Adam 12

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The 12 Best Modern Horror Movies, from Adam 12. For Spooky Season, Halloween, or anytime you’re looking for a scare from recent years.

 

And I do mean “recent years” when I say recent years. My list of 12 includes films released between 2015 and today. Which lines up, for the most part, with the recent trend of “elevated horror” or “prestige horror.” Now, I know I’m using a lot of “quotation marks” here, but it’s because I don’t really know what either of those terms mean. Nor do I care. To steal a quote from BAKOON on Twitter: “Horror is not a mountain to be climbed: it is a valley full of caves.”

 

Now, that’s not to say this recent crop of horror films I’ve filled out my list with aren’t remarkable. They certainly are. That’s why I’m sharing them with you. Are they at the vanguard of modern horror? Sure, I guess. But they are also films that draw inspiration from previous eras of classic horror. OK, I just read that back and I sound like I’m trying to be some sort of weenie film critic. I’m too in the weeds with my own words. Let’s just get down to business and I’ll set up the list.

 

The 12 Best Modern Horror Movies

This is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list. These are just 12 horror films from recent years that I’ve enjoyed thoroughly. If you’re any sort of horror fan, there will be a few you’ve likely seen or at least heard of. But I’m hoping there will be some you haven’t so you can hopefully find a new favorite or two. Be forewarned: I’m not a gore guy, so if splatter is your thing, you won’t find that here. I’m all about suspense, dread, unease, and a well-placed jump scare.

  • Censor (2021)

    OK, this one gets a little gory. But for good reason. Enid has a job from hell and a mystery to solve.

  • The Divine Fury (2019)

    A star Korean MMA fighter wakes up on a plane with stigmata and unwillingly joins a Catholic priest to perform exorcisms. That’s it. That’s the movie.

  • Hereditary (2018)

    Toni Collette should have won an Oscar for this one. She’s magnificent and the movie is both heavy and horrifying.

  • His House (2020)

    Haunted house horrors meet the horrors of forced displacement as a refugee couple navigates their new reality.

  • Hush (2016)

    A deaf woman is terrorized in her secluded home by a masked killer.

  • The Lodge (2019)

    Isolation, broken family dynamics, and a “who’s the real monster?” mystery all come together as the discomfort is ratcheted up slowly.

  • It Follows (2015)

    At first blush, this film strikes you as campy. But guess what? It’s not! It’s terrifying! How have you not seen it yet?

  • Midsommar (2019)

    It’s as good as all the buzz it received when it released 3 years ago.

  • The Night (2021)

    I’m a big fan of international horror This one comes from Iran and it’s a slow-burner.

  • The Vigil (2021)

    This one does a lot with a little, packing the scares into a pretty small space for the bulk of the film.

  • The Wailing (2016)

    From Korea. The best supernatural thriller I’ve ever seen in my life.

  • The Witch (2016)

    Next to Halloween, this is my favorite horror movie of all-time. Infinitely re-watchable.