It’s Halloween season, and you know what that means… It’s time to have a fright night where we stay awake all night and watch scary films. Of course, there were horror movies that people already judged even before watching it. We have watched tons of horror movies about a maniac on the loose or a group of friends hanging out in an isolated cabin or a virus that turns humans into brain-eating zombies. There are so many ways that filmmakers could make those plots interesting.
With this list, you could find scary films with under-hyped dispositions due to their seemingly feeble concept or downright horrible trailers. Naturally, those reasons would make moviegoers feel doubtful before entering the cinemas (or at this point, before streaming it online). But, ultimately wowing them in the end. These movies gained a reputation for being a surprisingly entertaining flick with an engaging plot.
SPOILER ALERT: This article may contain details of the movies on this list.
10 Horror Movies That Were Better Than Expected (in alphabetical order)
Final Destination 5
How many of these films already exist? Similar to other franchises, the Final Destination series has garnered quite a few additions in their catalog. By the announcement of the fifth film, people have grown hesitant to watch the over-the-top and gory kills. Surprisingly, it didn’t flop like a lot of us expected it to. The opening bridge sequence delivered a thrilling drama and the intricacy of the characters’ deaths didn’t fail to disappoint.
The fifth film also continued the series’ trend of being watchable in 3D, enhancing its in-your-face violence. Plus, the twist at the end made us all gasp in shock. The fact that it was a prequel and they didn’t even let us know made it pretty sure that it was a way better movie than we all expected it to be. This 2011 film ended with an airplane crash that set off the events of the 2009 flick, giving it a full-circle moment that fans certainly enjoyed.
Leaping from comedy to horror can be tough. However, writer and director Jordan Peele still did the jump and nailed the landing. In 2017, he blew everyone away. This movie revolves around social class and racism. Although those themes already remained strong by themselves, he still added a whole host of banalities that strongly suited the genius plotline and characters.
Plus a huge amount of humor, this movie allows viewers who want to watch a horror flick that offers something new. It turns out that the white characters in the movie have been using black people’s bodies for their preferred physical characteristics and a twisted form of immortality.
An armed man hunting down a woman as she stays alone in a house in the woods isn’t anything new. However, the fact that the woman was deaf and can’t even pinpoint a sound that viewers already did makes this movie even more frightening. The movie sought out every kind of audio stimulus anywhere else in the environment.
The assailant can get in anytime he wants without the woman even noticing it. Delivering a different twist on the typical home invasion horror we’re used to watching, this movie remains a brilliantly crafted suspense. The eeriness of its villain makes it a chaotic yet calculated slasher.
Based on H. G. Well’s 1897 novel of the same name, the movie Invisible Man follows a woman who believes her abusive and wealthy ex-boyfriend has turned into a stalker even after his apparent suicide. She, then, concludes that he has acquired the ability to become invisible.
A guy goes crazy leading him to stalk and terrorize his ex-girlfriend. Yup, we’ve heard that story before. But this time, he’s invisible. With that title alone, it seemed like it won’t be a good movie. Sure, it sounded like a classic slasher set-up minus the ostentatious visible villain.
Many became doubtful over the old-school-style horror which according to today’s standards has a very vanilla plot. However, the excruciating tension and Elisabeth Moss’s impressive emotional performance blew the audience away. It became a popular movie among movie fans during its limited cinema release.
Offering a similar trope to A Nightmare on Elm Street on asking who the next victim will be, It Follows has a unique take on the villain aspect of horror. In this movie, an evasive and indefinable shape-shifting demon-like presence gets passed on through sexual intercourse. The villain hunts people down and kills them without a matter of why.
The only way to escape it is to keep passing it on to others. This highly metaphorical film manages to avoid the cliche teen horror framework and give the viewers something distinctive. Although it still has excellent jump scares and weird disturbing characters, it only adds into the flavor that makes you cynically staring at slow-walking strangers in the street.
This 2009 psychological horror film centered on a couple who, after the death of their unborn child, adopts a mysterious nine-year-old Russian girl named Esther from a local orphanage. Creepy kids in horror movies aren’t entirely new in this genre. Isabelle Fuhrman’s chilling performance as Esther made her an impactful actress that’s frankly way beyond her years.
There’s already something unnerving about creepy kids in horror movies, especially when they’re seemingly cute and cuddly on the outside. Then, you realize that they’re a 33-year-old woman with hypopituitarism – a rare hormonal disorder that stunted her physical growth and caused proportional dwarfism – posing as a little orphan girl.
The amount of found footage films out there has tainted the effectiveness of the sub-genre. When this ghostly home-based found footage flick geared up for release, most moviegoers likely thought of the same thing: Why? Well, Paranormal Activity captured audiences everywhere.
The unrelenting suspense and deafening stillness reminded us how horrifyingly realistic, relatable, and plausible this kind of situation can be. Although its formula isn’t anything new, its minimalistic approach left viewers staring agape at the screen as they freak out over the littlest of things.
Ready or Not
We’ve had tons of horror movies that have a spooky mansion setting. This film makes us fear marriage and the idea of having in-laws. Essentially, it’s a big old game of cat and mouse. The protagonist- newlywed Grace – has to survive the entire night as her husband’s whole family hunts her down to properly initiate her to be included in their own kin.
The film earns its praise due to its violence and as well as its comedic timing that hooks a viewer from start to finish. It blended these subversive humor with crowd-pleasing thrills, garnering positive reviews from critics. Littered with horror cliches, it gives us a reason why said banalities remain effective.
As I said, franchises like Scream have garnered quite a few additions in their catalog. Some horror movies bank solely on the genre’s well-worn cliches as they add nothing of their own. This movie presented a treasure trove of old-school slasher tropes laced with post-modern commentary.
Although the movie still relied on a meta format of typical horror setups, it does so in a more self-aware way. Of course, this introduced Emma Roberts into the genre which we remain thankful for in every single way. Now, she thrives in the genre as she starred in two seasons of Scream Queens and five seasons of American Horror Story.
Zombieland: Double Tap
The movie revolved around the main quartet ten years after the events of the first film. Survivors Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita, and Little Rock became experts in identifying and disposing of various zombies as they set up their new home in the abandoned White House.
The first Zombieland was unique. It has a highly stylized nature that made us all wish we were in a zombie apocalypse. Bringing out a sequel should be a tough job to carry out. But, of course, they nailed it. The movie gave us tons of hilariously gory fight scenes and cutaways that made it comparable to household zombie flicks.
Which one did you like the most? Let us know!
Angela Grace P. Baltan is a Communication graduate from Colegio de San Juan de Letran. She doesn’t hesitate to be opinionated in analyzing movies and television series. As a writer, she uses her articles to advocate for feminism, gender equality, and mental health among others.