Graveyard Shift The Best Intelligent Horror Movies  

Ranker Film
45.4k votes 3.6k voters 46.1k views 101 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?  

list ordered by

1
1,269 343
The Sixth Sense is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
The Sixth Sense Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Haley Joel Osment

2
1,306 363
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The Shining Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers

3
1,339 386
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Get Out Daniel Kaluuya, Catherine Keener, Allison Williams

4
1,297 386
Split is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
Split James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley

5
914 248
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Misery Lauren Bacall, Kathy Bates, James Caan

6
917 253
A Quiet Place is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
A Quiet Place John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe

7
890 298
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The Exorcist Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair

8
952 329
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The Conjuring Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Joey King

9
863 324
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The Others Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Michelle Fairley

10
775 293
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Insidious Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Patrick Wilson

11
900 365
It is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
It Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgård, Jeremy Ray Taylor

12
439 144
Carrie is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
David Lamotte added Carrie John Travolta, Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie

13
390 130
A Nightmare on Elm Street is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
David Lamotte added A Nightmare on Elm Street Johnny Depp, Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp

14
374 124
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David Lamotte added Sinister Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Fred Thompson

49 Famous Couples with Huge Age Differences

15
364 130
28 Days Later is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
David Lamotte added 28 Days Later Cillian Murphy, Christopher Eccleston, Naomie Harris

16
596 267
American Psycho is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
American Psycho Reese Witherspoon, Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe

17
349 126
Halloween is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
David Lamotte added Halloween Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence

18
709 345
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The Cabin in the Woods Chris Hemsworth, Sigourney Weaver, Amy Acker

19
718 383
Saw is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
Saw Danny Glover, Monica Potter, Shawnee Smith

20
624 328
The Ring is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
The Ring Naomi Watts, Pauley Perrette, Brian Cox

21
459 233
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The Devil's Advocate Charlize Theron, Al Pacino, Keanu Reeves

The Most Terrifying Japanese Horror Movies of All Time

22
572 316
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Final Destination Ali Larter, Seann William Scott, Devon Sawa

23
577 334
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The Purge Lena Headey, Ethan Hawke, Adelaide Kane

24
450 245
Don't Breathe is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
Don't Breathe Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Daniel Zovatto

25
240 102
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David Lamotte added The Thing Kurt Russell, Keith David, John Carpenter

26
537 319
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Shaun of the Dead Martin Freeman, Simon Pegg, Bill Nighy

27
264 128
The Mist is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
David Lamotte added The Mist Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden

28
243 116
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David Lamotte added The Descent Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid

The Best Horror Movies Set in the Woods

29
256 127
Rosemary's Baby is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
1525046840750 added Rosemary's Baby Mia Farrow, Tony Curtis, John Cassavetes

30
371 217
Let the Right One In is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
Let the Right One In Lina Leandersson, Tom Ljungman, Philip Hersh

31
252 130
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
David Lamotte added The Texas Chain Saw Massacre Gunnar Hansen, Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal

32
484 314
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Black Swan Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder

33
460 297
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Signs Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Abigail Breslin

34
210 104
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David Lamotte added Hellraiser Doug Bradley, Andrew Robinson, Ashley Laurence

35
206 108
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1525046840750 added Night of the Living Dead George A. Romero, Duane Jones, Bill Hinzman

The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

36
181 88
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David Lamotte added An American Werewolf in London Jenny Agutter, Frank Oz, Rik Mayall

37
218 123
Zombieland is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
David Lamotte added Zombieland Emma Stone, Amber Heard, Bill Murray

38
213 119
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1525046840750 added The Birds Alfred Hitchcock, Tippi Hedren, Suzanne Pleshette

39
189 100
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David Lamotte added The Evil Dead Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi, Ted Raimi

40
214 125
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David Lamotte added Mama Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Daniel Kash

41
178 97
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David Lamotte added House on Haunted Hill Vincent Price, Richard Long, Elisha Cook

42
423 315
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The Babadook Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall, Adam Morgan

The Best Movies All Aspiring Actors Must Watch

43
411 314
The Blair Witch Project is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
The Blair Witch Project Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, Michael C. Williams

44
147 79
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David Lamotte added Dawn of the Dead Tom Savini, Ken Foree, James A. Baffico

45
303 221
The Fly is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
The Fly Geena Davis, Jeff Goldblum, David Cronenberg

46
382 303
Paranormal Activity is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
Paranormal Activity Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat, Randy McDowell

47
155 98
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David Lamotte added From Dusk till Dawn Salma Hayek, George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino

48
151 95
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David Lamotte added 28 Weeks Later Rose Byrne, Idris Elba, Jeremy Renner

49
135 80
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David Lamotte added Evil Dead Jane Levy, Jessica Lucas, Shiloh Fernandez

50
312 247
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District 9 Sharlto Copley, Jed Brophy, Vanessa Haywood