Are you looking for a good scare? Bored of the usual horror film fare? When you’re in the mood for watching something scary, classic horrors such as The Exorcist (1973), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) or Poltergeist (1982) will often be the among the chosen ones.
For those searching for something that’s a bit more of a hidden gem to watch, I have put together a list of my top 10 underrated horror movies of all time after countless hours of ‘research’.
The films on this list are ones which struggled to make much of an impact with critics and the majority of audiences, but have still gained adoration from some fans of the horror genre.
Underrated horror movies – IMDb rating importance?
People have different views of what really establishes a film as underrated, so the main criteria I followed was to look at the best horror films which had a 6.5 rating or below on IMDb. This list consists of a mix of low budget entries as well as some larger productions which managed to go under the radar. Ranging from the lows of a 5.7, all the way up to the highs of a 6.5, this list covers it all, and offers a number of underrated horrors to consider watching.
The ‘nearly, but not quite’ list
The following films almost made my list but, due to a number of factors, they narrowly missed out…
Annabelle: Creation (2017) A huge improvement on 2014’s Annabelle, this origin story was full of terrifying moments and genuine scares.
Hush (2016) A clever twist on the home-invasion horror, featuring a deaf protagonist and an intimidating villain, the tension levels in this one are through the roof. An IMDb rating of 6.6 sees it just miss out.
The Hills Have Eyes (2006) Ultra violent remake of a horror classic. Leans on the over-indulgent side of gore but has some very memorable kills and there’s fun to be had here.
The best underrated horror films
I’m a huge horror movie fan, but just because I love them doesn’t mean I’ve seen them all! There are bound to be some other great underrated horror movies I have missed off the list, so if there are any really obvious ones you feel deserve our attention then please comment and let us know or get in touch with us on social media and let us know what you think!
10. The Belko Experiment (2016)
Starting off our list of best underrated horror movies is a low budget project from the mind of director James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Slither (2006), The Belko Experiment tells the story of a group of office workers trapped inside their building and given the command to start killing each other if they hope to escape.
Refusal to comply leads to death via a tiny explosive device in the head. Fun, gory, and with a number of innovative deaths, The Belko Experiment is a horror movie that never takes itself too seriously, and provides great entertainment for 90 minutes.
John C. McGinley of Scrubs fame provides a memorably twisted performance as well as a number of the film’s best moments. Think Battle Royale/The Hunger Games crossed with Office Space and this is the result.
IMDb rating: 6.1
9. Child’s Play (2019)
The original Child’s Play (1988) may not be a classic in its own right, but due to the impact it had on popular culture and the spawning of a successful franchise, it deserves an immense amount of respect.
Remakes in Hollywood are common practice these days and although they’re not for everyone, there are a number of examples of recent successful remakes. Child’s Play (2019) gives the story a modern, fresh twist and swaps the original Chucky doll out for a newer model in Buddi, voiced by Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill. With the ever reliable Aubrey Plaza leading the cast, this film is in safe hands and has some great moments of humour mixed in with some very creative and shocking moments of blood-splattering horror.
IMDb rating: 5.8
8. Krampus (2015)
Krampus is a creature from Scandinavian folklore, a horrifying demon who punishes children who have misbehaved during the Christmas period. Basically the anti-Santa!
Again, another film which doesn’t take itself too seriously and has a number of comedic actors amongst its cast such as Adam Scott and David Koechner, this film works perfectly as both an entertaining horror and as a darker Christmas movie (if you fancy something a bit more sinister in a couple of month’s time)!
Although, for the most part, the film is not particularly scary, some of the creature designs are truly imaginative and unsettling, especially the monstrous Jack-in-the-box which comes into play in the third act!
IMDb rating: 6.1
7. Little Evil
Comedy actor Adam Scott appearing not once, but twice in a list of horror films? No, your eyes don’t deceive you! Scott here, stars in Little Evil, a horror-comedy which takes inspiration from horror classic, The Omen (1976). Gary (Adam Scott) marries the woman he loves but one small issue is that her son may in fact be the Antichrist. Although the film leans more in to the comedic side of things, Little Evil has a number of excellent horror set-pieces which really make this Netflix original entry stand out from the crowd.
IMDb rating: 5.7
6. Splinter (2008)
Splinter is an independent horror film which won a number of awards upon its release in 2008, and is very deserving of its spot on this list of the best underrated horror movies. Set mostly in a deserted gas station where a mysterious creature with deadly spines attacks, this is a claustrophobic and highly tense horror with some gruesome scenes and great acting throughout. Splinter is probably the best underrated horror movie on Amazon Prime right now, so I highly recommend checking out this underrated gem if you get a chance.
IMDb rating: 6.1
5. Wolf Creek (2005)
Loosely based on a true story, Wolf Creek is set in the Australian outback and shows the worst possible scenario of the kind of danger you can run into if you get stuck out there; that danger being called Mick Taylor. Mick is one of the most horrifying and shocking horror antagonists of recent times, and it’s the knowledge that he could be a real person which makes him so scary. Upon the film’s release there was heavy backlash against the gratuitous violence and gore, so make sure you have a strong stomach before jumping in to watch Wolf Creek!
IMDb rating: 6.2
4. The Amityville Horror (2005)
Again, another remake of an iconic horror classic, this time telling the ‘true story’ of what happened in the famous Long Island-based Amityville house in the 1970s. Although generally disliked by film critics, there is a lot going for this remake and I believe it really does work as an effective horror.
Ryan Reynolds puts in a brilliant performance as George Lutz, as he gradually loses his mind amongst the madness he and his family are living through, in a way similar to Jack Nicholson in The Shining. There are some things which don’t work, but I believe there’s enough genuine scares and creepy scenes to truly get under your skin, that your experience with this remake won’t be one you regret.
IMDb rating: 6.0
3. Devil (2010)
M. Night Shyamalan was once one of the most exciting names in Hollywood, but after directing a series of underwhelming and bizarre films in the early 2000s his name was tarnished ,and people gradually forgot about the talents he displayed early in his career.
Devil was not directed by Shyamalan but he served as producer and his fingerprints are visible all over this project. The premise of Devil is simple: a group of total strangers are trapped in an elevator and one of them is the devil in human form. What ensues is a claustrophobic, tense, and gruesome 90 minutes with a great mystery at the centre of it.
Although the twist ending isn’t anywhere near as iconic as that in The Sixth Sense, there is still a reveal that you would do very well to see coming.
IMDb rating: 6.2
2. Drag Me to Hell (2009)
Director Sam Raimi made his long-awaited return to the horror genre with 2009’s Drag Me to Hell, and what a return it was! Having made his name with the classic Evil Dead trilogy, Raimi goes back to basics with a genuinely scary horror film, which has a flavour of B-Movie charm which made his iconic trilogy so beloved.
Telling the story of a young woman who has a curse put upon her, and will be tormented for three days by evil spirits before she is literally dragged to hell, the scares come in quick supply and the pace never lets up.
As well as scaring the pants off you, Drag Me to Hell does a great job of making you laugh, with some great comedy, which Raimi is an expert at throwing in during the most awkward moments. Drag Me to Hell pushes its PG-13 rating to the limit with excessive and over-the-top uses of blood and other bodily fluids, but it all adds up to making this one of the most entertaining and best underrated horror movies of recent times.
IMDb rating: 6.5
1. As Above, So Below (2014)
Not only is As Above, So Below the most underrated horror film out there, I genuinely believe it’s one of the best horrors that’s been made since the turn of the century.
Heavily criticised upon release for joining the ever-growing list of ‘found footage’ horrors, in a period where it was seen as nothing more than a horror gimmick, As Above, So Below used this technique in such clever ways it became something genuinely terrifying, and is easily the most underrated found footage horror film.
Taking a journey into the mysterious Parisian catacombs on a search for the famous Philosopher’s stone, this film starts out feeling like Indiana Jones, before moving into Blair Witch territory.
In the dark of the catacombs, our protagonists encounter a wide array of unique and chilling characters, and what follows is an assault on the human psyche, with one jump scare in particular still terrifying me to this day.
It is truly a disappointment how this managed to go under the radar, and that critics and audiences failed to embrace what really is a fantastic horror film. I implore you to go out and search for this great film, just be prepared to not sleep after!
IMDb rating: 6.2
So, there you have it, the top 10 underrated horror films of all time, in our view at least. Do you agree with our choices? What are the best underrated horror films you’ve seen? Get in touch on social media or leave a comment below, we’d love to hear from you!
Film Studies graduate. Aspiring screenwriter.