There are spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned, so proceed with caution.
What’s the scariest movie you’ve ever seen?
One of the freakiest movies I’ve ever watched was Se7en, a thriller about two detectives (Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman) on the hunt for New York City’s mass murderer, a man (Kevin Spacey) who was motivated to kill his victims (e.g. the obese hermit, lazy moocher, and prostitute) based on the Bible’s seven deadly sins. He ended their lives in disturbing fashion, and the game of cat and mouse made the film even more of a nail-biter and spine-chiller. However, adjectives are too paltry to really describe the glory and gory of the film.
The blockbuster’s ending was the cherry on top or icing on the cake, but less appetizing, of course. Spacey was captured by Pitt and Freeman, but he had one more mystery for them to solve. His final victim was shipped via delivery company. The package was meant for Pitt. He peered inside the box only to find the head of his beheaded wife, the love of his life. She was Spacey’s victim, but Pitt was his final target. The killer succeeded in his mission, but Se7en’s mission was still unfinished.
As Pitt pulled a gun on Spacey, the killer broke the news of his wife’s pregnancy. Now Pitt was grieving the loss of his wife and unborn child. What does Pitt do next? He shoots the cold-blooded culprit several times. Spacey had officially won the war. The heartbreaking end left audiences in tears, with tissues, and for dead.
Here are 15 other movies that gave people the same impact.
15. Psycho (1960)
Warning: If you watch this movie, you’ll be scared to shower.
The television show Bates Motel gave Psycho a modern spin by exposing the lives of the movie’s characters Norma and Norman Bates. The mother-son duo had odd relations at best, but they clearly never set proper boundaries. While the A&E series highlighted their dysfunction, the movie introduced their issues to the world first. The Bates family showed its audience how deep and disturbing problems can be inside the home, a fact people never wanted to accept.
However, Psycho made sure that people listened, and the movie’s ending was one lesson they would never forget. The son (Anthony Perkins) had killed his mother, but he felt bad afterwards. He proceeded to treat her corpse as if she was still alive, and he would be possessed by her personality. He was struggling with Dissociate Identity Disorder (DID), so he could be either himself or his mother. His alternate personality encouraged him to murder any woman he found attractive. So was he really responsible for the other murders? Or was his mother the culprit?
14. Get Out (2017)
Who needs horror films when you can just go outside?
The 2017 horror Get Out had a 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes for a reason. The movie showed several topics either undermined or unimportant in American society. The prevalent issue of racism among the white, blue-collar, and white-collar workers was scary enough without Peele’s film. However, he brought social injustices to the forefront, and he opened people’s eyes to a racism that included not just the working class, but the “liberal elite,” as Peele says.
While Get Out looked like another blockbuster about star-crossed lovers, the movie was an atypical horror. The wealthy collegian Rose (Allison Williams) and talented photographer Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) were in a supposedly loving relationship, so Rose wanted Chris to meet her parents and brother. Chris was smitten with the brunette beauty, so he agreed to take the trip. However, he realized her family’s hair-raising behavior. He wanted to leave, but her family was in his way. They had other plans for Chris. Guess who was involved?
13. The Sixth Sense (1999)
Ghosts could be just as real as the individuals you see throughout the week. However, how would you really know? The thriller The Sixth Sense toys with that supernatural question.
Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis), a children’s psychologist, has been hired to work with a troubled boy, named Cole (Haley Joel Osment), who claimed to have been seeing ghosts. Crowe wanted to leave the case alone because of his own fears. However, Crowe believed Cole had contact with the supernatural world. He felt compelled to help the child. During their contact, he solved murder mysteries, but there was one murder mystery that baffled the workaholic.
12. Devil (2010)
The one entity more blood-curdling than ghosts is the devil, an evil force that may exist.
Even the word’s scary enough to utter, so why would anybody want to make a 90-minute movie about the demonic force? Director M. Night Shyamalan had his reasons. While the film’s title seems simple enough, Devil‘s nothing short of a masterpiece. The horror film was mainly shot in an elevator, and the entirety of the movie was based on a group of people stuck in the said elevator. When the elevator malfunctioned, they were annoyed, but when their group members were being killed, they were scared for their lives. During power outages, somebody would get murdered. The survivors would point their fingers at each other, and they would blame each other for the elevator’s issues and deaths of the victims.
They rarely blamed the older woman (Jenny O’Hara), and that was their biggest mistake. While she looked like the quintessential grandmother, she was really the devil in disguise. However, the surprises kept coming. Before the movie revealed her as the medium of evil, she had hung herself in the elevator.
Viewers thought the woman was killed, but that would be too easy, especially for Shyamalan.
11. Split (2016)
If you love Shyamalan, then here’s a reason to hate him.
Shyamalan also directed Split, a thriller about Kevin (James McAvoy), a man who had the mental illness DID, which meant that he had other alters (24 total) that took control of his entire being. They were in control of Kevin, and he was used as a vessel for their bidding. For example, the inappropriate Dennis kidnapped three girls, but Dennis was only obeying the rules of the unforgiving matron Patricia. While the students wanted to escape, only one girl, Casey Cooke (Anya Taylor-Joy), was successful. She recognized the trauma Kevin had suffered from as a child, so he and the other 23 alters spared her life.
There were several shockers in the film, but Split‘s exploitation of issues like mental illness and sexual abuse took the top spots. The topics needed to be exposed to the public, but not in an insensitive way.
10. Shutter Island (2010)
In my opinion, Shutter Island was one of the best thrillers of the 21st century.
Teddy Daniels (DiCaprio) and his partner visited Shutter Island, an island that houses the criminally insane. The men were hired to look for a missing patient, but they began to realize that their stay might be permanent. As the movie’s plot thickened, Daniels began to unravel. He was supposed to search for the escapee, but he was too busy chasing demons of his own. His flashbacks of WWII, his tormented wife, and his dead children crashed his train of thought, but he was still aware of his surroundings. He knew that he was on the island for a reason, but the reason was mind-boggling.
9. Take Shelter (2011)
Your worst storm may have been with the wind howling, rain pouring, and lightning striking. Even if you were scared or sad, you probably never thought an apocalypse would occur.
Unless you were Michael Shannon‘s character in Take Shelter, a drama about a man who warned his town about his visions of a cataclysm. His neighbors thought he was crazy, and they ostracized him from social gatherings and events. They felt unsafe around him, but Shannon’s character felt unsafe, too.
He thought he was a schizophrenic. His mother suffered from the same mental illness, too. Was he a product of his parentage? Or was he a soothsayer of the truth? The film cut on an ambiguous note. He, his wife, and his daughter were on a vacation, and they were happy to escape the hoopla of their hometown. He and his little girl were on the beach when a storm was approaching. Birds were in a frenzy, colorful clouds were swirling, and electric streaks of lightning illuminated the sky.
While the director wanted the viewers to decide the fate of the protagonists, they were left in a tizzy of emotion. They had questions unanswered. Was Shannon’s character struggling with schizophrenia, another delusion, or his prophesy coming true? People can only wonder.
8. Orphan (2009)
The horror film, Orphan, made children look terrifying, so that means the movie accomplished its mission.
When Kate (Vera Farmiga) and John Coleman (Peter Sarsgaard) gave birth to a stillborn, they were in a deep depression. They thought they would honor their child’s life by giving new life to a child in need. They went to an orphanage, and they met Esther (Isabelle Fuhrman). The Colemans adopted the little girl, but their family was far from complete.
Eerie events happened whenever Esther appeared. Whether bloody accidents or gory deaths came into play, Esther was always near. The Coleman brood was concerned. She represented a bad omen, but she possessed a sickly aura herself. She was way too worldly for her age, so her knowledge of s*x, provocative dress, and lewd imagination brought a host of other problems, too. Was she really a girl? Nope.
7. Saw (2004)
The slasher Saw was the most disturbing movie of 2004, but the movie’s ending cemented it into horror’s hall of infamy.
Protagonists Adam (Leigh Whannell) and Lawrence (Cary Elwes) awakened to find themselves trapped in a bathroom with a recorder, a phone, and a dead body. The two men had to engage in a gladiatoresque battle. Only one man would walk away alive. The serial killer had specific instructions for his victims to follow, so they had to listen.
Whether they were commanded to cut off their appendages, or bludgeon each other to death, the pair would do anything to protect not just themselves, but their loved ones.
The film’s duration was like a grueling procedure without the harrowing climax.
When Adam killed Lawrence, the second corpse opened his eyes, pulled off his bloody disguise, and electrocuted the survivor. He looked like a random body used for special effect, but he was more than a visual stimulus. He was the cold-blooded killer, Jigsaw (Michael Emerson), and he was the winner of his own fatal game.
6. The Stepfather (2009)
Nobody wants to think of their stepparents as evil beings with dark intentions, but life’s far removed from a fairytale. Unfortunately, mother and father figures can be abusive, and they can harm their stepchildren. When The Stepfather thriller was played onscreen, men and women flocked to the theaters. The movie had been dramatized, but the plot had a few moments of reality.
The stepfather Grady (Dylan Walsh) seemed like the perfect man, and his run-in to single mother Susan (Sela Ward) looked too good to be true. While Hollywood portrays fairytale romances on the gilded screen, director Nelson McCormick had a much different vision. He wanted to show Grady as a mass murderer who had the dream of the perfect family. However, when Grady felt like his brood was in shambles, he would kill them.
He tried to off Susan and her children, too. While he failed in his attempts, he murdered a few people in the process, like their older neighbor and relative. Even though Susan and company escaped with their lives, they were still paralyzed by their tragedy. However, the worst part was the ending.
5. 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
The horror stories of kidnappings are among the most harrowing and heartbreaking, and the movie 10 Cloverfield Lane touches on people’s worst fears.
The culprit, Howard (John Goodman), had taken Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) from her crashed car, and he drove her back to his barricade. She was introduced to his humble abode that was a stowaway underground. According to Howard, she was lucky. He said the world was being overrun by extraterrestrial life. She, Howard, and his handyman, Emmett (John Gallagher Jr.), were the only humans left. Michelle was terrified, but her interest was also peaked. Howard might’ve been telling parts of the truth, but he was also hiding the whole truth.
As Michelle and Emmett worked together to solve the mystery, they discovered unsavory realities of Howard’s personal endeavors. Their lives were in jeopardy.
When Howard shot Emmett, Michelle was left to fend for herself. She escaped, but she was left in a sh*t storm. The world was just as bleak as Howard and his shelter.
4. Carrie (2013)
Never underestimate the power of the people around you.
Based on a novel by Stephen King, the horror Carrie was about Carrie (Chloë Grace Moretz), a student struggling with high school bullies, her radical Christian of a mother (Julianne Moore), and an ungodly power. Her years and years of torment kept her oppressed, but she found freedom in her supernatural release. Unfortunately, the original version of the movie ended on a depressing note (her killing her high school teachers and classmates, not to mention her own mom), but the 2013 remake deviated from total darkness. Carrie still murdered hundreds of people, but she gave one girl a pass.
Her classmate’s life was spared because of the life growing within her. She was pregnant.
3. The Village (2004)
They lived in an intimate colony in Pennsylvania circa 19th century, so they lacked the luxuries of what the 21st century offered, like vaccinations, televisions, and showers.
However, their problems went beyond boredom or buckets of cold water.
They were supposed to get married, but Lucius was stabbed by a jealous villager (Adrien Brody), and he was going to die without medical care. Ivy got permission to leave their commune, which meant that she had to leave the woods.
The viewers were scared for the young woman, especially since her older relatives always talked about the monsters and mythical creatures that surrounded the forested area. They thought she and her boyfriend were doomed. However, they were floored when Ivy fled the woods to find a road and a ranger. Even though she got the proper supplies for her lover’s injuries, she was oblivious to her surroundings.
2. The Girl On The Train (2016)
Don’t drink and drive, and don’t drink and ride.
The thriller The Girl on the Train paled in comparison to Gone Girl, but the movie’s still good enough to rent. The plot zoomed in on the divorcee alcoholic Rachel (Emily Blunt) and her travels by train. She was fixated on one couple that lived near the tracks as they reminded her of a love she had lost. However, her obsession was toxic. She was always drinking liquor, and she was always thinking about the idyllic husband and wife. Their seemingly happy union made her think about her marriage and divorce.
Her husband left her because Rachel was just another drunk who was too loud, rude, and belligerent for her saint of a spouse. He was the hero, and she was the villain. Uh, no!
Looks can be deceiving. Rachel was an alcoholic, but only because of her husband’s vile temper. He was an abuser, and she was his victim. She survived his verbal and physical assaults, but she was lucky. He was a killer, and who were his last victims? The idyllic couple.
1. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo makes the movie Pulp Fiction seem tame.
The thriller had so many different twists to track that the audience’s minds felt fried. They thought they were seeing another Hollywood cliché, but they were really witnessing one of the greatest crime thrillers of all time. The movie was filmed in Europe.
While there were chilling surprises (e.g. the protagonist torturing her rapist) and scaring scares (e.g. the r*pe scenes), the most jaw-dropping scene was introduced towards the end of the movie’s duration.
However, I’ll let you watch the finale for yourself. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is one movie I can’t spoil.