Happiness Turned Horror: 16 Films That Will Leave You Shook to Your Core

When was the last time you had a movie marathon night with friends? What was the last movie that had you stay awake out of fear that a monster would come out from the dark? If you’re up for a night of unexpected plot twists and confusing endings, here are 16 films guaranteed to give you goosebumps. 

1. The Mist (2007)

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Image Credit: Dimension Films/IMDb

Director: Frank Darabont

IMDb Rating: 7.1

“The Mist” is a sci-fi horror movie based on Stephen King’s 1980 novella with the same title. The story follows David Drayton (Thomas Jane) and his young son as they scavenge for food and supplies after a storm destroys their home. With a thick fog covering the entire town, they must survive as they get trapped inside a grocery store with monsters appearing from nowhere. 

King is a master storyteller of terrifying concepts and horrific scenes. More than just deadly creatures waiting for their prey, the thought of forcing a sacrifice just to appease the monsters is terrifying. 

2. Fallen (1998)

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Image Credit: Atlas Entertainment/IMDb

Director: Gregory Hoblit

IMDb Rating: 7.0

“Fallen” is an American thriller that follows John Hobbes (Denzel Washington) and his partner Jonesy (John Goodman), who are investigating a killer whose M.O. is similar to a serial killer Edgar Reese (Elias Koteas),  whom they just put to jail. 

The movie is underrated, considering the incredible performances of all the actors, including Donald Sutherland and Embeth Davidtz. The storyline is clever and exciting, where the scenes are authentically occult-related and garnered a following for cult fanatics. 

3. No Country For Old Men (2007)

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Image Credit: Paramount Vantage/IMDb

Director: Ethan and Joel Coen

IMDb Rating: 8.2

“No Country for Old Men” is a crime thriller telling the story of Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), a hunter who discovered the cash left behind by a drug deal gone wrong. He must escape from the clutch of Chigurh (Javier Bardem), a merciless killer who’s out to get him. Meanwhile, Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones), an aging law enforcer, tries to catch up to Moss first to protect him. 

The movie is hauntingly incredible, taking on the concepts of aging, death, and morality. The thought that the world is not suitable anymore for old men is frightening. 

4. Identity (2003)

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Image Credit: Columbia Pictures/IMDb

Director: James Mangold

IMDb Rating: 7.3

“Identity” is a mystery thriller loosely based on Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None.” It narrates the stories of ten strangers stranded in an isolated hotel after a storm broke out. Without outside communication, they need to survive as a mysterious murderer kills them one by one. 

This film is intriguing and will keep you guessing which among them is the real killer. The twists in the story are so unexpected that you won’t be able to take your eyes off the screen. 

5. Life (2017)

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Image Credit: Columbia Pictures/IMDb

Director: Daniel Espinosa

IMDb Rating: 6.6

“Life” is a sci-fi horror movie that stars popular artists like Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Rebecca Ferguson. The film follows six International Space Station astronauts who were able to get proof of life on Mars. 

The film has an excellent start, but things get ugly and horrifying when that extraterrestrial life-form shows to be more dangerous and intelligent than expected. It shows equal thrill and terror, where you will feel the anxiety of the idea of getting trapped in space with a dangerous creature. 

6. Smile (2022)

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Image Credit: Temple Hill Entertainment/IMDb

Director: Parker Finn

IMDb Rating: 6.5

“Smile” is a psychological thriller based on the short film “Laura Hasn’t Slept.” The movie follows therapist Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) and her terrifying experiences making her feel like everything is supernatural. Her experiences increasingly become more disturbing you will feel more horrified as the movie goes on. 

The tone of the film is incredibly heavy, with a scary atmosphere. Sosie Bacon’s acting of her hysteria is outstanding and terrifying at the same time. 

7. Drag Me to Hell (2009)

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Image Credit: Universal Pictures/IMDb

Director: Sam Raimi

IMDb Rating: 6.6

“Drag Me to Hell” is a supernatural horror movie that follows Christine Brown, a loan officer at a Los Angeles bank. Her perfect life turns hellish when she denies the request to extend an old woman’s home loan. The old woman turned out to be a crone and placed a curse on her.  

The movie centers on all the horrible experiences Christine experienced because of the curse. It is littered with gross scenes mixed with terrifying situations you wouldn’t want to find yourself in. The old woman is also very memorable, and she’ll haunt you in your nightmares. 

8. Bridge to Terabithia (2007)

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Image Credit: Lauren Levine Productions Inc./IMDb

Director: Gabor Csupo

IMDb Rating: 7.2

“Bridge to Terabithia” is a fantasy drama that follows Jesse Aarons (Josh Hutcherson) and Leslie Burke (AnnaSophia Robb) as they create a fantasy world to escape reality. The film starts with a genuine innocence focused on the perspective of a child but then turns sorrowful as the storyline progresses. Jesse experiences tragedies that will make you feel depressed throughout. 

9. The Departed (2006)

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Image Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc./IMDb

Director: Martin Scorsese

IMDb Rating: 8.5

“The Departed” is a crime thriller that narrates the adventures of Billy Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio), an undercover cop infiltrating Frank Costello’s (Jack Nicholson) criminal organization. Meanwhile, criminal Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) also infiltrates the police department to act as the organization’s mole. 

Besides the incredible casting work, the film will keep you on your toes not just for its gritty scenes but also for the thrill of the chase. The concepts of loyalty and betrayal are explored efficiently in a manner that will leave you speechless. 

10. Upgrade (2018)

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Image Credit: Automatik Entertainment/IMDb

Director: Leigh Whannell

IMDb Rating: 7.5

“Upgrade” is an action film that follows the story of Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green), a victim of a violent mugging that left him paralyzed and his wife dead. He was offered to be part of a project that involves an AI implant to help improve his body, allowing him to seek revenge. 

The movie induces a rollercoaster of emotions to anyone who sees it. It’s equally heartbreaking, funny, and thought-provoking all at the same time. 

11. Arlington Road (1999)

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Image Credit: Screen Gems/IMDb

Director: Mark Pellington

IMDb Rating: 7.2

“Arlington Road” is a drama that follows Michael Faraday (Jeff Bridges), a college professor who became obsessed with extremist groups after his wife was killed by one. He began to suspect his new neighbors and think they were acting suspiciously. This leads the entire film to center on Faraday’s fear and paranoia, building a story filled with mysteries and setting a good atmosphere. 

12. Atonement (2007)

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Image Credit: Relativity Media/IMDb

Director: Joe Wright

IMDb Rating: 7.8

“Atonement” is a war drama that narrates the story of lovers Robbie Turner (James McAvoy) and Cecilia Tallis (Keira Knightley) and the lie of Briony (Saoirse Ronan), Cecilia’s sister, that destroyed their relationship. 

This war movie is a mixture of sophistication and continuous anxiety brought by the complexity of the storyline, filled with love and betrayal. The film score is also incredibly put together, and all the sounds will help you feel the emotion dominating the scenes. 

13. Promising Young Woman (2020)

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Image Credit: Focus Features/IMDb

Director: Emerald Fennell

IMDb Rating: 7.5

“Promising Young Woman” is a crime thriller that narrates the life of Cassie (Carey Mulligan), a cunning woman living a double life. She pretends to be a vulnerable party girl who aims to stop men from taking advantage of women and is out for revenge. The suspense of putting yourself in a dangerous situation to set up a scene perfect for revenge is thrilling. 

14. Parasite (2019)

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Image Credit: Barunson E&A/IMDb

Director: Bong Joon Ho

IMDb Rating: 8.5

“Parasite” is a comedy thriller that narrates the scheme of a poor family to infiltrate the life of a wealthy family by pretending to be qualified staff who can work for them. The concepts of greed and social classes are also perfectly incorporated in the movie. The dark comedy presented in the film is new and refreshing to see. And the sudden shifting emotions and tones are well-placed yet still surprising. 

15. Hide and Seek (2005)

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Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox/IMDb

Director: John Polson

IMDb Rating: 5.9

“Hide and Seek” is a psychological thriller that follows psychologist David Callaway (Robert De Niro) and his daughter Emily (Dakota Fanning) as they start a new life away from the city where his wife ended her life. With a depressed Emily and her only friend Charlie who’s also imaginary, their lives worsen instead of getting better. 

The movie’s beginning was promising as a horror film but ended up being a comedy more than a thriller. You can expect to be terrified at the beginning but end up hilariously disappointed in the end. 

16. I Am Mother (2019)

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Image Credit: Southern Light Films/IMDb

Director: Grant Sputore

IMDb Rating: 6.7

“I Am Mother” is a cyberpunk thriller that tells the story of Mother, a robot, who decides to raise a girl named Daughter. The film is set in a post-apocalyptic earth where humanity is on the brink of extinction. It is filled with unexpected twists and sci-fi scenes that will want you to know more about their reality. 

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