Halloween is when film enthusiasts like to shut off all the lights and put on a scary movie. There are plenty of classic horror films to watch — Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and the eponymous Halloween are just a few — but these films are played out. This year, think outside the box and watch a horror film that doesn’t get nearly enough attention. These are some of the best underrated horror movies of all time. Which one will haunt you this Halloween night?
Modern Horror Films
Best Underrated Modern Horror Films
For this list of modern horror films, we looked at films within the last decade or so. We wanted underrated scary movies everyone reading this could have conceivably seen in theaters but maybe didn’t check out. They’re worth another look, and some of them are well on their way to becoming cult classics. These films should be fairly easy to find, and they may even be available at your local Redbox.
1.1. UNDERRATED HORROR MOVIES
1. As Above, So Below (2014)
A lot of people were ready to write off found-footage horror films entirely in the mid-2010s. However, As Above, So Below proves this format still has some surprises.
The film follows Scarlett Marlowe as she travels to Paris’ catacombs to find the philosopher's stone. She enlists the aid of her friends and a guide to help her find the powerful artifact, but what they don’t realize is that something is waiting for them in those catacombs.
1.2. Best Unknown Horror Movies
2. Cheap Thrills (2013)
Cheap Thrills is a black comedy that will have you laughing one minute and wincing the next. It follows Craig, an auto mechanic who just lost his job and needs to provide for his wife and newborn daughter. He runs into an old friend, and the pair meet up with an eccentric millionaire who wants to have a little fun.
What follows is the most twisted game of Double Dare ever. Their friendship is tested as they amputate body parts and eat a dead dog. Their limits are truly tested when the millionaire wants to see what they would do for $250,000.
1.3. Most Underrated Horror Movies
3. Hush (2016)
Hush puts a new twist on the classic home invasion formula. There’s a madman out to get our protagonist, but she’s deaf. She has no way of communicating with the outside world, and her house is out in the middle of nowhere.
It’s a quiet thriller. There’s not much in the way of dialogue, but the way in which the scenes are crafted around the suspense of what will happen next is nothing short of breathtaking.
The best part of all of this is that Maggie’s deafness is never seen as a hindrance. There are several moments where Maggie uses it to her advantage, making this an empowering film that will have you cheering every step of the way.
1.4. UNKNOWN HORROR MOVIES
4. Goodnight Mommy (2014)
A mother returns home after undergoing cosmetic surgery. She has two twin boys waiting for her at home. The only problem is that they no longer recognize their mother, and they tie her to a bed to get her to admit she is someone else.Many modern horror films deal with issues of motherhood. Just look at Hereditary or Us. Goodnight Mommy leans into this trend by commenting on how women can be treated when they pursue acts viewed as antithetical to motherhood, which in this case involves pursuing plastic surgery.
It’s an intense film that will have you questioning what is really happening until the final frame. It’s dark and violent, and it will have you wanting to put on an episode of Futurama on afterward to feel better.
1.5. TOP UNDERRATED HORROR MOVIES
5. Pontypool (2008)
Pontypool is a zombie film like no other. A small Canadian town becomes ravaged when people become obsessed with certain words, and they begin to eat each other’s flesh.
It’s a horror film that has a lot to say about the power of language as people trapped in the radio station begin to lose their cohesion over time, too. Soon, the only thing these people know to do is to eat the mouths of those who can still speak.
You can divide this film into three parts. The first being almost a radio play. The second being your standard zombie flick. Lastly, the third act serves as a dissertation into understanding why we comprehend what we can. In a world where the truth is frequently shrouded, it’s a zombie flick for the modern times through and through.
Comedy Horror Films
Best Underrated Comedy Horror Films
Just because something is scary doesn’t mean it can’t also be hilarious. Balancing comedy with horror is a tricky act. Horror is all about building suspense while comedies are about alleviating suspense. However, the following films manage to walk that tightrope to perfection. If you want something a little lighter on Halloween night, these are the films for you.
2.1. BEST OVERLOOKED HORROR COMEDIES
6. Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)
Have you ever wanted to see Elvis Presley and the potentially reanimated corpse of John F. Kennedy fight an evil Egyptian mummy? That’s pretty weird if you answered, “Yes,” but you would also happen to be in luck. Bubba Ho-Tep is a riot, and it stars king of the horror nerds, Bruce Campbell, as Elvis.
Our two heroes are stuck in a nursing home where the other residents are slowly disappearing. The pair teams up to get to the bottom of this and to save the soul of their friends.
What follows is an insane, terrifying, and actually heartfelt tale that has fallen under the radar in recent years. With enough love after the fact, maybe we can finally get that sequel: Bubba Nosferatu: Curse of the She-Vampires.
2.2. MOST UNDERRATED HORROR MOVIES OF THE DECADE
7. Zombeavers (2014)
Sometimes you don’t want to think too hard about a movie or its themes. When you’re up for a good, old-fashioned, bloody time, then Zombeavers is the film to rent.
It follows a group of college kids away on vacation when they encounter, you guessed it, zombie beavers. The rest of the film goes pretty much the way you expect with the college students one-by-one meeting their demise from some very angry beavers.
The film gets as raunchy and gory as you would expect. And the zombeavers themselves are appropriately retro and not all that convincing. However, if you feel like turning your brain off for 90 minutes, this is the way to go.
2.3. NEW UNDERRATED HORROR MOVIES
8. The Voices (2015)
When you first start playing The Voices, you may wonder why this list tried to convince you to rent a quirky rom-com. It seems innocent enough. Ryan Reynolds plays a socially-awkward factory employee who just wants his gorgeous coworker to notice him. Oh, and he talks to his dog and cat who talk back to him.
Things take a turn for the worst when Reynolds’ character ends up murdering his coworker, and he hides her head in his fridge. The only problem is that the head keeps talking to him, and he soon finds himself giving in to his murderous urges more than once.
The film is equal parts hilarious and tragic. He may be a murderer, but you genuinely feel for Reynolds as you know, deep down, he doesn’t want to be this way. It may not be a straightforward horror film like others on this list, but this quirky, little film deserves to be seen by as many people as possible.
2.4. UNDERRATED HORROR MOVIES ON NETFLIX
9. Little Evil (2017)
Gary, played by Adam Scott, just married the woman of his dreams. The only problem is that she was impregnated with the son of Satan before they got together.Little Evil comes from the director of Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil, and you can expect the same expert blend of horror with comedy in this hilarious flick. Adam Scott playing his usually wound-up self is just icing on the cake.
The movie goes back and forth from horror film to a sweet tale about becoming a family. Little Evil successfully takes worn-out tropes and makes them feel brand new. And the best part is that you can stream it on Netflix.
2.5. BEST UNDERRATED HORROR MOVIES
10. Life After Beth (2014)
Another genre mash-up worth checking out is Life After Beth. Starring Aubrey Plaza and Dane DeHaan, this film shows just how far some people are willing to go for the people they love.
Zach (DeHaan) is naturally upset when his girlfriend passes away. But good news! She comes back to life, only this time, she has more of a proclivity for eating human flesh.
At first, Beth doesn’t realize she’s a zombie, but it’s not long until she finds she can no longer control her urges. Although the film never got much buzz when it was released, it’s a sweet, gory film that deserves some love. It does a great job of bringing together both zombie and romantic comedy tropes into something all of its own.
You Can Stream
Best Underrated Horror Films to Stream
There are a lot of great horror films on this list. However, some of them can be hard to track down on watch. Fortunately, if you have a Netflix or Hulu account, then you have a plethora of fantastic horror movies at your disposal. Ask a buddy for their Netflix password because these are just a few horror films you need to stream this Halloween season.
3.1. BEST UNDERRATED HORROR FILMS YOU CAN STREAM
11. The Perfection (2019)
The Perfection is a Netflix original that stars Logan Browning and Allison Williams, who is quickly carving an interesting niche for herself in the horror genre after a stunning turn in Get Out. The Perfection sees the two women as rival cellists whos paths cross when Williams’ character comes out of retirement.It’s tough to get an exploitation movie right. You have to strike the perfect balance between class and crass, and not every movie can pull it off. Fortunately, The Perfection is the exception.
Both Browning and Williams are fantastic in this. If you’re in the mood for a twisted story about obsession, or you’re just a fan of good cello playing, then this is the film for you.
3.2. UNDERRATED HORROR MOVIES ON NETFLIX
12. Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)
Dan Gilroy and Jake Gyllenhaal struck gold with Nightcrawler. The two reteamed for Velvet Buzzsaw for a very different type of movie that will nonetheless shake you to your core, especially if you consider yourself an artist.
The artwork of a dead man is discovered, and everyone in the bougie L.A. art world is trying to figure out how to best capitalize on it. The only problem is that artists start to show up dead, and the disturbing artwork seems to be at the center of every death.
The death scenes are just as gruesome as you want them to be. And at the end, the audience is treated to a nice little message about what it means to create art. It’s a blend of camp and horror that’s in short supply these days.
3.3. BEST UNKNOWN HORROR MOVIES
13. Apostle (2018)
It’s not every day you come across a period horror film. Apostle fills that gap, and although it’s available on Netflix, far too few people have seen it for our liking.Apostle takes place in 1905 and follows a man whose sister has been kidnapped by a cult. He soon stumbles across evils far beyond he could ever imagine and perhaps more than the audience can imagine as well.
It starts slow, but stick with it until the end. It turns into a bloody good mess that will leave viewers who love gore squirming in their seats.
3.4. BEST UNDERRATED HORROR MOVIES OF THE DECADE
14. I’m Just F*cking With You (2019)
You should never trust anyone who’s super into April Fool’s Day. A brother and sister learn this the hard way in I’m Just F*cking With You, available to watch on Hulu.
The manager plays a series of increasingly demented pranks on the pair as they’re spending the night in his hotel. It remains morbidly humorous throughout its quick runtime as the pranks grow from annoying to deadly.
If you’re looking for a double-feature this Halloween night, then we’d recommend pairing Cheap Thrills with I’m Just F*cking With You. The two play off one another superbly, and they deliver plenty of gore and mayhem while making you chuckle a few times.
3.5. TOP UNDERRATED HORROR MOVIES
15. Treehouse (2019)
Jimmi Simpson is great in anything, but he really turns in a fantastic performance in the Hulu original, Treehouse. In it, Simpson plays a jerk who makes a fool of himself in front of various women the weekend of his ex-wife’s new marriage.
However, he soon finds he’s not alone in his secluded manor. He soon finds himself face-to-face with visitors intent on teaching him a lesson he will not soon forget.
Treehouse is a horror film for the #MeToo era. Our protagonist is a man who’s made some mistakes, and now, he’s forced to come to terms with those errors. Any time a horror film can incorporate a little social commentary into its story is all right with us.
of the 80s
Best Underrated 80s Horror FilmsThe 80s were a great time for horror. The Shining, The Thing, and Evil Dead continue terrifying audiences to this day. But there are plenty of movies that came out during the same period that are worth a watch, too. All these films have that 80s charm you love, so take a stroll down memory lane.
4.1. BEST UNDERRATED HORROR FILMS OF THE 80S
16. Night of the Comet (1984)
It may be set right before Christmas, but Night of the Comet makes for an awesome watch on Halloween night, too. It’s an 80s zombie flick well ahead of its time. The two heroines talk openly about sex, and one of the girls even has a pregnancy scare. And neither of them are ever punished!
A zombie apocalypse breaks out when a comet flies over Earth. Rather than freak out, our two heroes do the only thing they know to do: Head to the mall. And yes, this is the 80s, so you can expect a shopping montage to go along with their adventure.
Now’s a great time to check out this gem. Last year, it was announced a reboot was in development. We’ll see if it ever comes to fruition, but for now, you can enjoy this slice of 80s horror heaven.
4.2. UNDERRATED 80S HORROR MOVIES
17. Street Trash (1987)
Street Trash is arguably the most outrageous horror movie on this list. The film starts off with a couple of winos buying ancient liquor, but once they drink the concoction, they melt.
What follows is a menagerie of subplots involving everything from Vietnam War vets to the mob. It carries on the proud tradition of body horror in a one-of-a-kind way they could only get away with in the 80s.
This film isn’t for the faint of heart. It has a lot of tasteless jokes, including a scene where homeless people play catch with a certain severed part of the anatomy. It’s not for everyone, but for horror film lovers who want to test themselves, this movie is the way to do it.
4.3. BEST OVERLOOKED HORROR MOVIES
18. Pin (1988)
Carrying on the tradition of trashy horror films from the 80s, we get Pin. It’s a Candian horror film that was released straight to video. You may have to dig deep at your local rental house to find it, but it can be worth it if you’re in the right mood.Pin follows an anatomically-accurate medicine doll used by Dr. Frank Linden to teach kids about bodily functions. A mentally unstable man comes to believe the doll is talking to him. It’s all fun and games until the doll starts telling Leon to murder.
It’s a creepy film you don’t want to watch alone. It also has surprisingly strong performances for something that went straight to VHS.
4.4. UNDERRATED HORROR MOVIES IN THE 80S
19. Dead Heat (1988)
If there was any genre of film that defined the 1980s, it was the buddy cop film. It only makes sense for the horror genre to meet with this trope, and the result was Dead Heat.
The movie stars Joe Piscopo, Treat Williams, and Vincent Price in one of his last film roles. It goes back and forth from wise-cracking cops to zombie carnage, and it’s a riot from start to finish.
The movie doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it’s clear that was the intention. It’s one wild ride that’s for sure. You just have to be willing to go along with the insanity.
4.5. MOST UNDERRATED HORROR MOVIES
20. Just Before Dawn (1981)
Slasher movies were stale even in the 80s. You have your psycho murdering teenagers or babysitters, and that’s about it. Just Before Dawn stands apart from other films in this category because it focuses more on the buildup to the killing instead of just the murder on its own.
The set-up is pretty straightforward. A group of college students heads into the woods, and they encounter a murderer with a machete. The premise has been done to death, but you’ll be surprised how effective it can still be in the right movie.
The cinematography and score for this film are far better than they have any right to be. And the sequences of the maniac stalking the students will have you on the edge of your seat.
of the 90s
Best Underrated 90s Horror FilmsThe 1990s saw a different kind of horror film emerge. The 80s laid out tropes, and the 90s took it upon themselves to pick apart those tropes. In this decade, horror movies became increasingly self-aware, as best evidenced by Scream. But there are still plenty of overlooked films that nonetheless helped push the boundaries of what was possible within the genre.
5.1. UNDERRATED 90S HORROR MOVIES
21. Cronos (1993)
Cronos was Guillermo del Toro’s directorial debut, and it remains one of his seminal works. It showed what he could do even on a microbudget, and the answer is one of the most chilling horror films of the decade.
The movie focuses on a small insect-like creature that can reverse the aging process, but it comes with some disastrous side effects. It combines elements of horror, drama, and fantasy that would come to define del Toro’s later works.
Del Toro has a clear understanding of what makes the horror genre so beloved. And you can see that passion on full display in Cronos that is just as terrifying today as it was in the 90s.
5.2. BEST UNDERRATED HORROR MOVIES
22. Modern Vampires (1998)
Modern Vampires is unlike any vampire film you have seen before. It’s an oddball comedy, but it still has plenty of scares to give you your fix on Halloween night.
The movie follows a group of vampires living in L.A. where they are allowed to exist as long as they don’t bother regular people. What is lacks in a straightforward plot it more than makes up for in a strange series of vignettes featuring big names like Kim Cattrall, Craig Ferguson, and Natasha Lyonne.
The music was done by Danny Elfman, appropriate seeing as how his brother is the director. We guarantee you’ve never seen another horror film like this.
5.3. BEST UNDERRATED HORROR MOVIES OF THE 90S
23. Popcorn (1991)
Self-aware horror films did not start with Scream. Popcorn beat Wes Craven to the punch several years ahead of time in this smart slasher flick that effectively utilizes the tropes of the genre to its full advantage.Popcorn follows a young girl who just wants to organize a horror movie marathon at her local theater. Unbeknownst to the teenagers, there’s a murderer lying in wait at the theater who’s going to kill them off one by one.
Popcorn invites you to laugh at it. You can tell the filmmakers’ had their tongues planted firmly in their cheeks while making this, so sit back and enjoy the ride.
5.4. UNKNOWN HORROR MOVIES
24. The Resurrected (1991)
The Resurrected is one part Frankenstein and one part H.P. Lovecraft. It barely received a theatrical release, but it deserves a second chance in the limelight.
The wife of a deranged chemical engineer grows increasingly worried about the experiments her husband is conducting in his mysterious carriage house. The film gradually builds as we learn more and more about the experiments, all of which leads to an explosive finale.
Anyone who is a fan of monster effects and plenty of gore will want to check this out. It goes far beyond what you would expect from its haunted house premise and delivers some genuinely terrifying thrills.
5.5. BEST UNDERRATED HORROR FILMS OF THE 1990S
25. Dust Devil (1992)
The horror genre meets the road movie in the fascinating Dust Devil. It’s set in South Africa, the director’s home, making this a highly personal film as well as an exceptionally bloody one.
The main character is actually a shape-shifting demon that hunts those lost in the desert. It’s a beautifully-shot film with cinematography worthy of awards.
The director wasn’t happy with the final cut of the film, and the original vision would be seen until nearly a decade later. It blends mythology with graphic gore effortlessly, and if you can track down the director’s cut, then you should definitely give it a watch.
Best Underrated New Horror FilmsFinally, we’re looking at some of the most recent horror films to scare audiences. Sure, everyone’s a big fan of the It and Conjuring series, but there’s more to contemporary horror than big franchises and intellectual property. These films deserved bigger turnouts, but with some much-deserved appreciation, maybe they can find a second life.
6.1. MOST UNDERRATED HORROR MOVIES OF THE DECADE
26. Ready Or Not (2019)
More than just Pennywise tried to scare audiences in 2019. In fact, one of the best horror films of the year didn’t really have a monster at all unless you count a bunch of rich people.Ready Or Not follows Grace as she marries into a family that owns some of the biggest board games in the world. However, the family owes its success to murdering new members to appease an ancient demon.
Ready Or Not is a bloody good time. The premise may be a bit weird, but if you go along with it, then you’ll reap the benefits. The ensemble is a blast with a standout performance from Adam Brody, and the payoff at the end makes everything worth it.
6.2. NEW UNDERRATED HORROR MOVIES
27. Horror Noire (2019)
Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror isn’t technically a horror film. Instead, it’s a documentary detailing black filmmakers’ influence on the genre.
The film dives all the way back to the horror genre’s early roots where black characters were relegated to caricatures and exploitation. It features interviews with everyone from Jordan Peele to William Crane.
The documentary does a stellar job of both educating and entertaining the viewer. For horror fans who want to learn more about the subject matter they love, this documentary should be required viewing.
6.3. RECENT UNDERRATED HORROR MOVIES
28. Tigers Are Not Afraid (2019)
The drug wars consist of real-life horrors. Tigers Are Not Afraid mines this political battlefield for everything it’s worth in a disturbing fairy tale that follows a group of orphans as they receive three wishes.
Estrella wishes for her mother to come back. She does but at a grave cost. She’s still dead, and she won’t stop following Estrella in this film that proves that when you lose loved ones from violence, they’re never really gone.
It’s one of the most chilling horror films to be released in recent memory. It also succeeds in being frightening without exploiting real-life tragedies the film is based on.
6.4. BEST OVERLOOKED HORROR MOVIES
29. Crawl (2019)
Giant alligators are ripe for the horror genre. Crawl was released earlier this year, and while it made back its budget, it deserves another look for simply how entertaining it is.
Haley goes to find her dad, who could be left stranded in the ensuing hurricane. What she discovers is that her dad is pinned down in the family basement with killer crocs lurking nearby.
Once Crawl gets going, it really gets going. There are plenty of thrills and jump-out-of-your-seat moments. It offers a solid dose of tension and shocks. It just kind of got lost among all of the other summer offerings this year.
6.5. BEST UNDERRATED HORROR MOVIES IN RECENT MEMORY
30. The Banana Splits Movie (2019)
The Banana Splits was a popular cartoon in the 1960s. In 2019, they’re a bunch of murderous maniacs in this awesome movie that you shouldn’t show the kids.A family attends a taping of The Banana Splits expecting a wholesome time. However, the titular band becomes furious when they discover they’re show is getting canceled. They go on a murder spree, taking out everyone in the studio.
If you’re a fan of Five Nights at Freddy’s, then this movie is right up your alley. It’s twisted, hilarious, and something that could genuinely ruin your childhood.
The Sunken Place: VFX Break Down
Get Out certainly isn’t underrated. It earned a lot of well-deserved praise upon its release. Now, you can learn how they made the famous “Sunken Place” scene in the film. It may even give you some ideas on how you can pull off intricate scenes in your next film.