30 Most Underrated Horror Movies of All-Time (2019)

Best Underrated Horror Movies

There are a lot of new horror movies to pick and choose from. Spanning numerous sub-genres, styles, cultures, and monsters, directors have found a ton of creative ways to scare viewers. However, with more horror films releasing every year some slip through the cracks and remain relatively unknown to the general populace. Others are simply disregarded or are too different to really impact audience members. These underrated horror movies often produce some of the best scares and deserve far more attention than they are getting. For those looking for something a bit more lighthearted, make sure to visit our list of the best adventure and sci-fi movies on Netflix.

When putting together our list we decided to focus on great horror films that never got their moment to shine. Remember, horror is subjective so what might scare us may not always scare you. Because of this, we are going to try and pick films across a variety of sub-genres.

Here are our picks for the 30 most underrated horror movies of all time:

(This list is in no particular order.)

1. As Above, So Below

As Above So Below

Release Date: August 29, 2014
IMDB Rating: 6.2 out of 10
Starring: Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge

When it comes to “found footage” movies one of the most underrated is director John Erick Dowdle’s As Above, So Below. The story follows a young woman in search of the Philosopher’s Stone in the catacombs of Paris. While other found footage films rely on jump scares and poor camera work to build tension, As Above, So Below takes it time ratcheting up the tension. Dowdle also does a fantastic job delivering a claustrophobic atmosphere that enhances the terror. Couple this with fantastic acting and engaging story to get one of the most underrated found footage films.

2. The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Release Date: December 21, 2016
IMDB Rating: 6.8 out of 10
Starring: Brian Cox, Emile Hirsch, Ophelia Lovibond

One of my favorite horror flicks, The Autopsy of Jane Doe is a gripping and unsettling experience. Directed by André Øvredal, the film follows a father and son coroner team tasked with uncovering what happened to a mysterious woman who was found dead. There’s a unique sense of dread hanging over the movie as the duo begin to understand who this person is. Despite having some fairly grotesque moments, Øvredal is restrained when it comes to most of the scares. This helps elevate the terrific third act that delivers one emotional gut punch after another.

3. My Bloody Valentine

Release Date: February 11, 1981
IMDB Rating: 6.3 out of 10
Starring: Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier, Neil Affleck, Keith Knight

Looking for something a bit older? There have been a lot of slasher films, but one that is often forgotten is 1981’s My Bloody Valentine. Set in a mining town, a ruthless killer goes on a rampage after the citizens ignore the killer’s warning. Like other 80s slashers, My Bloody Valentine delivers some creative killers, entertaining story, and generally solid performances. While the film did receive a remake in 2009, the original is far better. If you’re a fan of old school slashers than make sure to give My Bloody Valentine a watch.

4. Savageland

Release Date: February 24, 2017
IMDB Rating: 6.0 out of 10
Starring: David Saucedo, Lawrence Ross, Monica Davis

And now for something completely different. Savageland is a fake documentary about a zombie attack on the border of Mexico and the United States. Unlike other horror movies, Savageland doesn’t have any jump scares or moments meant to directly terrify. Instead, it uses the documentary format to wonderfully convey a sense of realism and dread. Thanks to terrific experts and clever use of still photos, Savageland delivers a fresh experience that you don’t often see in the horror genre.

5. 1408

Release Date: June 22, 2007
IMDB Rating: 6.8 out of 10
Starring: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson

One of Steven King’s lesser known film adaptations, 1408 is about a cynical horror author deciding to stay in the most haunted room of an old hotel. What follows is a little under 2 hours of the author slowly unraveling as his belief in the afterlife is challenged. 1408 is a wonderful physiological horror film that is lifted by terrific performances from the core cast. There are some terrific scares and the final third act throws caution to the wind. If you want a slower, character-focused film then make sure to watch 1408.

6. The Void

Release Date: April 7, 2017
IMDB Rating: 5.8 out of 10
Starring: Aaron Poole, Kenneth Welsh, Daniel Fathers

It’s rare that the cosmic horror genre is explored in film, which makes The Void such an oddity. Not only does it embrace the obtuse nature of the sub-genre, but it absolutely relishes in it. The Void is a fantastic film that mixes old school practical effects with a tight compelling story. You may not walk away with all the answers, but that’s part of The Void’s charm. It leaves the ending up to the viewer to discern, which only adds to the feeling of helplessness the movie instills.

7. Oculus

Release Date: April 11, 2014
IMDB Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Starring: Karen Gillian, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff

While you may know director Mike Flannigan for his work on Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House, one of his previous horror films shouldn’t go overlooked. Oculus is a fairly traditional horror film about a pair of siblings attempting to prove that an old mirror is cursed. Brilliantly written and acted, Oculus delivers some seriously creepy moments.

Flannigan’s focus on proving the mirror is cursed also makes the film’s fairly straightforward plot feel fresh and engaging. It’s hard not to root for these protagonists, which makes it even more heartbreaking when the wild third act kicks in.

8. Splinter

Release Date: April 3, 2009
IMDB Rating: 6.1 out of 10
Starring: Charles Baker, Jill Wagner, Paulo Costanzo

Splinter is a horrific creature feature about several people getting trapped in a gas station by humans infected with the splinter virus. This is a lean, mean, and fast-paced horror film. Director Toby Wilkens does a great job delivering a gritty, uncompromising story that is sorely missing in most mainstream horror flicks. There are some seriously nauseating moments that will make your skin crawl. If you’re looking for a different take on zombies then give Splinter a chance.

9. V/H/S 2

Release Date: June 6, 2013
IMDB Rating: 6.1 out of 10
Starring: Lawrence Michael Levine, Kelsey Abbot, LC. Holt

Horror anthology films are few and far between nowadays, but the follow up to 2012’s V/H/S is certainly worth watching. Delivering four separate tales of terror, V/H/S 2 delivers a plethora of scares. Each of these bite-sized stories could easily have been feature-length films. From satanic cults to aliens in the woods, V/H/S/ 2 covers a lot of ground. Plus, it has some fairly unique ways to justify the found footage angle of each short. However, we do recommend you skip the third entry, as it lacks the quality and terror of the first two.

10. The Invitation

Release Date: April 8, 2016
IMDB Rating: 6.7 out of 10
Starring: Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, Emayatzy Corinealdi

Uncertainty is at the core of The Invitation, a psychological horror film from director Karyn Kusama. The plot follows a young couple going to a friendly dinner party, but suspicions arise when the hosts unveil they are part of a new-age cult. What follows is a game of cat and mouse, as our heroes search for the truth about their friends. Don’t expect any jump scares or overly terrifying scenes. The Invitation aims to make its viewers paranoid, forcing them to always be on the edge of their seat from start to finish.

11. The Exorcist III

Release Date: August 17, 1990
IMDB Rating: 6.4 out of 10
Starring: George C. Scott, Ed Flanders, Brad Dourif

The Exorcist is one of the most iconic and important horror films of all time – it’s sequels, not so much. Even though The Exorcist III doesn’t live up to the lofty pinnacle the original achieved, it’s still a solid horror film. Set in a psychiatric hospital, police Lieutenant attempts to uncover the truth behind a series of killings that are reminiscent of a deceased serial killer. Not only does The Exorcist III deliver a genuinely compelling story, but it has one of the greatest jump scares in the history of cinema.

12. Deliver Us From Evil

Release Date: July 2, 2014
IMDB Rating: 6.2 out of 10
Starring: Eric Bana, Edgar Ramirez, Olivia Munn

A personal favorite, Deliver Us From Evil follows the story of a New York City cop who begins investigating a series of grisly crimes. Not everything is as it appears and soon the officer learns that something sinister is working behind the scenes. It’s this unique setting and characters really make Deliver Us From Evil shine.

While the general plot is fairly predictable, the fantastic performances help elevate what could have been a by the numbers horror movie. There are also some terrific scares that will certainly make you jump out of your seat.

13. Session 9

Release Date: September 14, 2001
IMDB Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Starring: David Caruso, Stephen Gevedon, Josh Lucas

If you’re looking for something a bit slower, we recommend checking out Session 9. An asbestos cleaning crew is tasked with cleaning up an abandoned asylum. However, soon the crew begins to uncover tapes and the truth of what really happened in this building. Session 9 may lack the direct terror that other films on this list boast, the slow pacing helps deliver a real feeling of uneasiness. Despite its low budget, Session 9 boasts wonderful cinematography and style. If you’re looking for a movie to really stick with you after the credits roll, this one is for you.

14. Escape Room

Release Date: January 4, 2019
IMDB Rating: 6.4 out of 10
Starring: Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Jay Ellis

The most recent film on our list, it’s easy to dismiss Escape Room as a cheap Saw rip-off. However, Escape Room delivers a fantastic mix of unique puzzles, tense scenes, and fantastic performances. Each of the different trap rooms are quite inventive, producing visual spectacles that are rarely seen in the genre. Keeping this madness together is a cast of characters you cannot help but love. If you are a fan of non-supernatural horror then make sure to watch Escape Room.

15. The Vault

Release Date: September 1, 2019
IMDB Rating: 4.8 out of 10
Starring: James Franco, Scott Haze, Taryn Manning

This is a weird movie. The Vault is a horror film with a few faults, but there’s something oddly charming about the whole thing. Following a group of thieves holding up a local bank, the robbers discover that something else is hiding in an old vault. Directed by Dan Bush, The Vault delivers some clever scares and characters are interesting enough that you’ll want to see the end. Even if you can see the end coming, The Vault is confident enough that it sticks the landing.

16. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Release Date: February 5, 2016
IMDB Rating: 5.8 out of 10
Starring: Lily James, Sam Riley, Charles Dance

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a damn good time. Based on the 2009 book of the same name, this film mixes the setting of Pride and Prejudice with swarms of the undead. It’s absolutely silly, with director Burr Steers embraces the absurdity and dark humor. Boasting all of the characters from the original novel, the movie gives them a horror/action twist. Despite not offering any real scares, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a wildly entertaining zombie movie. This is the kind of movie you can just sit back and enjoy.

17. Mayhem

Release Date: November 10, 2017
IMDB Rating: 6.3 out of 10
Starring: Steven Yeun, Samara Weaving, Steven Brand

Mayhem is an adrenaline shot of bloody, violent action. Set in an office building where a deadly virus is released, one office worker fights his way through hordes of crazed, violent co-workers. Exclusive to Shudder, Mayhem is a visceral and stylish film that isn’t afraid to squeeze everything it can out of the Mature rating. Steven Yeun delivers an exceptional performance, carrying the weight of the script throughout the film. This movie is not for the faint of heart.

18. Puppetmaster

Release Date: October 12, 1989
IMDB Rating: 5.7 out of 10
Starring: Paul Le Mat, William Hickey, Irene Miracle

A cult classic, Puppetmaster has spawned an insane amount of sequels for a reason. A story about killer dolls stalking and killing a group of psychics, Puppetmaster is a lean, clever little film. All of the different dolls are surprisingly terrifying and director David Schmoeller does a great job delivering big scares from this tiny killers. Plus, the story is intriguing enough to make Puppetmaster more than just another murderous doll movie. There’s a reason this franchise has spawned 13 movies.

19. The Collector

Release Date: July 31, 2009
IMDB Rating: 6.4 out of 10
Starring: William Prael, Diane Ayala Goldner, Josh Stewart

For those wanting something a bit more claustrophobic, The Collector is a tense cat and mouse, home invasion film. The plot follows an ex-criminal attempting to break in and rob his employer’s home. However, things go awry when the psychotic Collector arrives and boobytraps the house. What follows is 90 minutes of bloody, brutal moments meant to both shock and make viewers squirm in their seat. Mixing old school with new, The Collector harkens back to the age of slashers and minimalist style horror movies.

20. Pulse (Kairo)

Release Date: November 9, 2005
IMDB Rating: 6.6 out of 10
Starring: Haruhiko Kato, Kumiko Aso, Koyuki

Not to be confused with the American remake from 2006, Pulse is a supernatural horror film about spirits trying to inhabit the world via the internet. Even though that concept sounds silly at first, director Kiyoshi Kurosawa produces a terrifying tale that is full of scares. Pulse also has a fair amount to say to about technology and our relationship too it, which only enhances the overall story. If you’re a fan of Japanese horror, don’t sleep on Pulse.

21. Black Death

Release Date: June 11, 2010
IMDB Rating: 6.4 out of 10
Starring: Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, John Lynch

Set during the outbreak of the Bubonic Plague, a small outfit of soldiers are sent out to investigate why a small village hasn’t been afflicted by the disease. Black Death is a violent, dark, and dread-inducing movie. There’s no shortage of gore-filled scenes in this film, however, director Christopher Smith doesn’t just douse the movie in blood. Instead, Black Death masterfully builds its tension, playing with the audience’s mind until the brutal kill final takes place. Plus, the cast is absolutely terrific, delivering desperate and humanizing characters.

22. 31

Release Date: September 16, 2016
IMDB Rating: 5.1 out of 10
Starring: Sheri Moon Zombie, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs

From the mind of Rob Zombie, 31 is a throwback to grindhouse era, splatterfest films. Set in the late 70s, a group of carnival workers is kidnapped and forced to participate in a brutal life or death game. Stalked by colorful, violent killers, 31 is all about being as vulgar and violent as possible. This gives the movie a tactile quality as if you feel the grime on screen. While this isn’t one of Zombie’s best movies, 31 is a fantastic reminder of just how entertaining drive-in style films can be.

22. Suspiria

Release Date: August 12, 1977
IMDB Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Starring: Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavia Bucci

More people need to see Suspiria. Directed by Dario Argento, this colorful horror movie follows a young dancer joining a German ballet school with a nefarious secret. Suspiria is a psychedelic masterpiece that delivers a mix of supernatural and physical horror. Despite having the highest rating among the films on this list, Suspiria has largely flown under the radar. Currently, Suspiria boasts a modern remake that is quite good, but we still prefer Argento’s horrific nightmare.

23. Hell House LLC

Release Date: November 1, 2016
IMDB Rating: 6.4 out of 10
Starring: Gore Abrams, Alice Bahlke, Danny Bellini

Part found footage film, part fake documentary, Hell House LLC is a lean, low budget horror film. Revolving around a group of friends opening a haunted house, things take a turn for the worse when a morbid “accident” takes place during its opening. The movie recounts the events leading up to this event and the people behind it. What could have been a fairly by the numbers movie is helped out by the documentary framing and characters. Hell House LLC spends a lot of developing its cast, which helps add to the fear and crazy third act.

24. The Midnight Meat Train

Release Date: August 7, 2008
IMDB Rating: 6.1 out of 10
Starring: Bradley Cooper, Leslie Bibb, Vinnie Jones

Want to see Bradley Cooper battle against a deranged serial killer who butchers people on the subway? The Midnight Meat Train is a simple, but effective horror movie that wears its violence on its sleeve. Despite some dodgy special effects, there are some shockingly horrific moments laced throughout this film. Vinnie Jones absolutely owns the part of the killer and Bradley Cooper gives a solid performance as the photographer drawn to the darker side of life. Even if it doesn’t scare you, The Midnight Meat Train is a solid horror film from top to bottom.

25. AVP: Alien vs. Predator

Release Date: August 13, 2004
IMDB Rating: 5.6 out of 10
Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova, Lance Henriksen

It’s a movie about Xenomorphs fighting the Predator, that’s all anyone needs. Sure, AVP lacks the tension of the other Alien films, but it embraces the zany, action you’d expect from this science fiction prize fight. Watching these two legendary characters battle on screen never gets old and director Paul W.S. Anderson delivers some intriguing lore to justify this battle. Even with the PG-13 rating, there is something special about seeing two iconic monsters thrash each other around in gory, violent battles.

26. 28 Weeks Later

Release Date: May 11, 2007
IMDB Rating: 7.0 out of 10
Starring: Robert Carlyle, Rose Byrne, Jeremy Renner, Idris Elba

Typically overshadowed by the game-changing horror movie 28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later is a bigger, bolder, and badder version of the first film. Set in London a few months after the disaster, society has begun to slowly rebuild after the Rage virus wiped out most of the United Kingdom. Yet, things fall apart when the infection returns causing a young brother and sister to flee for their lives. 28 Weeks Later delivers exactly what you’d expect from a big budget zombie movie. The brother and sister have fantastic chemistry, Jeremy Renner is great as a military sharpshooter, and the infected remain absolutely terrifying.

27. Would You Rather

Release Date: October 14, 2012
IMDB Rating: 5.7 out of 10
Starring: Brittany Snow, Jeffrey Combs, Jonny Coyne

Have a dark sense of humor and want a horror film that will also make you laugh? Would You Rather follows a group of contestants who participate in a deadly game for a large cash prize. Full of bloody moments, Would You Rather will consistently make your stomach turn. Surprisingly, there’s a fair amount of jokes and witty humor laced throughout its modest runtime. A lot of this is thanks to Jeffery Combs who delivers a commanding performance as the game’s host. The movie may sound silly at first, but give it a try you might enjoy this one more than you think.

28. The Shallows

Release Date: June 24, 2016
IMDB Rating: 6.3 out of 10
Starring: Blake Lively, Oscar Jaenada, Brett Cullen

When it comes to shark movies most are eclipsed by the titan of underwater monster films, Jaws. Yet, director Jaume Collet-Serra’s The Shallows is one of the best shark movies in years. Following a surfer trapped on a coral reef by a killer shark, she has to find a way to get to the shore before the tide comes in.

Despite being trapped on some rocks for the majority of the film, Blake Lively gives us a wonderful character that isn’t afraid to fight back against this massive beast. The shark is also quite terrifying, with The Shallows’ version being slightly more grounded in reality. This is a recipe for a

29. The Awakening

Release Date: November 11, 2011
IMDB Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Dominic West, Imelda Staunton

This slow, supernatural horror follows a young woman dedicated to uncovering frauds visiting a remote boarding school experiencing supernatural events. The Awakening is very much a character-driven horror film that focuses on delving into the psyche and past of Rebecca Hall’s investigator. You’ll spend a lot of time with her as her beliefs are consistently challenged as she begins to uncover the secrets of the school. A nice mixture of jump scares and tense moments, The Awakening is an enjoyable flick that is certainly worth your time.

30. Hush

Release Date: April 8, 2016
IMDB Rating: 6.6 out of 10
Starring:  Kate Siegel, John Gallagher Jr.

Another film from director Mike Flanagan, Hush flips the home invasion formula on its head. The big catch is our protagonist is deaf, meaning the killer stalking her can slip into her house unnoticed. This little detail adds so much to the movie, allowing the scares and absence of sound to build upon the terrifying masked murderer. Kate Siegel absolutely owns her role, giving us a nice mix of vulnerability and determination. Despite being deaf, she won’t go down without a fight and it’s hard not to fall in love with her character.

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