This really is the golden age of horror. One of the biggest consistencies of the genre is many fans looking back at the back with rose-tinted spectacles, declaring that “they don’t make them like this anymore”. In actuality: they make them even better and in wider variety, which is why you find so many underrated horror movies when there’s so much to choose from.
Whether you’re looking forward to Halloween or just fancying a bit of the ol’ ultraviolence to unwind with, the below horror movies are all killer, no filler. Some weren’t appreciated widely at release and later found a home on the VOD market or through word of mouth, while a couple of them released on streaming services and were just generally buried by bad algorithms.
So, whether it’s a comedy horror that flips the tropes or some charmingly ropey VFX you want, we have you covered with our countdown of some of the most underrated horror movies around. Bear in mind that we aren’t going too far back in horror history, just because you will be able to more readily watch the following movies.
1. The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
When a seemingly untouched body find its way to a pair of autopsy technicians, it soon becomes clear that the case is more than skin deep. While some may quibble about how much its final third falls down (and they may have a point), the majority of The Autopsy of Jane Doe is a mature and thrilling mood-setter than has a mystery as captivating as the father and son dynamic at its core. You may become allergic to bells after watching this.
2. The Invitation (2015)
The Invitation really will creep up on you. It makes a modest impression at first as it slowly builds up its eclectic cast of characters at an uncomfortable dinner party before the thing descends into a wildly paranoid and gripping ride. Featuring one of the most unforgettable shots in modern horror and a tension that refuses to let up, this Netflix gem really should not pass you by.
3. Severance (2006)
Horror comedies were tenapenny in the wake of Shaun of the Dead’s massive success, but Severance did more than enough to make it more than an also-ran. During a team-bonding excursion in the middle of nowhere, a killer stalks colleagues before completely flipping the script years before The Cabin In The Woods tried something similar. This might also be a surprise to you, but Danny Dyer actually puts in a great performance here too — you may actually like him by the end of the movie.
4. The Battery (2012)
We’ve covered The Battery many, many times here at Cultured Vultures and we always mention that it’s off the beaten track. Shot on a super low budget and certainly a little rough, none of its faults detract from the fact that it’s one of the most underrated horror movies going, as well as an intimate and unflinching look at what’s left of humanity in the wake of the zombie apocalypse.
5. Dog Soldiers (2002)
Anyone who’s grown up on a steady diet of the MCU and CGI might not be able to overcome its now terribly aged practical effects, but don’t let it stop you from at least trying out this werewolf romp. Featuring some very dark British humour and Sean Pertwee being his absolute Sean Pertwee best, Dog Soldiers puts the b in B movie. Anyone who loves Aliens will find a lot to love here, especially as it follows similar beats but with somehow more outdated practical effects that we love all the same.
6. Hush (2016)
A Netflix horror that might have passed many by, Hush is like every house invasion ever made except with one brutal twist on the formula: the would-be victim is deaf. Hush plays around (almost too) gleefully with its protagonist’s hearing condition to create some truly novel scares. Her assailant is also superbly chilling, following the reasoning found in The Strangers for his penchant for murder and someone who somehow becomes even more unnerving when his mask comes off. One of Mike Flanagan’s best, if not the best.
7. The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)
Truly, nobody could blame you if you gave The Taking of Deborah Logan a hard pass for combining two of the most overdone types of horror: found footage and also exorcism. However, with a brilliant and surprising performance from its elderly lead as she succumbs more and more to the supernatural as well as some great uses of found footage beyond the jumpscares, The Taking of Deborah Logan could very well take you by surprise.
8. Triangle (2009)
For whatever reason, Triangle absolutely stank out the box office and barely even clawed back a tenth of its budget. Perhaps it was marketed poorly, but this enchantingly complex and twisty time deserved far better. Set aboard a ship where things seem to be stuck on a loop, Triangle features the always great Melissa Leo acting her ass off and the rare example of a horror becoming richer the more you watch it.
9. The Void (2016)
A soon-to-be-closed hospital is the alamo for an unlikely group of characters as hooded figures descend on them. There’s no denying that The Void favours style over substance with its aesthetic inspired by peak Carpenter, but what a gorgeously mad time it is. The last fifteen minutes are absolutely bonkers and threaten to derail the entire piece, but anyone who grew up on a wholesome diet of The Thing and Even Horizon will find plenty to enjoy here.
10. A Dark Song (2016)
IFC Midnight distribute some of the most polarising movies with the divide being more keenly felt between critics and fans. A Dark Song is one such movie that few can agree on, a long-form look into occult rituals that’s low on creating scares but high on setting a mood and (slowly) running with it. It may not be for everyone, but as with all of these underrated horror movies, you’ll never know if you don’t find out for yourself.