13 Underrated Horror Movies That Offer Serious Scares 

A man screaming in a horror movie

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Are you one of those people who live for horror movies? There’s nothing like a good jump scare or psychological suspense to keep you riveted in your seat. You might think you’ve seen them all, but there are inevitably a few underrated flicks you’ve missed. 

When it’s time to add to your repertoire of screams and settle in with a big bowl of popcorn, the following titles are sure to shiver your bones. Here are X underrated horror movies that offer serious scares. 

1. Terrifier 

What do you get when you combine Halloween and clowns? One heck of a modern slasher film, that’s what. This flick harkens back to the 1980s, when horror movies everywhere played on the trope of innocent teens having a little too much fun only to have the party interrupted by a maniac. The film centers around Art the Clown, who looks like just another adult child out for a night of fun — but what he has planned for you is far from innocent. 

2. The Wicker Man 

Both the original and remake of this classic horror film are well worth watching. Straight-laced, upstanding Christian police officer Neil Howie travels to a remote island to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. Only there’s something different about the inhabitants of Summerisle. Howie arrives as the villagers are preparing for a major festival, and he begins to suspect the child may have been kidnapped for ritual sacrifice — or was she? 

3. Midsommar

If you treat the one you love dismissively and insensitively, don’t do it when on an overseas trip to a remote village in Sweden. It’s a bad place to generate bad blood between the two of you, but such a scenario gave birth to Midsommar. Florence Pugh gives an impressive performance as a young woman faced with the devastating loss of her entire family to murder-suicide. When she accompanies her boyfriend on a research trip to Sweden, she finds new acceptance among the villagers — but at what cost? 

4. Lake Mungo 

Few things are more devastating than a drowned child. When Alice Palmer dies swimming at a local dam, her spirit appears to return home, where it haunts her family in this underrated horror movie. As they investigate the hauntings after authorities pull her body from the waters, they take a deep dive into dark secrets. Although this film plays heavily on themes of grief and mourning, there is at least one notable jump-scare. 

5. The People Under the Stairs 

Every neighborhood has a house that even the bravest children avoid like the plague on Halloween — or any other day of the year. Sometimes, the spooky legends are based on facts, as is loosely the case in this tale. Director Wes Craven has stated he got the original inspiration for the film from a news story where two burglars inadvertently discovered two children held captive by their parents. What lurks within this home’s walls? Find out. 

6. Dark Ride 

There’s something infinitely desolate about an abandoned amusement park. Add in a dark ride intended to bring Halloween-style scares any time of year, and you have a recipe for one great underrated horror movie. This film follows a group of teens on a mission to an abandoned amusement park to take a spin on a spooky ride where a maniac once killed, leading to the park’s closure. Only, is the danger truly gone? 

7. Christine 

It seems like a wholesome project to fix up a classic car, doesn’t it? Especially if you find something you love, and you can pick her up on the cheap? The problems only arise when the car starts repairing itself — even after some heavy-duty damage. Of course, a sentient machine needs to feed. What can you do when several thousand pounds of rolling iron and steel come for you? 

8. The Descent 

Real-life underwater caves offer plenty of terror simply by existing. Add in a bevy of hungry, cannibalistic mutants, and you have the perfect recipe for a jump-scare-filled afternoon. Ensure you watch this flick in a room with dim lighting — blackout curtains are necessary for daytime viewing. Is there any way to escape an underground cave system that stretches for miles with limited light when pursued by ravenous superhumans who see in the dark? 

9. Deliverance 

Although not typically billed as a horror movie, plenty of folks find this movie plenty terrifying. What makes it hit home the most is its realism. The film is based on the James Dickey novel of the same name, which explores the theme of physical — and psychological — survival. On the surface, it’s not far removed from films like “Wrong Turn,” but it goes much deeper into the mental aspect and can sometimes create a basis for understanding shared trauma. 

Underrated horror movies

10. Megan Is Missing 

Here’s a movie you will watch once and immediately vow never to watch again — but it will stick with you for life. Megan Is Missing is a modern-day cautionary tale of what happens when adolescent girls connect with strangers who may have anything but their best interests at heart. When one teen searches for her missing BFF, she discovers the truth. However, don’t look to this film for a happy ending. 

11. Candyman 

If you ever told the eerie sleepover story of “Bloody Mary,” you’re about to meet her much nastier big brother. This underrated horror movie follows urban legends researcher Helen Lyle as she travels to Cabrini Green, a housing project in Chicago. While there, she discovers that the project follows the same blueprint as her own, pricier high-rise, but that’s not the only connection she finds there with herself. This flick will make you afraid to look in the bathroom mirror alone. 

12. Psycho

Psycho made a huge splash when it originally debuted but has fallen out of favor in recent years. However, there’s much to say about this psychological thriller, which will make you leery of stopping at the first lonely desert motel you see. Guests who check in meet the unassuming, slightly awkward Norman Bates. Norman seems perfectly, well, normal — but people aren’t always who they appear to be. 

13. Misery

While this may not be the ideal movie to watch if you are binging Netflix because you are laid up with a leg injury, it’s a gripping, suspenseful horror tale. When writer Paul Sheldon gets into an accident on a remote icy mountain road, he wakes up tended to by nurse Annie Wilkes. Things could be worse than having a nurse find you in such a state, right? Especially when she’s your number one fan and invites you to use her home to write another book? 

Watch These Underrated Horror Movies for Serious Scares 

If you love all things scary, add these underrated horror movies to your must-see list. They’re well worth the popcorn carbs and calories.

Which underrated horror movies did we miss that you think belong on this list? Share this post on social media and spur a fun, healthy debate between friends. 

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