30 Criminally Underrated Horror Movies That'll Scare Your Socks Off
So you’ve already seen all the classic scary movies, from The Exorcist to Nightmare on Elm Street. You’ve also been staying on top of more recent box office hits like The Invisible Man and A Quiet Place. Surely this means you’re all caught up on the best horror flicks, right?
Well, think again, because it turns out there are several hidden gems that offer no shortage of jump scares and nail-biting suspense. Here, 30 underrated horror movies you can stream on Hulu, Amazon Prime and Netflix.
1. ‘The Invitation’ (2015)
When Will (Logan Marshall-Green) receives an invitation from his ex-wife, Eden (Tammy Blanchard), for a dinner party with her new husband, he decides to attend with his girlfriend, Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi). When he gets there, however, he’s haunted by the dark memories of their old home and, suddenly, he suspects that Eden didn’t just invite him for a friendly gathering. Makes you want to think twice before meeting up with an ex...
2. ‘Session 9’ (2001)
This movie follows an asbestos abatement crew as they work at an abandoned psychiatric hospital. However, it isn’t long before they discover that something evil is lurking within the mysterious facility.
3. ‘The Blackcoat's Daughter’ (2015)
Kat (Kiernan Shipka) and Rose (Lucy Boynton), two students at a Catholic boarding school, get left behind during winter break when their parents fail to pick them up. When the two girls are alone, they discover that there’s a sinister force in their midst. Emma Roberts, Lauren Holly and James Remar also star.
4. ‘The Faculty’ (2018)
Aside from the fact that Kevin Williamson (best known for Scream) wrote the screenplay and that there are so many recognizable names in the cast (from Elijah Wood and Jon Stewart to Usher Raymond), The Faculty is actually quite terrifying. When the faculty at Harrington High get controlled by alien parasites, a group of students come together to try and defeat the invaders.
5. ‘The Wailing’ (2016)
Although this chilling South Korean horror film was a box office success, it didn’t exactly reach mainstream status. Still, the plot is nightmare-worthy. In the film, we follow a policeman named Jong-goo (Kwak Do-won), who investigates a number of killings after a dangerous infection breaks out in a small village in South Korea. As it turns out, the illness causes people to murder their own families...and Jong-goo’s daughter has been infected.
6. ‘Ganja & Hess’ (1973)
Duane Jones stars as Dr. Hess Green (Duane Jones), a wealthy anthropologist who decides to research an African nation of blood drinkers. But when he gets stabbed with an ancient dagger, he transforms into an immortal vampire, unbeknownst to his new love interest, Ganja Meda (Marlene Clark).
7. ‘Ju-On: The Grudge’ (2004)
Although this film is actually the third installment in the Ju-On series, it was the first theatrical release. In this Japanese horror flick, we follow a caretaker named Rika Nishina (Megumi Okina), who's assigned to work with an elderly woman named Sachie (Chikako Isomura). Then, she discovers that there’s a curse associated with Sachie’s home, where every person who enters it gets killed by a vengeful spirit.
8. ‘Tourist Trap’ (1979)
Up for a good slasher horror that’ll change how you look at mannequin models? Look no further. In Tourist Trap, a group of teenagers find themselves trapped in a creepy museum that's run by a disturbed owner and, worse yet, filled with an army of killer mannequins.
9. ‘Afflicted’ (2013)
Childhood BFFs Clif (Clif Prowse) and Derek (Derek Lee) set out to embark on a fun adventure as they travel around Europe. But things quickly go south when one of them gets struck by a mysterious illness that threatens to consume him completely. Trust us when we say this found-footage film will totally freak you out.
10. ‘Train to Busan’ (2016)
Think zombie apocalypse, except in this case, everyone’s stuck on a speeding train where several passengers are turning into killer zombies. Set in South Korea, businessman Seo Seok-woo (Gong Yoo) fights to protect himself and his daughter, Su-an (Kim Su-an), from this terrifying zombie outbreak.
11. ‘The Girl on the Third Floor’ (2019)
Don Koch (Phil "CM Punk" Brooks), a former criminal, is ready to start fresh with his pregnant wife, Liz (Trieste Kelly Dunn). He buys a new home in the suburbs and things appear to be looking up, but soon after he moves in, he learns about the house’s dark history and experiences a series of strange events in the new home.
12. ‘Lake Mungo’ (2008)
After 16-year-old Alice Palmer drowns while swimming, the family begins to suspect that their home is being haunted by her ghost. They consult a parapsychologist, who eventually reveals a big secret about Alice that leads them to Lake Mungo. The mockumentary-style film is not only scary enough to induce nightmares, but it also does a great job of addressing bigger themes like family and loss.
13. ‘Goodnight Mommy’ (2015)
In this terrifying Austrian horror, twin brothers Elias (Elias Schwarz) and Lukas (Lukas Schwarz) do their best to welcome their mother home after she returns from having facial surgery. As a result of the procedure, her head is completely wrapped in bandages, and when she starts to exhibit strange behavior, the boys suspect that it may not be their real mother.
14. ‘From Beyond’ (1986)
Dr. Pretorius (Ted Sorel) and his assistant, Dr. Crawford Tillinghast (Jeffrey Combs), invent a device called the Resonator, which allows people access to a parallel universe. Then, Dr. Pretorius is kidnapped by the horrid creatures who live in that dimension, and when he returns, he’s not quite himself.
15. ‘Body at Brighton Rock’ (2019)
Wendy (Karina Fontes), a newbie park ranger, decides to take on a challenging assignment so she can impress her peers. Unfortunately for her, she gets lost in the woods and she comes across what appears to be a crime scene. Left with no radio to communicate with anyone, Wendy is forced to confront her fears alone.
16. ‘Wounds’ (2019)
Based on Nathan Ballingrud's book, The Visible Filth, Wounds centers on Will, a bartender who picks up a phone that a customer left behind at his bar. Once he starts inspecting the phone, however, a series of bizarre and disturbing events begin to happen. (FYI, if you’re easily creeped out by cockroaches, then you might want to avoid this one.)
17. ‘Possessor’ (2020)
In this trippy sci-fi horror, Tasya Vos (Andrea Riseborough) is an elite assassin who takes control of other people’s bodies in order to execute her kills. After each hit, she returns to her own body and convinces her hosts to commit suicide, but things don’t run quite as smoothly when she takes on her new assignment, which is to kill a wealthy CEO and his daughter.
18. ‘Creep’ (2014)
The psychological horror follows Aaron (Patrick Brice), a struggling videographer who agrees to do an assignment for Josef (Mark Duplass), a new client who lives in a remote cabin. It turns out he wants to make a video diary for his unborn child, but when Aaron gets to work, Josef's odd behavior and unsettling requests suggest that there's more to him than meets the eye. It’s not your typical found footage flick, considering its comedic moments, but it’ll totally make you cringe.
19. ‘Black Box’ (2020)
After losing his wife in a devastating car accident, Nolan Wright (Mamoudou Athie) is left with amnesia and he struggles to care for his daughter. Feeling desperate, he turns to Dr. Brooks (Phylicia Rashad), a neurologist who promises to help him get his memories back through an experimental procedure. But after he begins the process, he unearths quite a few dark secrets from his past. This film will keep you guessing until the end.
20. ‘Midsommar’ (2014)
Don’t be fooled by summertime scenery and flower crowns. This movie is guaranteed to take you on a roller coaster of emotions, from rage to disgust to horror. Midsommar follows Dani Ardor (Florence Pugh) and Christian Hughes (Jack Reynor), a troubled couple who decide to join their friends for a special festival in Sweden. The retreat, however, turns into a nightmare when they find themselves trapped by a dangerous pagan cult.
21. ‘Hellions’ (2015)
After Dora (Chloe Rose) learns that she is four months pregnant, she lays low on Halloween and patiently awaits the arrival of her boyfriend, Jace (Luke Bilyk). But Jace never shows up, and instead, Dora is visited by a terrifying group of little demons who insist on getting her unborn child.
22. ‘Daughters of Darkness’ (1971)
The Belgian horror film centers on a pair of newlyweds who honeymoon at a seafront hotel. After they settle in, a mysterious countess named Elizabeth Báthory (Delphine Seyrig) arrives, and the owner instantly notices that she hasn't aged since her last visit over 40 years ago. When Elizabeth learns that the newlyweds have occupied her desired room, she immediately becomes obsessed with the couple.
23. ‘The Crazies’ (2010)
If you’re especially fond of the 1973 classic, you’ll be equally entertained by this remake. In the film, the innocent town of Ogden Marsh, Iowa, turns into a literal nightmare when a biological agent starts to infect people, turning them into vicious killers. Four residents fight to keep themselves safe as threats continue to rise within the town.
24. ‘Tetsuo the Bullet Man’ (2017)
When Anthony (Eric Bossick) loses his son in a fatal car accident, he suddenly begins to transform into metal, turning him into a killer machine who’s out for revenge.
25. ‘Southbound’ (2016)
Southbound is definitely not for the faint of heart. In this anthology film, we follow five separate stories, centered on travelers who are forced to confront their darkest fears.
26. ‘The Alchemist Cookbook’ (2016)
Sean (Ty Hickson) is a loner who resides in a tiny shack in the middle of the woods. He spends his time experimenting with chemistry recipes, which seems harmless at first. However, his chemistry habit leads to disaster when he unknowingly summons a demon.
27. ‘Emelie’ (2016)
In Emilie, which ought to be nick-named “every parent’s worst nightmare,” a girl named Emilie (Sarah Bolger) and a grown man kidnap a young babysitter named Anna (Randi Langdon). Emilie proceeds to assume Anna’s identity and babysits the kids instead...except she morphs into the nanny from hell.
28. ‘The People Under the Stairs’ (1991)
Set in Los Angeles, this film follows a young boy named Poindexter "Fool" Williams (Brandon Adams), who joins two robbers and breaks into the creepy house of his parents’ landlords. Little does he know that the landlords are deranged psychopaths who kidnap and mutilate young boys. Not too many people know of this horror comedy, but several critics have praised it for addressing topics like gentrification and capitalism.
29. ‘The Platform’ (2019)
The Spanish sci-fi-horror takes place in a tower-style prison, where everyone is fed by floor. Those who reside on the upper floors tend to eat heartily while lower-level inmates are left to starve, but they can only put up with the system for so long.
30. ‘Overlord’ (2018)
On the eve of D-Day, American paratroopers are sent on a mission to destroy a radio transmitter from behind enemy lines. However, these soldiers are in for quite the surprise when they discover an underground lab, forcing them to go up against an army of zombies.