Top 10 Horror Movies that were Surprisingly Good

Written by Clayton Martino Horror movies get a bad reputation sometimes, and these films didn't look to be anything special when we first heard about them, but when we finally saw them we were pleasantly surprised! WatchMojo presents the Top 10 Horror Movies That Were Surprisingly Good! But what will make the top spot on our list? Will it be "Ouija: Origin of Evil", "Get Out", or "Wes Craven's New Nightmare"? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: Big thanks to MattW128 for suggesting this idea, and to see how WatchMojo users voted, check out the suggest page here: WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Horror+Movies+That+Were+Surprisingly+Good

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The horror genre has had its fair share of busts, but these films turned skeptical viewers into fanatics. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Horror Movies That Were Surprisingly Good.

For this list, we’re looking at horror films that—for one reason or another—weren’t expected to be good but were actually more than enjoyable.

#10: “The Cabin in the Woods” (2012)

A horror movie about a group of friends who spend the night in a cabin in the woods, featuring lesser known actors and Chris Hemsworth? Talk about cliché. Add in the fact that it’s more of a parody and clever deconstruction of the genre than a straight up horror flick, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Only it isn’t. In fact, the film has a terrific 92% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics praising its ability to be scary and funny at the same time. Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s writing is especially impressive, as it plays on multiple clichés while simultaneously adding unique twists and turns.

#9: “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later” (1998)

The seventh film in the Halloween franchise, this movie came out 20 years after the original – obviously. However, it actually acts as the third film in the series since it takes place after the events of “Halloween II,” while erasing the fourth to sixth installments from canon. Although some critics were skeptical of this decision, many have since called H20 the best of the sequels, praising both the script and the acting. This film also features the return of iconic scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis, which alone makes it worth watching.

#8: “Eden Lake” (2008)

In one of his first roles on the silver screen, Michael Fassbender is terrific in this gruesome tale depicting the horrors of Broken Britain, as is his co-star Kelly Reilly. Although the film features several horror movie clichés, it remains genuinely scary all the way down to its bloody ending. While it’s in the same vein as several other films depicting the dangers of teen gangs in Britain, it received strong critical praise with some considering it to be one of the best British horror films ever made.

#7: “Dead Silence” (2007)

Considered to be one of the best horror film directors out there today, James Wan is perhaps best known for “Saw” and “The Conjuring”. But back in 2007, he gave us this little gem. Wan does a nice job of making it a more light-hearted horror film in comparison to his other works. You might not get scared to death, but you’re guaranteed to scream and laugh until the very end. While it’s not a critical standout, this is the perfect film to throw on if you feel like watching a horror movie with a group of friends.

#6: “Slither” (2006)

Best known today for directing the “Guardians of the Galaxy” films, James Gunn got his start with this horror-comedy back in 2006. Although this movie actually lost money at the box office, it’s since established a cult following and was a critical success, particularly for its homage to classic B-movies of old and for its excellent casting. While not necessarily scary per se, it is extremely disturbing. As such, it’s probably a good idea to avoid snacking on popcorn when watching.

#5: “Evil Dead” (2013)

The original “Evil Dead” trilogy is one of the most popular series among horror fans, which meant that the 2013 remake was guaranteed to receive a lot of scrutiny from critics and fans alike. But, unlike most classic horror remakes, this one delivered. Focusing more on the horror and less on the camp, “Evil Dead” is truly a terrifying experience full of grotesque scenes that will have you watching the screen through your fingers. Evidently audiences felt the same way, as the film made nearly $100 million at the box office on just a $17 million budget.

#4: “Scream 4” (2011)

The final feature directed by Wes Craven before his death, this film was released more than a decade after “Scream 3”. Considering the lackluster reception the third flick received, the excitement for this movie was muted to say the least. While it doesn’t capture the spirit of the original, the fourth installment is significantly better than the third, with critics praising Craven’s direction and Kevin Williamson’s script. The combination of original cast members with new additions, like Emma Roberts, was also very effective.

#3: “Wes Craven’s New Nightmare” (1994)

While technically part of the “A Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise, this film doesn’t follow the series’ continuity. Rather, it features a more sinister Freddy Krueger who interacts with the people behind the movies, including Heather Langenkamp and Wes Craven himself. This unique take on the character and the franchise was well received by critics, who praised Craven for bringing horror films into reality. The return of a vicious Freddy and multiple plot twists make this a must watch for any horror fan.

#2: “Ouija: Origin of Evil” (2016)

Considering how poorly the original film—“Ouija”—was received, expectations for this prequel were extremely low. But a focused plotline and better character development made this an intriguing story for audiences. Critics agreed, with several praising the film for its combination of haunted house horror and a skillfully made period piece. While this movie doesn’t reinvent the exorcism genre, it is significantly better than its predecessor and features solid acting, as well as some genuinely terrifying scenes.

Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Piranha 3D” (2010)
- “Creepshow” (1982)
- “Warlock” (1988)

#1: “Get Out” (2017)

The directorial debut of comedian Jordan Peele is largely considered to be one of the best movies of 2017. And to say this is surprising is an understatement. “Get Out” has a remarkable 99% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and it’s easy to see why. With terrific acting, clever storytelling, and broader commentary on race in America, this movie is a fan favorite. Peele demonstrates an ability to create tension by building the horror methodically throughout the piece, rather than relying on cheap jump scares. It also features a gory ending for horror fans who crave blood and guts. All in all, we’re convinced this film will go down as one of the classics of the genre in years to come.

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