Horror has been a staple of the film industry for decades and it doesn’t look like it is going away any time soon. Thrills and chills remain a mainstay for fans of the genre and there have been some truly memorable entries over the years. While some are opinion-based, many seasoned movie critics have a knack for selecting the truly unsettling chillers, here are the top 10 spookiest horror movies ever according to their critic consensus.
- The Shining
This classic horror movie directed by Stanley Kubrick is considered one of the best horror films ever made. Jack Nicholson stars as Jack Torrance, a failed writer and recovering alcoholic who takes a job as the winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel. Under the influence of mysterious supernatural powers, Jack spirals into madness while his son Danny discovers the terrifying secrets located in the hotel.
Ridley Scott’s 1979 classic is full of suspenseful tension, creepy atmosphere and suspenseful moments. This science-fiction horror follows the crew of a spaceship whose accident forces them to explore a mysterious moon full of unknown creatures. When one of their own gets infected with an alien organism, their mission becomes a fight for survival as they try to make it off the moon alive.
- The Exorcist
William Friedkin’s classic 1973 movie is considered one of the greatest horror films of all time. An 11-year-old girl, Regan, is possessed by a powerful demonic presence and it’s up to two priests to try to save her. With its horrific imagery, intense soundtrack and chilling atmosphere, The Exorcist will leave you terrorized long after the credits roll.
- The Thing
Another classic from the genre, The Thing is a 1982 science-fiction horror movie by John Carpenter. It follows a team of researchers who are sent to a research station in the Antarctic to investigate an alien life-form. As the creature begins to spread its infection and the paranoia kicks in, the researchers must battle the elements as well as themselves in order to survive.
- The Babadook
The Babadook is a 2014 psychological horror movie about a single mother and her son who are terrorized by a mysterious presence. As the presence becomes increasingly menacing, the mother must confront her own personal demons in order to save her son from the darkness that is stalking their home. As with most movies of its kind, the psychological terror will stay with you long after the credits role.
- The Conjuring
A 2013 horror movie directed by James Wan, The Conjuring follows the story of two paranormal investigators who are called to a farmhouse in Rhode Island to help a family plagued by a supernatural force. As they begin the investigation, they uncover a much more insidious presence and must battle a powerfully evil entity in order to save the family.
- The Descent
Released in 2005 and directed by Neil Marshall, this claustrophobic horror movie follows a group of female friends as they venture into a dark system of caves. As they journey deeper and deeper inside, it quickly becomes clear that they are not alone and that their trip has become a fight for survival against mysterious monsters lurking in the depths.
- Rosemary’s Baby
This 1968 classic by Roman Polanski tells the story of a pregnant woman whose newfound friends and neighbors have sinister plans for her unborn child. With its slow burning dread and eerie atmosphere, Rosemary’s Baby will leave a chill in the air and has set the standard for psychological horror movies since its release.
Hereditary is a 2018 horror movie written and directed by Ari Aster. After the death of her estranged mother, a woman and her family uncover the sinister secrets of their family lineage. As they uncover more and more information, they are faced with a powerful and terrifying presence that threatens to consume them all.
- Drag Me To Hell
Directed by horror master Sam Raimi, Drag Me To Hell is a 2009 horror-comedy that follows a woman who is cursed by an old gypsy woman and is dragged to Hell by a demonic force. This tense and sharply written movie will provide enough scares to keep you awake at night and the dark comedy elements add to the twisted fun.
Horror has been an essential part of the movie industry for decades and has provided scares for generations of viewers. Many of these classic horror movies have earned their place among the greatest ever and will undoubtedly live on for years to come. The movies on this list have been lauded by critics from around the world, so take a look and enjoy some of the scariest horror movies ever made.