When you want more than clowns or slashers, turn to these 7 horror movies that will really get in your head.

We’re getting pretty tired of Hollywood relying on jump scares to keep us squirming in our seats. Sometimes we like our horror to have a bit more of a lasting effect. We love films that don’t just keep us looking over our shoulders for monsters, but have us looking inside ourselves at the things they call out. We went looking for that terror, that unsettling dread a film can leave in its wake, and picked a slew of films which we believe will linger in your mind for weeks after you watch them. When you are looking for a profoundly unsettling scare, try any of these seven horror movies, and you will not leave the same.


The Human Centipede (First Sequence)


Human Centipede

This movie takes the bottom of our list because it’s so messed up, people talked about it for months. It’s one of those films that people watch to be uncomfortable. The whole mouth to anus thing is about as gross as it gets. Sure the entire concept is squirm-inducing, but the idea itself came from the horrific experiments that were carried out by the Germans during WWII. Tourists also disappear on vacation with enough frequency to be unsettling. Wondering if terrible, terrible things like being sewn together by an insane doctor will happen to you shouldn’t be something you even consider, and yet now it is. While it might not be the most lasting fear, it’s an unsettling visual journey that leaves you feeling a little darker than when it began.


It Follows


This thriller takes a different approach to the boogeyman. It’s not a slasher come out of the night, or a creature hunting your friends — it’s a single monster transferred by sex. It can look like anyone, and it will pursue its victim until either they die, or it is passed on to another host through, you guessed it, sex. It’s unrelenting and will keep coming and coming no matter what. Previous victims can still see it, but they are safe from its endless stalking. STDs are bad enough, but sexually transmitted monsters will make you worry any time you think about getting intimate. The relentless pursuit of this untiring, unceasing monster leaves you looking over your shoulder for days. As it can look like anyone, you wonder who you can trust…


Mother!


Sometimes a movie comes along that just sort of makes you go “WTF?” Mother! is one of those films. We would call it psychological horror. It is sort of a story of creation, sort of a tale of cult worship, and sort of a story of betrayal. We say “sort of” a lot because it’s all done in a really uncomfortable way. It’s one of those films that leaves you constantly wondering and asking yourself “why?”. There are so many moments when everything could be stopped, and yet it all repeats itself again. We’ve managed to watch it once, and we don’t know if we will go back because it left us really disquieted. This movie isn’t full of monsters and jump scares, just really disturbing imagery and the immensely unsettling notion that this isn’t the first time it happened, and it definitely won’t be the last.


Get Out


Get Out was Jordan Peele’s directorial debut and it was not disappointing. The movie gives you that creeping sense that something just isn’t right. It instills a deep fear of something wrong that you just can’t quite shake. It hits the same unnerving notes as The Stepford Wives, and then it becomes much, much darker. There is something genuinely unnerving about communities that appear perfect. You know there has to be something under the surface that allows them to maintain that illusion. Nothing is ever perfect. Get Out preys on fears of racism, xenophobia, and jealousy. All we know is after watching Get Out, we decided maybe to avoid fancy house parties for a while and think twice before meeting our significant other’s parents.


Hereditary


This whole movie is so messed up, we don’t even know where to start. An entire family falls apart as the dark history of a departed matriarch is revealed. No one seems able to stop the evil plaguing this clan, and each step closer to solving the problem seems to put them further down the path towards a brutal end. When the mother of the family finds the truth, everyone thinks she has fallen to the same mental illness that plagues her ancestry and in the end, there’s a chance that nothing is enough to stop the evil that seeks to claim them. Hereditary makes you wonder about the inevitability of specific moments and if even things that seem to be terrible coincidence are in fact aligned with a darker purpose. We left Hereditary feeling tense and nervous about secretive friends and family members. Above all else we have one take away: you can’t escape your family.


Saw


This movie is what some would call gory for the sake of gore. That isn’t really true. Jigsaw wants to liberate people from their fears, and the acts they have to go through are supposed to give clarity in survival. It’s all really twisted, and while his intentions might be to “help” people, really, he takes pleasure in the suffering of his victims. His “games” are supposed to be winnable, but is that really true? There is only one known survivor, and she isn’t what we’d call a pillar of sanity. The strangest thing to come from these movies is that people really do find catharsis in suffering, which is something we wouldn’t call healthy. Extreme haunted houses have begun to gain popularity where people sign away their rights and let actors torture and imprison them, which forces them to escape. Some say it brings them a sense of closure to trauma they’ve been struggling to deal with, while others like the rush of survival. All we can say is, people are into some weird stuff.


Antichrist


This is a truly messed up film and will leave you more than uncomfortable. We want to warn you — Antichrist is not for the faint of heart. There are many sexual themes in this film and depictions of disturbing acts that cannot be unseen. Like, really disturbing. Like, “haunt you for months” disturbing. The brutality of this movie cannot be understated. The story follows a couple after the death of their toddler, whom they should have been watching. The loss causes the wife to fall into an intense depression, so the couple retreats into a cabin they had previously stayed at with the child. The wife, as she becomes less lucid, postulates that all women are inherently evil and then slowly devolves into more and more aggressive madness. Her husband escapes, but does he really? The imagery in his movie is all sorts of unsettling, and the overall tone devolves into dark cruelty that never lightens. It will linger in your mind in a most unfortunate way. Only watch Antichrist if you don’t mind mutilation and not sleeping for a week.


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