Entertainment
32 voters

The Best Movies About Nightmares

Updated July 26, 2019 648 votes 32 voters 1.7k views31 items

List RulesNightmares must play an important role in the plot of the film.

When thinking about the best nightmare movies, the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise certainly comes to mind but this list proves there are other great movies that feature bad dreams. Famous nightmares in movies can make even the most cynical film viewer forget they’re watching a movie and jolt them out of their seat. Nightmares are the mind’s way of disturbing itself when it’s at its most vulnerable; which makes them perfect fodder for film. They have fueled top horror films long before Freddy Kruger donned the glove and have given filmmakers a chance to fully explore beyond the ordinary confines of everyday life.

Nightmares can drive the characters’ motives, actions, and relationships for better or worse within the plot like Dreamscape and The Cell where most of the movie takes place in dreams. An artistic tool to be sure; nightmares in cinema are a blank canvas that can tell you a lot about the psyche of the characters, and even more about yourself!

Is this list of best films about nightmares the stuff dreams are made of? Feel free to vote up the nightmare movies that make it difficult to sleep at night! You can always remind yourself, it was all just a dream.

 

  • 1
    43
    6

    A Nightmare on Elm Street

    Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
    A Nightmare on Elm Street is a 1984 American supernatural slasher horror film written and...  more
  • 2
    32
    9

    A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors

    Patricia Arquette, Laurence Fishburne
    A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is a 1987 American slasher fantasy film and the...  more
  • 3
    32
    9

    It

    Tim Curry, Seth Green
    It (ABC, 1990) is a psychological horror drama miniseries based on Stephen King's novel of the...  more
  • 4
    29
    8

    Wes Craven's New Nightmare

    Wes Craven, Robert Englund
    Wes Craven's New Nightmare is a 1994 American slasher metafilm written and directed by...  more
  • 5
    27
    5

    Freddy vs. Jason

    Evangeline Lilly, Kelly Rowland
    Freddy vs. Jason is a 2003 American slasher action fantasy film directed by Ronny Yu. The film...  more
  • 6
    21
    5

    The Nightmare Before Christmas

    Paul Reubens, Catherine O'Hara
    Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D is a 2006 3D version of the 1993 film of the...  more
  • 7
    19
    8

    Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

    Danielle Harris, Donald Pleasence
    Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is a 1988 horror film directed by Dwight H. Little...  more
  • 8
    19
    8

    Pet Sematary

    Stephen King, Fred Gwynne
    Pet Sematary is a 1989 American horror film adaptation of Stephen King's novel of the same...  more
  • 9
    A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge is a 1985 American slasher horror film and the...  more
  • 10
    13
    5

    Prince of Darkness

    Alice Cooper, Donald Pleasence
    Prince of Darkness is a 1987 American supernatural horror film directed, written and scored by...  more
  • 11
    16
    9
    A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master is a 1988 American slasher fantasy film and the...  more
  • 12
    10
    9

    The Shining

    Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall
    The Shining is a 1980 British-American psychological horror film produced and directed by...  more
  • 13
    10
    10

    The Exorcist

    Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn
    The Exorcist is a 1973 American supernatural horror film directed by William Friedkin, adapted...  more
  • 14
    10
    10

    The Cabin in the Woods

    Chris Hemsworth, Sigourney Weaver
    The Cabin in the Woods is a 2012 American horror comedy film directed by Drew Goddard in his...  more
  • 15
    8
    0

    Phantasm

    Angus Scrimm, A. Michael Baldwin
    Phantasm is a 1979 American horror film directed, written, photographed, co-produced, and...  more
  • 16
    16
    19

    The Cell

    Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn
    The Cell is a 2000 sci-fi horror film directed by Tarsem Singh. An F.B.I. Agent persuades a...  more
  • 17
    8
    2

    The Babadook

    Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall
    The Babadook is a 2014 Australian psychological horror film, written and directed by Jennifer...  more
  • 18
    6
    5

    Shutter Island

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Williams
    Shutter Island is a 2010 American psychological thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese. The...  more
  • 19
    5
    2

    Hereditary

    Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne
    Hereditary is a 2018 American horror film directed by Ari Aster. As an overwhelming terror...  more
  • 20
    2
    2

    Insidious

    Rose Byrne, Barbara Hershey
    Insidious is a 2011 American supernatural horror film directed by James Wan, written by Leigh...  more
  • 21
    0
    2

    Midsommar

    Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor
    Midsommar (Swedish for "Midsummer") is a 2019 American horror film written and directed by Ari...  more
  • 22
    8
    8

    Spellbound

    Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck
    Spellbound is a 1945 American psychological mystery thriller film directed by Alfred...  more
  • 23
    8
    8

    Wild Strawberries

    Max von Sydow, Bibi Andersson
    Wild Strawberries is a 1957 Swedish film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman about an old...  more
  • 24
    0
    6

    The Haunting of Sharon Tate

    Hilary Duff, Jonathan Bennett
    The Haunting of Sharon Tate is a 2019 American horror thriller film written and directed by...  more
  • 25
    5
    4

    Mulholland Drive

    Naomi Watts, Billy Ray Cyrus
    Mulholland Drive is a 2001 American neo-noir mystery film written and directed by David Lynch...  more