There’s no shortage of scary movies out there. Whether you’re trying to find age-appropriate Halloween movies for kids or setting up a movie night with the best Halloween movies ever made, there really is something for everyone.
So odds are, even if you’re a die-hard scary movie lover, you haven’t seen all the Halloween movies out there. That’s why we reached out to a handful of horror-appreciating entertainment writers to ask them which underrated movies (and, in some cases, TV shows) you may have missed but should watch this Halloween.
Looking to up your Halloween movies game? Then bust out some snacks and read on for 21 of the most underrated horror movies to watch for Halloween 2022, plus where to stream, rent or buy them this weekend.
1. As Above, So Below (2014)
When I found this documentary-style horror movie on Netflix, I was expecting to be entertained but underwhelmed, and I was not prepared for how much I loved this horror movie. It’s a perfectly contained action film that avoids some of the clichés and annoyances of most found footage or documentary horror flicks. As a lapsed Catholic, the movie’s religious themes spoke to me, and this movie is just so much better than it should be.
– Timothy Beck Werth, Site Director, SPY.com | @books_sexy
2. Frailty (2001)
There’s a fine line between “horror” and “psychological thriller,” but rest assured, there are enough genuinely terrifying moments within this Bill Paxton-directed flick to place it safely in the former category. When Fenton Meiks (Matthew McConaughey) walks into the office of FBI Agent Wesley Doyle (Powers Boothe) and reveals his brother Adam is the “God’s Hand” serial killer, it kicks off a film-length flashback where Fenton unspools the story of their childhood, the brothers’ relationship with their father (Paxton) and the horrifying secret that takes the film back to the present for its mind-bending conclusion.
– Will Harris, Contributor, Decider, The A.V. Club Random Roles | @nonstoppop
3. Ready or Not (2019)
I remember seeing Ready or Not in the theater with no expectations. What I got was one of the best films of 2019. I don’t feel people talk about this film enough. This film is the legit nightmare of meeting your inlaws and then literally fighting for your life to survive in your new family. It’s fun and suspenseful, properly bloody, and thoroughly entertaining. Everyone plays their part perfectly. I knew Samara Weaving was destined to be a star. If you loved You’re Next but want more humor with all the same tension, this is the film for you. Bonus: Adam Brody playing peak preppy jerk.
– Sheilah Villari, Managing Editor, SPY.com | @kittenexploits
4. Creep (2014)
I’ve always had a soft spot for Patrick Brice and the Duplass brothers’ Creep. A man diagnosed with cancer (Mark Duplass) recruits a videographer (Brice) to record a message for his family. What follows is a lesson on why you should never answer ads on Craigslist. Unlike gems like The Babadook, Midsommar or Get Out, Creep isn’t especially groundbreaking. No, the merits of this 77-minute thriller come from how tight it is. The movie wonderfully balances the inherent tension of the found footage genre with the horrors of a slasher to create a nightmare that feels disturbingly believable.
– Kayla Cobb, Senior Reporter, Decider | @kaylcobb
5. The Guest (2014)
Many films leap to mind for underrated Halloween movies, including Hot Fuzz and Shaun of The Dead, but we really need to talk about The Guest. Before Dan Stevens was the Beast, or starred in the surreal series Legion, he played another “David” in The Guest opposite the fantastic Maika Monroe. Stevens is so charming and ferocious in this film, which walks the line between an action movie and a slasher. For anyone who wants a little bit of everything in their Halloween viewing, The Guest is a wild, bloody ride, especially in the final, triumphant moments. Directed by Adam Wingard, written by Simon Barrett.
– Andrew Powell, Editor-in-Chief, The Gate | @wanderpow
6. She Dies Tomorrow (2020)
What if the unshakable thought that you were going to shuffle off this mortal coil very soon was not just a parasite gnawing away at your mental well-being but also a contagion? Amy Seimetz’s completely unnerving thriller begins with a single person (Kate Lyn Sheil) gripped with the notion she will die tomorrow. After mentioning this to a concerned friend, that woman inexplicably senses her demise is imminent, too, and so on…. Soon, this nihilistic despair spreads exponentially — plus, it’s sent a meeting invite to the Outlook calendar in their skulls as well. The longer you watch these folks succumb to communal self-destruction, the more you begin to recognize their collective madness as your own.
– David Fear, Senior Editor, Film/TV, Rolling Stone | @davidlfear
7. The House of the Devil (2009)
If you loved X (and its recently released prequel Pearl), I urge you to spend a night with Ti West’s The House of the Devil sometime this Halloween season. Released in 2009 but set in the 1980s, West’s slow-burning ode to the satanic panic era co-stars Tom Noonan (Manhunter, The Monster Squad) and actor-turned-filmmaker Greta Gerwig. Like West’s recent work, it’s fun, freaky and full of period-specific references (cue a dance scene featuring The Fixx’s “One Thing Leads to Another”). Just make sure to order a greasy pizza before you press play!
– Emily Gagne, Writer for Dread Central and Co-Host of We Really Like Her! podcast and screening series
8. Blood Quantum (2019)
The zombie movie is both the smartest and dumbest sub-genre of horror filmmaking. In one corner, you have the medium’s greatest minds using the walking dead as sly metaphors for the terrors of racism (George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead), the zero-sum game of political isolationism (Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later), and the thin veneer of civility that keeps modern society chugging along (Yeon Sang-ho’s Train to Busan). But the zombie movie can also be wielded as a weapon of gore-soaked nothingness. Canadian director Jeff Barnaby’s new stab at the zombie film, Blood Quantum, fortunately swings toward the metaphorical end of the undead entrails; it is as much a gusty dissection of colonialism as it is a gut-spilling splatter-thon.
– Barry Hertz, Deputy Arts Editor and Film Editor, The Globe and Mail | @hertzbarry
9. After Midnight (2019)
One thing that makes a successful horror movie is its ability to genuinely surprise, and 2019’s After Midnight is a delightful surprise of a film, horror or otherwise. When Hank’s girlfriend disappears, he begins to rethink the quiet, predictable life he’s cultivated — and, oh yeah, suddenly an unseen monster begins attacking his house every night. You might think you know what’s going on, but After Midnight decides to take things in a different (and much more interesting) direction, culminating in what actually might be the most romantic ending I’ve seen in a horror film.
– Kat Angus, Co-Host, I Hate It But I Love It podcast
10. All My Friends Hate Me 2021
A horror and comedy film that doesn’t fit neatly into either genre, All My Friends Hate Me follows Pete (Tom Stourton), a 30-something who is excited and anxious to reunite with his college friends for a weekend away. The film opens with Pete immediately on uneasy footing, with his friends showing up late for his birthday weekend and dismissing his news about his latest career success. As the reunion continues, the audience and Pete grow increasingly anxious as it becomes less clear whether his friends are disinterested in seeing him or playing a mean prank. The film has several twists and turns, making it unclear whether Pete is a reliable narrator or losing a grip on his mental state. It’s a movie that stays with you and encourages discussion. The cast is lovable and loathable, with each playing their character arcs brilliantly.
– Allison Bowsher, Contributor, SPY.com | @allisonbowsher
11. Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)
If you count The Rocky Horror Picture Show among your faves but haven’t yet caught director Darren Lynn Bousman’s adaptation of the 2002 play, you should change that this Halloween. The film revolves around a worldwide epidemic in which a biotech company launches an organ-financing program. When they come to collect, however, things turn deadly. The social commentary is top-notch, of course, but the real fun of this film is in watching Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Anthony Head) as the singing Repo Man.
– Amber Dowling, Contributor, SPY.com | @amber_dowling
12. Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988)
Sleepaway Camp II is not only arguably the best entry in the franchise but it is a wildly underrated entry into the pantheon of slasher horror. What makes it stand out is that you know who the killer is from the jump and follow them on their spree. Rather than easing the tension, knowing the killer only ratchets it up as you wait for the other shoe to drop whenever they’re on screen with someone destined to be a victim. The movie is filled with gruesome kills, nods to horror luminaries like Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees, and some incredibly gross moments that are bound to make you squirm. All of that, plus a genuinely funny performance from Pamela Springsteen (Yes, Bruce Springsteen’s little sister) as the killer, makes for a movie worth searching out.
– Chris E. Hayner, Entertainment Editor, GameSpot | @chrishayner
13. Personal Shopper (2016)
I can’t think of a recent film that creeps me out more than this one, yet many people fixate on the fashion rather than the phantom. As a clothing buyer for a wealthy client, Kristen Stewart’s Maureen is constantly on the move between Paris and London — and so is an “unknown caller” who keeps texting her, an aggressive and vexing presence not unlike the mocking telephone psycho from Scream. The texts are all the more upsetting because Maureen, believing in life after death, is awaiting a message from her recently deceased twin brother. Writer/director Olivier Assayas confronts shallow materialism with intense spiritualism, conjuring real chills in an artful take on horror.
– Peter Howell, Movie Critic, The Toronto Star | @peterhowellfilm
14. Practical Magic (1998)
Practical Magic is underrated as a horror movie because quite frankly, you probably don’t think of it as one. But director Griffin Dunne doesn’t pull too many punches when digging into the more ghoulish elements of the seemingly breezy dramedy about two sisters (Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman) whose witchy powers lead to some (justifiable) murder and (light) mayhem. Everyone talks about how much fun the midnight margarita scene is, but they overlook the dark turn it takes, as Sally and Gillian’s aunts Frances (Stockard Channing) and Jet (Dianne Wiest) figure out what their nieces have been up to — not to mention the terror surrounding Gillian’s lover Jimmy (Goran Visnjic), undead proof that Gillian has, in Sally’s words, “the worst taste in men.”
– Liz Shannon Miller, Senior Entertainment Editor, Consequence | @lizlet
15. Swallow (2019)
Written and directed by Carlo Mirabella-Davis, Swallow stars a beguiling Haley Bennett as a young pregnant housewife who has developed an unusual fondness for swallowing strange and dangerous objects — often sharp, often misshapen. While that feels like an inevitable gun that must go off, her unfortunate habit only worsens as her husband becomes more controlling, and she begins to feel less and less like she fits into her new, seemingly flawless life. The film’s heightened sense of dread never once dwindles and, while stunning, its pastel pink and purple aesthetic never once softens the mood. Exuding isolation and entrapment, you’ll feel your own breath lodged in your throat.
– Sadaf Ahsan, Toronto-Based Arts Writer, The Juggernaut | @_sadahahsan
16. Oculus (2013)
Before he was delivering terrific Netflix horror series like The Haunting of Hill House and Midnight Mass on a regular basis, Mike Flanagan made a notable impression with Oculus. This 2013 Blumhouse film shows just how confident and skilled Flanagan was from early in his career, co-writing (with Jeff Howard) and directing the story of a brother and sister (Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaites) dealing with a mirror that may have dangerous supernatural capabilities that were the cause of great tragedy in their family. Set in two time periods, it effectively merges genuinely creepy moments with emotionally impactful ones, much as Flanagan has done so well over and over in his work since.
– Eric Goldman, Managing Editor, Fandom
17. Scare Me (2020)
Josh Ruben’s 2020 horror comedy is an underrated favorite. In addition to writing, producing and directing the film, Ruben stars as Fred, an actor/writer who goes on a solo retreat to the Catskills. There, he meets Fanny (Aya Cash), a best-selling horror author staying nearby. As the area experiences a blackout, Fred and Fanny pass the time by sharing their scariest stories. It has clever nods to horror classics while also exploring themes like fragile masculinity, especially when faced with an accomplished female counterpart. For writers or creative types, it operates on another level by zeroing in on our insecurities. Despite Fanny and Fred’s frightening fireside tales, the scariest aspect of this movie may be Fred discovering that he’s a bad writer.
– Melissa Girimonte, Editor, TheTelevixen.com and Host, Fem TV
18. Little Monsters (1989)
Is Little Monsters the most terrifying movie on the list? No. Does it ultimately hold up, 33 years later? Of course not. But as a child I was obsessed with director Richard Greenberg’s movie about a kid who didn’t fit in (Fred Savage) and the monster that pops up from under his bed (Howie Mandel, in some gnarly makeup). I showed the movie to my semi-scared kids last Halloween and it was just as campy and fun as I remembered in that late-80s, coming-of-age, trope-filled way. If you’re looking for less scary but amusing fare this season, just check under your bed.
– Amber Dowling, Contributor, SPY.com
19. Drag Me To Hell (2009)
Drag Me To Hell is a modern horror movie by famed director Sam Raimi, and it’s got everything you’d want from a Raimi flick. The jump scares and body horror are incredible, of course, and you’ll laugh almost as much as you’ll squirm. I don’t want to give away too much, but it’s a truly frightening story with great performances from Justin Long and Dileep Rao.
– Timothy Beck Werth, Site Director, SPY.com
20. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
No one is going to argue that E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is an underrated movie overall (it regularly ranks on 100 Best Movies of All Time lists, for example), but when it comes to thinking of it as a Halloween and/or horror film, it gets much less recognition. That shouldn’t be the case. Director Steven Spielberg brilliantly uses the holiday as an essential plot device to move the character of E.T. around, unnoticed (because he is in costume), in suburbia. And when it comes to horror, well, whether you think the idea of aliens invading Earth is scary on its own (not to mention how entwined the health of one special little boy becomes to this alien’s health), or if you’re more afraid of what the government can and will do, especially to that little boy, E.T. has it all.
– Danielle Turchiano, Senior Editor, Metacritic | @danielletbd
21. The Haunting of Hill House (2018)
Prestige TV is the new cinema, so I’m gonna cheat by nominating a limited-run TV series. Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House delivers 10 episodes of nuanced gothic charm. The show balances psychological thrills, character study and things that go bump in the night. The series works on multiple levels as it depicts a family struggling against literal ghosts and the metaphorical ghosts of generational trauma. A final act twist makes the whole series completely rewatchable. Honorable mention to creator Mike Flannigan’s subsequent series Midnight Mass (2021) and The Haunting of Bly Manor (2020).
– Rob Owen, TV Columnist, Pittsburgh Tribune | @robowentv