Top 10 haunted house movies that will keep you on the edge of your seat

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Haunted house movies: A spine-tingling collection

From classic scares to modern mind-benders, haunted house films stand out for their uncanny ability to both terrify and entertain.

There’s something uniquely chilling about a haunted house story, where the very walls that should offer safety and shelter turn against their occupants.

Whether it’s the creaking of a floorboard, a chill in a room with no windows open, or the eerie feeling of being watched, these films master the art of suspense and horror.

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1. The Haunting (1963)

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The Haunting takes us into Hill House, a large, old mansion with a history of strange events.

The story follows a small group of people, invited by Dr. John Markway, who is researching the paranormal. Each guest has their own reason for being there, but Eleanor Vance, who has experienced poltergeist activity, is the main focus.

As they stay in the house, strange things start happening, leading them to question what’s real and what’s not. The house seems to have a mind of its own, especially targeting Eleanor.

This movie uses sounds, the characters’ fear, and the mansion’s vast, spooky interiors to scare us.

At the time, this was a fresh approach, making The Haunting a pioneer. This movie has inspired many others in the genre, teaching us that sometimes, the unseen can be the most terrifying of all.

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2. Poltergeist (1982)

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Poltergeist takes us into the lives of the Freeling family, who live in what first seems like a peaceful suburban home.

However, their world turns upside down when strange and scary events begin to happen, especially focusing on their youngest daughter, Carol Anne.

The family discovers their house is built on a former burial ground, leading to a series of terrifying encounters with ghosts and spirits. They must fight to save Carol Anne, who is taken by these forces into another dimension within the house.

This movie struck a chord by showing that danger can lurk in the most ordinary places, turning a safe haven into a site of terror.

The film also set new standards for horror movies by using groundbreaking visual effects and having a strong emotional storyline. It showed that these movies could also tell compelling stories about family, love, and survival.

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3. The Others (2001)

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In The Others, we’re pulled into a fog-wrapped world where Grace Stewart, played by Nicole Kidman, lives in a remote country house with her two photosensitive children.

The family believes their home is haunted, leading Grace to hire three new servants who quickly become part of the mysterious happenings.

Unlike many haunted house movies that rely on visual scares, The Others takes a unique path by focusing on suspense and the unseen, making our own imaginations part of the experience.

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4. Crimson Peak (2015)

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In Crimson Peak, directed by Guillermo del Toro, we find ourselves immersed in the story of Edith Cushing, an aspiring author who falls in love with the charming yet mysterious Sir Thomas Sharpe.

After marrying Thomas, Edith moves into his family’s dilapidated mansion in England, a place filled with secrets and haunted by the past.

The mansion itself is as much a character as the people living within its walls, with its creaking floors, whispering winds, and the unsettling red clay that seeps through the snow.

Del Toro combines Gothic romance with horror, offering a visual feast that enhances the story’s mood and tension. Crimson Peak embraces color and detail to tell its story, making the supernatural elements feel more tangible.

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5. The Conjuring (2013)

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In The Conjuring, we’re introduced to the chilling story of the Perron family, who experience terrifying supernatural events in their Rhode Island farmhouse.

Ed and Lorraine Warren, played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, are paranormal investigators called to help the family.

The Warrens are real-life figures known for their ghost-hunting adventures, and The Conjuring draws from one of their famous cases.

Following its success, several sequels and spin-offs were created, each exploring different aspects of the paranormal.

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6. Get Out (2017)

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Get Out, directed by Jordan Peele, takes a unique spin on the genre.

The story follows Chris, a young African-American man, as he visits the family of his white girlfriend, Rose.

What starts as an awkward meet-the-parents weekend quickly descends into a terrifying series of discoveries that reveal the family’s dark secrets.

The estate, while not haunted in the conventional sense, becomes a place of psychological horror and suspense, making us question the real monsters in society.

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7. Ju-on: The Grudge (2002, Japan)

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In Ju-on: The Grudge, we’re pulled into a story that spirals around a curse born from a grudge held by someone who dies in a state of extreme rage or sorrow.

The film tells the tale through a series of interconnected stories, each linked by the haunted house where the curse originated.

The narrative doesn’t follow a linear timeline, which adds to the suspense and horror as we piece together the tragic events that fuel the curse.

Ju-on: The Grudge inspired a new wave of horror films that adopt its non-linear storytelling and focus on psychological terror.

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8. The Orphanage (2008)

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In The Orphanage, directed by J.A. Bayona, we’re introduced to Laura, who returns to her childhood home, an orphanage, with her husband and adopted son, Simón.

Laura plans to reopen the orphanage as a home for disabled children. Soon after they settle in, Simón starts to communicate with an invisible friend, and unsettling events begin to unfold.

When Simón mysteriously disappears, Laura learns about the orphanage’s dark past to find her son, uncovering secrets and confronting the spirits haunting the house.

The real horror in The Orphanage comes from the intense emotional journey Laura undergoes. The movie explores themes of loss, motherhood, and the lengths to which a parent will go to protect their child.

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9. A Tale of Two Sisters (2003, South Korea)

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In A Tale of Two Sisters, we’re drawn into the story of two sisters, Su-mi and Su-yeon.

They are reunited after a stint in a psychiatric hospital, only to face their cold stepmother and the haunting memories within their family’s secluded mansion.

The tension in the house builds as strange occurrences begin to unfold.

The mansion, with its dark corners and oppressive silence, is a reflection of the characters’ internal turmoil, making the setting an integral part of the story.

The use of color, sound, and careful pacing contributes to a feeling of unease that grows with each scene, pulling us deeper into the mystery.

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10. The Woman in Black (2012)

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In The Woman in Black, directed by James Watkins and starring Daniel Radcliffe, we are introduced to Arthur Kipps, a young lawyer grieving the loss of his wife.

Sent to a remote village to sort out the affairs of a recently deceased client, Arthur finds himself in a decrepit mansion with a sinister reputation.

The locals are tight-lipped, but it’s clear they’re terrified of the estate and its spectral inhabitant, the mysterious Woman in Black.

This film is a modern nod to the gothic horror tradition, using a remote, fog-shrouded house as the centerpiece of its terror.

The setting — isolated, old, and filled with shadows — is classic haunted house material, but the movie injects fresh life into these elements with its interesting story and strong performances.

11 haunted house movies

Haunted house movies

Do you have a favorite movie that sends shivers down your spine? Maybe there’s a movie we missed that you think deserves a spot on this list?

Please drop a comment below!

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