Graveyard Shift The Best Intelligent Horror Movies  

Ranker Film
87.8k votes 7.2k voters 114.2k views 83 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
722 77
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J.P. Blank added Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Chris Isaak The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 American thriller film that blends elements of the crime and horror genres. Directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, and Scott ...more

2
2,412 704
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Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers The Shining is a 1980 British-American psychological horror film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, co-written with novelist Diane Johnson, and starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, ...more

3
1,750 484
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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

4
2,377 713
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Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Haley Joel Osment The Sixth Sense is a 1999 American supernatural thriller film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The film tells the story of Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment), a troubled, isolated boy who ...more

5
2,506 775
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Daniel Kaluuya, Catherine Keener, Allison Williams Get Out is a 2017 satirical horror film written and directed by Jordan Peele. A young African American man visits his white girlfriend's family estate where he learns that many of its residents, ...more

6
2,548 794
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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 kidnapped in broad daylight: ...more

7
1,791 562
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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

8
1,649 544
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Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair The Exorcist is a 1973 American supernatural horror film directed by William Friedkin, adapted by William Peter Blatty from his 1971 novel of the same name. The book, inspired by the 1949 ...more

9
1,753 618
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Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Joey King The Conjuring is a 2013 American supernatural horror film directed by James Wan and the first installment in the Conjuring series. Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) are ...more

10
1,569 587
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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

11
1,027 382
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David Lamotte added John Travolta, Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie arrie is a 1976 American supernatural horror film based on Stephen King's first major 1974 novel of the same name. The film was directed by Brian De Palma and written by Lawrence D. Cohen. The ...more

12
1,696 711
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Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgård, Jeremy Ray Taylor It (also known as It: Chapter One) is a 2017 American supernatural horror film directed by Andy Muschietti, based on the 1986 novel by Stephen King. In the summer of 1989, a group of bullied ...more

13
1,380 563
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Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey, Patrick Wilson Insidious is a 2011 American supernatural horror film directed by James Wan, written by Leigh Whannell, and starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Barbara Hershey. It is the first installment ...more

14
906 352
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David Lamotte added Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence Halloween is a 1978 American independent slasher horror film directed and scored by John Carpenter, co-written with producer Debra Hill, and starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis in her ...more

15
938 368
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David Lamotte added Cillian Murphy, Christopher Eccleston, Naomie Harris 28 Days Later is a 2002 British post-apocalyptic horror film directed by Danny Boyle. The screenplay was written by Alex Garland. The film stars Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, ...more

16
889 352
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David Lamotte added Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Fred Thompson Sinister is a 2012 supernatural horror film directed by Scott Derrickson and written by Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill. It stars Ethan Hawke as fictional true-crime writer Ellison Oswalt who ...more

17
1,145 489
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Reese Witherspoon, Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe American Psycho is a 2000 American psychological thriller comedy film co-written and directed by Mary Harron, based on Bret Easton Ellis's 1991 novel of the same name. It stars Christian Bale, ...more

18
1,326 633
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Chris Hemsworth, Sigourney Weaver, Amy Acker The Cabin in the Woods is a 2012 American horror comedy film directed by Drew Goddard in his directorial debut, produced by Joss Whedon, and written by Whedon and Goddard. The film stars Kristen ...more

19
1,330 641
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Danny Glover, Monica Potter, Shawnee Smith Saw is a 2004 horror film written by Leigh Whannell and directed by James Wan, in Wan's directorial debut. In the film, Adam (Whannell) and Lawrence (Cary Elwes) awaken chained in a large ...more

20
653 297
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1525046840750 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

21
1,112 578
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Naomi Watts, Pauley Perrette, Brian Cox The Ring is a 2002 American psychological horror film directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Naomi Watts. It is a remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film Ring, which was based on the novel Ring ...more

22
885 452
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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

23
821 437
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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.

24
655 336
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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

25
982 559
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Ali Larter, Seann William Scott, Devon Sawa Final Destination is a 2000 American horror film directed by James Wong. It is the first installment of the Final Destination series. The screenplay was written by James Wong, Glen Morgan, and ...more

26
924 546
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Martin Freeman, Simon Pegg, Bill Nighy Shaun of the Dead is a 2004 British horror comedy film directed by Edgar Wright and written by Wright and Simon Pegg, and starring Pegg and Nick Frost. Pegg plays Shaun, a man attempting to get ...more

27
520 282
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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.

28
482 257
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1525046840750 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
653 387
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Lina Leandersson, Tom Ljungman, Philip Hersh Let the Right One In is a 2008 Swedish romantic horror film directed by Tomas Alfredson. A 12-year-old boy (Kåre Hedebrant) develops a friendship with a vampire child (Lina Leandersson) in ...more

30
945 607
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Lena Headey, Ethan Hawke, Adelaide Kane The Purge is a 2013 American social science fiction action horror film written and directed by James DeMonaco. It stars Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Adelaide Kane and Max Burkholder. It is the ...more

31
825 534
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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

32
817 532
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Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder Black Swan is a 2010 American psychological thriller-horror film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, and Mila Kunis. The plot revolves around a production ...more

33
402 237
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David Lamotte added Vincent Price, Richard Long, Elisha Cook House on Haunted Hill is a 1959 American horror film. It was directed by William Castle, written by Robb White and stars Vincent Price as eccentric millionaire Frederick Loren. He and his fourth ...more

34
776 527
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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

35
400 246
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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

36
354 210
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David Lamotte added Tom Savini, Ken Foree, James A. Baffico This film is a 1978 Italian-American horror drama film written and directed by George A. Romero. It was the second film made in Romero's series, but contains no characters or settings from them, ...more

37
535 367
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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

38
671 491
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Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat, Randy McDowell Paranormal Activity is a 2007 American supernatural horror film written, co-produced, photographed, edited, and directed by Oren Peli. The film centers on a young couple, Katie and Micah, who ...more

39
384 255
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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

40
540 404
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Sharlto Copley, Jed Brophy, Vanessa Haywood District 9 is a 2009 science fiction film directed by Neill Blomkamp, released August 13, 2009. It takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa. District 9 is based on Alive in Joburg, a short film ...more

41
692 542
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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

42
296 226
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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

43
539 464
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Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Linda Boston It Follows is a 2014 Horror film written by David Robert Mitchell and directed by David Robert Mitchell.

44
239 181
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1525046840750 added Dana Wynter, Sam Peckinpah, Carolyn Jones Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a 1956 American black-and-white science fiction film produced by Walter Wanger, directed by Don Siegel, and starring Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter. The film ...more

45
417 356
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Rob Zombie, Chris Hardwick, Karen Black House of 1000 Corpses is a 2003 American exploitation horror film written, co-scored and directed by Rob Zombie, and starring Chris Hardwick, Rainn Wilson, Sid Haig, Bill Moseley, Sheri Moon ...more

46
382 328
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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

47
219 176
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David Lamotte added Max Schreck, John Gottowt, Alexander Granach Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens is a 1922 German Expressionist horror film, directed by F. W. Murnau, starring Max Schreck as the vampire Count Orlok. The film, shot in 1921 and released ...more

48
265 226
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David Lamotte added Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan The Visit is a 2015 American found footage horror film directed by M. Night Shyamalan. Two siblings become increasingly frightened by their grandparents' disturbing behavior while visiting them ...more

49
52 9
Psycho is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
Greg Kootstra added Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins Psycho is a 1960 American horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The film centers on an encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane, who ends up at a secluded motel after taking money from ...more

50
213 184
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David Lamotte added Gong Yoo, Ma Dong-seok, Jung Yu-mi Train to Busan is a 2016 South Korean zombie apocalypse action thriller film directed by Yeon Sang-ho. The film takes place in a train to Busan, as a zombie apocalypse suddenly breaks in the ...more