1.8k voters

The Most Pretentious Horror Movies Ever Made

Updated March 21, 2019 11k votes 1.8k voters 34.5k views22 items

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


    Mother! is a 2017 American psychological horror thriller film, written and directed by Darren Aronofsky. A couple's relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence....  more
    • Actors: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson, Ed Harris
    • Released: 2017
    • Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
    Is this pretentious?


    #1 of 15 Horror Movie Endings People Only Pretend To Understand#72 of 123 The Best Intelligent Horror Movies#153 of 178 The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time

  • Antichrist is a 2009 Danish experimental horror film written and directed by Lars von Trier. It tells the story of a couple (Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg) who, after the death of their child, retreat to a cabin in the woods where the man experiences strange visions and the woman manifests increasingly violent sexual behavior and sadomasochism....  more
    • Actors: Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Storm Acheche Sahlstrøm
    • Released: 2009
    • Directed by: Lars von Trier
    Is this pretentious?

    More Antichrist 

    #223 of 245 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time#473 of 743 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time#26 of 139 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again

  • 3

    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
    Is this pretentious?
  • Stay is a 2005 American psychological thriller film directed by Marc Forster. A psychiatrist (Ewan McGregor) tries prevent one of his patients (Ryan Gosling) from committing suicide while trying to maintain his own grip on reality....  more
    • Actors: Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Ryan Gosling, Janeane Garofalo, Bob Hoskins
    • Released: 2005
    • Directed by: Marc Forster
    Is this pretentious?