The horror genre is an acquired taste, so I understand why it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Some people simply don’t like being scared or don’t like gore, excessive violence, and watching a film that will potentially keep them up at night.
After I watched arthouse horror, The Witch (2016), it made me think about all the other horror films out there that avoid scares in favour of strong characters, a well-developed narrative, and even humour. So, let’s take a look at five horrors that people who don’t like scary movies, can enjoy.
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
The Cabin in the Woods is an immensely entertaining deconstruction of the horror genre. Five college friends stay at a remote forest cabin for a little vacation, but they get more than they bargained for when they fall victim to a zombie attack. Yep, it’s laughable how cliche the premise sounds. But the film is a horror comedy that satirises and pokes fun at standard horror conventions. Although it does contain plenty of gore, the film is most memorable for its comedy. Whether you love or hate the genre, you really need to see The Cabin in the Woods.
Let the Right One In (2004)
Swedish romantic horror film, Let the Right One In, is about a lonely young boy, Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) who is constantly bullied at school, but finds love and friendship through Eli (Lina Leandersson), a strange girl he meets one night. The film focuses on the relationship between these two characters and the various obstacles they face, particularly the dark secret Eli harbours. Although the film is very gritty, its characters and story are the primary focus, so genuine scares are minimal. It’s a very good film that is definitely worth watching.
28 Days Later (2001)
I believe that 28 Days Later is one of the greatest post-apocalyptic zombie films because it’s so refreshing. The story follows Jim (Cillian Murphy), who wakes from a coma to discover that the society he once knew has broken down, due to a contagious virus. The film focuses on the struggle of Jim and the other survivors of the outbreak. 28 Days Later isn’t your typical horror film because for one, it isn’t scary and because it’s more about survival and how the characters deal with the virus that threatens their lives. It’s a great film and widely credited for reviving the zombie genre.
The Others (2001)
If you don’t like blood and gore, then The Others is a great horror film to watch. Set during WWII, it’s a classic ghost story about a family that moves into an old English residence. The mother (Nicole Kidman) becomes convinced the house is haunted and tries to protect her children from the supernatural disturbances. The Others is more of a suspense film with horror elements, and it has a genuinely great story, with a devastating twist.
The Wicker Man (1973)
By a country mile, The Wicker Man is the most unconventional horror film I have ever seen. Many people would argue that it isn’t even a horror, but instead some kind of obscure mystery film. It centres on Police Sergeant Neil Howie (Edward Woodward), who travels to the remote island, Summerisle, in search of a missing girl.
Being a devout Christian, Howie is disturbed by the islanders practising a form of Celtic paganism. The Wicker Man is the kind of film you’ve just got to watch and figure out along the way. It’s so weird and unusual, but brilliant.
What did you think of the list? Let me know in the comments.
You also might be interested in my other film lists here.