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Movie Mike's Top 5 Scariest Movies of the Last 20 Years

It’s Halloween week and I've been talking all month long on Movie Mike's Movie Podcast about horror movies. Today, I wanted to share with you my top 5 scariest movies of the last 20 years. Everything from ghosts, demons, possessions and home invasions + more honorable mentions below!

5. Paranormal Activity (2007)

The Paranormal Activity franchise is great and that’s a hill I’m prepared to die on. The first movie is a classic in my eyes and changed the landscape of ‘found footage’ horror movies. The Blair Witch Project walked so that his franchise could run. It will make you question every noise in your home upon watching…and will make you run down your hallway to flick the light on as you head to bed. It also had a great success story. The film was shot for $15,000 and went on to make hundreds of millions of dollars! So you have it all: great horror, franchise legacy and box office success.

4. Hereditary (2018)

One of the scariest movies of the 2010’s. This movie feels like a recurring nightmare of my own. The one where you can’t tell if it’s real or not because it’s so dark and twisted….yet seems so set in reality. Hereditary is a modern classic and a must for any one’s new horror movie list. I'm also just a big fan of all A24 movies and this is one of their best. There are scenes so jarring in the movie as you watch someone slowly losing their mind. It’s also a scary movie that you can watch again and again.

3. You’re Next (2013)

There’s just something about a good home invasion horror movie. A genre that was made popular in the 1970’s by The Last House on the Left and When A Stranger Calls. The movie is about a family that comes under attack during their wedding anniversary getaway. The group of killers brand themselves in creepy animal masks and the family must choose to pull together and fight or die at their hands. It’s like Home Alone, but the traps aren't as cute and funny and have real consequences. So many great twists and turns too!

2. Cabin in the Woods (2013)

A horror movie I hope that never gets remade. The film starts by making you think you’re watching just your average, cliché horror movie…but then takes you on a ride you wouldn’t have ever expected to see. I’ll leave it at that because this movie is like a rollercoaster that you have to experience for yourself. But it’s rare to find a movie that is equally scary while at the same time being self aware with comedy. It’s the perfect mix of the two. I love this movie so much…I watched it on my wedding day while getting ready with my groomsmen. So definitely a horror must-see! 

1. The Conjuring (2013)

If you’re a fan of The Exorcist and feel like nothing has captured that same energy since…I think this is the movie that has done that. Based on a true story from the early 1970s, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren visit a Rhode Island family who believe their home is haunted. The opening alone had me on the edge of my seat…but did a great job at pacing out the scares and avoiding any cheesiness. It keeps true to traditional horror/possession movies, but with a more sinister and modern feel. From the cinematography to the level of scares…this movie was an instant classic for me. It’s also spawned its own trilogy and several spinoff/origin movies.

Honorable mentions:

It Follows (2014)

The Witch (2009)

The Strangers (2008)

It (2017)

Get Out (2017)

The Invisible Man (2020)

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