Graveyard Shift

The Best Intelligent Horror Movies  

Ranker Film
650.5k votes 24.4k voters 250.2k views 111 items

List Rules Vote up the best intelligent horror movies.

If you think horror movies are nothing more than gore, gratuitous violence, slashers slashing, and supernatural creatures wreaking havoc, think again; intelligent horror movies demonstrate that smart horror exists - and is really good to boot. The best intelligent horror films operate at multiple levels, weaving social commentary into plot lines that are equal parts thought-provoking and terrifying. 

From Jordan Peele's Get Out and its thematic interpretation of modern American racism to John Krasinski's A Quiet Place and its "silence experiment," there's no shortage of films that prove horror is actually smart. But what are the smartest of the intelligent horror genre? Are some supposedly intelligent horror films just not so?

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26
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David Lamotte added Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden
The Mist is a 2007 American science fiction horror film based on the 1980 novella of the same name by Stephen King. The film was written and directed by Frank Darabont, who had previously ...more
27
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Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Michelle Fairley
The Others is a 2001 horror-thriller film written, directed and scored by Alejandro Amenábar. It stars Nicole Kidman and Fionnula Flanagan. It won eight Goya Awards, including awards for ...more
28
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martinhitchens21 added George A. Romero, Duane Jones, Bill Hinzman
Night of the Living Dead is a 1968 American independent zombie horror film directed by George A. Romero, starring Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea and Karl Hardman. It premiered on October 1, 1968, and ...more
29
Annabelle: Creation is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
Greg Kootstra added Talitha Bateman, Stephanie Sigman, Anthony LaPaglia
Annabelle: Creation is a 2017 American supernatural horror film directed by David F. Sandberg. It is a prequel to 2014's Annabelle and the fourth film in The Conjuring franchise. It tells the ...more
30
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James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley
Split is a 2016 American psychological horror thriller film directed and written by M. Night Shyamalan. After a wholesome teen birthday party, three girls are taken in broad daylight: friends ...more
31
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Lauren Bacall, Kathy Bates, James Caan
Misery is a 1990 American psychological thriller film based on Stephen King's 1987 novel of the same name and starring James Caan, Kathy Bates, Lauren Bacall, Richard Farnsworth, and Frances ...more
32
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Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, Michael C. Williams
The Blair Witch Project is a 1999 American found footage horror film written, directed and edited by Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez. The film was produced by the Haxan Films production ...more
33
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Daniel Kaluuya, Catherine Keener, Allison Williams
Get Out is a 2017 American horror film directed by Jordan Peele. A young African-American (Daniel Kaluuya) visits his white girlfriend's parents for the weekend, where his simmering uneasiness ...more
34
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John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe
A Quiet Place is a 2018 American supernatural horror film directed by John Krasinski. A family living on a farm hides from a supernatural evil attracted to sound by avoiding making sound and ...more
35
Signs is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Abigail Breslin
Signs is a 2002 American science fiction thriller film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Executive producers for the film comprised Shyamalan, Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy and Sam ...more
36
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David Lamotte added Doug Bradley, Andrew Robinson, Ashley Laurence
Hellraiser is a 1987 British horror film written and directed by Clive Barker, based upon his own novella The Hellbound Heart. The film spawned a series of sequels.
37
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David Lamotte added Salma Hayek, George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino
From Dusk till Dawn is a 1996 American horror-crime thriller film directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by Quentin Tarantino. It stars George Clooney, Tarantino, Harvey Keitel and Juliette ...more
38
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David Lamotte added Claire Bloom, Lois Maxwell, Julie Harris
The Haunting is a 1963 British psychological horror film directed and produced by Robert Wise and adapted by Nelson Gidding from the novel The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. It stars ...more
39
Fright Night is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
Wade Moosewah added Christopher Lee, Roddy McDowall, Chris Sarandon
Fright Night is a 1985 American horror comedy film written and directed by Tom Holland and produced by Herb Jaffe. It stars William Ragsdale, Chris Sarandon, Roddy McDowall and Amanda Bearse. ...more
40
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David Lamotte added Chloë Grace Moretz, Richard Jenkins, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Let Me In is a 2010 romantic horror film written and directed by Matt Reeves and starring Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloë Grace Moretz. It is a remake of the 2008 Swedish film Let the Right One ...more
41
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Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto
Don't Breathe is a 2016 American horror-thriller film directed by Fede Alvarez. The film focuses on three friends who get trapped inside a blind man's house while breaking into it.
42
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David Lamotte added Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso, Lulu Wilson
Ouija: Origin of Evil is a 2016 American supernatural horror film directed and edited by Mike Flanagan and written by Flanagan and Jeff Howard. The film is a prequel to the 2014 film Ouija. ...more
43
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martinhitchens21 added Mia Farrow, Tony Curtis, John Cassavetes
Rosemary's Baby is a 1968 American psychological horror film written and directed by Roman Polanski, based on the bestselling 1967 novel of the same name by Ira Levin. The cast includes Mia ...more
44
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Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall, Adam Morgan
The Babadook is a 2014 Australian psychological horror film, written and directed by Jennifer Kent, in which a woman and her son are tormented by a "boogie-man" type monster. The film ...more
45
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David Lamotte added Jenny Agutter, Frank Oz, Rik Mayall
An American Werewolf in London is a 1981 horror comedy film written and directed by John Landis, and starring David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, and Griffin Dunne. The film starts with two young ...more
46
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Charlize Theron, Al Pacino, Keanu Reeves
The Devil's Advocate is a 1997 American mystery thriller film based on Andrew Neiderman's novel of the same name. It is directed by Taylor Hackford and stars Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino, and ...more
47
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Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, David Cronenberg
The Fly is a 1986 American science fiction horror film directed and co-written by David Cronenberg. Produced by Brooksfilms and distributed by 20th Century Fox, the film stars Jeff Goldblum, ...more
48
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Rob Zombie, Chris Hardwick, Karen Black
House of 1000 Corpses is a 2003 American exploitation horror film directed by Rob Zombie. Two young couples traveling across the backwoods of Texas searching for urban legends of murder end up ...more
49
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Greg Kootstra added Doug Jones, Ivana Baquero, Sergi López i Ayats
Pan's Labyrinth, originally known in Spanish as El laberinto del fauno, is a 2006 Spanish-Mexican dark fantasy film written and directed by Mexican Guillermo del Toro. It was produced and ...more
50
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Karen Gillan, Katee Sackhoff, James Lafferty
Oculus is a 2013 American supernatural psychological horror film directed by Mike Flanagan. A young woman (Karen Gillan) is convinced that an antique mirror is responsible for the death and ...more