Graveyard Shift

Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies  

Bailey Brown
1.7k votes 385 voters 17.9k views 20 items

List Rules Vote up the horror movies you wouldn't know are horror movies based on the visuals.

A lot of factors go into making a horror movie truly scary, but don't discredit how visuals and sound play into the narrative. The general precedent for horror is to use low light, shadows, and eerie or grotesque images. Look at classics such as Friday the 13thHalloween, and Nightmare on Elm Street as examples of films you expect to be terrifying just based on visual effects alone. Some of the most creatively frightening films, however, use neon or pastel colors, sunshine, and intricate patterns to distract you from the atrocities being showcased. 

Some examples of horror movies that don't look like horror movies include 2019's Midsommar, 2009's Greek masterpiece Dogtooth, and the infamous Stephen King adaptation The Shining. Though they are stunning to look at, the bone chilling stories these films tell will haunt you for years to come. 

1
The Silence of the Lambs is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
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
The Shining is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
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
Midsommar is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, Will Poulter
Midsommar (Swedish for "Midsummer") is a 2019 American horror film written and directed by Ari Aster. A couple travels to Sweden to visit their friend's rural hometown for its fabled ...more
4
The Birds is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
Alfred Hitchcock, Tippi Hedren, Suzanne Pleshette
The Birds is a 1963 suspense/horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, loosely based on the 1952 story "The Birds" by Daphne du Maurier. It depicts Bodega Bay, California, which is, ...more
5
Jaws is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider
Jaws is a 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley's novel of the same name. The prototypical summer blockbuster, its release is regarded as a ...more
6
Tremors is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
Kevin Bacon, Reba McEntire, Fred Ward
Tremors is a 1990 American western monster film directed by Ron Underwood, written by Brent Maddock, S. S. Wilson and Underwood, and starring Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter, Michael Gross, ...more
7
10 Cloverfield Lane is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher
10 Cloverfield Lane is a 2016 American science fiction psychological thriller film directed by Dan Trachtenberg. The film was developed from a script titled The Cellar, but under production by ...more
8
The Wicker Man is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Edward Woodward
The Wicker Man is a 1973 British mystery horror film directed by Robin Hardy and written by Anthony Shaffer. The film stars Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento, Ingrid Pitt, and ...more
9
The Skin I Live In is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
Antonio Banderas, Blanca Suárez, Elena Anaya
The Skin I Live In is a 2011 Spanish psychological thriller film written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar, starring Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Jan Cornet, and Roberto ...more
10
Suspiria is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
Joan Bennett, Alida Valli, Udo Kier
Suspiria is a 1977 Italian horror film directed by Dario Argento, co-written by Argento and Daria Nicolodi, and co-produced by Claudio and Salvatore Argento. The film stars Jessica Harper as an ...more
11
Revenge is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
Matilda Lutz, Kevin Janssens, Vincent Colombe
Revenge is a 2017 French revenge horror film directed by Coralie Fargeat. After being assaulted by three married men and left for dead, a young woman (Matilda Lutz) returns with revenge on her
12
Raw is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf, Laurent Lucas
Raw is a 2016 French-Belgian horror film written and directed by Julia Ducournau. When a young vegetarian (Garance Marillier) undergoes a carnivorous hazing ritual at vet school, an unbidden ...more
13
Pontypool is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
Stephen McHattie, Daniel Fathers, Boyd Banks
Pontypool is a 2008 horror film directed by Bruce McDonald and adapted by Tony Burgess from Burgess' novel Pontypool Changes Everything.
14
The Vanishing is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
Johanna ter Steege, Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, Gene Bervoets
The Vanishing is a Dutch–French film adaptation of the novella The Golden Egg by Tim Krabbé, released on 27 October 1988. Directed by George Sluizer and starring Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, ...more
15
Picnic at Hanging Rock is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
Jacki Weaver, Rachel Roberts, Tony Llewellyn-Jones
Picnic at Hanging Rock is a 1975 Australian mystery drama film directed by Peter Weir and starring Anne-Louise Lambert, Helen Morse, Rachel Roberts, Vivean Gray and Dominic Guard. The film was ...more
16
Dogtooth is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
Alexander Voulgaris, Christos Stergioglou, Michele Valley
Dogtooth is a 2009 Greek film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos about a husband and wife who keep their children ignorant of the world outside their property well into adulthood. The drama stars ...more
17
Escape from Tomorrow is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
Annet Mahendru, Amy Lucas, Kimberly Ables Jindra
Escape from Tomorrow is a 2013 American fantasy horror film, the debut of writer-director Randy Moore. It follows an unemployed man having increasingly disturbing experiences and visions during ...more
18
Borgman is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
Alex van Warmerdam, Pierre Bokma, Annet Malherbe
Borgman is a 2013 Dutch thriller film directed by Alex van Warmerdam. It was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Drafthouse Films acquired US distribution rights to ...more
19
The Love Witch is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
Elle Evans, Jeffrey Vincent Parise, Kaye L. Morris
The Love Witch is a 2016 American horror comedy film written and directed by Anna Biller. The film is about a modern-day witch (Samantha Robinson) who uses spells and magic to get men to fall in ...more
20
The Big Shave is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
Peter Bernuth
The Big Shave is a 1967 six-minute short film directed by Martin Scorsese. It is also known as Viet '67. Peter Bernuth stars as the recipient of the title shave, repeatedly shaving away hair, ...more