The Most Frightening Horror Movies Of All Time, According To IMDb
Get ready to dive into the chilling world of cinema as we take a wild ride through the scariest movies of all time, according to the ultimate movie oracle: IMDb. These aren't just your run-of-the-mill horror flicks – we're talking about the kind of films that make you question turning off the lights at night. From hair-raising suspense to jump-out-of-your-seat visuals, these movies have earned their stripes as the stuff of nightmares.
Grab your popcorn and a security blanket because we're about to uncover the spookiest films that have ever graced the big screen.
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre follows a group of young friends who encounter a family of cannibalistic and deranged killers while on a road trip through rural Texas. Its combination of realistic presentation, gruesome imagery, and psychological horror are what make the film so unsettling.
It's a landmark film in the horror genre and continues to be analyzed for its contribution to cinematic terror.
The Shining (1980)
The Shining, a film directed by Stanley Kubrick and adapted from Stephen King's novel, is widely regarded as a cinematic masterpiece. Jack Nicholson delivers a captivating performance as a caretaker at a remote and haunted hotel during the harsh winter. As his mental stability deteriorates, his family becomes trapped in a terrifying ordeal.
The movie is acclaimed for its unforgettable scenes, unsettling atmosphere, and eerie sense of impending doom.
The highly unsettling horror film Hereditary, directed by Ari Aster, delves into a family's disturbing and hidden secrets. Toni Collette portrays a woman who uncovers a horrifying ancestral link as her family endures a series of bizarre and dreadful events.
Alongside captivating performances, the movie explores themes of loss, trauma, and the supernatural, accompanied by chilling visuals.
Suspiria is a supernatural horror film directed by Luca Guadagnino, and is a remake of Dario Argento's 1977 film of the same name. The plot revolves around Susie Bannion, an American ballet dancer who joins a prestigious dance academy in Berlin and discovers that there are sinister forces at play within the school.
The film builds tension gradually and creates a sense of unease through its pacing, cinematography, and the slow unveiling of the mysteries surrounding the academy.
Steven Spielberg's timeless horror-thriller, Jaws, is a must-know in the genre. It stars Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider, and Robert Shaw. A police chief, a marine expert, and a shark hunter join forces to take down a massive, menacing, great white shark that's causing chaos in the waters around the made-up Amity Island.
Jaws set the gold standard for creature-based horror movies and still manages to give the audience chills about the vast ocean with its gripping story and iconic scenes.
Saw, a groundbreaking horror film directed by James Wan, introduced a new genre to audiences. The movie features Cary Elwes, Leigh Whannell, and Danny Glover as its main actors. The story revolves around two individuals who wake up in a small, confined bathroom, each trapped on opposite sides. In order to escape, they must collaborate to solve a series of puzzling challenges set by Jigsaw, a sadistic serial killer.
Saw not only ushered in a fresh era of psychological horror but also paved the way for a successful franchise.
The Exorcist (1973)
William Friedkin directed the supernatural horror film The Exorcist, which features Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, and Max von Sydow. The story revolves around a young girl possessed by a demon, leading her distressed mother to seek the assistance of two priests for an exorcism.
The Exorcist is widely recognized as one of the most terrifying and influential horror movies of all time, thanks to its impactful performances and unsettling scenes.
28 Days Later (2002)
28 Days Later, directed by Danny Boyle, takes place in a post-apocalyptic world. The protagonist awakens from a coma to find a deserted London overrun by enraged individuals. He teams up with other survivors in their quest to escape the city and evade the infected masses.
Known for its gripping narrative and fast-paced sequences, 28 Days Later depicts the struggle for survival and the collapse of society.
Ridley Scott's Alien is a renowned science fiction horror film that has become a classic. Sigourney Weaver portrays Ellen Ripley, a crew member of a commercial space tug who becomes entangled in a perilous encounter with a terrifying extraterrestrial species.
This movie revolutionized the horror and sci-fi genres through its gripping atmosphere, innovative creature concept, and the empowering presence of a strong female protagonist.
Ari Aster's Midsommar is a chilling film that falls under the genre of folk horror. The protagonist, portrayed by Florence Pugh, embarks on a journey to a remote Swedish village alongside her boyfriend and their friends to partake in a midsummer celebration. However, their innocent intentions are disrupted when they become entangled in a horrifying pagan ritual.
Midsommar makes the audience incredibly uneasy through its unsettling atmosphere and disturbing visuals, leaving a lasting impact long after the movie ends.
The Witch (2015)
The Witch, a historical horror film directed by Robert Eggers, takes place in 1630s New England. It tells the story of a Puritan family who encounters a series of eerie supernatural occurrences that ultimately expose them to a malevolent force.
Through its authentic historical backdrop, tense atmosphere, and disturbing visuals, The Witch effectively explores religious unease and folklore, leaving viewers terrified.
The Evil Dead (1981)
The Evil Dead, a cult classic horror film directed by Sam Raimi, is known for its low-budget origins, inventive camera work, and its influence on the horror genre. The plot follows a group of five friends who venture into a remote cabin in the woods for a getaway, when they discover an ancient book that brings people back from the dead when it's read aloud.
The film is celebrated for its practical effects, including gruesome makeup, gory prosthetics, and over-the-top violence.
Pearl is one of three horror movies surrounding the legacy of its titular character, including X and MaXXXine that chronicles the twisted relationship that many people have with fame and how far they'll go to get it.
Mia Goth launched her career to new heights for her nuanced and sympathetic portrayal of Pearl as she tries to find success as an actress, no matter the dramatic cost.
The macabre is explored in the recent horror film, Barbarian. A young woman discovers that the rental home she booked has already been occupied, and decides to spend the night there anyway, which turns out to be a terrifying mistake.
Through a skillful blend of psychological horror and suspense, the movie offers a chilling experience that exposes the darkest aspects of humanity.
The Descent (2005)
The Descent, directed by Neil Marshall, has become a beloved film within the horror genre. It follows a group of friends who venture into an unexplored cave system, only to face a horrifying threat lurking underground. This spine-chilling movie delves into themes of terror, survival, and the mysteries of the unknown.
With its intense suspense, terrifying creature sequences, and a cast led by strong female characters, The Descent keeps audiences on the edge of their seats.
Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho is a renowned psychological horror film that revolutionized the genre. Anthony Perkins skillfully portrays the enigmatic Norman Bates, the proprietor of the eerie Bates Motel. A sequence of unfortunate events transpires when a secretary, played by Janet Leigh, arrives and inadvertently uncovers Bates' unsettling truths.
Psycho is still highly regarded for its ability to create suspense and deliver unexpected plot twists.
Get Out (2017)
Get Out, directed by Jordan Peele, is a ground-breaking social thriller that skillfully blends terror and insightful social satire. It follows the story of a young Black man, portrayed by Daniel Kaluuya, who visits his white girlfriend's family home and uncovers a disturbing and unsettling plot.
Through its thought-provoking narrative and dramatic storytelling, the film delves into the dark aspects of modern society and tackles racial tensions head-on.
David Fincher directed the psychological crime thriller Se7en, featuring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman as detectives investigating a series of horrifying murders. The seven deadly sins drive the killings, and as the detectives delve deeper into the case, they encounter a methodical and cruel serial killer.
Se7en captivates viewers with its chilling and suspenseful ambiance, keeping them on the edge of their seats.
The Babadook (2014)
The Babadook is a psychological horror film directed by Jennifer Kent, which tells the story of a recently widowed single mother whose son discovers a sinister presence in their home.
What makes The Babadook stand out is its focus on psychological horror and the exploration of themes like grief, trauma, and the darker aspects of the human psyche.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Jonathan Demme's The Silence of the Lambs is a psychological horror-thriller film based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Harris. Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a student at the FBI training academy is who assigned to interview psychologist and cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lector in order to gain insight on another violent serial killer.
The film's memorable performances and exploration of the human psyche have solidified its place in cinematic history.