Ah, "Hereditary". That sensational rollercoaster of dread and wonder that left many of us googling "How to cope with emotional trauma after a horror movie." Directed by Ari Aster, this modern horror masterpiece has it all: tension you could cut with a knife, eerily uncomfortable family dynamics, and a plot that throws curveballs like a possessed Major League pitcher. It's the stuff nightmares are made of, and honestly, what more could you ask for in a horror movie?
But what happens when the credits roll and you're craving another dose of psychologically scarring cinema? You could start digging your own basement crypt, or maybe even joining a cult. On second thought, don't do either of those things. How about diving into a list of movies that echo the unsettling themes and spine-chilling scares of "Hereditary"? Trust me; these movies are the comfort food of dread, the donuts in your horror coffee. So, let's get into it.
The Witch (2015)
Directed by Robert Eggers, "The Witch" transports you to 1630s New England where you'll bear witness to a Puritan family's unraveling after their youngest member mysteriously vanishes. Sounds fun, right? Wrong. This movie is as fun as a dentist appointment that lasts three hours. The atmosphere drips with a sense of dread thicker than your grandma's Thanksgiving gravy. Toss in some religious hysteria, supernatural events, and Black Phillip the goat, and you've got yourself a diabolical buffet of unsettling treats.
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
You've got to love the '60s for delivering classic horror like "Rosemary's Baby." Directed by Roman Polanski, the film dives into the life of a woman who becomes suspicious of her neighbors and her own pregnancy. Think your in-laws are tough? Try having neighbors who might be in cahoots with the Devil. It's like "Desperate Housewives," but instead of backstabbing, there's, well, Satan.
Elisha Cook Jr.
Get Out (2017)
Jordan Peele's "Get Out" took the horror genre by storm, just like an untethered weather balloon with a vendetta against society. This movie deftly blends elements of psychological horror and racial tension, leading us through the journey of Chris as he meets his white girlfriend's family for the first time. The less said, the better. Just know that this movie will make you reevaluate every awkward family dinner you've ever attended.
Caleb Landry Jones
Lil Rel Howery
It Follows (2014)
You have a date, things get a little steamy, and then you're cursed with a relentless, shape-shifting entity that follows you. Forever. "It Follows" is basically a one-night stand gone disastrously wrong. I mean, we've all had some regrettable dating experiences, but this takes the cake—or should I say, the entire cake shop.
Ari Aster returns to ruin your sleep schedule with "Midsommar," a sun-drenched nightmare set during a Swedish midsummer festival. Picture this: you're dealing with a break-up and your friends invite you to a festival in Sweden that seems idyllic—like Coachella but with less cultural appropriation. Turns out, it's not the paradise you envisioned. It's all flower crowns and group hugs until somebody gets sacrificed.
William Jackson Harper
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
Nothing says '80s horror like "A Nightmare on Elm Street." Wes Craven's dream-invading slasher, Freddy Krueger, is the nightmarish blend of your high school bully and that creepy uncle no one talks about. Forget counting sheep; you'll be counting the minutes till sunrise after watching this one.
Don't Look Now (1973)
Directed by Nicolas Roeg, "Don't Look Now" takes us to the haunting canals of Venice following a couple tormented by grief. It's like a European vacation where the main attractions are sorrow, seances, and unsettling premonitions. Think of it as TripAdvisor's worst-rated vacation but with way better cinematography.
Let the Right One In (2008)
Ah, love and vampires—two things that suck the life out of you. This Swedish masterpiece turns the vampire lore on its head, focusing on the friendship between a bullied boy and a bloodsucking girl. It's "Twilight," if "Twilight" had depth, palpable tension, and less sparkling.
Anders T. Peedu
The Others (2001)
Nicole Kidman stars in this atmospheric slow-burn about a mother protecting her photosensitive children in a dark, old house. And by dark, I mean this house has fewer lights than a broke college student's apartment. "The Others" will make you question your own perceptions, and maybe even whether you remembered to turn off the lights.
2 degrees of seperation (similar to The Others)
The Babadook (2014)
A single mother, a troubled son, and a creepy storybook monster: the ingredients for a sleepless week. "The Babadook" dives deep into the intricacies of grief and fear, wrapped up in a package that screams, "Don't ever read bedtime stories again."
Mirrors are tricky things; they show us who we are—or in the case of "Oculus," what we dread. This film pits siblings against an antique mirror with a penchant for malevolence. It's like a haunted house of horrors, except the house is a mirror, and there's no escape.
Shutter Island (2010)
Martin Scorsese delivers a chilling psychological thriller that's more twisted than a bag of pretzels. Two U.S. Marshals, one haunted mental institution, and a disappearance that's as mysterious as your socks vanishing in the laundry.
Max von Sydow
Jackie Earle Haley
John Carroll Lynch
2 degrees of seperation (similar to Shutter Island)
Black Swan (2010)
Ever been obsessed with perfection? Then you'll relate to Natalie Portman's character in "Black Swan." She's a ballet dancer aiming for the perfect performance, but at what cost? This movie is the Nutcracker Suite played in a minor key, dark, grim, and full of unsettling crescendos.
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Let's loosen up with "The Cabin in the Woods." It starts off like any other cabin-based horror flick. You know, friends, booze, and bad decisions. But then it turns the genre on its head. It's as if the writers decided to toss all horror clichés into a blender, hit "puree," and then poured us a tall glass of "What the heck did I just watch?"
Brian J. White
The Lodge (2020)
For all the stepmoms out there trying to bond with their new families, "The Lodge" is what NOT to do. Imagine being snowed in with your soon-to-be stepchildren in a remote winter cabin. What could go wrong? Oh, just some lingering cult trauma and a few mind-bending twists. It’s like "Home Alone," except Macaulay Culkin's antics are replaced by ominous religious undertones and psychological horror. You know, family fun!
Speak No Evil (2022)
Two families bond over vacation adventures, only to discover their friendship might not survive a second round. It's like a sitcom episode where everyone is all laughs and giggles until they're suddenly not. The free-wheeling Dutch hosts invite their more reserved Danish pals for a countryside escapade that quickly spirals into a cringe-worthy nightmare. Think of it as a weekend dinner party where the main course is awkwardness and the dessert is a heavy dollop of "Are they quirky or are they actually plotting our demise?" It's a profoundly unsettling examination of human connections and the often deceptive veneer of social pleasantries.
Sidsel Siem Koch
Fedja van Huêt
Lea Baastrup Rønne
Don't Look Now (1973)
Ah, the classic that inspired Ari Aster's "Hereditary." "Don't Look Now" is the godfather of atmospheric dread and family trauma. If this movie were a college course, it'd be "Intro to Shattering Your Emotional Well-Being 101," a prerequisite for any true horror fan. Like I mentioned before, this one is a trip to Venice you won't soon forget, because it replaces gondolas and fine Italian dining with psychic premonitions and grief.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
Nothing says “light-hearted” like an autopsy, am I right? Imagine you're a coroner and a mysterious, well-preserved body rolls in. You have no idea how she died, and let's just say, she's not giving up her secrets without a fight—or should I say, fright? It's like a medical drama and a haunted house had a baby, and that baby is all kinds of messed up.
Olwen Catherine Kelly
The Ritual (2017)
Four friends, a hiking trip, and a shortcut through the forest. What could go wrong? Well, if you've ever seen a horror movie (or read a fairy tale), you'd know that shortcuts through woods are never, I repeat, NEVER a good idea. "The Ritual" is like "The Blair Witch Project" meets Norse mythology, which is not a combo meal anyone ordered but tastes terrifyingly good.
Jacob James Beswick
The Orphanage (2007)
This Spanish horror film delves into the life of a woman who returns to her childhood home—an orphanage, to be exact—with plans to reopen it. Little does she know, the building's former occupants have some unfinished business. It's like your high school reunion, but instead of your classmates being successful and good-looking, they're ghosts with unresolved issues.
Lake Mungo (2009)
"Found footage" meets supernatural mystery in this Australian horror film. The movie revolves around a family coping with the loss of their daughter and the eerie events that follow. If "The Blair Witch Project" and a "Dateline" mystery special had a love child, it'd be "Lake Mungo." This one makes you question what's scarier: the possibility of life after death, or the secrets we keep when we're alive?