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Adam Smeták
Jakub Paulík
January 31, 2021, 7:18pm
Reading time: 6:19

Top 10 Horror Films Guaranteed to Send Chills Down Your Spine

Quality horror films aren't only made in the independent waters and our list here is the proof.

Adam Smeták
Jakub Paulík
January 31, 2021, 7:18pm
Reading time: 6:19
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Top 10 Horror Films Guaranteed to Send Chills Down Your Spine
Zdroj: Warner Bros. Pictures
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Audience opinions vary all the time. Some say that the golden age of the horror genre is long gone, others claim there is a spark of hope for it in Hollywood again. New ideas are getting harder and harder to come across, but the films that aim for the fear centers in our brain are still able to reinvent themselves and come up with something new. 


Keep us glued to our seats again and force us to look away from the horrifying scenes on the screen. So how is Hollywood doing in the 21st century? More than good. Our editors have prepared a list of the best scary films that were created in the large studios. They are therefore categorized as the mainstream genre. So, are your lights out already? 


In this article, you'll read about:
  • Which is,  in our opinion, the best Hollywood horror of the 21st century
  • 3 excellent horror films from the same director 
  • Which film succeeded to not only scare but also entertain us
  • What makes the unique Saw film special
  • Which horror movie uses the original world of astral travel in a fantastic way 



10. The Invisible Man (directed by: Leigh Whannell, 2020)

Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) struggles in a relationship with sociopath Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), who surrounds her with material luxury, but also with cruelty, jealousy and obsessive controlling of her privacy. When she decides to run away from him, her ex-partner allegedly commits suicide and leaves her a large heritage. 


However, Cecilia later finds out that Adrian came up with a way to become invisible, which makes her life a living hell in many ways. The filmmakers succeeded to create an atmosphere of ubiquitous evil that threatens the antagonist at every step. As an invisible man, Adrian is able to not only harm Cecilia, but also her friends. The insane ex attacks mainly her mental state and keeps her, and the viewer, in constant fear and suspense. 


The Invisible Man Source: Universal Pictures

9. The Mist (directed by: Frank Darabont, 2007)

We continue with a film that some of you might not be aware of, but you will certainly be familiar with the author of the book. It's none other than Stephen King, the master of horror, so you can be sure it's not just an ordinary scary movie. The story of a group of people locked up in a supermarket surrounded by a mysterious fog is perfectly complemented with a deeper thought of the "demons" in the people themselves. 


King's admirer, director Frank Darabont (Shawshank Redemption, Green Mile), was able to perfectly capture the tense atmosphere, pressure and psychological rebirth of the entire imprisoned community. The effects may come across as cheap at first, but don't get discouraged. The whole film is ruled by the ending that you certainly won't forget anytime soon. 


The Mist Source: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / Dimension Films.

8. It (directed by: Andy Muschietti, 2017)

The next film on the list is another horror, based on Stephen King's novel. The main antagonist of It is the Pennywise clown (Bill Skarsgård), who casts a spell of fear and uncertainty on a small American town of Derry. The children of the locals are starting to disappear and no one knows what happened to them. The mysterious clown is eventually tracked down by a group of friends that discovers that Pennywise returns to Derry every 27 years.


Up until now, no one has dared to stand up to him. The film brings the authentic atmosphere of the 80's, horror tension and surprisingly fresh and functional humor. The quotes of the main characters are an important part of the story. You'll grow to like the characters real quick therefore when their lives are at stake, you're bound to be terrified.  


It Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

7. Don't Breathe (directed by: Fede Alvarez, 2016)

Home Invasion horror film by Fede Alvarez (Evil Dead) exceeded the expectations of the audiences. Here, a group of young people decides to break into the house of a blind war veteran, but as you can imagine, things don't go according to plan. The obscure man perfectly balances tension, action, very effective jump scares and adds an interesting plot twist on top of it all. 


At the same time, we have to say the antagonist is an ordinary man and in no way an invincible superhero. The characters have good motivation and one is amazed at how much can happen in such a small house.


Don't Breathe Source: Sony

6. Sinister (directed by: Scott Derrickson, 2012)

Sinister is a horror film that scares you, on one hand, but it also leaves an unpleasant feeling behind. The main character is the writer Ellison (Ethan Hawke). He finds old videotapes related to the murders in the attic of his house, which point to a masked assassin violently attacking his victims. 


Nevertheless, he soon finds out it's a supernatural being and gets himself and his dear ones into a huge danger. Director Derrickson is great at creating a realistic atmosphere and, combined with unsettling music and excellent acting,  is rightfully found in our top 10. If only we could say the same type of positives about the sequel. 


Sinister Source: Summit Entertainment

5. Insidious (directed by: James Wan, 2010)

Excluding Saw, Insidious is the motion picture that made Wan visible in the horror scene. In the story, a young boy injures his head and falls into a coma.


However, he's not just an ordinary kid. He has the ability to travel astrally. While his body remains in one place, his soule wanders wherever it wants. Problems arise once small Dalton gets stuck in The Further realm and evil entities attempt to get a hold of his physical body as well. 


And the aforementioned dark realm is perhaps the most original idea you'll see in this genre within Hollywood production. His family tries to help him by all available means. When all else fails, Daltons father has no other choice, but to head over to the dark realm. The sequel continues the events that were build up in the first film and the third installment already starts to lag a bit.  


Insidious Source: Alliance Films

4. The Conjuring 2 (directed by: James Wan, 2016)

James Wan is the king of Hollywood, there's no doubt about that. The 70's atmosphere was beautifully portrayed in The Conjuring. He has proven that he can maintain tension and surprise you when you least expect it. In the first film, he introduced the horrifying Annabelle. The sequel is brought to a whole another level.


In both films, we're watching the Warren's, famous paranormal investigator couple, search for the truth. They are facing a lot to be able to fight off the evil powers. Wan simply scores in every scene. Although you might have seen similar themes before, you'll be surprised how his films mess with you and chill your spine. As for the second film, despite of the untraditionally long footage, you'll enjoy every minute of it. 


The Conjuring 2 Source: New Line Cinema

3. Saw (directed by: James Wan, 2004)

James Wan gets remarkably large amount of spotlight in our list and you can be sure that it's no coincidence. We consider the first part of the Saw series the best one of his horror film efforts. In modern cinema, good ideas are quickly exhausted, so the story of a dying man, trying to correct sinners in the most awful ways, was bound to stand out. 


In the first film, we meet a pair of characters that wakes up at an unknown place, tied up to a wall, with someone playing mind tricks on them from the outside. First Saw is a really well made piece of cinematography. It quickly draws the viewer into the entangled mysterious plot that results in a perfect shocking conclusion. Unfortunately, the following sequels decreased on quality, so we're only honoring the first one in our Top 10.


Saw Source: Lionsgate Films Inc.

2. The Others (directed by: Alejandro Amenábar, 2001) 

It is questionable whether this film would have worked this well without Nicole Kidman. Her acting performance, along with the great acting of other characters, has managed to add a lot of soul to the story. Nothing can captivate an audience like the half-insane Kidman. A horror film that would work great without scary scenes is a rare breed indeed. 


The Others is definitely among these films, because you won't find that many "jump scares" in here. On the other hand, get ready for smooth buildup of chilling atmosphere, spiced up with a great story and surprising ending that doesn't feel forced. It perfectly concludes the mysterious story. You already know where to go if you're looking for real quality horror movie. 


The Others Source: Dimension Films

1. The Ring (directed by: Gore Verbinski, 2002)

The year was 1998 and the filmmakers of The Ring have managed to birth one of the most original horror films ever. Hideo Nakata has created a mini-cult with the Ring. Four years have passed and the American remake was released. It has unexpectedly exceeded all expectations based on the Japanese original. 


The Ring rightfully scores the top spot on our list, not only based on the acting performances, but also the unbelievably frightening atmosphere. It is one of the few films that wonderfully blends quality storytelling with terrifying scenes, that get under your skin instantly. This almost detective story lacks little to perfection. The constant time constraint that the viewers experience together with the characters, keeps them glued to their seats. Just as the unsettling presence of Samara. 


The Ring Source: Dreamworks Pictures

You've successfully made it to the end of our list and we hope we've introduced you to a few good films. Don't forget though that there's many different types of horror films and we took on the independent horror films in a separate article


It is also important to note that fear is a subjective emotion and what scares us, might not necessarily have the same effect on everyone. We do believe, though, that this list includes a big part of the best 21st century Hollywood productions, focusing mainly on real good cinema, not just scary fillers. 

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Thumbnail: Warner Bros. Pictures/Lions Gate Films/Paramount Pictures
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