3 Movies That Will Genuinely Scare the Hell Out of You

Anyone who considers themselves a Horror fan usually has a relatively set idea of what scares them. For example, some people find movies about possession not even remotely scary but find slasher films unbelievably frightening. So it’s all about the person and their fear limitations, not what’s deemed scary by redundant Hollywood.

I don’t scare all that easy and it takes a fair amount to genuinely scare me. In regards to the movies in this list I’ve admittedly experienced moments of repeating “holy shit” or at least felt lingering paranoia after watching. Maybe it’ll be the same or similar for you as well.

1. The Descent (2005)

The Descent

Cave expedition is already terrifying to me but I’m pretty claustrophic so that’s a part of why this movie scared me. To put it simply, this B-movie is about six women who go on a spelunking adventure that goes wrong due to one person’s deception. Their problems escalate when they discover they’re not down there alone. And no, this isn’t a creature feature.

Of course the “crawlers” are grotesque creatures but it’s the tight spaces that should scare you most. Picturing yourself in the position of the women makes it more of a freaky experience. Even simply imagining being stuck in caves with things that want to kill you is frightening to me. So if you want a unique spin on a “creature feature,” an all woman cast, B-movie delight and a brilliantly paced/scary atmosphere – watch this movie.


2. The Strangers (2008)

What’s worse than having your proposal turned down? Maybe a trio of masked intruders terrorizing you for no reason at all. It presents a reality that most fear in their everyday lives: home invasion. The place you live is meant to be safe, where you’re comfortable and not fearing for your life. So when you do feel safe wherever you’re staying or living it’s alarming when that safety is threatened.  

The Strangers

The Strangers is about a couple, Kristen (Liv Tyler) and James (Scott Speedman), whose relationship is on the rocks after a failed proposal. Despite Kristen turning James down, they still end up staying at James’ parent’s vacation home and try to make the best of it. Conveniently for the strangers, the home is located in the middle of nowhere. An already awkward and tension-filled late night turns into a very disturbing early morning.

What starts as a young girl knocking at the door asking, “Is Tamara home?” turns into three masked strangers tormenting the couple all night. Worst part is the intruders don’t have any specific motives for breaking in. They aren’t after money or any material possessions in the vacation home. It’s simply murderous people breaking in because Kristen and James were home. 

Combine the masks the intruders are wearing, Kristen and James poor choices throughout, as well as the overall atmosphere of the movie and you’ve got a ridiculously scary home invasion film. Most moments will have you holding your breath and likely checking to make sure your doors are locked.


3. Sinister (2012)

 Supernatural Horror isn’t a genre that I necessarily dislike, though movies within the genre often have the same plots. Usually the movies within this genre focus on a few idiotic (mostly or all) white teenagers who get what’s coming to them. I’ve unfortunately watched far too many movies like this.


Sinister centers around Ellison Oswald (Ethan Hawke) who is a true-crime writer, his wife, and their two kids who move into a new home together. It’s presented as a fresh start for everyone but quickly becomes a nightmare since their house belongs to a family who was murdered (which Ellison knew about and didn’t bother to disclose because he’s a White Man on a Mission). What starts as Ellison investigating snuff film tapes he finds in the attic turns into a losing battle with Bughuul, a deity that he can’t escape. This movie is full of twists that you don’t expect until it’s revealed to you. And I think that’s an aspect that should be a part of genuinely scary horror movies.  


What’s a Horror film that genuinely scared you, Kittens? Tell us in the comments below!

Vanessa Maki is a queer writer, artist & other things. She’s full of black girl magic & has no apologies for that. Her work has appeared in various places like Really System & others. She is also forthcoming in a variety of places. She’s founder/EIC of rose quartz magazine & is involved in other literary spaces as well. Follow her twitter & visit her site.