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The Best Horror Movies on Paramount+ – Collider

Watch with the lights off if you dare…
There are two types of people: those who wind down with a nice romantic comedy and rejoice in the happy ending and those who need a bit more blood, guts, and terror to truly relax. For those that belong to the latter category, the search for a great horror film can be exhausting. It may be one of the most popular genres, but many franchises and films are not worth the watch. Horror movies are often in danger of relying on jump scares and gore and less on the story and truly bone-chilling thrills. However, Paramount+ has been a haven for all kinds of horror films. Whether you like them old or new, gory or psychological, this streaming service has a horror movie for you!
Director: Wes Craven | Run Time: 111 minutes
Cast: Neve Campbell, Skeet Ulrich, Matthew Lillard, Courtney Cox, David Arquette
We’ve seen many directors try and fail to make horror comedies that get at the root of what is so ridiculous about the genre while still being able to make our skin crawl. It took a horror veteran like Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street) to be able to really dissect the genre while also giving us some of the scariest villains of all time. Scream begins when a killer known as Ghostface begins killing off teenagers in a small town. As the body count rises, Sydney (Neve Campbell), a no-nonsense teen with a traumatic past, will have to unmask the killer and end the violence. Craven gave the world one of the best final girls in the genre’s history and subverted horror expectations that he himself had established, making it a classic for the ages.
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Director: Alex Garland | Run Time: 115 minutes
Cast: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez
Alex Garland has cemented himself as one of the most compelling sci-fi directors of his generation. He has explored questions of what makes us human in Ex Machina and the terrors of the unknown with Annihilation. The movie centers around a biologist who signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition into a mysterious zone where the laws of nature don’t apply. With echoes of Andrei Tarkovsky’s unnerving classic, Stalker, and a cast including the likes of Natalie Portman and Jennifer Jason Leigh, it’s safe to say this is a criminally overlooked thrill ride.
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Director: John Krasinski | Run Time: 90 minutes
Cast: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe
When you think of your favorite horror movie, you probably remember the sound of the screams of the victims and the killers. A Quiet Place asks its audience if a horror movie can still be scary and memorable without any sound at all. The movie takes place in a post-apocalyptic world in which a family is forced to live in silence while hiding from creatures that hunt by sound. Where other horror movies take their cues from blood-curdling screams or musical scores, this John Krasinski-directed movie shows that the silent killers are the hardest to get over.
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Director: Gore Verbinski | Run Time: 115 minutes
Cast: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, Brian Cox
In the history of the genre, no phrase instills as much fear in audiences today as “You’re gonna die in seven days” does in The Ring. The movie begins when newspaper reporter, Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) hears about an infamous videotape. If you come across it and watch its violent imagery, you get a phone call informing you that you have a week to live. In disbelief, she watches it and suddenly finds herself with little time to save herself. While watching the movie, it’s hard to separate the deadly videotape from the film itself, making it all the more frightening to experience. Just pray your phone doesn’t ring when the credits start to roll.
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Director: Don Siegel | Run Time: 80 minutes
Cast: Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter
This Cold War-era flick may have cheesy special effects, but its message is timeless. Invasion of the Body Snatchers concerns an extraterrestrial invasion that begins in a small California town. Alien seed pods with the capability to produce a visually identical copy of a human have fallen from space. These clones are just like their human counterparts except they lack all human emotion. It is up to a local doctor and his former girlfriend to uncover the mystery. It may feature alien villains but, in reality, it was a plea against conformity and the rising tide of McCarthyism which swept the nation. For classic horror fans with a political edge, this is the film to see!
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Director: Adrian Lyne | Run Time: 113 minutes
Cast: Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Peña, Danny Aiello
Director Adrian Lyne may have made a name for himself in the 1980s as a master of the erotic thriller with films like 9 ½ Weeks and Fatal Attraction, but he also showed he was more than capable of making a horror classic with Jacob’s Ladder. The movie follows Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins), a Vietnam War veteran who is plagued by hallucinations and flashbacks. As he tries to uncover the truth of his visions, he descends deeper and deeper into madness. Lyne creates an incredibly devastating story that not only explores the horrors of war and the afterlife but of the human mind itself.
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Director: George Romero | Run Time: 96 minutes
Cast: Duane Jones and Judith O’Dea
From The Evil Dead to The Walking Dead, every single movie or TV show that even uses the word “zombie” owes everything to this George Romero classic, Night of the Living Dead. The movie follows a group of people trying to survive a zombie attack while trapped in a rural Pennsylvania farmhouse. It isn’t hyperbolic to say that what Dracula did for the vampire, Night of the Living Dead did for the zombie. Romero weaved a tale so terrifying that horror storytellers had no choice but to follow in his footsteps. This is a classic that can’t be missed with great performances and frightening cinematography.
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Director: Rose Glass | Run Time: 84 minutes
Cast: Morfydd Clark and Jennifer Ehle
Many may be familiar with A24’s other recent horror hits like Hereditary or The Witch, but Saint Maud deserves just as much of your attention. The story follows hospice nurse Maud, a recent Catholic convert, who becomes obsessed with saving the soul of a former dancer in her care by any means necessary. In this tale of psychological and body horror, the secrets of this God-fearing nurse are revealed as the hedonistic dancer is subjected to her missionary fervor and insanity. With praise coming from directors like Danny Boyle, this movie is sure to unsettle you.
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Director: Irving Pichel and Ernest B. Schoedsack | Run Time: 62 minutes
Cast: Joel McCrea, Fay Wray, Leslie Banks
The film may be unknown to a lot of people, but David Fincher fans will remember its chilling reference in his film, Zodiac, as the eponymous killer mentions it in his letter to the press. The Most Dangerous Game begins when Bob Rainsford, a legendary hunter, is shipwrecked on a mysterious island and finds himself the guest of the reclusive and eccentric Count Zaroff. What begins as a strange and welcome encounter ends with Rainsford and his fellow survivors being hunted for sport by the sadistic Count. Zombies, vampires, and ghosts may be scary but man is, after all, the most dangerous game.
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Director: Marc Forster | Run Time: 116 minutes
Cast: Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner
Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, World War Z is an apocalyptic tale grounded in the very real need of a father to protect his family. The film stars Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane, a former UN investigator, who finds himself called back to work when a mysterious virus begins infecting the entire world and turning them into mindless zombies. The filmmakers may not have known how relevant a film about an infectious virus taking over the world would be nearly ten years after its release, but it has (unfortunately) only become more disturbing with time. If pandemics no longer scare you, give World War Z a try.
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Director: Herk Harvey | Run Time: 80 minutes
Cast: Candace Hillgoss and Sidney Berger
Though it only had a small release in its day, Carnival of Souls has since gained a large cult following with praise being given from filmmakers like David Lynch, George Romero, and Lucrecia Martel. Carnival of Souls follows Mary Henry, a young woman recovering from a car accident. After relocating to a new city, she finds herself experiencing visions of a ghoulish stranger and becoming entranced by an abandoned carnival. The movie plays like a lost Twilight Zone episode but uses German expressionist-style visuals to make a unique picture.
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Director: Kimberly Pierce | Run Time: 99 minutes
Cast: Chloe Grace-Moretz, Julianne Moore, Judy Greer
The 1976 version of Carrieshocked audiences across the world with the bold direction of Brian De Palma and the terrifying performance from actress Sissy Spacek, but it is the 2013 film version that adds a level of tragedy and understanding to make this story a classic. The movie follows an outcast teenage girl named Carrie (Chloe Grace-Moretz) who is hounded by her bullying classmates and abused by her religious mother. When she realizes she has supernatural powers, she finally gets to take revenge on all of her tormentors. Fans of the original may still be disgusted by the lasting image of prom queen Carrie and the bucket of pig's blood, but director Kimberly Pierce turns this feeling of disgust into pity.
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Director: Karyn Kusama | Run Time: 102 minutes
Cast: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Simmons
Though it was initially panned upon its release, Jennifer’s Body is one of the best horror comedies of the past 15 years. It follows two best friends, Needy (Amanda Seyfried), a bookish and innocent girl, and Jennifer (Megan Fox), a far more popular and experienced girl. After a traumatic encounter with abusive rockstars, Jennifer becomes demonically possessed and starts killing her former classmates and leaving Needy horrified. It’s hard to say what exactly made this film so unpopular in its day. It could have been the terrible marketing or the inability of critics to take Megan Fox seriously, but it has since become essential horror viewing because of its feminist take on an old story.
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Director: Daniel Myrick & Eduardo Sánchez | Run Time: 81 minutes
Cast: Heather Donahue, Michael Williams, Joshua Leonard
The Blair Witch Project changed the horror movie-making game. In the previous decades, the horror genre had become over-reliant on animatronic monsters and grand settings, but this low-budget flick showed that even with a cheap camera, non-professional monsters, and even no actual sign of the monster itself, a movie could still make your skin crawl. This classic follows three student filmmakers who hike into the Black Hills to film a documentary about the Blair Witch, a local legend. However, all three disappear and all that is left is the camera footage found at the scene. The facts of the case may be fictional, but that won’t stop you from being horrified by it.
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Director: Dan Trachtenberg | Run Time: 104 minutes
Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman, John Gallagher Jr.
Director Dan Trachtenberg is currently enjoying the successful release of his film Prey (part of the Predator franchise), but he first made a name for himself with the psychological horror film 10 Cloverfield Lane. The story follows a young woman who, after recently suffering from a car crash, wakes up in an underground bunker with two others. These men are convinced that a disastrous event has left the Earth uninhabitable but whether she will or should trust them is another question. With career-defining performances from Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman, this is a must-see movie!
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Director: Barry Sonnenfeld | Run Time: 99 minutes
Cast: Anjelica Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd, Christina Ricci
If you love horror but don’t feel like watching a dark tale about the fatal shortcomings of the human race, The Addams Family is the perfect alternative! Based on the short-lived 1960s sitcom of the same name, this reimagined movie is just as popular today as it was when it was released. The film focuses on the macabre aristocratic family and follows them as they reconnect with their long-lost family member, Uncle Fester. With the franchise getting new life in Wednesday, the Wednesday Addams spinoff series, now is the perfect time to revisit this camp classic!
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I am Sofia Sheehan. I am a writer for Collider and have previously written for Boathouse Pictures. I also run a blog dedicated to Latin American film at www.thecinelatinoblog.com! I love Richard Linklater, Pedro Almodovar, and Asghar Farhadi!
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