25 films to horrify you this Halloween

Lost for what to watch this Halloween? Never fear. The Outtake team has got together and compiled this list of our top 25 horrors of the past decade to get your spine tingling.

25. The Wailing (dir. Hong-jin Na, 2016)

This creeping horror involves spirits, spreading sickness, and cult rituals as a Japanese stranger is accused of causing mysterious deaths in a village in the South Korean mountains. Police officer Jong-goo is sent to investigate, but soon his own daughter falls ill…

We love it because: cultural differences and prejudices interweave with the supernatural to create a brilliant social commentary.

24. It Follows (dir. David Robert Mitchell, 2014)

This brutal coming of age story sees Jay (Maika Monroe) stalked by a murderous, shapeshifting entity after a seemingly innocent sexual encounter. Her friends vow to help her escape, but somehow it always manages to be only a step behind.

We love it because: the sense of dread that mounts throughout will haunt you even when the spooky season is long over.

23. Annihilation (dir. Alex Garland, 2018)

This loose adaptation of The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer stars Natalie Portman as Lena, a scientist who, haunted by the loss of her husband, ventures into The Shimmer: a mysterious zone where the laws of nature seem to be twisted. 

We love it because: the unique sci-fi concept makes way for some chilling body horror, and the ending will leave you questioning the very nature of reality…

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22. Mandy (dir. Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

A revenge story on a whole new level, Nicholas Cage must hunt down the brutal motorcycle demon cult who have kidnapped his girlfriend.

We love it because: it’s as bloody and trippy as it sounds – the perfect Nic Cage movie.

21. Revenge (dir. Coralie Fargeat, 2017)

Three CEOs brutally assault a young mistress on a hunting trip, leaving her for dead, but soon the hunters become the hunted as she takes her revenge. Not for the faint hearted.

We love it because: it’s a viciously feminist subversion of the fridged wife trope that’s deliciously satisfying to watch.

20. The Invitation (dir. Karyn Kusama, 2015)

Will (Logan Marshall Green) and his new partner Kira are invited to his ex-wife’s house for dinner, but all is not what it seems. The couple share a painful history, but that doesn’t explain the creeping sense of dread that’s warning Will something is very, very wrong.

We love it because: if you’ve ever felt awkward at a dinner party, this building tension will be all too familiar.

19. Mother! (dir. Darren Aronofsky, 2017)

Starring Jennifer Lawrence as the devoted wife of a revered writer played by Javier Bardem, this secluded couple’s relationship is put to the test as cryptic visitors come knocking at the door. 

We love it because: whether you interpret the slow descent into madness as literal or highly allegorical, the performances are to die for.

18. Us (dir. Jordan Peele, 2019)

Lupita Nyong’o delivers an incredible dual performance as wife and mother Adelaide and the terrifying doppelganger that stalks her, forcing her to fight for her own and her family’s survival.

We love it because: Peele plays with familiar horror tropes to create an homage to the genre as well as a cutting critique of class.

17. Jennifer’s Body (dir. Karyn Kusama, 2009)

An underappreciated classic for the Mean Girls generation, Megan Fox stars as the titular Jennifer who develops a taste for human flesh after a virgin sacrifice gone wrong. Amanda Seyfried plays bestie Needy, determined to save her friend.

We love it because: no other film captures the true essence of 90s teen girl culture better than this.

16. Teeth (dir. Mitchell Lichtenstein, 2007)

Dawn lives near a nuclear power plant, and appears to have developed a Darwinian adaptation: vagina dentata. Yes, that’s exactly what it sounds like. Will she be able to defend herself from unwanted male attention? 

We love it because: the black comedy and social commentary come together perfectly to elevate the gore.

15. The Purge: Anarchy (dir. James DeMonaco, 2014)

Building up from its standard home invasion precursor, this sequel and the ensuing franchise depict a world in which a radical government policy allows a 24 hour period every year where all crime, including murder, is legal. Playing with the racial and class politics, Anarchy exposes the true horrors of how far the elite would go to maintain their way of life.

We love it because: as radical as the concept is, it’s used brutally effectively to expose very real issues in our own society.

14. The Babadook (dir. Jennifer Kent, 2014)

Having lost her husband in a car crash, single mother Amelia struggles to reassure her son Samuel, who is scared of monsters. They read a mysterious book about the Babadook, a monster that lurks in the dark, and soon Amelia too can feel its horrifying presence.

We love it because: it’s a biting exploration of grief and motherhood.

13. The Love Witch (dir. Anna Biller, 2016)

Elaine is a modern-day witch who uses spells and potions to get men to fall in love with her, but when she finds a man she truly loves, how far will she go to get what she wants? Prepare for murder and mayhem.

We love it because: the monstrosity of desire is explored with a great deal of wit.

12. High Life (dir. Clare Denis, 2018)

Robert Pattinson stars as a convict banished to a prison spaceship where scientist Juliette Binoche conducts reproductive experiments on the inmates. The deep isolation of space combined with the clinical treatment of the human form results in an alienation that will stay with you long after the end of the film.

We love it because: auteur Denis raises uncomfortable questions about humanity and identity, in a beautiful and terrifying package.

11. Raw (dir. Julia Ducournau, 2016)

Monstrous female hunger is the subject of this horror that follows vegetarian vet student Justine who is forced to eat meat in a hazing ritual. Soon she develops a taste for meat that progresses into an insatiable hunger for human flesh.

We love it because: it’s a slow-burn coming of age drama that thrums with sexuality and never flinches from the gore.

10. In Fabric (dir. Peter Strickland, 2019)

The busy Christmas shopping period in a department store is the setting for this film that follows a stunning, haunted red dress as it changes hands from person to person, leaving a trail of devastation in its wake.

We love it because: this stylish and stylistic horror flick is the perfect accompaniment for the cold weather outside.

9. Midsommar (dir. Ari Aster, 2019)

Florence Pugh delivers a weighty performance as Dani, a student who suffers a tragic bereavement and decides to tag along with her boyfriend and his friends on an anthropological expedition / drug fuelled holiday amongst a pagan cult in Sweden. Rituals swiftly escalate from benign to bizarre to bloodcurdling.

We love it because: the anatomy of a relationship is unpacked in excruciating detail as well as the anatomies of several animals and more than a few people. 

8. Cabin In The Woods (dir. Drew Goddard, 2011)

A classic case of teens alone in the woods, this group of friends awaken a family of deadly zombies by reading from a mysterious book they find in the cellar of the titular cabin. With no contact with the outside world and nowhere to run, will they make it out alive? They soon discover that something bigger is going on…

We love it because: the film plays with horror archetypes to create a marvelously tongue-in-cheek addition to the genre.

7. A Quiet Place (dir. John Krasinski, 2018)

Kransinski and Emily Blunt play a couple who must survive and protect their children in a post-apocalyptic world overrun with deadly creatures who use their hearing to hunt down their prey. Deaf young actress Millicent Simmonds is the real star.

We love it because: the intensity of the family’s love for each other makes this a heartbreaking watch, while the deathly silence will have you holding your breath.

6. The VVitch (dir. Robert Eggers, 2015)

Anya Taylor-Joy stars as a young girl in Puritan New England in the 1630s, where her family is haunted by an unimaginable evil in the woods. When her baby brother is stolen away, increasingly awful occurrences lead the family to blame her for their misfortunes.

We love it because: it’s a brilliantly constructed, visceral fable. Also, we love to live deliciously.

5. Train To Busan (dir. Sang-ho Yeon, 2016)

A masterclass in the art of zombie films, Sok-woo and his estranged daughter Soo-ahn are on board a fast train from seoul to Busan when the apocalypse hits. Fighting for their lives in some of the best action sequences in the genre, will they make it out alive? 

We love it because: incredible action plus brilliantly fleshed out characters make for a perfect zombie film.

4. Hereditary (dir. Ari Aster, 2018)

Toni Collette plays a troubled mother whose unappreciative son and social outcast daughter may have inherited a curse that she herself seems to have inherited from her late mother. Horrific freak accidents cause her to seek out a seance…but with no idea who or what she is summoning.

We love it because: generational trauma manifests in visceral horror, plus Toni Colette has the best scream face ever.

3. Under The Shadow (dir. Babak Anvari, 2016)

A mother and her young daughter struggle to cope in war-torn 1980s Tehran, and the young Dorsa is convinced a Djinn is haunting their home. The psychological scars left by war on a child, on a mother, on a nation are condensed into this single apartment block, with devastating effect.

We love it because: it’s a sophisticated exploration of motherhood and grief, embedded in Iranian culture. 

2. The Lighthouse (dir. Robert Eggers, 2019)

Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson star as a salty old Lighthouse keeper and his young assistant, stranded on the island by storms. Madness descends as the two men grow murderous, convinced of a curse and determined to covet the mystery that lies at the top of the tower…

We love it because: it gives us a twisted look into the male psyche pushed to its extremes. Also Pattinson masturbates a lot.

1. Get Out (dir. Jordan Peele, 2017)

Daniel Kaluuya leads this social-horror genre defining masterpiece as Chris, who heads to the suburbs to meet his girlfriend Rose’s family for the first time. Pushing racist micro-agressions to the max, comedy moments only make the horror more real as the veil is pulled back on Rose’s true motives.

We love it because: the cleverness of the allegory never detracts from the enjoyment of what is truly a spine-chilling horror.

Sneh Rupra

Co-founder & Editor

Sneh co-founded Outtake Mag with Laura. She has a day job in film PR and dreams of a day when everyone has equal opportunities in the film industry. Her opinions are always right, so jot that down.