vote on everything
Graveyard Shift
1.4k voters

Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies

Updated March 16, 2020 8.5k votes 1.4k voters 69.2k views21 items

List RulesVote 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
    892
    187

    The Silence of the Lambs

    Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins

    Released1991

    Directed byJonathan Demme

    The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 American thriller film that blends elements of the crime... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

    More The Silence of the Lambs 

    Small Details And Trivia From 'The Silence Of The Lambs' That Left Us Hungry For More#39 of 1,189 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

  • 2
    Midsommar is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
    816
    168

    Midsommar

    Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor

    Released2019

    Directed byAri Aster

    Midsommar (Swedish for "Midsummer") is a 2019 American horror film written and directed by Ari... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

    More Midsommar 

    ‘Midsommar’ Is A Phantasmagoric Nightmare Of A Horror Movie23 Pieces Of Twisted, Beautiful 'Midsommar' Fan Art

  • 3
    The Shining is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
    776
    218

    The Shining

    Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall

    Released1980

    Directed byStanley Kubrick

    The Shining is a 1980 British-American psychological horror film produced and directed by... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

    More The Shining 

    Behind-The-Scenes Stories About Shelley Duvall From 'The Shining'The Making Of 'The Shining' Was A Bigger Nightmare Than The Film's Story

  • 4
    The Birds is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
    470
    160

    The Birds

    Alfred Hitchcock, Tippi Hedren

    Released1963

    Directed byAlfred Hitchcock

    The Birds is a 1963 suspense/horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, loosely based on the... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 5
    Jaws is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
    525
    226

    Jaws

    Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss

    Released1975

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Jaws is a 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

    More Jaws 

    Behind The Scenes Of Every Death In ‘Jaws’Surprising Facts, Small Details, And Trivia Most People Don't Know About 'Jaws'

  • 6
    10 Cloverfield Lane is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
    390
    204

    10 Cloverfield Lane

    John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

    Released2016

    Directed byDan Trachtenberg

    10 Cloverfield Lane is a 2016 American science fiction psychological thriller film directed by... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

    More 10 Cloverfield Lane 

    'Cloverfield' Theories To Read Up On Before Streaming 'The Cloverfield Paradox'All The 'Cloverfield' Easter Eggs You Definitely Missed

  • 7
    Suspiria is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
    263
    129

    Suspiria

    Joan Bennett, Alida Valli

    Released1977

    Directed byDario Argento

    Suspiria is a 1977 Italian horror film directed by Dario Argento, co-written by Argento and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

    More Suspiria 

    #53 of 64 The Most Rewatchable Horror Movies#363 of 557 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

  • 8
    The Wicker Man is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
    333
    179

    The Wicker Man

    Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland

    Released1973

    Directed byRobin Hardy

    The Wicker Man is a 1973 British mystery horror film directed by Robin Hardy and written by... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

    More The Wicker Man 

    #75 of 144 The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time#260 of 378 The Best Movies To Watch Stoned

  • 9
    Raw is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
    247
    124

    Raw

    Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf

    Released2016

    Directed byJulia Ducournau

    Raw is a 2016 French-Belgian horror film directed by Julia Ducournau. When a young vegetarian... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

    More 

    #48 of 97 The Best Movies of 2017, Ranked#6 of 10 10 Horror Movies That Are So Scary, People Can't Even Finish Watching Them

  • 10
    Tremors is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
    348
    220

    Tremors

    Kevin Bacon, Reba McEntire

    Released1990

    Directed byRon Underwood

    Tremors is a 1990 American western monster film directed by Ron Underwood, written by Brent... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

    More Tremors 

    #400 of 1,647 The Most Rewatchable Movies#26 of 136 The Scariest Animal Horror Movies Ever Made

  • 11
    Revenge is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
    124
    98

    Revenge

    Matilda Lutz, Kevin Janssens

    Released2018

    Directed byCoralie Fargeat

    Revenge is a 2017 French revenge horror film directed by Coralie Fargeat. After being... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

    More Revenge 

    #13 of 100 The Best Movies On Shudder#8 of 85 Great Movies About Furious Women Out for Revenge

  • 12
    Picnic at Hanging Rock is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
    104
    91

    Picnic at Hanging Rock

    Jacki Weaver, Rachel Roberts

    Released1975

    Directed byPeter Weir

    Picnic at Hanging Rock is a 1975 Australian mystery drama film directed by Peter Weir and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

    More Picnic at Hanging Rock 

    #217 of 336 The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History#134 of 553 The Best '70s Movies

  • 13
    Pontypool is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
    112
    108

    Pontypool

    Stephen McHattie, Daniel Fathers

    Released2008

    Directed byBruce McDonald

    Pontypool is a 2008 horror film directed by Bruce McDonald and adapted by Tony Burgess from... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

    More Pontypool 

    #558 of 714 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time#91 of 114 The Best Intelligent Horror Movies

  • 14
    The Skin I Live In is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
    101
    101

    The Skin I Live In

    Antonio Banderas, Blanca Suárez

    Released2011

    Directed byPedro Almodóvar

    The Skin I Live In is a 2011 Spanish psychological thriller film directed by Pedro Almodóvar... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

    More The Skin I Live In 

    #23 of 31 The Best Horror Movies About Evil Experiments#34 of 39 The Best Foreign Sci Fi Movies, Ranked

  • 15
    The Vanishing is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
    85
    85

    The Vanishing

    Johanna ter Steege, Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu

    Released1988

    Directed byGeorge Sluizer

    The Vanishing is a Dutch–French film adaptation of the novella The Golden Egg by Tim Krabbé,... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 16
    Dogtooth is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
    77
    94

    Dogtooth

    Alexander Voulgaris, Christos Stergioglou

    Released2009

    Directed byYorgos Lanthimos

    Dogtooth is a 2009 Greek drama film directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. A husband and wife keep... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

    More Dogtooth 

    #79 of 119 The Most Awkward Movies to Watch with Your Parents#19 of 36 The Best Movies About Dysfunctional Families

  • 17
    Escape from Tomorrow is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
    58
    91

    Escape from Tomorrow

    Annet Mahendru, Amy Lucas

    Released2013

    Directed byRandy Moore

    Escape from Tomorrow is a 2013 American fantasy horror film, the debut of writer-director... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

    More 

    #30 of 30 The Best Horror Movies Set During Summer#23 of 27 The Best Horror Movies About Carnivals and Amusement Parks

  • 18
    The Roads Not Taken is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
    7
    18

    The Roads Not Taken

    Javier Bardem, Ellie Fanning

    Released2020

    Directed bySally Potter

    The Roads Not Taken is a 2020 British-American drama film directed by Sally Potter. Leo... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 19
    The Love Witch is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
    44
    82

    The Love Witch

    Elle Evans, Jeffrey Vincent Parise

    Directed byAnna Biller

    The Love Witch is a 2016 American horror comedy film written and directed by Anna Biller. The... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

    More The Love Witch 

    #18 of 25 The Scariest Horror Movies About Witches#21 of 27 27 Horror Films You Had No Idea Were Directed By Women

  • 20
    The Big Shave is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
    28
    71

    The Big Shave

    Peter Bernuth

    Released1968

    Directed byMartin Scorsese

    The Big Shave is a 1967 six-minute short film directed by Martin Scorsese. It is also known as... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

    More The Big Shave 

    #36 of 37 The Best Martin Scorsese Movies#28 of 50 The Best Movies Directed by Martin Scorsese

  • 21
    Borgman is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies
    25
    68

    Borgman

    Alex van Warmerdam, Pierre Bokma

    Released2013

    Directed byAlex van Warmerdam

    Borgman is a 2013 Dutch thriller film directed by Alex van Warmerdam. It was nominated for the... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
FilmsFilmEntertainmentHorrortop 20Best MoviesHorror Movies and TVGraveyard Shift