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The Best Intelligent Horror Movies

Updated May 20, 2020 807.6k votes 26.3k voters 286.2k views114 items

List RulesVote up the best intelligent horror movies.

If you think horror movies are nothing more than slashers slashing, supernatural creatures wreaking havoc, and gallons of the red stuff, 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 to John Krasinski's A Quiet Place, there's no shortage of films that prove horror is actually smart. But what are the smartest entries in the intelligent horror genre?

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  • 1
    The Silence Of The Lambs is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    17,645
    1,782

    The Silence Of The Lambs

    Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins

    Released1991

    Directed byJonathan Demme

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  • 2
    The Exorcist is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    16,795
    2,175

    The Exorcist

    Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn

    Released1973

    Directed byWilliam Friedkin

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  • 3
    The Conjuring is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    16,842
    2,298

    The Conjuring

    Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson

    Released2013

    Directed byJames Wan

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  • 4
    The Shining is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    16,802
    2,375

    The Shining

    Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall

    Released1980

    Directed byStanley Kubrick

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  • 5
    Halloween is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    14,642
    2,143

    Halloween

    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards

    Released1978

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

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  • 6
    The Sixth Sense is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    15,814
    2,436

    The Sixth Sense

    Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton

    Released1999

    Directed byM. Night Shyamalan

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  • 7
    Carrie is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    14,016
    2,158

    Carrie

    John Travolta, Sissy Spacek

    Released1976

    Directed byBrian De Palma

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  • 8
    Insidious is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    14,261
    2,199

    Insidious

    Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey

    Released2010

    Directed byJames Wan

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  • 9
    It is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    15,123
    2,355

    It

    Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgård

    Released2017

    Directed byAndy Muschietti

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  • 10
    Saw is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    14,092
    2,250

    Saw

    Danny Glover, Monica Potter

    Released2004

    Directed byJames Wan

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  • 11
    The Ring is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    13,636
    2,253

    The Ring

    Naomi Watts, Pauley Perrette

    Released2002

    Directed byGore Verbinski

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  • 12
    Final Destination is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    12,513
    2,224

    Final Destination

    Ali Larter, Seann William Scott

    Released2000

    Directed byJames Wong

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  • 13
    Alien is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    7,573
    1,317

    Alien

    Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt

    Released1979

    Directed byRidley Scott

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  • 14
    The Conjuring 2: The Enfield P is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    11,955
    2,143

    The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist

    Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson

    Released2016

    Directed byJames Wan

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  • 15
    The Amityville Horror is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    4,900
    864

    The Amityville Horror

    James Brolin, Margot Kidder

    Released1979

    Directed byStuart Rosenberg

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  • 16
    The Omen is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    10,379
    2,110

    The Omen

    Gregory Peck, Lee Remick

    Released1976

    Directed byRichard Donner

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  • 17
    The Cabin In The Woods is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    12,215
    2,505

    The Cabin In The Woods

    Chris Hemsworth, Sigourney Weaver

    Released2012

    Directed byDrew Goddard

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  • 18
    28 Days Later is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    11,208
    2,325

    28 Days Later

    Cillian Murphy, Christopher Eccleston

    Released2002

    Directed byDanny Boyle

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  • 19
    Sinister is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    11,055
    2,344

    Sinister

    Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio

    Released2012

    Directed byScott Derrickson

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  • 20
    Scream is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    3,179
    633

    Scream

    Drew Barrymore, Rose McGowan

    Released1996

    Directed byWes Craven

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  • 21
    Dawn of the Dead is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    9,538
    2,051

    Dawn of the Dead

    Tom Savini, Ken Foree

    Released1978

    Directed byGeorge A. Romero

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  • 22
    Paranormal Activity is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    10,717
    2,334

    Paranormal Activity

    Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat

    Released2007

    Directed byOren Peli

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  • 23
    House on Haunted Hill is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    9,350
    2,077

    House on Haunted Hill

    Vincent Price, Richard Long

    Released1959

    Directed byWilliam Castle

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  • 24
    Psycho is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    9,272
    2,095

    Psycho

    Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh

    Released1960

    Directed byAlfred Hitchcock

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  • 25
    The Purge is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Intelligent Horror Movies
    10,033
    2,341

    The Purge

    Lena Headey, Ethan Hawke

    Released2013

    Directed byJames DeMonaco

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