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The Most Pretentious Horror Movies Ever Made

List RulesVote up the horror films that tried to be groundbreaking in their form or message, but in a self-indulgent way that makes you roll your eyes.

When an intelligent horror film is released, fans of the genre often judge it by its level of pretension. Movies like The Silence of the Lambs and Get Out are widely accepted as well-done works of art - though that doesn't keep some viewers from critiquing their storytelling or refusing to name them as part of the horror genre altogether. The ultimate value of any work of art is, of course, subjective. However, people still ask, "Is this actually good, or is it just pretentious?" 

There is a general consensus among horror fans that filmmakers like Lars von Trier - though he retains a dedicated fanbase - mostly produce eye-roll-worthy cinema. And although every item on this list has garnered enough attention to assume it merits some level of worth, horror fans on the internet have agreed these films rank among the most pretentious movies of all time. 

As you vote on whether these films are groundbreaking or just showy artistry, contemplate what it means to be pretentious - and if these movies contribute to the genre in a valuable way. 

  • 1
    1086 VOTES

    Mother!

    A young woman spends her days renovating the Victorian mansion that she lives in with her husband in the countryside. When a stranger knocks on the door one night, he becomes an unexpected guest in their home. Later, his wife and two children also arrive to make themselves welcome. Terror soon strikes when the beleaguered wife tries to figure out why her husband is so seemingly friendly and accommodating to everyone but her.
    • Actors: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson
    • Released: 2017
    • Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
    857
    229
    Is this pretentious?

    #158 of 186 The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time#74 of 126 The Best Intelligent Horror Movies#39 of 51 35+ Great Movies That Blur the Lines Between Horror and Drama

  • 2
    679 VOTES
    While a married couple (Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg) is having sex, their infant son in a nearby room falls out a window to his death. She becomes distraught and is hospitalized, but her husband, who is a psychiatrist, attempts to treat her. Deciding that she needs to face her fears, he takes her to a cabin in the woods where she spent a previous summer with the boy. Once they are there, she becomes more unhinged and starts perpetrating sexual violence on her husband and herself.  ...more
    • Actors: Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Storm Acheche Sahlstrøm
    • Released: 2009
    • Directed by: Lars von Trier
    447
    232
    Is this pretentious?

    #227 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time#476 of 723 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time#26 of 139 The Best Movies You Never Want To Watch Again

  • 3
    331 VOTES
    Sam Foster (Ewan McGregor), a psychiatrist, has a new patient, Henry Letham (Ryan Gosling), who claims to be suicidal. In trying to diagnose him, Sam visits Henry's prior therapist (Janeane Garofalo) and also finds Henry's mother -- even though Henry has said that he murdered both of his parents. As reality starts to contradict fact, Sam spirals into an unstable mental state. Then he finds a clue as to how and when Henry may try to kill himself, and races to try to stop him.  ...more
    • Actors: Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Ryan Gosling, Elizabeth Reaser, Bob Hoskins
    • Released: 2005
    • Directed by: Marc Forster
    204
    127
    Is this pretentious?
  • 4
    451 VOTES

    A Ghost Story

    Photo: A24
    A Ghost Story is a 2017 American drama film written and directed by David Lowery. The movie follows a man as he dies, becomes a ghost, and witnesses many things before fading away.  ...more
    • Actors: Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara, Will Oldham, Sonia Acevedo, Rob Zabrecky
    • Released: 2017
    • Directed by: David Lowery
    274
    177
    Is this pretentious?