20 Greatest 21st Century Horror Movies

In no particular order…

Grave Encounters (2011)

Grave Encounters Film Still

Directors: Colin Minihan, Stuart Ortiz

Shot in the style we define as “found footage”, a group of ghost hunters for a TV show known as ‘Grave Encounters’ go into an abandoned insane asylum in the search of the “paranormal”, but their experience is a lot more than all of them bargained for.

This is the type of film that will leave you watching every element on the screen from the edge of your seat, anxiously awaiting the next big scare that shall emerge from the foreground or the background of any given shot.

As Above, So Below (2014)

Paris Catacombs Horror Movie

Director: John Erick Dowdle

An Archaeologist on the search of the philosopher’s stone is led to search the dark Catacombs of Paris with a team of investigators, but what they find down there comes straight from Dante’s inferno itself.

This film is also shot in a ‘found footage’ style and is an exploration into the depths of hell as well as religion as a wider concept. As the film is shot on location in the actual Catacombs of Paris, the horror is of this picture radiates, making for a very creepy movie.

The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Cabin in the Woods Film

Director: Drew Goddard

Five youthful friends go on a trip to a cabin in the woods expecting a drug and drink filled party holiday, but they get a lot more than they bargained for when they end up being in the middle of a twisted survival game of flesh eating zombies, ghouls and demons. Two doctors involve themselves into the game of life and death, but all you see is not all you get with this film.

The Cabin in the Woods is a film that uses all stereotypes of horror/teen flicks to its advantage, with the twists and turns coming time and time again until the very end. One of the first 21st century horror films with a truly new take on the horror genre that flips every known rule on its head.

The Collector (2009/10) 

The Collector Horror Film

Director: Marcus Dunstan

A man down on his luck decides to steal from the rich family he is working for, but he picks the wrong night to do it. A masked madman has gotten there first. The night goes from a solo theft to a saving mission and a game of cat and mouse from a psychotic killer.

This is a home invasion story with a twist. The collector is written by the writers of Saw IV, V and VI, and this heavy influence is evident in the film’s gory tale.

Raw (2017)

Horror Movie Raw

Director: Julia Ducournau

A vegetarian French student begins her first semester in veterinary school where, due to peer pressure of initiation, she eats raw meat. Afterwards, she understandably feels strange and begins a descent from raw animal meat to human flesh.

This debut film from Ducournau is as gory as it is a fresh take on the cannibalistic narrative and is definitely well worth a watch.

Get Out (2017)

Get Out Deep Horror

Director: Jordan Peele

A trip to meet his girlfriend’s family for the weekend turns from an awkward family meeting to threat for survival as the family, the African American servants and the townspeople are not what they seem.

This debut from Peele is both a commentary on society’s prejudices of race as well as a tense nail biting thriller.

The Lords of Salem (2013)

The Lords of Salem

Director: Rob Zombie

A radio DJ gets sent a mysterious record from a group called ‘The Lords’ which begin a series of violent flashbacks and gets her invited to The lords of Salem’s next concert, at which the Lords exact their revenge on the town of Salem.

Rob Zombie (in collaboration with his wife Sheri-Moon Zombie) is back with a dive into the legend of Salem and a throwback to the early art house horror years. This is a jarring and unforgettable film.

Demon House (2018)

Demon House Halloween Film

Director: Zak Bagans

Paranormal investigator Zak Bagans buys one of the most haunted houses in Indiana (where a young child was possessed by a demon) and documents the bizarre goings on in an overnight lockdown. This paranormal documentary is a feature length film which explores both the paranormal goings on in the house and the terrifying true story of Latoya Ammons’s three children undergoing hell whilst living in the house, as witnessed by officials.

Demon House is a worthy watch for anyone interested in true paranormal investigations.

Martyrs (2008)

Martyrs 2008 French Horror

Director: Pascal Laugier

Martyrs tells a story of two girls who exact their revenge from their abusive past only to find life goes from bad to worse when this search for revenge leads to a depraved secret organisation on a quest for knowledge.

Martyrs is a brutal, unforgiving French film that is perfect for fans of gory psychological horror and one you shan’t forget in a hurry whether you like those sorts of films or not.

Devil’s Due (2014)

Devil's Due Horror Film

Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett

While on their honeymoon, a couple bumps into a psychic who gives them a premonition. After getting drunk in a strange underground bar the female of the couple finds out she is pregnant. Instead of the smooth sailing into motherhood, she and her husband find out the pregnancy might not be all that it appears.

This one is a nice twist on the usual supernatural horror film and sees a mother’s protection extend to the demonic forces of evil.

Veronica (2017)

Veronica Horror Film Halloween

Director: Paco Plaza

A Spanish horror film with a new take on the Ouija narrative, Veronica sees the titular character and her school friends use an Ouija board whilst a solar eclipse is taking place; an act that releases a demonic force into her body.

Based on a supposed true story, this young girl must protect herself and her young siblings from her own possession and, along with a blind Nun called Sister Death, she must find a way to return this demon back to the hell it came from.

A possession film which shares similarities to films such as Carrie, this is another great example of why you shouldn’t mess with Ouija boards.

Shutter (2004)

Shutter Horror Halloween Movie

Director: Banjong Pisanthanakun, Parkpoom Wongpoom

A couple have a car accident which results in the death of a girl on the road. Frightened, the couple leaves her where she landed thinking that would be the end of it, but this is only the beginning as photographer boyfriend Tun begins to see a haunting figure in the background of his photos.

Girlfriend Jen feels there is more than meets the eye and investigates the girl, revealing some damning secrets linked to her boyfriend and unravelling the tale of a vengeful spirit hell bent on haunting the pair.

This film was remade for an American audience in 2008 after the success of the original Thai film, but it does not hold the eerie quality of the original.

The Green Inferno (2013)

Green Inferno Eli Roth

Director: Eli Roth

A group of college activists decide that their next project is to save the Amazon and put a stop to deforestation, meanwhile uploading their progress to YouTube. However, things don’t quite go to plan when their plane crashes in the middle of the jungle and they are all captured by a group of crazed native cannibals.

This is an homage from Roth to other cannibal films, the most famous being Cannibal Holocaust (1980), and it features some of the director’s expertly twisted humour displayed through a gory blood-fest of a film.

Hush (2016)

Hush Halloween Movie

Director: Mike Flanagan

A home invasion movie with a twist.

A deaf writer living in a secluded part of the woods must turn to different methods of survival when a masked murderer turns up at her house and attempts to fight his way inside. This is a tense film from beginning to end that twists the trope of a helpless girl fighting a killer on its head brilliantly. An intelligent new take on this genre makes it a must-see film that will have you holding your breath as you watch the silent game of cat and mouse.

The ‘Saw’ Series (2004-2017)

Saw Horror Halloween Movies

Director: James Wan, Darren Lynn Bousman, David Hackl, Kevin Greutert, Michael & Peter Spierig

The Saw franchise is a 21st century phenomenon that has lasted most of this century thus far.

A serial killer with a difference, Jigsaw sets up deathly traps to teach people lessons on how to become a worthy member of society and appreciate the gift of life. After he dies, his legacy is passed on to a carefully selected individual to continue the depraved tests of humanity. The franchise comes to a head when Jigsaw’s replacement wages a vendetta against Jigsaw’s wife who has prepared for this exact moment.

One of the highest grossing horror franchise’s of the 21st Century is one of the best gory horror’s of them all; a series that encompasses a moralistic story with the horror of a crazed psychopath torturing helpless victims.

Don’t Breathe (2016)

Halloween Horror Don't Breathe

Director: Fede Alvarez

Three thieves, who break into houses for fun, begin to case a house reported to have a large sum of money hidden inside. They realise the house belongs to an old and blind war veteran who is a recluse after the large payout from his daughter’s death. This encourages them to break into the house searching for the cash, but soon realise their victim is not only in the house, but is not as helpless as they first imagined. the break in becomes a fight to break out.

This is simply one of the best new home invasion films that shocks and surprises you with every new twist.

It Follows (2015)

Halloween Horror It Follows

Director: David Robert Mitchell

After a girl sleeps with her boyfriend, she realises that she has been passed a curse that can only be passed on through sex. The curse transpires that a ghoulish demon is due to begin following her endlessly unless she can pass on the curse through sex or end the whole thing.

This is a great new concept that really takes the ‘sex equals death’ ideology and runs with it into a new and exciting narrative that works really well and is shot beautifully.

The movie recalls a retro 80’s feel of horror but with a fresh new concept.

The Purge: Anarchy (2014)

Halloween Horror Purge Anarchy

Director: James DeMonaco

The Purge: Anarchy focuses on a police sergeant who is out for revenge on purge night, a 12 hour slot where all crimes become legal. However, his mission changes in order to help a group of people stuck outside who need help surviving the evil people out for blood and money.

The Purge franchise narrative has a political statement on the violence within society and how we maybe only hold back because of the law. It is a shockingly real representation of society that makes it all the more terrifying to watch.

A Quiet Place (2018)

Halloween Horror A Quiet Place

Director: John Krasinski

A family is imprisoned in a society where making the smallest of sounds means instant death from a blood-thirsty creature plaguing the world. Even family matriarch Evelyn (Emily Blunt) must give birth in total silence.

This is a tense film from the moment the it starts to the end credits; one throughout which your heart is in your mouth as you watch the characters scrape through daily life, the soundtrack being one of the only thankful breaks in the otherwise deafening silence.

A Quiet Place is definitely worth watching with the lights out.

The Conjuring 1/2 (2013-2016)

Halloween Horror Conjuring

Director: James Wan

The Conjuring 1 and 2 are based on a true story from the demonologists Lorraine and Ed Warren who investigate two cases of possession. The first film features a family moving to a secluded farmhouse with a dark history, where an evil spirit soon latches itself onto the mother, resulting in a position that threatens the lives of the entire family. The second film focuses on the famous English case of the Enfield haunting, and the Warrens are again called in to assess the situation – though it soon turns from helping the young girl from the evil spirit to a fight for their own lives.

The Conjuring is a widespread franchise with spin offs such as Annabelle and the more recent The Nunmaking the entire series a top choice to watch this Halloween.

Holly Bowler

"A huge horror movie fan with a passion for the goriest and scariest of cinema."
Holly Bowler

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