Horror Movie Recommendations for People (Sara) That Are Worried About Watching Horror
The horror genre is one that isn't so easily loved by the general public. Whether you don't watch it because of gore, triggering content, or hate jump scares, I've got a decent list of great movies that you might enjoy! I've also separated everything into categories so you can more easily cater to your Halloween mood. You might have seen some of these, and if so, great! Let me know what you thought so I can further customize next year! I did not include common classics, like Hitchcock, the Halloween franchise, etc. I fully endorse watching those, but more focused on newer stuff with this list. For trigger specific spoilers, visit doesthedogdie.com Note: if the movie is not in English, I watch them with subs, not dubs. Half the time I watch English with subs, so there you go. The availability information is up-to-date as of August 2022. Anything that doesn't have a streaming offer can usually be rented on Amazon.
Us (2019): This is the softest modern slasher-ish movie I could think of. Very minimal gore. Very creepy. You're invested in the characters, and the ending/lore is wild. There's a lot of nostalgic world-building. There are a couple jump scares, but not too much (or loud) because it depends heavily on atmosphere. Not currently streaming, 2h1m.
It Follows (2014): My friend calls this movie (Sh)It Follows because he hates it with so much passion, and while I appreciate and love that passion, this is a good movie for those wanting a creepy vibe without too much scary. I don't know if this really counts as a slasher but I don't know where else to put it. It's supernatural, heavily dependent on old school, suburban slasher movie aesthetic. It's weird and creepy, and the premise is... odd. I'm not even sure what the point of the premise is. It's a fun movie to watch with others, but there is a fucked up/uncomfortable scene where you'll mutter "what the fuck why" - other than that it's worth a watch. Don't believe the posts saying it's the scariest movie ever made. No fucking way. Netflix 1h40m.
Action-y (not very scary)
Train to Busan (2016): Zombie outbreak on a train. Heartfelt. Fun action. I should be saying more, but I just highly recommend it and you'll like it. Stars the hottie that slaps people in Squid Game. Streaming so many places, 1h58m.
The Host (2006): Monster flick. Mostly a family drama. At this point I can already mention that there should be a sub genre of Korean films about deadbeat dads looking for a redemption arch. Streaming multiple places/Hulu 1h59m.
Very Scary (maybe watch with a buddy?)
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003): Hands down, one of my favorite movies of all time. On the sad spectrum, and mostly a family drama. Such a great "ghost" story. I've seen this movie at least four times and it just gets better every time. Amazon maybe? 1h55m.
Under the Shadow (2016): I'm convinced the year 2016 was just a great year for horror. This Persian-language movie set in Tehran is similar to The Babadook, but I would argue without the weirdness. Similar to the deadbeat dad horror, I feel like there is a growing sub genre of "is mom abusive or is it demons" (this movie bucks that though). I find it all the more interesting people label these as "study in grief" movies. I first watched this by myself because I didn't think it would be scary and I had to sleep with the light on. Netflix, 1h24m.
The Ritual (2017): It's great because it's a group of men being terrorized (I'M KIDDING maybe). The monster is *chef's kiss*. Netflix, 1h34m.
Hereditary (2018): Truly one of the best horror movies of all time. The cinematography is bonkers good. Should have won a bunch of Oscars. It's very scary, and it stays with you. The dog *does* die, but it's off screen, and it's nothing traumatic... because they knew they didn't need a shocking dog death to deal out the intensely terrifying climax. Hulu and Amazon 2h7m.
The Wailing (2016): Another very scary, sticks with you movie that is truly amazing. Almost a dark comedy at parts (similar to Hereditary). This is very last on the very scary scary list because it contains both a horrible dog death and SA. The dog's death is violent, but can be skipped - it's not just for shock value, and the moment is meaningful in a lot of ways. SA is briefly mentioned, not shown on screen, and told through cutaway flashbacks. However, I would argue that SA is a core part of the movie that no one really talks about - because I strongly believe this movie is about generational and cultural trauma stemming from colonialism (due to both Western/Christianity and Japanese/Comfort Women). Most people do not pick up on this when watching the movie though (people even have assigned nefarious intent to the wrong character), and even the director doesn't seem to acknowledge it in interviews. I highly highly recommend this movie. But it's a tough watch. I took breaks and cried during my first viewing. Streaming in lots of places, 2h36m.
Cults (my new favorite horror movie troupe)
Ready or Not (2019): Maybe not a cult movie in the strict sense, but I think it's a cult movie. THE CULT OF WEALTH HAR HAR. Okay, enough with that. It's feminist, it's hilarious, and the ending is a-maze-ing. Yes it criticizes the wealthy, but there is an even bigger criticism against those that blindly follow them *coughKardashiansandsocialmediacough*. Hulu, 1h35m.
The Babysitter (2017): I think we can all agree that we all love Samara Weaving. This movie is ridiculous and funny. Each person that dies, does so in progressively hilarious ways. Netflix, 1h25m.
Suspiria (1977): Gorgeous movie. Gorgeous 70s gore. The soundtrack is the shit. Tubi, 1h40m.
The Empty Man (2020): This movie isn't what you think it's going to be. It was victim of poor studio promotion (retaliation) and being ahead of its time. Enough jump scares to be fun. HBOMax/Hulu/Amazon, 2h17m.
Folk Horror/Slow Burn
Midsommar (2019): Fuck people who don't like this movie, it was awesome. Daylight horror, brightly lit, basically always daytime. Honestly, the safest horror movie to watch as a woman (KIDDING AGAIN and now Zach is mad at me). Almost cathartic. So much to say about gender, age, and society as a whole. Anyone dumbing this down to saying the pagans are "primitive" aren't paying attention to how it's reflecting modern society. Almost no jump scares. I have a lot to say about how the sex was treated in the movie, but it won't be triggering to you. Hulu, 2h20m.
Let the Right One in (2008): Gorgeous Swedish film. Adorable kid with runny nose. Coming of age tale, gore is minimum, and people saying that it's a romance are weird. Just like most vampire movies, this one deals with The Other, but how The Other can radicalize the youth (the implication of this is... questionable to say the least). Yeah I fucking said it. Hulu, 1h54m.
The Witch (2015): Full disclosure, I did not like this movie and I did not think it was the feminist masterpiece everyone claims it to be. It kind of pissed me off. I plan on rewatching it, but I'm filing this away to "agree to disagree" territory. I recommend it because it's critically acclaimed, and not fucked up. Hulu, 1h32m.
Oldies that are Goodies (need a chill but festive night? You've arrived)
Fright Night (1985): I plan on rewatching this again this year. It's so good. Honestly, I like the remake too. PlutoTV, 1h46m.
Sleepaway Camp (1983): Weird and creepy af, perhaps problematic ending, but it's a fantastic movie to watch through a feminist lens, especially in regards to the slasher genre. One of my favorites. Tubi, 1h28m.
American Werewolf in London (1981): This movie started my love of special effects and movie makeup. It's hilarious. Peacock, 1h37m.
Freaks (1932): Classic. If you haven't already seen it, it's a must see. I can't find out any streaming for it, 1h4m.
The Haunting (1963): Another classic must see. Still holds up today. Lesbians. Not streaming, 1h52m.
Art House (can be watched with shitty people you never want to see again)
Uzumaki (2000): Now that I've seen this movie a few times, I can safely say I have no fucking idea what the fuck is going on BUT I love this movie so much it gets better each viewing. Genuinely artistic horror. Amazon, 1h30m.
House (1977): Do you want a story that you can follow? Don't come over here then. I found myself muttering "what the fuck" for most of this movie. It's a must see for art house horror. HBOMax, 1h52m.
Eraserhead (1977): Lynch clearly hated the early stages of parenthood. This gave me nightmares while I was pregnant. Zach says don't watch it, but you're fine unless you're planning to spawn, then hold off until a while after. HBOMax, 1h29m.
Comedy/Musicals (Looking beyond Simon Pegg Movies)
Happiness of the Katakuris (2001): A musical about a family in a remote area trying to run a B&B that's cursed. This is a WEIRD movie, and I've shown it to people that then questioned my sanity. Fuck those people, I'm not friends with them anymore. There is a family dog, and it does not die. Tubi, 1h53m.
The Dead Can't Dance (2010): This is my entry to combat the tired "Indian burial ground" troupe *cougheveryfuckingStephenKingcough*. Damn I must be coming down with something. While not *top production quality*, it is funny and deals with the concept of blood quantum. It is rare to find Indigenous-made film, let alone horror, and I feel like this might be one of the first. There is a 2019 movie called Blood Quantum with a similar premise as this movie, but it is not a comedy and I have not seen it yet. Tubi, 1h38m.
Found Footage (I've included the least annoying in regards to shaky cam)
Gonjiam Haunted Asylum (2018): I actually bought a drone after seeing this movie. A bit of a tech nerd (me) wet dream. Cinematography is great, the actors are great (none of that shitty found footage acting here). Stars hottie cop from Squid Game. Amazon and Shudder, 1h34m.
REC (2007): One the best found footage horror ever made. Genuinely scary. Not streaming, 1h18m.
Creep (2014): I was shocked at how much I liked this movie. It's deeply uncomfortable. It's funny too. Like, you're screaming inside at how poorly everything is going. Netflix, 1h22m.
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Waffle the Moon
I needed a place for my tv/film notes and to shit post.