Horror Selections for Everyone (Yes, Everyone)


Even if you aren?t a fan of the traditional slasher or ghost story ? or scary movies, period ? you can still enjoy the genre.

Horror movies tend to get a bad rap. Many are over-the-top in their violence, obscene in their gore and notoriously unkind to female characters. So when fellow pop culture vultures clam up at the mention of a fright flick, it?s tough to blame them.

But horror is experiencing a renaissance, thanks to recent subversive scares like Get Out, A Quiet Place and Hereditary. So a film fan who declares they ?don?t like scary movies? is at risk of shutting out one of cinema?s most artful, experimental and thought-provoking genres. While fear is subjective, not all horror is created equal. Even if you aren?t familiar with the slasher ways of Leatherface or Jason Voorhees or prefer to avoid torture spectacles like Saw there?s still plenty to delve into.

Below, a list of clever, plot-driven and some, flat-out gorgeous, horror selections from least to most frightening ? that are worth your while. We?ll also tell you how many lights to keep on after you watch.

Mia Goth stars in A Cure for Wellness.

A Cure for Wellness (2017)

Directed by: Gore Verbinski

What it?s about: A young executive is sent by his colleagues to retrieve the company?s CEO from an eccentric ?wellness center? isolated in the Swiss Alps.

Watch if: You?re in the mood for a strikingly beautiful psychological thriller. Verbinski, responsible for 2003?s The Ring, revisits what made his seminal film so darn petrifying: the victim as the unreliable narrator.

Number of lights to keep on: ??

The film?s tagline? ?Even nice people can go to hell.?

Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Directed by: Sam Raimi

What it?s about: After denying an elderly woman a bank loan, a young woman finds herself suffering from satanic hallucinations.

Watch if: You?re up for a modern cult classic. Raimi, who?s directed everything from The Evil Dead to Spider-Man, delivers a one-of-a-kind treasure that mixes themes of possession, doomed love, and laugh-out-loud comedy.

Number of lights to keep on: ??

Megan Fox in Jennfer?s Body.

Jennifer?s Body (2009)

Directed by: Karyn Kusama

What it?s about: When a popular high school cheerleader becomes possessed by a man-eating demon, her best friend has to figure out how to protect their small town.

Watch if: You?re looking for a smart, sexy, perfectly casted farce. Written by Diablo Cody (Juno, Young Adult) and directed by the criminally underrated Kusama (The Invitation), Jennifer?s Body is more high school satire than horror, with late-aughts nostalgia mixed with a sprinkle of gore.

Number of lights to keep on: ??

Amanda Peet and John Cusack are unwelcome motel guests in Identity.

Identity (2003)

Directed by: James Mangold

What it?s about: A group of strangers, who share the same birthday, find themselves confined to a remote motel, where they meet their fates ? one sinister act at a time.

Watch if: You prefer suspense over flat-out scary. Oscar-nominated Mangold (Logan, Walk the Line) keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat by constantly shifting the film?s POV from character to character, including the evil perpetrator.

Number of lights to keep on: ???

Keep your flashlight close by for this one.

The Descent

Directed by: Neil Marshall

What it?s about: After her husband dies in an accident, a woman embarks on a caving expedition that quickly becomes a nightmarish fight for survival against mutant-like crawlers.

Watch if: You?re looking for a realistic, top-notch scare. Director Marshall (whose TV credits include Game of Thrones and Westworld) makes his audience feel as the characters do: petrified, claustrophobic ? and anxious around dark corners.

Number of lights to keep on: ???

?Have no fear, little one...?

The Omen (1976)

Directed by: Richard Donner

What it?s about: After a string of mysterious deaths, a U.S. ambassador and his wife wonder if they might be raising the Devil?s son.

Watch if: You want to experience a classic that still holds up. The Omen?s near-flawless plot and thought-provoking scares address themes of wealth, political power and religious hypocrisy in ways that still feel relevant. The film also features timeless performances from Gregory Peck and the unnervingly eerie Harvey Stephens (aka evil ?Damien?).

Number of light to keep on: ???

You?ll float too.

IT (2017)

Directed by: Andy Muschietti

What it?s about: An evil clown terrorizes the small town of Derry, Maine and picks off its children one-by-one.

Watch if: You?re looking for a bone-shaking, scream-a-minute fright fest. Muschietti captures the essence of Pennywise the clown ? your deepest, darkest, festering fears ? and gives Stephen King?s iconic story the appropriate gloss and duration it deserves.

Number of lights to keep on: ?????

Olivia Armstrong has irked many an internet surfer via Decider, Tribeca Film, HuffPo and Jezebel. The movie she first remembers watching is The Swan Princess. The second is The Shining.