10 Horror Movies That Fill You With Dread

Scary cinema that cuts to the core.

Possum Movie
Dark Sky Films

Horror might be the most visceral and evocative genre in cinema, and done right, it can inspire a whole range of emotions in viewers. Catharsis, excitement, but most importantly, fear. Good horrors keep you on the edge of your seat, and often leaping right out of it.

The short, sharp shock of a jump scare is one thing, though. The truly effective horror movies are capable of inspiring a genuine sense of dread. The line is drawn between those films that startle you in a manner that can swiftly be laughed off, and those that grab you somewhere deeper, putting the viewer ill at ease, leaving an indelible mark.

There are many ways horror movies can achieve this. Some create an atmosphere of utter wrongness, an at-times inexplicable sense of doom. Others ramp up the suspense, manoeuvring likeable characters into disastrous situations. Whilst there are also those simply so chilling in their visuals that they stick with you, whether you like it or not.

The following 10 films go above and beyond in terms of creeping out their viewers. Anyone can lurk in the shadows and jump out; these films prowl with malicious intent.

10. The Descent

Possum Movie
Celador Films

Neil Marshall’s low budget hit could serve as a crash course to budding horror directors on how to do a lot with a little. For not much more than £3 million, Marshall created a world awash with terror. In The Descent, the dread comes not just from the creatures dwelling underground, but from the protagonists’ gradual loss of humanity.

The film’s protagonists are a group of women on an adventure holiday in the wild Appalachian mountains. While potholing, they go way off the beaten track, and wind up in the lair of some unknown creatures, which are blind, fast, strong, and hungry.

It’s panic attack-inducing stuff for many before the creatures even feature, but what’s smart about The Descent is how the seldom-seen monsters aren’t even the biggest threat. As fear rises, any sense of calm in a crisis disappears, and the women turn on each other with devastating effect.

Many people like to imagine what they’d do were they trapped in a horror movie situation. The Descent most likely answers that question for the majority of us. While the supernatural elements provide the gloss, the depth of the film comes from the all-too-real sense of incapacitating terror.

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Yorkshire-based writer of screenplays, essays, and fiction. Big fan of having a laugh. Read more of my stuff @ www.twotownsover.com (if you want!)