Seeing as Halloween is just around the corner, test your scare limits by watching our pick of the 10 scariest movies of all time at home, alone and in darkness.
By Daniel Loy
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Probably one of the first movies to be entirely filmed with handheld camcorders, The Blair Witch Project was marketed as “found footage”, causing audiences to perceive it as real-life horror.
The story goes that in October 1994, three students disappeared in the woods near Maryland while filming a documentary about a witch. A year later their footage was found by police. The shaky camera shots and eerily dark backgrounds drastically raises the spook factor of this movie.
A cult classic. Hollywood gave it a remake but what they produced was nothing compared to the original Ringu from Japan. The film became the highest grossing film in the country after its release.
Ringu revolves around a cursed videotape that causes the viewer to die horribly in seven days unless he or she passes it to another person to watch. The evil spirit known as Sadako literally crawls out from the television screen, causing the viewer to die of a heart attack. Downright nasty.
Yet another film that received the Hollywood remake treatment later on, this production exposed the world to the spooks of Thailand and led to other Thai film makers pursuing the horror genre.
In Shutter, a photographer and his girlfriend accidentally run over a girl while driving. No body is found, but soon they couple are terrorised by strange shadows found in their photos. The plot definitely thickens and you’ll feel a load off your shoulders once you’re done with this film.
The Exorcist (1973)
The Exorcist is a pretty old movie that rocked the world when it was first released. There were rumors that the film was cursed due to the numerous accidents that happened during production.
In the film, a young lady is possessed by a demon and her freaked out mother calls in priests to perform an exorcism on her daughter. Although limited special effects were used,the scares are convincing and chilling.
This movie borrowed elements from The Blair Witch Project, notably the “found footage” marketing gimmick as well as the handheld camera style of filming. It’s in Spanish, which adds to the horror factor because you can’t understand what the characters are shouting and screaming about.
The premise is simple: A reporter films a documentary about firefighters and follows them on one of their cases, to an apartment building. Soon after, the building is locked down from the outside and the residents start behaving aggressively. Things spiral out of control pretty quickly and it gets worse when there’s no where to run.
REC 2 (2009)
Few sequels perform well, whether in terms of plot or box-office returns. REC 2 is an exception. The movie is helmed by the same directors which means no major changes to the cinematography that made the original film a highly acclaimed scare-fest. It’s also nice to see that the setting and cast hasn’t changed.
The movie starts off immediately after the events of the first film have concluded. This time, a police special force and an official from the health ministry enter the infected building to try and make sense of what’s happening. Things don’t go well for them even though they’re well-trained and equipped with weapons.
The Conjuring (2013)
Another film about exorcism, but this time based on real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. Google up them to find out more about the cases they handled.
In The Conjuring, a family moves into an old farmhouse, and strange things start happening. Turns out the house used to belong to a witch, who cursed those who took her land. Unable to deal with the frightening events that occur, the paranormal investigators are called in to perform an exorcism. As usual, evil refuses to leave that easily.
If you thought supernatural was the only kind of horror, you’re wrong. The Saw franchise brings out the worst in human beings and makes for a stomach churning experience. Director James Wan went on to direct The Conjuring and other horror films.
Saw revolves around a mysterious psychopath named Jigsaw who abducts people and places them in unimaginable traps. He tests their willingness to sacrifice something important (usually a body part) in order to learn the value of life and escape. Gruesome consequences await those that fail the tests.
Dark Water (2002)
Yet another Japanese horror flick makes our list, but don’t expect over-the-top scare scenes from Dark Water. Instead, the film pays more attention to strange silences and the feeling of imminent fear that it brings.
So the story goes, a woman in the midst of a divorce moves into a run-down apartment with her daughter. Soon the ceiling begins leaking water and long strands of hair start coming out of the taps. A strange red bag for kids also pops up constantly despite the woman’s efforts to get rid of it.
Paranormal Activity (2009)
This last movie follows the “found footage” style that’s similar to other famous horror films, but does away with all that shaky camera motion. Instead, the camera is mounted on a tripod for the most part. Think this makes the movie less scary? Think again.
A young couple moves into a new home, and the woman reveals that an evil presence has been following her since childhood. Her boyfriend decides to mount a camera in their room to film any strange occurrences. The scares start off small, with weird sounds recorded by the camera. It gets worse soon enough, with the camera capturing every horrid detail.