities. Some jokes may be low-hanging fruits and references simplistic (your Screams and whatnot), but that doesn't stop The Blackening from being one of the funnier horror comedies of the year.

Huesera: The Bone Woman (Shudder)

ghost movies in english

I reviewed Huesera out of Tribeca in 2022 (now Huesera: The Bone Woman), but it didn’t hit Shudder until this year. While I wasn’t the highest review out there, it’s still a worthwhile international haunting story from an emerging filmmaker to watch, Michelle Garza Cervera. As I concluded, “Huesera unites unearthly evils with pregnancy paranoias and modern feminism in this tale about normalizing every woman’s choice to become a mother or not.” Cervera’s behind-the-camera voice is vital as the story’s womanly themes ring loudest, and lead actress Natalia Solián does a tremendous job playing “tormented, tired, soulfully lost.” It’s a solid flick about pregnancy fears and traditional Mexican beliefs, crawling under your skin when it counts.

Mother May I? (Tubi)

ghost movies in english

May I tempt you with a performance showcase for Kyle Gallner and Holland Roden? That's Mother May I?, a psychological thriller about the dangers of playing therapist, withholding grief, and hallucinogenic fungi. Writer and director Laurence Vannicelli weaponizes therapy-speak and role-playing as a couple becomes either the victim of intensely potent magic mushrooms or a freak possession. Gallnner's Emmett brings Roden's Anya (his partner) to his deceased mother's country estate, where Anya attempts to play psychiatrist by pretending to be Emmett's mother — but she never breaks character. We watch as Gallner's dazed and confused Emmett attempts to rationalize what the hell is going on, while Roden transforms from Anya into an entirely different character. It's an experimental fever dream that Vannicelli executes quite well, with much credit given to tremendous leading roles.

The Sacrifice Game (Shudder)

ghost movies in english

Jenn Wexler’s The Sacrifice Game is the horror version of The Holdovers. Her sophomore feature, co-written by Sean Redlitz, boasts shades of genre influences from The Blackcoat’s Daughter to The Babysitter, putting a serial killer spin on Christmastime horrors. An eclectic cast featuring Aladdin’s Mena Massoud, indie horror standout Chloë Levine, and former freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy find themselves trapped in a ritualistic plot stained by spilled blood over the holiday break. Take a spin back into the 70s thanks to period costumes and music choices, putting a very lost-in-time stamp on the evils within Blackvale School for Girls that accentuates the Satanic panic of the era. It’s grimly festive, the ensemble shines, and is one of the best original horror flicks Shudder put out this year.

Haunted Mansion (Disney+)

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I don’t care about dying on my “Haunted Mansion is good, actually” hill alone. Bury my body so I can join the 999 spirits sharing Rosario Dawson’s new residence. Writer Katie Dippold and director Justin Simien unite to conjure a stellar gateway horror attraction that might not be the spookiest, but does deal with some hefty themes about death and the afterlife. A cast including Dawson, Tiffany Haddish, Danny DeVito, Owen Wilson, and LaKeith Stanfield are allowed to be proper goofballs in a supernatural scenario, which works through Disney’s lens. As I already said in my review for IGN : “Haunted Mansion successfully balances emotional sweetness and just-frightening-enough spectral scares with a Disneyfication of genre tropes, becoming a fun-filled scary movie for (almost) the entire family.” Where are my other Haunted Mansion loyalists?

Night of the Hunted (Shudder)

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A man. A woman. A gas station. A hunting rifle. That’s all Night of the Hunted needs to keep you glued to your seat: a thriller about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. From the director of P2 and Maniac (Franck Khalfoun) comes a tense-as-hell survival thriller about a traveler who’s being held inside a gas station by a psycho whizzing bullets by her head. It’s unapologetically bleak, twisting the story into some ruthless directions as other drivers stop for gas or a phone allows for communication between protagonist and antagonist. Not many people talked about this one when it dropped around Halloween, so here’s hoping it gets discovered on Shudder now that we can breathe after end-of-year crunches.

Dark Harvest (MGM+)

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It’s a shame because Dark Harvest was initially slated for a big-screen release, but only saw limited Alamo Drafthouse theaters thanks to a two-year delay. David Slade’s adaptation of Norman Partridge’s harvest-horror novel is a treat for Halloween worshippers that deserved a much bigger rollout. Dark Harvest turns the clock back on an Anywhereville, USA locale that seems isolated from the rest of the country, introduces audiences to a yearly October tradition where boys fight for a chance to escape city limits, and releases a Jack-O-Lantern creature named Sawtooth Jack that kills any kiddies who can’t do the same unto him. Slade’s eye for graphic violence (like in 30 Days of Night) is alive and well despite the young leading characters, which makes for an R-rated gateway horror film for more mature fans. I’ll be revisiting this one in future spooky season binges.

Summoning Sylvia (Starz)

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Wesley Taylor and Alex Wyse create a delightfully queer indie horror comedy with Summoning Sylvia. Expect a brisk and sassy hoot of a haunted bachelor weekend thanks to, well, the summoning of this “Sylvia” character. It’s inarguably more comedy than horror in the genre equation, which isn’t a problem at a tight 75-ish minutes that’s bursting with cute spooky-witty lines. You’re here for the solid ensemble serving ghost story laughs and unsubtle commentary through a queer horror lens, both of which have plenty of momentum. Plus there’s a cappella Smash Mouth? What else can you ask for?

Shaky Shivers (Screambox)

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Did you know that beloved Fast & Furious actor Sung Kang directed an adorable, silly little horror comedy that hit streaming this year? Shaky Shivers feels like prime-era Goosebumps (minus scares), focusing more on sugary sweet messages about teenage friendships. Brooke Markham and VyVy Nguyen play lovable besties who work together at an ice cream shop, one of whom might be a werewolf. There also might be zombies, cult freaks, and undead sidekicks like out of An American Werewolf in London. Never in a million years would I peg Kang’s directorial debut as a low-budget creature feature best served as sleepover entertainment, but that’s the case. It’s nothing revolutionary, but charming enough as younger-geared horror entertainment.

Birth/Rebirth (Shudder)

ghost movies in english

It’s always exciting when new filmmakers find interesting ways to reinterpret iconic horror tales. Laura Moss’ Birth/Rebirth is a clever tweak on the story of Frankenstein, this one even more focused on Dr. Frankenstein versus his monster. Moss and co-writer Brendan J. O'Brien toy with grief-stricken themes as a single-mother nurse who’s just lost her daughter to illness meets a doctor playing God in her apartment. Marin Ireland delivers a top-notch performance as Rose, the Herbert West of this story given how she’s developing what’s pretty much the Re-Animator serum, with Judy Reyes as the sorrowful mother who will do anything to get her child back. It’s a character-driven take on classic horror ideas that could easily fit Larry Fessenden’s brand of indie films (very much a compliment), lurking in the shadows of New York City to bring the horrors of parenthood out to play.

Slotherhouse (Streaming on Hulu)

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Too many horror movies fail to meet their attention-grabbing titles (looking at you Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey ), but Slotherhouse is, against all odds, the real deal. Betcha weren’t expecting a sneakily hilarious sorority house slasher featuring a pissed-off Panamanian sloth that’s also incredibly pro-animal to sneak onto Hulu this year? Director Matthew Goodhue leans into the comedy of this claws-out horror comedy as “Alpha” the Sigma Lambda Theta (SLTH) mascot starts offing sorority sisters one by one. “There are shades of Fox’s Scream Queens or CW’s Riverdale … [but] Slotherhouse won’t be in contention for Best Horror Kill of the Year,” I wrote in my IGN review . Don’t expect Alpha to shred flesh like Cocaine Bear, but please give this out-of-its-mind take on animal attack flicks a shot. Do it for the sloths surfing social media, Sloth-fu, and sloths driving speedsters.

Candy Land (Tubi)

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No, this isn't a horror version of Hasbro's sugary-sweet children's game. Writer and director John Swab is nowhere near family entertainment with his gruesome sex worker thriller. A young cast explores the dangers of truck stop "lot lizard" employment, finding themselves in a slasher take on "saints vs. sinners" that wears its sleazy influences well and with pride. Swab does right to avoid stereotypical representations of sex workers and shows compassion towards the industry, the whole murderer subplot notwithstanding. There's more going on than titillation and teases in Candy Land, as the lot lizards fight for their lives against an evil that's stalking their place of business. Sprinkle in some Christian angst waged against the "disgusting" free-spirited souls, and you've got yourself a perfect storm of seductive-scary-sacrilegious unrest.

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The Most Anticipated Horror Movies of 2024

It’s a scary good lineup.

While not necessarily a bad year for horror, 2023 was a bit all over the place regarding the genre . There were some highly anticipated films that fell flat, like M3GAN , more sequels of popular franchises like Insidious: The Red Door and The Nun 2 , and of course, the one that so many had been waiting for: Five Nights at Freddy’s . So going into a new year, it’s hard to know what to expect from the genre, which is why we’ve compiled some of the most anticipated horror films of 2024, to get prepared for a new and exciting year in horror.

February 8th

Baghead follows a young woman who inherits a run-down pub and soon discovers a dark secret in the basement. It’s the titular Baghead, a shape-shifting creature who lets you speak to lost loved ones, but not without consequences. Starring Freya Allan and Jeremy Irvine , the film is also co-written by Bryce McGuire, who is the director and writer behind Blumhouse's Night Swim , 2024's first wide horror release ( and the year's first horror flop ).

2 Lisa Frankenstein

February 9th.

Described as a “coming of rage” story, Lisa Frankenstein stars Kathryn Newton , an unpopular high school student with an unconventional crush. Said crush happens to be a corpse (played by Cole Sprouse ) who is brought to life after a series of events. The pair then embark on a journey to find love… and commit a few murders along the way. Written by Diablo Cody , Lisa Frankenstein is the directorial debut of Zelda Williams (daughter of Robin Williams ) and is set to be released just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Lisa Frankenstein

A coming of RAGE love story about a teenager and her crush, who happens to be a corpse. After a set of horrific circumstances bring him back to life, the two embark on a journey to find love, happiness - and a few missing body parts.

3 Imaginary

DeWanda Wise leads the cast of Imaginary as Jessica, a woman who moves back into her childhood home. When her youngest daughter discovers a teddy bear named Chauncey in the basement, she develops a strong attachment to the toy that proves to be more and more concerning. Jessica soon discovers that her childhood teddy bear isn’t the cuddly toy she remembers him to be, and that he wants vengeance for being abandoned by her.

A woman returns to her childhood home to discover that the imaginary friend she left behind is very real and unhappy that she abandoned him.

4 Late Night with the Devil

Late Night with the Devil is a found footage-style film that portrays a fictional late-night talk show in the 1970s. The highly-anticipated horror had its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival and also screened at both the London and Sydney Film Festivals. The film follows one specific episode from a popular American talk show: Halloween night in 1977, where the host interviews a parapsychologist and a young girl who was the only survivor of a Satanic church’s mass suicide. Late Night with the Devil will star David Dastmalchian who is no stranger to the genre , having appeared in last year's The Boogeyman and The Last Voyage of the Demeter .

5 You’ll Never Find Me

When a thunderstorm erupts in an RV park, a man named Patrick ( Brendon Rock ) receives an unexpected visitor looking for refuge from the storm. But as the night goes on, a cat-and-mouse game ensues, and everything is not as it seems. You’ll Never Find Me is the directorial debut of Indianna Bell and Josiah Allen , and will be released on Shudder.

6 The First Omen

The First Omen serves as a prequel to the 1976 classic horror film The Omen , and follows a young woman who travels to Rome to begin a life of service to the church. While there, she uncovers a conspiracy that hopes to bring about the birth of evil incarnate. The prequel will star Nell Tiger Free , Bill Nighy , and Ralph Ineson , with a screenplay co-written by Keith Thomas whose horror credits include Vigil and 2022's Firestarter remake.

Infested follows residents of an apartment building who become victim to a venomous spider that spawns hundreds of offspring. Led by Théo Christine , who recently starred in 2023's Gran Turismo , Infested is bound to make you squirm when it releases on Shudder in April.

8 Horrorscope

Based on the novel by Nicholas Adams , Horrorscope takes astrology to a whole new level as it follows a group of college friends who get their horoscopes read. All seems well until they each begin dying in ways that are eerily similar to that of their fortunes. Horrorscope is directed by Spenser Cohen and Anna Halberg , and will star Spider-Man 's Jacob Batalon .

9 The Strangers: Chapter 1

The Strangers: Chapter 1 follows a woman and her boyfriend as they drive cross-country with the intention of starting a new life. They decide to stop for the night and stay in a secluded Airbnb, where they soon endure a night of unimaginable terror at the hands of three masked strangers . Starring Madelaine Petsch and Froy Gutierrez in the lead roles, The Strangers: Chapter 1 marks the first in a trilogy by director Renny Harlin and is based on the 2008 film The Strangers .

10 The Watchers

From Ishana Shyamalan (daughter of M. Night Shyamalan ) comes The Watchers , which follows a young woman who gets stranded in the woods. She encounters three strangers who are trapped as well, and they all soon become victims to mysterious creatures that stalk them every night. The film stars Dakota Fanning and Georgina Campbell — who recently made waves in the horror genre with her role in 2022's Barbarian — and is based on the novel by A.M. Shine .

11 A Quiet Place: Day One

The highly anticipated A Quiet Place: Day One is set to be released on June 28th. The plot is under wraps, but it is known that the film is a prequel to 2018’s A Quiet Place , and will tell of how the world fell victim to the hearing-sensitive monsters that now take up residence. John Krasinski is returning as a writer on the film, which will star Lupita Nyong’o , Joseph Quinn , and Alex Wolff .

A Quiet Place: Day One

Trap is M. Night Shyamalan ’s latest release after 2023's Knock at the Cabin . Not much is known about the plot except that it’s a psychological thriller set at a concert, and that it stars Josh Hartnett . But knowing Shyamalan's track record when it comes to his films, Trap is bound to have some twists in store.

The Most Anticipated Films of 2024

13 speak no evil.

Speak No Evil is a remake of the 2022 Danish movie of the same name . The film follows a family that is invited to spend a weekend at a country house, only for their idyllic vacation to descend into utter terror . The remake is directed by James Watkins , whose previous horror credits include Eden Lake and The Woman in Black and will be produced by Jason Blum under Blumhouse. Speak No Evil will star Mackenzie Davis and James McAvoy .

14 Beetlejuice 2

September 6th.

After years of will-they-won’t-they, Beetlejuice 2 is finally happening on September 6th. No plot details have been revealed, but Jenna Ortega will be joining the original cast as the daughter of Lydia Deetz ( Winona Ryder ). Michael Keaton is returning as the ghost with the most, and of course, Tim Burton is back in the director's seat. Winona Ryder and Catherine O’Hara are also confirmed to be returning as Lydia and Deelia Deetz, respectively. Also joining the cast is Monica Belucci , who will play Beetlejuice's wife, Justin Theroux , and Willem Dafoe .

Beetlejuice 2

This is a follow-up to the comedy Beetlejuice (1988), about a ghost who's recruited to help haunt a house.

September 27th

Marking the 11th installment in the Saw franchise, Sax XI will be released on September 27th. There are no plot details at the moment, but the film will likely pick up after the events of 2023’s Saw X and is sure to provide plenty of twisted gore for our viewing pleasure. It's also likely that Tobin Bell will once again be returning as John Kramer for the sequel. The same goes for Costas Mandylor who plays Hoffman and made a surprise appearance in Sax X 's end credits .

October 18th

After the success of Smile , a sequel was a no-brainer . No plot details have been revealed, but Parker Finn is returning to direct the sequel, and Naomi Scott has been announced as the lead. Finn did reveal that he intentionally left some ideas out of Smile that could be explored in a follow-up film.

17 Terrifier 3

October 25th.

Art the Clown is back on October 25th, with the release of Terrifier 3 . This time he’s unleashing murderous chaos upon the residents of Miles County on Christmas Eve. Once again written and directed by Damien Leone , the film will star Lauren LaVera , Chris Jericho , and will see the return of Samantha Scaffidi 's character Victoria, who first appeared in Terrifier 2 .

18 The Wolf Man

The 1941 classic The Wolf Man is getting an update on October 25th. Directed by Leigh Whannel , the film will star Christopher Abbott in the lead role. Ryan Gosling was originally attached to play the lead role, but departed and was replaced by Abbott. Ozark 's Julia Garner will star opposite Abbott . However, he remains on board as an executive producer. There are no plot details, but it is believed that the film will be set in the present day.

19 Nosferatu

December 25th.

Yet another classic that’s getting an update is Nosferatu on December 25th. The film tells the tale of a young woman, and a vampire who is infatuated with her. The film is written and directed by Robert Eggers , who is no stranger to the genre, having done acclaimed films such as The Witch and The Lighthouse . If that wasn't exciting enough there is also an all-star cast of Lily-Rose Depp , Aaron Taylor-Johnson , Willem Dafoe, Emma Corrin , Nicholas Hoult , and Bill Skarsgård as Count Orlok — just to name a few.

Nosferatu (2024)

A gothic tale of obsession between a haunted young woman and the terrifying vampire infatuated with her, causing untold horror in its wake.

20 I Saw the TV Glow

While a release has not been set for A24’s I Saw the TV Glow , we do have some plot details. The film follows two teenagers who bond over their love for a scary television show — until the show gets mysteriously canceled. Directed by Jane Schoenbrun who also did the 2021 horror film We're All Going to the World's Fair , the film will star Justice Smith and Brigette Lundy-Paine in the lead roles. The film is set to premiere at 2024's Sundance .


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    On New Year's Eve, the driver of a ghostly carriage forces a drunken man to reflect on his selfish, wasted life. Director: Victor Sjöström | Stars: Victor Sjöström, Hilda Borgström, Tore Svennberg, Astrid Holm. Votes: 13,821. 4. The Headless Horseman (1922) Not Rated | 75 min | Comedy, Drama, Horror.

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    An ominous darkness invades a seemingly serene sunflower farm in North Dakota, and the Solomon family is torn apart by suspicion, mayhem and murder. Directors: Danny Pang, Oxide Chun Pang | Stars: Dylan McDermott, Penelope Ann Miller, Kristen Stewart, John Corbett. Votes: 40,960 | Gross: $35.37M. 22.

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    50 titles. 1. The Changeling (1980) R | 107 min | Horror, Mystery. 7.2. Rate. 70 Metascore. After the death of his wife and daughter in a car crash, a music professor staying at a long-vacant Seattle mansion is dragged into a decades-old mystery by an inexplicable presence in the mansion's attic.

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