Director James Watkins
Cast Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer
A box-office smash, this old-school ghost story adapts the popular West End stage play into a sleek, intelligent horror movie packed with jump-scares and creeping dread. Daniel Radcliffe is not completely convincing as the young lawyer sent to a creepy house – you keep expecting him to whip out his wand – but he’s game.
Watch it if you liked… ‘The Innocents’
Director Jennifer Kent
Cast Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman
This Australian chiller from first-time director Jennifer Kent is one of the best-reviewed horror movies of the past decade. It’s brilliantly acted, with Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman harrowingly convincing as a mother and son troubled by dark forces emanating from a mysterious children’s book.
Watch it if you liked... ‘Insidious’
Director Marc Forster
Cast Brad Pitt, Mereille Enos
This noble attempt to make blood ‘n’ guts respectable stars Big Brad as a doctor trying to find the source of a worldwide contagion. The action setpieces are magnificent, though it does all grind to a halt when he ends up in a rural Welsh hospital with Doctor Who.
Watch it if you liked... ‘Dawn of the Dead’
Director Guillermo del Toro
Cast Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil
Guillermo del Toro reinvigorated the fantasy genre with this nightmarish fairytale set during the Spanish Civil War. After her father dies, a young girl imagines an escape from her traumatic reality into an even darker world of monsters and spirits.
Watch it if you liked… ‘Crimson Peak’
Director Wes Craven
Cast Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox
The film that spawned a thousand inferior knock-offs, Wes Craven’s original horror-movie-about-horror-movies works because it’s not just smart and self-referential, it’s also genuinely frightening.
Watch it if you liked... ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’
Director James Wan
Cast Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne
A key film in the new wave of smash-hit mainstream horror (see also ‘Sinister’, ‘The Conjuring’), ‘Insidious’ is the one with the creepy kid, the astral plane and the demon hiding behind the Big Red Door. Watch it alone, and completely scare your own pants off.
Watch it if you liked… ‘The Conjuring’
Director Oren Peli
Cast Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat
Second only to ‘The Blair Witch Project’ in the terrifyingly convincing DIY horror stakes, ‘Paranormal Activity’ was shot for peanuts on cheap cameras, but the effect is freakier than a hundred mega-budget shockers. The sequels aren’t worth bothering with. Still, the original’s a terrifying winner.
Watch it if you liked… ‘The Blair Witch Project’
Director Alejandro Amenabar
Cast Nicole Kidman, Fionnula Flanagan
If you’re afraid of the dark, best to steer clear of this old-fashioned ghost story in which Nicole Kidman plays the isolated mother of two creepy children with a genetic sensitivity to sunlight.
Watch it if you liked... ‘The Woman in Black’
Director Philip Kaufman
Cast Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams
One of the all-time great remakes, this witty, whip-smart and brilliantly creepy take on the old story of alien pods who turn people into lifeless automatons is fit to stand alongside the 1950s original. The cast is amazing – Jeff Goldblum and Leonard Nimoy are both on peak form – and the final shot will give you nightmares for months.
Watch it if you liked… ‘The Fly’
Director Ruben Fleischer
Cast Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson
In a zombie-infested post-apocalyptic landscape, a group of wisecracking, armed-to-the-teeth survivors try to find a place to hide out. Bill Murray’s legendary cameo is the highlight of this fast and funny pastiche.
Watch it if you liked... ‘The Walking Dead’
Director Matt Reeves
Cast Chloe Grace Moretz, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Some snobs reckon that remakes are never as good as the original. They’re idiots: this American version of the Scandinavian vampire flick ‘Let the Right One In’, by ‘Cloverfield’ director Matt Reeves, doesn’t try to copy the original. Instead, it walks its own chilly, intense, unexpectedly powerful path.
Watch it if you liked… ‘Stranger Things’
Director Tom Holland
Cast Catherine Hicks, Alex Vincent
Forget ‘Annabelle’, this is the ultimate psycho doll movie. Chucky may have suffered through almost three decades of inferior sequels, but this energetic, darkly clever original offers shocks and chuckles in roughly equal measure.
Watch it if you liked... ‘Gremlins’
Director Christian Alvart
Cast Ben Foster, Dennis Quaid
In this entertaining sci-fi space schlocker Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid wake up from hypersleep to discover that the other inhabitants of their craft have turned into psycho zombie mutants. The presence of two such weighty actors lends ‘Pandorum’ more gravitas than it probably deserves, but it’s a fun watch and the twist ending is a doozy.
Watch it if you liked... ‘Alien’
Director Michael Mann
Cast Scott Glenn, Ian McKellen
The setup is amazing – a group of Nazi soldiers occupy an Alpine castle only to discover that it’s the lair of an ageless evil – and the cast is perfect. So while Michael Mann’s atmospheric chiller may lose its way in the final reel, there’s plenty here for fans of the bizarre and beautiful.
Watch it if you liked... ‘The Omen’
Director Gerard Johnstone
Cast Morgana O’Reilly, Rima Te Wiata
If you’re a fan of Peter Jackson’s early, New Zealand-set splatter satires you’ll get a kick out of this witty tale of a young woman under house arrest who fears her mum’s crumbling home may be haunted by evil spirits.
Watch it if you liked... ‘The Frighteners’