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The Best Intelligent Horror Movies

Updated May 20, 2020 808.8k votes 26.4k voters 287.4k 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
    17,685
    1,787

    The Silence Of The Lambs

    Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins

    Released1991

    Directed byJonathan Demme

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  • 2
    The Exorcist
    16,820
    2,188

    The Exorcist

    Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn

    Released1973

    Directed byWilliam Friedkin

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  • 3
    The Conjuring
    16,868
    2,312

    The Conjuring

    Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson

    Released2013

    Directed byJames Wan

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  • 4
    The Shining
    16,836
    2,379

    The Shining

    Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall

    Released1980

    Directed byStanley Kubrick

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  • 5
    Halloween
    14,665
    2,155

    Halloween

    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards

    Released1978

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

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  • 6
    The Sixth Sense
    15,838
    2,443

    The Sixth Sense

    Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton

    Released1999

    Directed byM. Night Shyamalan

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  • 7
    Carrie
    14,034
    2,160

    Carrie

    John Travolta, Sissy Spacek

    Released1976

    Directed byBrian De Palma

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  • 8
    Insidious
    14,278
    2,206

    Insidious

    Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey

    Released2010

    Directed byJames Wan

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  • 9
    It
    15,136
    2,363

    It

    Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgård

    Released2017

    Directed byAndy Muschietti

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  • 10
    Saw
    14,107
    2,256

    Saw

    Danny Glover, Monica Potter

    Released2004

    Directed byJames Wan

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  • 11
    The Ring
    13,650
    2,260

    The Ring

    Naomi Watts, Pauley Perrette

    Released2002

    Directed byGore Verbinski

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  • 12
    Alien
    7,594
    1,317

    Alien

    Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt

    Released1979

    Directed byRidley Scott

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  • 13
    Final Destination
    12,529
    2,230

    Final Destination

    Ali Larter, Seann William Scott

    Released2000

    Directed byJames Wong

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  • 14
    The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist
    11,970
    2,148

    The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist

    Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson

    Released2016

    Directed byJames Wan

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  • 15
    The Amityville Horror
    4,917
    870

    The Amityville Horror

    James Brolin, Margot Kidder

    Released1979

    Directed byStuart Rosenberg

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  • 16
    The Omen
    10,398
    2,115

    The Omen

    Gregory Peck, Lee Remick

    Released1976

    Directed byRichard Donner

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  • 17
    The Cabin In The Woods
    12,227
    2,512

    The Cabin In The Woods

    Chris Hemsworth, Sigourney Weaver

    Released2012

    Directed byDrew Goddard

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  • 18
    28 Days Later
    11,224
    2,328

    28 Days Later

    Cillian Murphy, Christopher Eccleston

    Released2002

    Directed byDanny Boyle

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  • 19
    Sinister
    11,062
    2,349

    Sinister

    Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio

    Released2012

    Directed byScott Derrickson

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  • 20
    Scream
    3,191
    638

    Scream

    Drew Barrymore, Rose McGowan

    Released1996

    Directed byWes Craven

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  • 21
    Dawn of the Dead
    9,546
    2,057

    Dawn of the Dead

    Tom Savini, Ken Foree

    Released1978

    Directed byGeorge A. Romero

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  • 22
    Paranormal Activity
    10,724
    2,341

    Paranormal Activity

    Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat

    Released2007

    Directed byOren Peli

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  • 23
    House on Haunted Hill
    9,356
    2,081

    House on Haunted Hill

    Vincent Price, Richard Long

    Released1959

    Directed byWilliam Castle

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  • 24
    Psycho
    9,287
    2,095

    Psycho

    Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh

    Released1960

    Directed byAlfred Hitchcock

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  • 25
    The Purge
    10,040
    2,348

    The Purge

    Lena Headey, Ethan Hawke

    Released2013

    Directed byJames DeMonaco

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