10 Horror Movies That Are More Creepy Than Scary

There are plenty of scary movies out there that will make you jump out of your skin with fright, but what about the subtler, creepy horror movies?

If you’re looking for the best horror films that will get under your skin and haunt you long after the credits roll, look no further. Here are 10 exceptionally creepy horror movies that will make you want to sleep with the lights on tonight:

Gemma Ward, Liv Tyler, Kip Weeks, Scott Speedman, and Laura Margolis
Gemma Ward, Liv Tyler, Kip Weeks, Scott Speedman, and Laura Margolis | Rogue Pictures

‘The Strangers’

Any film that opens with a chilling voice informing the audience that the story is based on true events before displaying unsettling F.B.I. statistics on violent crime is a film that will keep you up at night.

Written and directed by Bryan Bertino, The Strangers follows Kristen, played by Liv Tyler, and James, played by Scott Speedman, a young couple staying at a remote vacation home after a friend’s wedding reception. Soon after they arrive, they are brutally attacked by three masked assailants. The film is different than many home invasion slashers in that there is little to no soundtrack with most of the scares absorbed in an eerie silence. There is also a disturbing sense of realism that’s hard to shake, especially after the masked attackers reveal a rather chilling motive.

The film was inspired by the murder of Sharon Tate and her friends in 1969 and a series of home break-ins that occurred in Bertino’s hometown when he was a child. The criminals would go door to door asking for someone who doesn’t live there. Once they found a seemingly empty home, they would break in and rob the residents. This directly inspired the creepy way one of the assailants in The Strangers, played by model Gemma Ward, initially approaches the house… by knocking and asking, “Is Tamara home?”

This eerily realistic home invasion horror film will have you checking the locks for months.

Katee Sackhoff
Katee Sackhoff in ‘Oculus’ Blumhouse Productions

‘Oculus’

Who can you possibly trust when your own eyes are constantly deceiving you?

Filmmaker Mike Flanagan has attracted plenty of praise from audiences and critics for his work on contemporary horror, like the Netflix original series The Haunting of Hill House and the feature-length film Gerald’s Game. It all began with Oculus in 2013, which was based on a short film Flanagan created after graduating from college.

The psychological horror film stars Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaite as siblings, Kaylie and Tim. Eleven years after tragedy struck their family, the siblings have returned to their childhood home to prove that a haunted antique mirror is responsible for the death and suffering their family experienced.

The mirror itself was inspired by Lovecraftian literature, which Flanagan admires for its creation of evil forces that are beyond our understanding and comprehension. As Flanagan explained in an interview, “Evil in the world doesn’t have to have an answer.”

Nicole Kidman and Alejandro Amenabar
Nicole Kidman and Alejandro Amenábar | MARC ALEX/AFP/Getty Images

‘The Others’

Directed and written by Alejandro Amenábar, The Others follows a young mother of two named Grace Stewart, played by Nicole Kidman, who moves her severely photosensitive children to a house on the English coast after her husband goes missing during World War II. One of the children claims to see spirits in the house who have “claimed” the property as their own. Grace is initially skeptical but quickly becomes a believer when a series of increasingly unsettling supernatural events occur and threaten the safety of her family.

Amenábar creates a surreal, nightmarish atmosphere without the use of standard jump scares and special effects. The Others, inspired by Henry James’ novella The Turn of the Screw, is a gothic ghost story that will make you want to research the history of a new home extensively before you set foot inside of it.

Belén Rueda
Belén Rueda | Universal Pictures

‘Julia’s Eyes’

Created by the minds behind The Orphanage and Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillem Morales’ tense horror-thriller Julia’s Eyes will have you on the edge of your seat in terror from beginning to end.

The film follows a young woman named Julia, played by Belén Rueda, who has a degenerative disease that will cause her to lose her eyesight. Her twin sister, Sara, played also by Rueda, has the same illness and committed suicide before undergoing the transformative surgery that would have restored her vision. Julia is deeply disturbed by her sister’s death and suspects foul play. As she continues to investigate the circumstances surrounding her sister’s death, Julia’s own vision begins to falter and sinister events begin to point to something much worse than she ever could’ve imagined.

The shocking, horrific ending of Julia’s Eyes will continue to haunt you even after you turn off your television.

‘Lake Mungo’

Heavily inspired by David Lynch’s surreal murder-mystery television series Twin Peaks, Lake Mungo reveals the reality of human grief in a visceral, disturbing way.

The film is presented as a documentary about a family grieving the death of their 16-year-old daughter, Alice Palmer, who drowned while swimming with her family. Her family is absolutely devastated and they seem to be experiencing supernatural events that might indicate that Alice’s soul is not resting peacefully. As they peer deeper into Alice’s secret life, they discover something unimaginable.

Like Twin Peaks, filmmaker Joel Anderson’s Lake Mungo explores themes like death, grief, and mourning in such a disturbingly dark and honest way that it’s almost impossible not to be irrevocably changed after viewing for the first time.

Maika Monroe
Maika Monroe | The Weinstein Company

‘It Follows’

No matter where you go, no matter what you do, it will follow you.

Written and directed by David Robert Mitchell, It Follows revolves around a teenage girl named Jay. After sleeping with her new boyfriend, Hugh, for the first time, she learns that she has been struck with a supernatural curse that is passed by sexual intercourse. Unless she passes it to someone else, death will continue to follow her for the rest of her life and it can appear as a stranger or even a friend.

Mitchell was inspired by recurring nightmares of being stalked that haunted him as he grew up. The film never explains the source of It, the supernatural entity that stalks Jay throughout the film. From the horrifically graphic opening scene to the chilling finale, It Follows will instill a sense of dread and terror within you… as if there is always someone lurking behind you.

George Sluizer
George Sluizer | Photo by Dominik Bindl/Getty Images

‘The Vanishing/Spoorloos’

George Sluizer’s eerie thriller follows a young man named Rex, played by Gene Bervoets, as he obsessively searches for his wife, Saskia, played by Johanna Ter Steege, who mysteriously disappeared without a trace during the couple’s vacation in France. Years later, a mysterious teacher named Raymond, played by Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, appears and claims to know exactly what happened to Saskia.

The film’s Dutch title, Spoorloos directly translates to “without a trace.” The concept of an unresolved disappearance is creepy enough, but Sluizer’s film explores the many forms evil can take and the horrible actions that people can be capable of.

‘The Babadook’

Before the famous Babadook became a symbol for the LGBT community, he was terrifying audiences in the atmospheric Australian horror film, The Babadook.

Directed by Jennifer Kent, The Babadook follows a widow named Amelia, played by Essie Davis, who lives alone with her troubled son, Sam, played by Noah Wiseman. Amelia is deeply depressed and haunted by the death of her husband, who died in a car accident driving Amelia to the hospital when she went into labor. Her son begins to experience frightening visions of a monster in the house after reading a mysterious children’s pop-up book called Mister Babadook. Amelia attempts to help Sam get over his fears, but after strange events begin to occur, she begins to believe that something sinister is lurking within their home.

The Babadook explores unsettling themes surrounding motherhood, grief, depression, and death. With its claustrophobic scenes and horrifying imagery, the film creates a world of horror that you may find yourself trapped in, even after the end credits.

Kim Hwan-hee and Kwak Do-won
Kim Hwan-hee and Kwak Do-won | 20th Century Fox

‘The Wailing’

Korean filmmaker Na Hong-jin’s The Wailing shows that fear can spread faster and grow more dangerous than a disease.

The film takes place in a rural village in South Korea. After a stranger arrives, the villagers are inflicted with a disease that causes its victims to commit horrific acts of violence before falling in a stupor and dying. At the center of it all is a police officer, played by Kwak Do-won, who is struggling to find answers regarding the mass of deaths and sicknesses as his own daughter begins to display symptoms of the mysterious illness.

This eerie horror-thriller will torment you with its creepy, suspenseful atmosphere until the very end and even then, the film will stick with you, like a stubborn virus of terror.

Read more: Scary Movies and Shows to Watch on Netflix in 2019