Horror Movie Month: Modern Chillers

The final installment of our Halloween horror movie roundup (last week: the 90s revival) brings us up to the modern day. Desolation, ghosts, and unhappy endings abound.

After 9/11, the horror genre experienced a profound shift. No longer were the heroes and heroines of the scary movie guaranteed a happy – or at least satisfying – ending. The destruction of the feeling of safety and security in everyday life translated into a new breed of scary movie: the desolate, hopeless chiller.

If you’re looking for Sidney Prescott walking confidently away from yet another encounter with Ghostface, or Laurie Strode once more beating Michael Myers at his own game, look elsewhere. The modern horror movie is as unsettling as life in the modern world.

Link to Catalogue record for The Ring dvd

The Ring (2002)
An American remake of the Japanese chiller, the only movie to make a VHS player truly scary.

Link to Catalogue record for Saw dvd

Saw (2004)
Now famous for its infinite sequels of torture-endurance, the original Saw is a chilling mystery with a looming sense of dread.

Link to Catalogue record for Silent Hill dvd

Silent Hill (2006)
A video-game-turned-movie that achieves actual plot, Silent Hill combines horror scares with a ghostly sense of unease.

Link to Catalogue record for Cloverfield dvd

Cloverfield (2008)
The most successful found-footage horror since The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield is a monster movie with the heart of a horror movie.

Link to Kanopy streaming page for The Babadook

The Babadook (2014)
A widowed mother and her young son struggle against a terrifying apparition from a children’s book.

Link to Kanopy streaming page for The Blackcoat's Daughter

The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015)
Heavy snow, an empty boarding school, a mysterious hitchhiker… what could possibly go wrong?

Link to Kanopy streaming page for The Witch

The Witch (2015)
A viciously religious family in early colonial America find that sins and the Devil may have followed them across the seas.

Link to Catalogue record for The Falling dvd

The Falling (2015)
Unhappy home lives and contagious fainting fits make for a truly unsettling modern folk horror.

Link to Catalogue record for Ghost Stories dvd

Ghost Stories (2017)
A series of terrifying vignettes tell modern horror tales that would make M.R. James jealous.

Link to Catalogue record for Hereditary dvd

Hereditary (2018)
One death in a family plagued by secrets and mental illness leads to a shocking, demonic conclusion.

Link to Catalogue record for Us dvd

Us (2019)
From the writer/director of Get Out comes another story where the seemingly normal surface hides a deeper, horrifying secret.

Do you feel a sense of looming, creeping dread yet? Is there light at the end of the tunnel, or are we in for a future of uncertain and chilling endings?

Head over to the library’s streaming service, Kanopy, to see a whole collection of horror movies from all eras (including several on this list), and let us know what you thought of Horror Movie Month.