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Four Horror Movies That Say Something Deeper

Spine-chilling and thought-provoking? Sign me up!

By Robyn ReischPublished 2 years ago 4 min read
Four Horror Movies That Say Something Deeper
Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

What on earth is so appealing about the horror genre?

Is there a base instinct inside of us that needs to see our greatest fears brought to the screen? Our very survival threatened? Our sense of reality shaken?

Or are we just deviants?

After all, just talking about it feels a little bit…exciting.

As human beings, it’s hard to resist a good story — and that’s what the best of the horror genre has to offer. Beneath the ghosts, the haunting, and the gore, there lies a beating heart. That heart is rendered all the more compelling by the adrenaline rush horror grants us.

These movies will give you that feeling:



Yes, we’re all tired of hastily made add-ons. A sequel or remake rarely holds a candle to the OG — but they make it because they know we’ll still go see it.

What can I say? Horror fans are a loyal crowd.

Thankfully, Candyman isn’t that.

Unlike so many other remakes, it succeeds in being more than a modernized update on a groundbreaking classic. Modern Candyman has something new to say. Jordan Peele’s deft ability to make social observations through art is on full display here like never before. Even better, it’s done in Chicago’s art world — a beautifully rendered setting full of quick witted, engaging, and sharply dressed characters.

Horror fans love a good aesthetic.

While it has your attention, though, Candyman presents questions you won’t want to answer.

How does our history define us? Whose stories are worth our attention? Where do we draw the line between creative passion and insanity?

At its core is an age-old musing: Where does the pain of injustice go?


The Forever Purge

I know what I said about sequels. This franchise is an exception, though, and here’s why: It does them very well.

Each Purge movie has something new to say. The titular social experiment — one night each year in which all crime is legal — is a simple one. Rather than resting on the formulaic family home invasion of the original movie, though, this franchise chooses to look at The Purge from a new lens in each iteration.

This culminates in The Forever Purge. The movie starts with familiar racial and social tensions. Then, it escalates these dynamics to a macro effect that the previous films had only hinted at. What happens when the very pawns of this anger-release project realize that they still have no power? Who will they turn on when they learn that targeting each other gets them nowhere?

Who really has the power to change the rules?

This film explores the limits of human freedom, cruelty, anger, and self-aggrandizement in a world where social tensions are allowed a higher breaking point. Refreshingly, it touches on the human capacity for courage and redemption as well.


The Babadook

Although older than most of the films on this list, The Babadook shook me in a way that resounds to this very day. What at first appears to be a haunting or monster style thriller takes a turn for the cerebral when we realize the monster has eerie parallels to the protagonist’s tragic past.

Did you just feel that chill creep up your spine?

It’s true — the terror is coming from inside the proverbial house.

At the heart of this atmospheric thriller is a building sense of dread that culminates in a painfully universal human lesson.

There is no cure for trauma. It is not a monster that can be extinguished. Instead, it must be tended to, slowly healed, and ultimately lived with. For better or worse, our deepest pain is destined to become an integral part of the family home we create.


Get Out

Look, it’s Jordan Peele again!

What can I say? He’s a creative genius.

At first glance, Get Out could be mistaken for a lazy “fish out of water” or “meet the parents” style trope. Thankfully, it proves to be anything but. From the plantation setting to the carefully crafted opening sequence, every moment of this story is pointed and intentional.

Get Out moves deftly between uncomfortable micro-aggressions and more deeply scarring generational pain to create a world where our protagonist is welcome — for all the wrong reasons.

Exploitation, this movie posits, is sneakier and more insidious than it appears on the surface. It can come from the most trusted and respected members of society. Even worse, it can come from the people we love.

The capacity to dehumanize another person is not, as this film argues, rooted in malicious hatred. Frighteningly, it’s bred in a much more accessible place. It can stem from run of the mill emotions like greed, selfishness, personal ambition, and lust. The idea of overt racism is canceled in our society. Unfortunately, the more mundane character flaws that facilitate it are not.

What are you waiting for? Go jiffy up some popcorn and turn out the lights.

It’s movie night.


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About the Creator

Robyn Reisch

Robyn Reisch spends her days cooking, writing, and raising three gorgeous little hooligans. She is married to the world's greatest man.

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