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40 Of The Most Chilling Horror Films To Keep You Awake All Night Long

a picture of a scary girl with enlarged teeth from the movie bloodride by netflix
40 Horror Films To Keep You Awake All Night LongNetflix

Horror movies are up there with holding spiders, riding Nemesis at Alton Towers and camping alone in the woods for some people.

Unlike thrillers, which more often than not involve twisted psychologically testing plots and suspense, horrors set out to terrify viewers with gore, unpredictable narratives and instil a sense of doom from start to finish. Some of our worst nightmares derive from a night watching that film we knew we should’ve hit pause on but were too enticed to see through until the end (ahem, The Orphanage, we’re looking at you).

Whether you’re in need of a classic fright night or simply your ideal night in involves sitting with a giant tub of popcorn and arming yourself with a pillow for the gory scenes, there are thousands of horror films awaiting your screams. However, sifting through the never-ending list of films to find the right horror that is as much terrifying as it is thrilling isn’t always easy.

While some horror lovers always turn to the classics like The Silence Of The Lambs and The Exorcist, there’s a new wave of horror films that have come out in recent years – like Get Out and Smile – which are spooky simply because of their believability and depiction of life through a modern lens.

So, we've rounded up the best horror movies to watch, from Midsommar and Orphan to the modern releases such as Stopmotion and Sydney Sweeney's Immaculate. Believe us when we say that’ll provide enough fodder for your nightmares.

Read on… if you’re brave enough:

Immaculate, 2024

Sydney Sweeney stars as an American nun who decided to embrace a new chapter in a remote Italian convent. Quickly, her new-found joy is stripped away as she discovers dark secrets and sinister forces. Can she face the horrors to reconcile her faith?

In theatres on March 22.

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Stopmotion, 2023

This psychological horror film sees a stop motion animator grapple with her inner demons following the loss of her overbearing mother. Yet, still haunted by her past, she fights to find peace and control over dark desires, which threaten to take over.

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Scream, 2022

A quarter of a century after the first iteration of Scream was unleashed on the general public, the film has been re-imagined for a younger audience, which features Friends actress Courtney Cox and Wednesday's Jenny Ortega.

In Scream, the protagonist Sam Carpenter, played by Melissa Barrera, returns to Woodsboro after her sister gets attacked by the Ghostface. She approaches Dewey Riley, played by David Arquette, to help catch the killer and what ensues is one hell of a horror film. You’ve been warned.

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Smile, 2022

Smile begins with Dr. Rose Cotter, who experiences a traumatic incident, and shortly after starts experiencing frightening incidents she can’t explain. As the omnipresence of fear begins dominating her life, Dr. Cotter must learn to confront her past in order to make sense of her future.

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Fear Street Part One: 1994, 2001

An array of brutal murders lead a teenager and her friends down a risky road in part one of this cult trilogy, based on R.L. Stine’s best selling horror series. Set in 1994, it starts with them discovering the sinister events that have haunted their town (Shadyside) for far too long may all be linked and they may be the next victims. Thereafter they bravely challenge a malevolent force, but at what cost?

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Eli, 2019

Charlie Shotwell is a very sick 11-year-old boy with an auto-immune disorder, who spends most of his time in an astronaut's suit because 'ordinary air' could kill him. Yet his weak immune system is not the only thing endangering him - while receiving treatment he discovers the sterile manor he's living in isn't as safe as it seems. He's tormented by horrific visions, thought to be hallucinations, but something deadly may be lurking around after all.

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It, 2007

In the summer of 1989 - a time that would normally spark joy - a group of kids face their worst fears as they are up against a gruesome monster disguised as a clown (Pennywise) who haunts children in the area. Based on Stephen King's 1986 novel, it (pun not intended) grips you from the get-go, right until the end.

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Nope, 2022

Two siblings, Hollywood animal wrangler OJ and his sister Emerald, start seeing mysterious phenomena on their extensive Southern California ranch. Their discovery takes a sinister turn and they are at wits end as they try to capture what they witness on camera.

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Case 39, 2014

A disturbed, demonic and disruptive 10-year-old girl is a danger to those around her, yet these characteristics weren't known by the social worker who took her in as a way of saving her from abusive parents. As the title suggests, this film is a psychological mind melt with enough to keep your mind spinning again and again.

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Orphan, 2009

A couple who suffered the loss of their baby adopts a nine-year-old girl who isn't as she appears when they first met her. Inherently evil, her actions lead to horrifying consequences. Let's just say it's a daring watch.

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The Collector, 2009

If you're after limitless suspense with graphic images, frightening build-ups and a lingering sense of fear throughout, The Collector gives this and more. An ex-con, who is desperate to repay his debt to his ex-wife, plots a heist at his new employer's country home but is unaware a second criminal has entered the property and set up a series of sinister traps. Bad luck or comeuppance, you decide.

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House at the End of the Street, 2012

Jennifer Lawrence stars as a divorced mother looking for a fresh start. She moves with her daughter to a new town, only to find themselves living next door to a house where a young girl murdered her parents. Lawrence's on-screen daughter befriends the family's surviving son and discovers the shocking story is not over.

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Raw, 2016

Vegetarians, beware – this might not be the film or you (or meat eaters, come to have it). The film sees strict vegetarian Justine (Garance Marillier) head off to veterinary school and undergo a strange initiation process with her fellow students which involves her eating raw meat for the first time. However, surprisingly, Justine soon develops a craving for flesh (including that of humans) and, well, let’s just say things aren’t PG.

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Escape Room, 2019

Take six strangers and six mysterious black boxes with tickets to an immersive escape room with the chance of winning money and what do you get? Well, of course you get a horror plot where the friends get stuck inside traps and have to figure out how to survive. What ever happened to a good old game of Tag?

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Saint Maud, 2019

From writer-director Rose Glass comes Saint Maud - a terrifying horror film about a devout hospice nurse who becomes transfixed with saving her dying patient’s soul. At one point, she becomes obsessed with a former dancer who she's looking after (Jennifer Ehle) and thinks she must bring her to salvation.

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1922, 2017

The film follows the journey of a farmer who convinces his teenage son to help kill his mother before she sends the family money away money which would have ultimately left their farm to ruin. But the guilty of what they’ve done proves that there’s a heavy price to pay when you take another’s life.

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It Follows, 2015

What if, instead of getting a nasty rash and a trip to the sexual health clinic after sleeping with someone, you were cursed to be hunted down by a shapeshifting monster instead? This metaphorical, dreamy horror will fill you with dread, as well as put you off unprotected sex for the rest of your life.

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The Silence Of The Lambs, 1991

Get yourself a nice glass of Chianti and some fava beans and get ready to watch arguably the most iconic horror movie in film history. Whether you've seen it before or simply heard the famous lines or seen the legendary clips of Anthony Hopkins in that mask, you won't regret watching The Silence Of The Lambs one more time.

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Paranormal Activity, 2009

If you'd told us a horror film comprised mainly of grainy CCTV footage of an empty suburban house could be seriously scary we would have doubted you, but settle in because the sheer suspense will have you on the edge of your sofa.

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The Exorcist, 1973

This film tops the list alone for its reputation as one of the scariest films of all time.

Based on the last known Catholic-sanctioned exorcism in the US, the film sees 12-year-old Linda Blair undergo an exorcism by the hands of a young priest, Father Karras, as her parents are convinced she’s possessed by the Devil. At the time of its release, the film courted controversy for provoking fainting and vomiting in cinemas. Good luck!

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The Shining, 1980

Here’s…a really scary film. Stanley Kubrick’s movie is based on Stephen King's 1977 novel of the same name and sees Jack (Jack Nicholson) move his wife and psychic son into a hotel in the middle of nowhere. Cue Jack’s downward psychological spiral, axes in doors, creepy twins and before you know it, you’ll be saying ‘Red Rum’ in your sleep.

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The Conjuring, 2013

If you love a true story, then hold tight because this film tells the tale of Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga). The pair were world renowned paranormal investigators who go to the aid of a family plagued by a dark presence in a farmhouse that, you guess it, is in the sticks. Unfortunately for Ed and Lorraine, they too find themselves terrorised by evil.

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Get Out, 2017

Jordan Peele’s directorial debut will go down in history as one of the most chilling horror films of all time.

Starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Lil Rel Howery and Bradley Whitford, the film follows an African American man called Chris who visits his girlfriend’s parents for a weekend. It doesn’t take long before Chris realises he’s trapped in a world far more sinister than it appears at first glance.

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Psycho, 1960

You can always bet on Alfred Hitchcock to deliver when it comes to horrors and thrillers. In this film, starring Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, John Gavin, a character named Marion goes missing after stealing from her employer. She checks into a motel which is run by a young man named Norman Bates. Be warned: you might never want to shower with the curtain closed after watching this film.

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Halloween, 2018

You’ll never think of Halloween in the same way after watching this film. Jamie Lee Curtis plays Laurie Strode, who finally confronts the masked man who has haunted her since he went on a mass killing on Halloween four decades ago and she narrowly escaped. Now, it looks like he’s back for vengeance.

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Heriditary, 2018

This supernatural horror film stars Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro and Gabriel Byrne who play a family haunted by a dark presence after the death of their grandmother. As they begin to unpick the secrets about their family, it turns out they might not be able to turn away from the sinister threat they’ve bizarrely inherited.

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Us, 2019

After Get Out, Jordan Peele knocked it out of the park yet again with this terrifying film.

It’s set in the present day – making it all the more chilling – and stars Lupita Nyong'o as Adelaide Wilson, who returns to her childhood home with her husband and two children for the summer.

What she doesn't expect is the feeling of doom she encounters, especially when her family come across the silhouette of four figures in the driveway at night.

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Midsommar, 2019

If your relationship is on the brink, then we urge you not to head to a midsummer festival in a remote Swedish village in an attempt to mend it.

In this film, Dani (Florence Pugh) and Christian (Jack Reynor) go on holiday but are soon invited into an insular world where darkness emerges under clear blue skies.

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The Blair Witch Project, 1999

If you go down to the woods today… be sure to take a whistle and a torch, okay? This mock-documentary, shot on Hi-8 video and black-and-white 16mm film, sees college students head out into the wilderness to film a project on the Blair Witch incidents. Unfortunately, they were never seen again but their footage taken on the night they went missing was.

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The Ring, 2002

So, this explains our fear of women crawling out of TV screens!

A creepy videotape starts being spread in the Pacific Northwest, full of dark and haunting footage, and days after watching it, many viewers receive a phone call warning them that they will die in seven days. Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) is a journalist and aunt of a teen who watches the film who wants to find out more.

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Insidious, 2010

If you love your paranormal activities then this is the film for you. It’s the first of three in the Insidious franchise and sees characters Josh and Renai move house with their son, Dalton, only for the child to fall into a coma and mysterious things start to happen in their new abode.

It’s creepy, AF.

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The Cabin In The Woods, 2012

If anyone asks you to visit a cabin in the woods, unless it has an outdoor hot tub and champagne on ice, we implore you to decline the offer. Why? Because this film (starring Chris Hemsworth) follows five friends heading to a remote cabin. But when one member in the group reads from a book, they soon find themselves confronted with those from the dead. Fun stuff, right?

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A Quiet Place, 2018

Not only do we love this film because it stars husband-wife duo Emily Blunt and John Krasinski but also because of its beautifully eerie plot.

In this modern horror film, a family of four must remain silent after a creature hunts humans by sound. No music, no talking, no chewing loudly – it’s our living nightmare.

We don’t want to spoil it for you but the bathtub scene still gives us chills.

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Scream, 1996

This is the definitive slasher film. The town of Woodsboro is haunted by a psychopath who taunts his victims with questions before killing them. Due to the mask (inspired by Edvard Munch’s painting ‘The Scream’) the killer wears, high school students begin to question who he or she could be and set out on a mission to find out the truth.

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The Babadook, 2014

Unfortunately, this film isn’t as fun as its title rolls off the tongue.

Six years after the death of her husband, Amelia doesn’t know what to do with her son, Samuel, who appears to be haunted by a monster he believes is coming to kill them. When a book named The Babadook turns up at their house, the son is positive the creature in the book is the one that he’s been thinking about. When Amelia begins feel the presence of the creature, she starts to question just how real it might be.

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Carrie, 1976

Another film based on Stephen King's first novel, this film stars Sissy Spacek as Carrie White – a shy teenager who is bullied by her class mates and abused by her fanatical mother. Following a prank on her at the school prom, Carrie shows off her telekinetic powers and hell ensues.

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Saw, 2004

Now an eight-film franchise, the Saw movies usually involve strangers waking up in a room with no recollection of how they got there. Soon, they realise they’re all part of a weird, deadly game orchestrated by a serial killer.

Prepare for a lot of blood, gore, saws and killing.

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The Devil’s Backbone, 2001

Another creepy Spanish horror film in the mix, The Devil’s Backbone (El espinazo del diablo) is written by Guillermo del Toro and produced by director heavyweight Pedro Almodóvar.

It explores the story of the Santa Lucia School at the end of the Spanish Civil War where orphans of the Republican militia and politicians lived. After the death of one of the children, 10-year-old Carlos questions the secrets that haunt his classmates and teachers.

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The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, 1974

When a group of friends visit their late grandfather’s farmhouse, they find that next door is a family of killers. One of the family members includes ‘Leatherface’ who has an interest in using a power saw to kill his victims.

Soho Farmhouse, this is not.

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Talk To Me, 2022

A group of teenagers figures out how to use an embalmed hand that can conjure spirits and unleash supernatural forces, they become obsessed with the scary new thrill. Then (of course) one of them goes too far...

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