Must Watch Horror Thriller Movies


Every Halloween, millions of horror movie lovers worldwide go on a quest for the most thrilling and intense films to watch. Whether it’s a psychological thriller, supernatural horror or a slasher, horror films are constantly changing, evolving, and pushing boundaries. If you love horror, these seven films should be added to your must-watch list.

The Shining

Stephen King’s 1977 classic The Shining is constantly topping “best horror films ever” lists. Directed by the iconic Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson, The Shining follows the story of a family of three who move into the haunted Overlook Hotel. The Shining is an excellently crafted psychological thriller that expertly uses sound and visuals to build tension and engage the viewer in a way that has rarely been equaled since.

The Conjuring

The Conjuring, released in 2013, is a supernatual horror film with plenty of jumps and scares. Taking from the wealth of material available from the paranormal investigations of Ed and Lorraine Warren, The Conjuring tells the story of a family living in a haunted farmhouse. Their harrowing experience with a demonic entity is certainly one of the scariest films of the decade, plus offers plenty of suspense and horror.

The Exorcist

The Exorcist was released in 1973 and is widely considered to be the greatest horror movie ever made. The film follows the horrifying tale of a twelve-year-old girl who is possessed by a demon. The Exorcist transports the viewer right into the depths of evil and provides a suspenseful and intense experience. The realism of the performances and the sheer amount of dread make The Exorcist a must-watch movie for all horror movie fans.


Hereditary is a 2018 supernatural horror drama directed by Ari Aster. Hereditary follows a small family grieving the loss of a grandmother, only to discover that a dark, ancient force is preying upon them. Aster’s clear understanding of horror films results in an intense and memorable experience. Hereditary is a masterfully crafted horror film that will shock and awe many horror-lovers, and will stick with them for years to come.

Psychological Horror Thrillers

Horror films are not just about jump scares and typical monster horror. Psychological horror thrillers are designed to mess with your mind and enhance the feeling of dread. Such films as Get Out, The Silence of the Lambs, and Midsommar all make for incredibly suspenseful and thrilling experiences.

Nightmare on Elm Street

The Nightmare on Elm Street franchise is a classic series of horror films that began in 1984. Freddy Krueger is one of the most recognizable horror film characters of all time. Nightmare on Elm Street movies are best known for their campy nature and unique visuals. The original is still one of the most highly regarded horror films of all time and a must watch for any horror movie fan.


John Carpenter’s classic slasher Halloween is essential viewing for any horror fan. Made on a shoestring budget, Halloween tells the story of a timid babysitter named Laurie Strode and the evil murderer Michael Myers. The success of Halloween was so widespread that it spawned many sequels and countless imitators. Halloween is an iconic horror movie and a must watch for anyone into slashers and classic horror.

Gore and Blood

For some people, horror means gut-wrenching gore and rivers of blood. While such films may not be for everyone, gore enthusiasts should watch films such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Saw, and Hostel. These films are designed to shock and disturb viewers in ways rarely seen before or since.

Foreign Language Horror

The horror genre has produced some incredible motion pictures from around the world. South Korean films such as The Host, Train to Busan and I Saw the Devil are excellent examples of foreign horror films. Let the Right One In from Sweden is a vampire classic and Audition from Japan is an uncomfortable ride that horror fans should not miss.

Independent Horror

Not all horror films come from studios with millions of dollars in budgets. Recent years have seen a huge number of excellent independent horror films made with modest budgets. Such films as You’re Next, The Babadook, and Don’t Breathe are thrilling, suspenseful, and unique horror experiences that should not be missed.


The horror genre is incredibly diverse, full of subgenres like creature feature, zombie, survival, slasher, and more. These films all have something unique to offer and audiences should seek out films that interest them the most. Creature features like Anaconda, Jaws, and Leviathan will provide plenty of thrills and entertainment, while zombie films like Dawn of the Dead will satisfy those looking for more of an apocalyptic thrill ride.

Creative Storytelling

Story-driven horror films continue to be popular, and the recent success of films like Mama and It Follows are evidence of that. These types of horror films focus on creative storytelling and character development, providing an experience unlike what slasher fans are used to. A Quiet Place and The Witch are also excellent examples of creative storytelling in horror films.

Anthology Films

Anthology films are collections of horror stories all tied to a particular theme. Horror anthologies like Trick ‘r Treat, V/H/S, and Creepshow all display various types of horror stories that may or may not be tied together. These films are a great way to experience many horror stories at once, making them a must-watch for all horror movie fans.

Gothic Horror

Gothic horror is a unique subgenre of horror focussed on romance, mystery, and suspense. The Woman in Black and Haunted Mansion are both excellent examples of this type of horror film, and will stick with audiences long after the credits roll.

Found Footage

The rise of found footage horror films has been great for the genre, as it has offered viewers something distinct and often terrifying. Films such as the Paranormal Activity series, The Blair Witch Project, and The Gallows have all left audiences shaken and disturbed by their found footage shenanigans.

Survival Horror

Survival horror is a genre where the protagonist is trying to survive whatever situation they’ve been put in. Films like Alien, A Quiet Place, and The Descent are all excellent examples of survival horror, as they all feature protagonists trying to make it out of an incredibly hostile situation.

Possession Horror

Possession horror tends to center around a person being possessed by a demonic entity. Of course, The Exorcist is the ultimate example of this type of horror film, while movies like The Devil’s Advocate and Drag Me to Hell also feature demonic possessions.

Supernatural Horror

Supernatural horror is a popular subgenre that focuses on spirits, ghosts, and other supernatural entities. Films such as Insidious, Poltergeist, and The Ring have all terrified millions of viewers, and will continue to haunt them for years to come.
All in all, horror movies come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s up to viewers to decide which types of horror they’d like to explore. From psychological thrillers to supernatural and slasher horror, these must watch horror movies should make any film lover’s list.

Vicki Strouth is a life-long film enthusiast, having grown up watching classic cinema in her childhood. She has since gone on to pursue writing about films and movie news, with her work being published on various online platforms. She is passionate about supporting independent filmmakers and highlighting important stories from around the world. She has also written a successful book about classic movies from Hollywood's Golden Age era. Vicki currently lives in Seattle, where she continues to explore films of all genres and eras.

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