The 15 Scary Films to Watch Before Halloween is Over

 With Halloween quickly approaching I thought I would share 15 films I think you should watch before Halloween is over. There are certain films I chose not to include because they are so well known I feel they don't help in getting noticed. Films like The Shining, The Thing, It, Alien, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street and the Halloween films are all too well known. Those films are great, I also really liked Shaun of the Dead and The Cabin in the Woods, but those films are more funny and less scary than the others. Watching scary movies seems to be a tradition in the month of October, I myself have been watching them in October for as long as I can remember. I wish there were more theatres that brought back films for nightly viewing during Halloween, there is something about watching a thrilling film in a packed theatre. A full theatre will lead to really big audience reactions, people will scream and jump in their seats; there is something special when you see a film in a packed house. I am not ranking these films; I am just listing them in no particular order. The movies can be enjoyed at home at night and with the lights off (if you're brave enough). I will not spoil any of the films I talk about, I will keep my comments brief and to the point. I am trying to see you on watching these films, I want to explain why I liked them and why they deserve a view. 

SCREAM (1996)

The film that got me into slasher films, I was too young to see it in theatres as it was rated R, but I did rent it and enjoy it greatly. The film features a young cast of high schoolers (in their mid 20's) who are being terrorized by a killer known as Ghostface. Scream was something fresh, it launched a series of 1990's films trying to piggyback on its success. Some of those films were in consideration for this list like Final Destination, Disturbing Behaviour, The Faculty and I know What You Did Last Summer. None of those films I listed were as good as Scream, but I still enjoyed all of them; Scream was something special which is why there were three sequels (a fourth on the way) and a TV series. Scream has some edge of your seat scream at the TV moments while also giving you laugh out loud moments too. The three sequels to Scream are not as good as the original but they are all watchable with Scream 2 and 4 being pretty good and Scream 3 being a little weak. If you wanted to do a scary movie series marathon then I think Scream is a safe bet to deliver, there are other series that are good, but Scream is one of the more consistent ones.


I guess I can't deny that I am a Zack Snyder fanboy, Snyder's first feature film was a remake of George A. Romero's classic. There are only two films on this list that gave me nightmares and Dawn of the Dead is one of them, this was the film that made zombies move faster. The movie was filmed right across the street from where I lived, there was a mall that was about to be torn down and that was the mall from the film. I think because they filmed in my area the film fills me with a dread because the locations are so familiar. Dawn of the Dead was written by James Gunn so there is also a lot of heart and humor, but they take a backseat to the gore and terror. The cast is full of familiar faces, but no real stars, which works in the films favor as they all give solid performances. I highly recommend Dawn of the Dead to any fan of the zombie genre; it is a movie that brought fast moving zombies to world. I am not arguing that is a horror classic, but it is a scary movie that doesn't get mentioned enough.


If you would have told me there was a film that featured a blind man terrorizing teenagers, I would have assumed he had special powers. Don't Breathe manages to make a blind man seem frightening, it does help that the blind man is played by Stephen Lang (Avatar) who was a character actor until he got the villain role in Avatar. Lang was great in Avatar, and he is even better in Don't Breathe, Lang seems like a really intense guy, or he has the guts to let the performance take him over. The film was such a success that a sequel was greenlit, I never saw the sequel, but I heard it was not as good the first film. Don't Breathe is a must watch just for the force of Lang's performance, his co-stars are Dylan Minnette and Jane Levy who are also really great in the film. You need to watch this film in the dark, it takes some twists and turns so I will not say much more. Don't Breathe keeps you on the edge of your set until the very end, you never get too relaxed.

THE MIST (2007)

The combination of Frank Darabont and Stephen King has produced two other fantastic films in The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption. The Mist is the third collaboration of a Stephen King book and a Frank Darabont written and directed film. The Mist stars Thomas Jane (The Punisher) as a father who is one of many residents of a small town that are trapped in a grocery store when an invasion happens. The film is very tense and has some great moments, it is often overlooked because it is not flashy. The film has some great performances, and the tension comes from not just what is outside, but the people trapped inside the store. The Mist will deliver a solid movie that is incredibly tense, if you have never seen it before I suggest you stay spoiler free.

CRAWL (2019)

A movie about killer alligators sounds silly until you see Crawl, it is a masterclass in terror, and it will make you want to scream at the screen. The film stars Kaya Scodelario (The Maze Runner series) and Barry Pepper (Saving Private Ryan) as a father and daughter who become trapped in their flooded home during a hurricane, and they are not alone. The plot is simple, but the way it is shot and acted keeps your eyes glued to the screen for the 87-minute runtime. It is a short movie, and I don't think the material in the film will give you nightmares, so it is a perfect before bed choice of film. I think Crawl will go down as film that will develop a cult following since it is just a quick terror-filled movie that keep you entertained.  

47 METERS DOWN (2017)

This choice was tough as I saw 47 Meters Down before I watched The Shallows (2016), both films feature water-based adventures that see Sharks terrorizing our heroes. Both films are similar in that they feature sharks, but 47 Meters Down as the title suggests takes place under water. 47 Meters Down is about two sisters that go scuba diving in a shark cage and become trapped (you guessed it) 47 meters down. The Shallows follows Blake Lively going surfing on an isolated beach when she is attacked by a shark and becomes stranded off of shore. Both movies are short, and tension filled, I found myself riveted to the TV during both movies. I don't think you can go wrong with either film, I prefer ever so slightly 47 Meters Down because of the underwater setting. The Shallows features a great performance by Blake Lively, but I found 47 Meters Down more thrilling.


It took me awhile to see Train to Busan, I heard from horror fans that had seen it at a film festival that it was great. I don't remember it getting a theatrical release in Toronto, so I got it on DVD, after my first viewing I understood why it was so popular. Train to Busan was a great movie, it tells the story of a father who accompanies his daughter on train to take her back to her mom when Korea is beset with a zombie apocalypse. The movie has a lot of heart, the film starts slowly as your introduced to the main characters and some of the passengers aboard the train. There was a sequel made that came out in 202 that I reviewed, while the sequel has a great opening it is a different film than Train to Busan. Train to Busan is a little bit Snowpiercer and a little bit World War Z; it is a great scary movie that will also make you feel something in your heart.


Drag Me to Hell is a criminally underrated film that should be a movie you seek out and watch as soon as you can. The film is directed and written by Sam Raimi (Evil Dead and Spider-Man), it follows the story of a young woman who is cursed and then soon finds her life falling apart. Drag Me to Hell is a blast of a movie that nobody has seen, it has jump scares, gross-out scenes and decent amount of dark humor. Raimi is a director who has an odd sense of humor and a distinct visual style that I think is perfect for a horror film like Drag Me to Hell. The film will sneak up on you, it is only 99 minutes long, but it sets up its main character so well. Do yourself a favor and watch Drag Me to Hell, it won't take a lot of your time and it will keep you entertained and thrilled.


I debated whether The Sixth Sense belongs on this list, I argued that since the movie freaked me out and had me on edge it belonged on this list. There is a big twist that takes place towards the end of the film, but the twist does not make or break the movie. The film stands on the tone it sets within the first few minutes, the film follows a therapist who is trying to help a young boy who is being haunted by ghosts. The film stars Bruce Willis and Toni Collette (more on her later) and was written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. If ghosts make you uncomfortable then I think you will find The Sixth Sense a movie that will have you feeling very uneasy. The movie is dark and depressing, but part of the success is based on the tone that is set up early on. 


I tried to find films that I felt were great but were also underappreciated or have become forgotten for some reason. Overlord starts out as a WWII action film and then it turns into something else that may or may not give you nightmares. Overlord was a bomb at the box office, but it was a very well-made film that unfortunately did not draw an audience. Once the film deviates from a WWII film to something otherworldly it gets gory, don't be surprised if you find yourself getting nauseous while watching the movie. The movie does a great job of building tension and giving all moments a feeling of impending doom. Overlord is a movie that wastes not time in putting you into the fight, the pace never slows down for the entire film.


One of my favourite films of 2019 was Ready or Not, it is probably the least terrifying film on this list, but it does have an abundance of thrills in the movie. Ready or Not is about a family gathering at a wedding and the bride has to play a game with the family that might be the end of her. The movie has a lot of humor (fairly dark stuff), and it has a solid cast of familiar faces delivering great performances. For fans that are not wanting a film that is too scary I think Ready or Not will deliver the thrills while not leaving you cowering in a corner. Ready or Not is such a fun film, it never takes itself too seriously, but it delivers thrills and a lot of humor too. No matter what month it is Ready or Not is a film that you should watch, I will be curious to see what people think about it when they do watch it.


The debut film for Ari Aster was one of the best films I saw in 2018, Hereditary is a fantastic film that I warn you is not for everyone. Hereditary is a film that spends a majority of its running time meditating on grief, it is not a happy or fun film. The movie stars Toni Collette as mother who is dealing with the death of her mother when she is dealt another unexpected loss, saying more than that will ruin the film. The movie has one of the most bonkers endings I have ever watched, some people did not like the ending, but I loved it. Toni Collette deserved more recognition for her performance in the film, it was amazing as she had to do so much, and the rest of the cast delivered too. This movie is not for the faint of heart, not only is the movie very heavy, but it also has some shocking images that will stay with you. I think for fans of slow burn horror films Hereditary will deliver, it requires patience as the first hour of the film is a drama. If you can find something in the first hour to appreciate, your patience will be rewarded when the film starts to crazy in the best way possible.


The Descent is a film that always seems to find itself on streaming services at this time of year, it is a terrifying film for those that are claustrophobic or scared of the dark. The Descent follows a group of women who go on a cave diving trip when they become trapped in a cave, and they are not alone. There is a very human story at the heart of the movie that will make all that follows feel that much more special. The Descent is only 99 minutes so it is a quick watch, the performances are all good and when things start to go bad you will not be able sit comfortably until the end. The character drama is the heart of The Descent, there is something special about the story being told in the movie and I wish more horror films delivered stories like this.

28 DAYS LATER (2002)

Danny Boyle (Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire) directed a horror film written by Alex Garland (Ex Machina) and it is one of the scariest films I have ever seen. I know some might not find the film scary, but for me it prevented me from sleeping soundly for a week. The film is about a man who awakens from a coma and realizes that he missed the apocalypse (very similar to the pilot of The Walking Dead). There is a virus that can be spread through blood/saliva, and it causes you to lose control and became vicious (like a zombie). The opening scene of 28 Days Later is one of the most upsetting scenes to watch, I was not even able to watch it the last time I watched the movie. There is a sequel to 28 Days Later called 28 Weeks Later that is almost as good as its predecessor. 28 Weeks Later is a sequel that follows different characters as they attempt to reopen London until the virus starts to spread again and our heroes are forced on the run. The sequel also features an incredibly well done and terrifying opening sequence that sets up the rest of the film. If you want to watch a truly upsetting double feature then I think 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later are your best options, just don't blame me when you can't sleep.


I will end the article on what is my favourite film to watch that is on this list, The Conjuring is a truly special movie that has setup an entire universe of films. The Conjuring was directed by James Wan (Aquaman and Furious 7), and he gives the film a life that I cannot properly describe. The movie follows a family who moves into a new home that is haunted, the family goes to the Warrens for assistance. The film is based on a case the Warrens were actually a part of and even though the film takes liberties with the story there is an authenticity to the film in the style. The movie has terrifying moments and is very creepy at times, the style that Wan brings to the film is what it makes so good. The cast is also very good with Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga playing the Warrens who will be the focus of the sequels. The Conjuring was so successful that it has spawned its own universe of films that now numbers eight films. The creepy doll (Annabelle) introduced into the film has three movies (all pretty good), a film called The Nun that is tied with The Conjuring 2 and the Curse of La Llorona. I thought The Nun could have been great, but the budget and story did not allow the film to be as good as I had hoped it could be. The Conjuring 2 was a great sequel, while not as good as The Conjuring it delivered on the scares and characters. I cannot recommend The Conjuring and Conjuring 2 enough, and if you enjoy them then maybe give the Annabelle series a chance.

Thank you for reading and please share some of your favourite scary movies.

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