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This year's 15 most terrifying films to watch on Halloween

Chances of weeping behind your sofa: high

This year's 15 most terrifying films to watch on Halloween

It’s that time of year once again.

No, not that time of year, but Halloween – when we celebrate the scary, sinister and spook-tastic just for the hell of it.

So in the ongoing pursuit to scare ourselves silly, here’s a round-up of the most terrifying films released this year.

Sleep well.

The Witch

The Story: A puritan family in 1600s New England are plagued by supernatural events.

Scarily Good Because: Forget big hats and brooms, The Witch is too smart for that. It’s masterfully restrained, stirring up psychological scares in its cauldron of tricks. With great performances from newcomer Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Finch from The Office (bloody good rep), plus the scariest goat in cinema history.

Watch It: On Amazon Video.


The Story: A team of cops stumbles through a trapdoor to hell – cue much gut-churning terror and utter madness.

Scarily Good Because: Following the not-so-long tradition of Turkish horror movies, this is one of the most obscenely bonkers films you’ll see this year – any year, in fact. A surreal journey into extreme body horror, it also features its own bogeyman-like monster, “The Father”. Not for the faint of heart, or weak of stomach. 

Watch It: On Amazon Video.

Green Room

The Story: A hardcore punk band gets held hostage by the evil Nazi version of Captain Picard and his ultra-violent thugs.

Scarily Good Because: You’ll have to watch this through your fingers – and just count yourself lucky that some skinhead yobbo hasn't hacked your fingers off. Patrick Stewart plays a blinder, reminding why the threat of brutal violence is something to fear.

Watch It: On DVD and Blu-ray now.

Goodnight Mommy

The Story: After their mother returns from cosmetic surgery with her head wrapped in bandages, twins Lukas and Elias become convinced she’s an imposter.

Scarily Good Because: This one's as psychologically harrowing as the premise suggests, with a few surprises thrown in just to make things extra disturbing. Proof that when it comes to horror, twins are always – and we mean always – sinister.

Watch It: On Amazon Video.

Under The Shadow

The Story: In the height of the Iran-Iraq war, a Tehran mother is convinced she's being haunted by a devious "Djinn".

Scarily Good Because: This is a political horror as much as a supernatural one, portraying the oppression of women in post-revolution, war-torn Iran. It’s a slow burner too, taking time to build central character Shideh – a brilliantly Narges Rashidi – before revealing itself as an all-out scream-a-thon.

Watch It: On Amazon Video.

10 Cloverfield Lane

The Story: Possible nutter John Goodman holds Mary Elizabeth Winstead captive in his underground bunker, claiming the apocalypse is happening outside.

Scarily Good Because: A masterclass in claustrophobic tension, this keeps you guessing all the way. Is it really the end of the world? Or is Goodman off his actual bleedin’ rocker? Don’t be fooled by the loose connection to Cloverfield either – it’s a brilliant thriller in its own right. Skin-meltingly scary. 

Watch It: On DVD and Blu-ray now.


The Story: Kebab shop owner gets revenge on drunken yobs by using them for doner meat.

Scarily Good Because: Notable for being the first horror flick set in Bournemouth, there’s a distinctly British flavour to this one (plus chilli sauce and garlic mayo, obvs). It’s grisly stuff, packed with hacked off limbs and faces in the deep fat fryer. Tasty.

Watch It: On Amazon Video.

Lights Out

The Story: A family is stalked by a malevolent demon that only appears when the lights are... erm, out

Scarily Good Because: If you’ve seen director David F. Sandberg’s original short, you’ll know what to expect from this year’s breakout horror hit. It plays on the most base of human fears – the dark – and dishes out scares without resorting to the kind of cheap jumps you'd see in other moderns. Nerve shredding stuff from start to finish. 

Watch It: In selected cinemas now.


The Story: Deaf author Kate Siegel is tormented by a masked intruder. Standard.

Scarily Good Because: Much more than your average home invasion movie, this owes a small debt to Halloween for its edge-of-your-seat suspense and makes for a chilling alternative to the usual studio-produced horror. One for gore hounds too, you vicious lot.

Watch It: On Netflix.

The Conjuring 2

The Story: Ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren investigate Blighty’s greatest spook, the Enfield poltergeist.

Scarily Good Because: Like all James Wan-directed horror films, it’s totally OTT, but you can’t fault Wan’s knack for cranking up the tension before something horrible jumps out on you. Loosely based on real events, it substitutes the truth for big, nerve-jangling scares.

Watch It: On DVD and Blu-ray now.

Don't Breathe

The Story: Three delinquents break into the house of a blind man. Turns out though, he’s a first rate psycho.

Scarily Good Because: It’s an exercise in nerve-shredding tension, full of creaky floorboards, shadowy movements, and jump scares. There are also unpleasant moments of body horror to gag on, as the burglars try to escape with their lives, let alone the loot.

Watch It: In cinemas now.

Carnage Park

The Story: Escaping from an armed kidnapper, a woman stranded in Californian wasteland – which juts happens to be the backyard of a nutcase with a people-hunting fetish.

Scarily Good Because: This 1970s-set crime caper/horror is like Tarantino does torture porn – sweary, self-aware and unrelentingly violent. Pat Healey is on top form as desert dwelling maniac, like the missing family link between the villains of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Wolf Creek

Watch It: On Amazon Video.

Blair Witch

The Story: A group of youngsters venture into the woods (don’t they always?) to find out what happened to the filmmakers who when missing there 17 years ago…

Scarily Good Because: What starts as an all-too familiar wander through the trees snaps into a different film entirely, as The Guest director Adam Wingard turns it into something so bat-shit crazy and relentless it will hurt. Adds some nice witchy details to the backstory too.

Watch It: In cinemas now.

Train to Busan

The Story: Die Hard on a train. With zombies.

Scarily Good Because: Just in time for Halloween, this is a zombie film set to breakneck speed, with incredible fight choreography to boot. It’s a killer concept – passengers trapped with infected monsters as they try to escape a 28 Days Later-style outbreak – and resists the urge to say, “We need to get these motherf*cking zombies off this motherf*cking train!”

Watch It: In cinemas 28 October.

The Neon Demon

The Story: Elle Fanning’s aspiring model arrives in Hollywood, but discovers the competition is murder.

Scarily Good Because: From Drive and Only God Forgives director Nicolas Winding Refn, The Neon Demon is predictably as much an arthouse flick as it is horror. It’s a sexually charged and nightmarish brain-twister, with necrophilia, cannibalism, and lashings of blood. 

Watch It: On DVD and Blu-ray 31st October.