10 “scary” movies for people who don’t like horror

Not too long ago, a colleague who’s allergic to horror movies described some of the scariest movies she’s been able to make. One of the titles you mentioned? Bong Joon Ho parasite. but waitI believed, This is not a horror movie. A tense thriller, perhaps, a satirical drama with some creepy set pieces, but not something that would have been put on the “horror” shelf in video stores, back when video stores were around.

However, it belongs in the fun category of films that play with suspense, mystery, and horror without instilling lasting fear; These stories annoy viewers but were not primarily made to annoy and annoy viewers. Below are 10 other worthy and awesome movies that I consider to be great “scary” movies for people who don’t like horror. Even if you freak out easily, like my colleague, you’ll find something on this list to love.


beginner (2021 directed by Lauren Hadaway)

A wonderful and sadly thrilling independent film produced by first director Hadaway, beginner Initially presented as a sports drama. A competitive college student named Alex Dahl (played by Isabel Fuhrmann) attends a rowing class and picks up the itch, rising fast to join her school’s team. As the plot progresses, Alex’s passion turns into obsession, and she becomes especially focused on the consistency of the clock that the best rowers demand. Fuhrman (known as orphan horror franchise) delivers an intense performance, but Hadaway’s skill at escalating tension to nightmare levels is even more apparent as Alex’s dedication turns surreal.
Watch it on Showtime or rent/buy

Photographers filming girls dancing
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seizures (2016, directed by Anna Rose Holmer)

Another stunning and under-the-radar appearance, seizures Disturbing because it triggers a specific mood: anxiety in early teens. Toni (Royalty Hightower) is an 11-year-old training at a boxing gym in Cincinnati and has intrigued a group of older girls who dance there. When you start dancing with them, a strange, inexplicable seizure disorder begins to spread through the group, a phenomenon that Holmer’s text keeps in a purely metaphorical area. seizures A strange, and sometimes confusing, look, but a subtle and insightful look at the strange ways peer pressure can manifest.
Watch it on Showtime or rent/buy

nerve (2016, directed by Henry Jost and Ariel Shulman)

A technical thriller with a modern sense of humor, nerve It was a low hit in 2016 but is not talked about enough today. Adapted from a novel by Jane Ryan, the movie is a clever satire built around an online game called Nerve that encourages players to livestream themselves performing strange instincts for money. Vee (Emma Roberts) is recorded by her friend as a gag; Soon she finds herself paired with fellow player Ian (Dave Franco), as they revolt around New York City and take on ever more difficult missions. nerve It’s a semi-action, semi-rom-com movie, but there’s a chilling edge to it all, whether in the portrayal of the game’s mob mentality or the darker turns Vee and Ian take in the final chapter of the movie.
Available for rent/purchase

Studio Berberian Sound (2012, directed by Peter Strickland)

Peter Strickland’s psychodrama is a great way to watch a horror movie without actually watching a horror movie: it’s about making a movie that audiences never see. Set in an Italian production studio, it follows moderate sound engineer Gilderoy (Toby Jones) as he cooks sound effects for Gialo A movie (a particularly lively Italian subgenre of horror) that seems to include all kinds of torture and screaming. Strickland’s trick is not to really let what the movie is about inside the movie, or even to give too much detail about the scenes Gilderoy is working on; Instead, the tension comes from watching how the auditory process slowly fades into the character’s mind.
Watch it on AMC+, Kanopy, or rent/buy

Girl with butterfly wings hanging on a wooden table
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Red pepper (2006, directed by Satoshi Kon)

The final masterpiece of the trilogy by Japanese painter Kon who died of cancer at the age of 46 in 2010, Red pepper It is a dazzling depiction of the bleeding edge between dreams and reality. Set in the near future, it focuses on a new piece of technology that allows scientists to enter the dreams of others. If this sounds like the plot of the later movie beginningYes, the comparison is made quite often. But while Christopher Nolan’s movie has a penchant for action, Red pepper Much weirder, as the animation style of Kun carries every dream sequence with busy and disturbing visuals. Some Kon movies (in particular perfect blue) can be classified as downright horror, so far Red pepper walks with a more blurry line; It can be funny and surreal one moment, and chilling the next.
Available for rent/purchase

red road (2006, directed by Andrea Arnold)
Debut feature Arnold, who went to direct Fishbowl And the American honey (along with season 2 of Big Little Lies), red road It is a psychological thriller thriller set in a real-life housing project that has now been demolished in Glasgow, Scotland. The Red Road Flats were the tallest apartment buildings in Europe when they were built in the 1960s, but eventually became a symbol of urban blight, and Arnold used them to explore Britain’s growing reliance on surveillance amid the collapse of its social safety net. Jackie Morrison (Kate Dickey) is a worker who monitors buildings and spies through countless CCTV cameras in search of criminals and intruders. Eventually, she becomes fascinated by an ex-con named Clyde (Tony Curran) and seeks to connect with him in real life. The Arnold movie is a grim but original watch, turning its bleak setting into the backdrop for a doomed romance.
Watch it on Kanopy

in the cut (2003, directed by Jane Campion)

The film Campion, based on a novel by Susanna Moore, gladly defies the definition of the genre, which is typical of the Academy Award-winning New Zealand director, but also a possible explanation for the film’s poor reception upon its release. Nonetheless, it deserves the status of a cult classic, as it weaves together an erotic thriller, a detective story, and an anthropological study of early-21st-century New York in a beguiling way. Meg Ryan (in a quiet, anti-gender performance) plays an introverted English teacher named Franny Avery who starts dating a police detective (Mark Ruffalo) who investigates a series of murders linked to her building. in the cut It’s really exciting and astounding at times, with moments that shatter Franny’s bourgeois presence downtown – but that’s all part of the excitement of watching it.
Watch it on Roku or rent/buy

Swimming pool (2003, directed by Fran├žois Ozon)

Somewhat in homage to the classic French drama of the 1960s No BiscayneOzon is a gorgeous and impressive thriller that pits screen legend (Charlotte Rampling) against a budding doraemon (Ludivine Sagnier) in a battle of wits and egos. Sarah Morton (Rampling) is an author who uses a country house in the south of France to try to overcome the writer’s obstacle. Julie (Sagnier) is the owner’s daughter, who appears out of nowhere and begins to throw everything into chaos. What begins as an uneasy suspense turns into sexually charged and hostile as Julie’s private life begins to encroach on Sarah’s, and Ozone heightens the beautifully dreamlike suspense with each act.
Available for rent/purchase

Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover in the movie Beloved
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lovable (1998, directed by Jonathan Deem)

A big-budget adaptation of the canonical work of American literature, lovable It was released with the hopes of becoming a major player in an Oscar, starring and producing Oprah Winfrey and directed by Demme (his previous two films were Silence of the Lambs And the Philadelphia). But audiences and critics found this unacceptable at the time, perhaps because it was an influential piece of filmmaking, whether it was a ghost story or a scathing novel about slavery. Lots of pictures in lovablewhich follows a former enslaved woman named Sethe (played by Winfrey) Her wrestling with the demons of her past is clearly shocking. But her supernatural novels, about the mysterious lovable ghost (Thandie Newton), who enters Sethe’s life and begins to unravel her, is the most terrifying.
Watch it on Showtime or rent/buy

Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975 directed by Peter Weir)

A lot of the best non-horror horror movies are scary because of what they are no A show, Weir’s Australian masterpiece is memorable precisely because it is about something unseen. Set in Victoria, Australia, in the 1900’s, it follows the disappearance of several school girls during a picnic, a supernatural event that probably upsets the local community. The longer Weir’s tale continues, the more efforts to solve the mystery fail, fueling dread about what might actually happen. Picnic at Hanging Rock It will be much less effective if you reveal what is going on; As it stands, Weir is the movie that viewers will have in their minds for years after seeing it.
Watch it on HBO Max or rent/buy

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