10 spine-tingling thrillers that are sure to haunt you

If you like being creeped out, this spoiler-free list is for you

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Photo credit: Doane Gregory

“Jennifer’s Body” may have been the most underrated horror film of its time. 11 years later, the film is still intriguing audiences with its original storyline. (Photo courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox)

Ariel Caspar, Editor-in-Chief

The spooky season is among us, and while everyone else is getting excited about pumpkin spice, horror genre fans are on the hunt for new and intriguing films to enjoy. While this isn’t a traditional Halloween movie list, there is an element of creepiness to these films that hardcore horror fans will love. There’s nothing better than a film that is so unsettling, it leaves you thinking long after the credits have rolled.

1. Midsommar | 2019 | Available on Amazon Prime Video

“Midsommar,” directed by Ari Aster, known for his 2018 horror film “Hereditary,” is a visionary masterpiece. This film follows the adventures of an emotionally distant couple, Dani and Christian (Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor) as they travel to Sweden to visit their friend’s Harga commune as they celebrate the fabled midsummer festival. What feels like a sun-drenched, mountainside retreat at first, soon becomes the couple’s worst nightmare when they realize they are at the mercy of a primitive pagan cult. Aster was inspired by a plethora of bizarre Nordic sources when creating the Harga cult, which makes the events of the film all the more unsettling.

2. We Summon the Darkness | 2020 | Available on Netflix

“We Summon the Darkness” has the makings of a cult classic. Directed by Marc Meyers, this horror/comedy follows three best friends who attend a 1980s heavy metal concert and travel to a secluded countryside home to party. What they didn’t expect was crossing paths with members of a murderous sadistic cult out for blood. Starring Alexandra Daddario, Maddie Hasson and Amy Forsyth, “We Summon the Darkness” has the classic feel of horror films of the ‘80s married with a fresh and modern twist.

“It Follows” brought in an interesting dynamic to the horror genre with incorporating sex as something to be feared. This element makes the film both terrifying and symbolic. (Photo courtesy of Northern Lights Films)

3. It Follows | 2015 | Available on Hulu and Amazon Prime Video

With an impressive 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, “It Follows” grabs your attention right away and leaves you on the edge of your seat with its unique and terrifying storyline. This story is about Jay (Maika Monroe), a carefree teenager who has relations with a new boyfriend. Shortly after the encounter, she discovers she is the unfortunate recipient of a deadly curse that is passed to victims through sexual intercourse. For the rest of her life, she will be followed by a force that will inevitably kill her. Directed by David Robert Mitchell, “It Follows” is incredibly original and is the perfect spooky thriller to get in the spirit of the season.

4. Creep | 2015 | Available on Netflix

Not everyone is a fan of “found footage” films, but “Creep,” directed by Patrick Kack-Brice, is so strange and original, it could hold any viewers interest if that’s your sort of thing. This odd storyline follows an independent film-maker, Aaron (Kack-Brice) as he answers a stranger’s intriguing online ad, agreeing to film him for a day. At first, the man, Josef (Mark Duplass) wants to create a home video for his unborn child, but his requests grow increasingly disturbing as filming throughout the day continues. Don’t forget to watch the sequel “Creep 2.”

5. The Cabin in the Woods | 2012 | Available on Hulu and Amazon Prime Video

“The Cabin in the Woods” quickly became a horror favorite by many after it was released in 2012 and was very well received by film critics. With a high 92% score on the Tomatometer, this is truly one of the most original horror films of its time. If you have never seen or heard about this film, I would highly suggest watching it without any prior knowledge of the film to get the most out of it. I’ll just say it’s about six college friends who decide to stay the weekend at a cabin in the woods, but other factors come into play. Starring Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Conolly and Fran Kranz, it’s a horror/thriller/comedy all in one.

6. Swallow | 2020 | Available on Showtime and Hulu

“Swallow,” directed by Carlo Mirabella-Davis, is a wonderfully strange and delightful take on the oppressive life of Hunter (Haley Bennett), a bored, young housewife to an arrogant, privileged millionaire. From the outside, everything is perfect – the house, the husband, the marriage, but upon getting pregnant, Hunter soon develops a rare disorder that gives her the uncontrollable urge to eat inanimate, inedible objects.

7. The Witch | 2015 | Available on Showtime, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video

Robert Egger’s debut film, “The Witch” is a deeply unsettling look into the unfortunate events that follow a 1630s Puritan family who leaves their small village to make it on their own in “God’s country.” This slow-burning and visually stunning A24 film proves thought-provoking and haunting. When youngest sibling Samuel disappears, the family is quick to blame the oldest daughter, Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy) who was with the infant upon his vanishing. Her suspicious siblings accuse Thomasin of witchcraft, turning the dynamics of the family upside down.

8. The Ritual | 2017 | Available on Netflix

This Netflix original, directed by David Bruckner, is for anyone who loves Scandinavian or Norse folklore, or monster flicks in general. “The Ritual” is a dark and creepy masterpiece with the familiar feel of “The Blair Witch Project” as the characters fail to navigate themselves through the never-ending Scandinavian wilderness. In this film, four friends reunite after the tragic death of a friend, hoping to reconnect and clear their heads through a backpacking trip through the Scandinavian mountains. The friends find themselves hopefully lost, stumbling into a forest of Norse legend, home to a primitive cult and an ancient evil stalking them as prey.

9. Jennifer’s Body | 2009 | Available on Hulu and Amazon Prime Video

“Jennifer’s Body” was truly a film ahead of its time. This film was not received well by critics, most likely due to the fact that Megan Fox stars as the title character and the film is about a cheerleader that eats boys, but 11 years after its release date, this film has proven to still be original and intriguing, and not as cheesy as it seems. There is a dark element of humor to “Jennifer’s Body” that separates this film from other gory ‘whack ’em’ slash ’em’s’, and is truly a sophisticated gore flick with other interesting elements, and a stunning performance from Fox.

10. Raw | 2016 | Available on Amazon Prime Video and Youtube

This independent French film, directed by Julia Ducournau, is original, disturbing and quite gory. This film is about a vegetarian college student, Justine (Garance Marillier) starting her first year in veterinary school. After trying raw meat for the first time, she develops an uncontrollable craving for raw meat and human flesh. “Raw” is a sensual and symbolic piece that is anchored by strong acting and provocative visuals. This film still triumphs today with a 92% score on the Tomatometer, and pushes the boundaries of traditional horror.