Best Horror Movies of the Last 20 Years

With Halloween only days away, you may be wondering which films are the best horror movies of all time.

A few weeks ago, Cutting Edge delved into the scariest movies scenes of the 20th century. We covered the moment Danny Torrance meets the ghosts of the Grady sisters in The Shining. Nosferatu’s iconic ascent up the stairs, and even Quint’s bone-chilling monologue in Jaws.

Most of these films came out between the 1920’s and the 1970’s… and they changed the horror genre – and cinema as a whole – forever.

Yet, there are other horror films that have terrified audiences since then… so horrifying that they’ve etched themselves in people’s memories for years to come.

So, which films have lacerated cinema in the last 20 years? Get your popcorn and Halloween candy ready. Lock your door… and maybe keep a light on (or two). Because here are the best horror movies to come out since the 1990’s!

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

There’s nothing more terrifying than the possibility of horrific events actually taking place. Horror mockumentaries had existed prior to 1999. But none compared to what The Blair Witch Project had in store for audiences nearly 20 years ago.

The Blair Witch Project was a Sundance hit in early 1999. But by the summer, the $60,000 budget film became a box office smash grossing over $248 million.

The movie tells the story of three student filmmakers who set off into the Black Hills of western Maryland. They set off to investigate an urban legend known as the Blair Witch. They go missing, which the audience learns in the opening credits. And a year after their disappearance, the lost footage of their journey is discovered.

The movie that audiences watch is the alleged lost footage. Unlike typical horror movies, you never see what’s lurking – and terrorizing – the students.

To add to the terror, the directors marketed the film to portray it as having actually happened. They used a missing persons poster showing the three characters, for example. And at the time, the world was still new to the Internet. So, when the film’s website showed fake news reports from “police”, people really began to wonder.

Nowadays, the modern film-goer can easily tell what’s fake from what’s real. But in 1999, just shy of 20 years ago, we weren’t conditioned the same way we are now… making The Blair Witch Project one of the best horror movies of all time.

The Sixth Sense (1999)

Are you looking to enjoy scary movies on Netflix this Halloween?

Every October, Netflix ups the ante on their selection of horror films. And if you’re a fan of supernatural horrors or thrillers, you’re in luck this year!

M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense is one of the newer scary movies out now on Netflix. The film put Shyamalan on the map, who has since created some of the most memorable plot twists of all time. But none compare to the plot twist in The Sixth Sense, a story about a troubled boy who can see and talk to the dead.

The Sixth Sense is not like a typical gory horror film. It’s more suspenseful and thrilling than it is horrifying. But Shyamalan does a good job at creating a bone-chilling, creepy atmosphere. Not to mention, character arcs played by Bruce Willis, Toni Colette, and Haley Joel Osment.

The Ring (2002)

Asian horror is a genre in its own right. Unlike mainstream, Hollywood horror, Asian horror films draw on trepidation rather than gore. They’re also distinguished by creepy, dream-like atmospheres and psychological concepts involving malevolent spirits.

Back in the early 2000’s, Hollywood began to remake many horror films that were popular in East Asia. But the defining film that started the trend was 2003’s The Ring.

The Ring begins like a typical Hollywood slasher film. Two teenage girls begin discussing the legend surrounding a bizarre videotape. The tape allegedly kills those who watch it within 7 days. And after the bizarre death of one of the girls, the film transitions to its eerie, foreboding roots.

The rest of the film explores a journalist’s investigation into the videotape… and audiences learn the horrifying truth behind it. 

The Ring is not a film you want to watch alone at night with the lights off!

Saw (2004)

Psychological, supernatural horror films may not be your cup of tea. Maybe you’re a fan of everything bloody, gory, and horrendous. And if that is the case, you’ll want to sit down with James Wan’s Saw franchise this Halloween.

In 2004, the first Saw debuted and paved the way for 7 more films in the span of a decade. The original film begins with two men waking up in a deteriorating bathroom, shackled. It’s not long until they discover that they’re pawns in a deadly game perpetuated by a serial killer.

Audiences themselves feel the high-stakes game that the characters must play on screen. The film is gritty and cold in style. And it’s twisted gore is enough to make viewers squeamish.

The Conjuring (2013)

James Wan forever etched himself in horror history with his work on the Saw franchise. But Wan made himself a horror legend with his work on The Conjuring franchise.

Wan bases The Conjuring off of real-life paranormal psychologists, Ed and Lorraine Warren. The two are most known for their investigative work involving The Amityville Horror. But The Conjuring instead focuses on a different case that the Warrens investigated.

In 1971, the Warrens go to a Rhode Island farmhouse where an alleged haunting is taking place. The Perron family, who live on the farm, have experienced a malevolent presence in the home. They call upon the Warrens, who determine that they’ll need to perform an exorcism on the house.

Are you a fan of haunted house stories based on real events? And are you looking for quality scary movies on Netflix right now? If so, The Conjuring is definitely worth a watch as it’s based off events reported to have happened. If you enjoy the first film, the rest of the franchise is also worth checking out this Halloween.

Halloween (2018)

To this day, John Carpenter’s Halloween is world-renowned as one of the best horror movies of all time. The original film not only introduced one of the scariest villains of all time, Michael Myers. Carpenter laid the foundation for future horror films to come.

The Halloween franchise totals eleven films that span the course of 40 years. Nine of the films center around the murderous Michael Myers. And the films have always explored his thirst to murder his baby sister, Laurie Strode.

But in 2018, the eleventh installment of the franchise chose to ignore all the films prior to it. Instead, this new film occurs 40 years after the events of the original 1978 film… with the major difference having Michael and Laurie not be brother and sister. And this time, Laurie, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, awaits Michael’s return.

The new Halloween film is one of the only scary movies out now in theaters. And so far, it’s already grossed nearly $91 million its first weekend alone.

Watch the Best Horror Movies of All Time This Halloween

Halloween is just over a week away, which means there’s still plenty of time to binge-watch scary movies. If you’re looking to celebrate the best time of year with the best horror movies, look no further than this list. And if we forgot to mention a scary movie made in the last 20 years, let us know in the comments.

But before you do, have you bought your tickets to the main Halloween event of the season? Cutting Edge Haunted House is still open every weekend until November 3rd. If you’re a horror fan, you won’t want to miss this!