Writer’s Ranking: Horror movies edition

Suspiria” is this news editor’s top-rated horror film as Halloween approaches. PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed by Amazon.com

I have almost always been a fan of horror films since I was a kid. It may have been partly from the influence of my older brother, who now hates horror films, but I have always loved being scared.

A good horror film should not rely on jump scares as the sole means of frights; it should have a compelling plot underneath the horror elements, it should be original and it needs to walk the line between fear, comedy and sadness.

Without further ado, here are my top 10 best horror films.

10. “Raw” (2016)

I love French horror, there is something about how they walk the line between body horror and psychological horror that is not seen elsewhere. “Raw” lives up to that, giving us the unconventional coming-of-age story of Justine.

Without spoiling anything, the disgustingly vivid body horror in this film sticks in my mind today. It’s not the goriest or most vivid horror film, so if you do not like vivid horror films, take a pass on “Raw.”

9. “Suspiria” (1977)

One of the few older films on this list, “Suspiria” is an acid-laced horror film. This technicolored nightmare is profoundly different from other 1970s horror films or any horror films at all.

I admit that the 1977 adaptation of “Suspiria” is light on plot and many horror elements, but it is memorable. I think this film is just barely a horror film, but it is a trippy mess in the best way possible.

8. “Creep” (2014)

This film definitely sticks in my mind as a psychological thriller that really made me uncomfortable from start to finish. Aaron, our protagonist, and the audience quickly realize there is something wrong with Josef, but as his character unravels, the film turns the uncomfortable feeling to a 10.

7. “Parasite” (2019)

What can I say about “Parasite” that hasn’t been said yet? It’s a masterful Korean psychological thriller film that deals with class disparity in South Korea. I cannot recommend watching “Parasite” enough if you have not yet.

6. “The Blair Witch Project” (1999)

The progenitor of the found footage genre, this film has done as much good for the horror genre as it has spawned bad takes on the subgenre. “The Blair Witch Project” was one of the first horror films that I have ever watched and it has left a long impression. This film is iconic for a reason and that is the combination of compelling characters and the terrifying atmosphere.

5. “Get Out” (2017)

“Get Out” is as much of an important look at American society as it is a great horror film. Jordan Peele’s directorial debut was a tour de force. The film discusses the exploitation of Black people in our society and how many white people see Black people as objects more than as people. 

The sense of dread and horror that this film builds is not only from within the film but also from knowing the realities of our world outside of the film.

4. “The Lodge” (2019)

I first watched “The Lodge” on a date and fully ignored my date because this film was so engaging. This film is an example of less is more, the minimalist setting, few characters and relatively simple plot make this a great film. I can’t think of many other horror films in which the character I most empathize with is the person who kills the protagonists. I highly recommend this film to anyone, regardless of whether or not they like horror films.

3. “Annihilation” (2018)

This is one of the least scary entries on this list by far, but I love this sci-fi horror film so much. I remember this film as clearly as the first time I watched it years after that first viewing. 

The characters in this film are so utterly compelling and the setting is so perfectly crafted. While other films on this list benefit from minimalism and lower production value that create a sense of terror, this film put its $40 million budget to good use and created something that is extremely polished and compelling.

2. “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” (2017)

One of my favorite directors is Yorgos Lanthimos; there is just something about his minimalist style that makes me feel so much dread. It was hard to choose my favorite out of all of his films, but “The Killing of Sacred Deer” ended up winning because of the pure cringe and dread that I felt the entire time.

1. “Suspiria” (2018)

Really, any one of the top three films on this list could have served at number one, but the 2018 “Suspiria” adaptation is a masterpiece. Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton give some of their best performances in this film. This film is nothing like the 1977 “Suspiria,” which I have written about in the past, yet it is still so perfect.

The actors, story and terrifying visuals all come together to make this film so great. I will never be able to forget the first horror scene where Olga is contorted as Johnson, as Susie, dances at her first audition.

Any of these films is worth the watch, so I hope you take the time to at least watch one. Happy Halloween!