In 2018, Hereditary arrived in theaters and promptly led many horror aficionados to declare it the scariest horror movie of all time. Now, everyone has their own unique sets of fears, so it’s impossible to dub the Toni Collette-led film as the most haunting movie ever for every single viewer. Still, there’s no doubt that the film’s chilling storyline, terrific direction, and stellar acting make it one of the genre’s finest examples. It also makes recommending movies like Hereditary a little tricky.
Horror is a wonderfully expansive genre that can be funny and full of jump scares, or deeply thoughtful in a way that gets under your skin. Hereditary definitely falls in the second category. The film’s plot deals with heady subject matter like family dysfunction, grief, and the ever-present specter of death. Throughout the movie, Collette anchors the story as a woman who knows there’s something dark and dangerous in her family’s bloodline, and her increasing paranoia combined with director Ari Aster’s unflinching direction is potent stuff.
In that way, Hereditary is part of a long line of horror movies that mine modern fears for maximum scares. From Rosemary’s Baby, which took on Satanic panic and the darkest worries that pregnancy can induce, to the more recent film The Babadook, a movie that’s more about depression than it is supernatural monsters, there are quite a few intellectual horror movies out there that Hereditary fans will love (and be terrified by, of course). But what truly makes Hereditary special is the way it plays with standard horror movie conventions to upend our expectations.
All the movies on the list below stand out because they march to the beat of their own possessed drum. Some of them use horror as a metaphor for real-life traumas, while others just aim to scare the hell out of you. Either way, every single one of them is wonderfully creative and full of the quality scares Hereditary fans crave.
These Movies Like Hereditary Are Smart And Scary
1. Midsommar (2019)
If you love Hereditary and you haven’t seen Midsommar yet, then what are you waiting for? The movies share the same director (Aster) and the same sense of impending dread. Only this time, instead of focusing on a family teetering on the brink of a disaster, the story follows a young couple on the verge of a breakup as they head to Sweden to take part in an ancient festival they should have steered clear of from the start.
2. The Witch (2015)
Set in 1630 New England, The Witch immerses you in a world where every mishap from a bad crop to a sudden death can lead to a woman being accused of witchcraft. The movie follows Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), who is blamed for the disappearance of her younger brother and finds herself battling against her own family to prove she hasn’t given her soul to Satan — at least not yet. Full of eerie cinematography and an omnipresent sense of dread, this film will definitely keep you up at night.
3. It Follows (2014)
It Follows is a movie about a sexually transmitted curse, which sounds ridiculous. But trust us, this 2014 film will get under your skin in a major way. There’s a dreamlike quality to the movie’s logic that makes it impossible to know what will happen next at any given moment. Meanwhile, you have no choice but to watch in horror as the central character, Jay (Maika Monroe), is relentlessly stalked by a slow-moving but ever-present entity hellbent on killing her if she doesn’t pass the curse on to someone else.
4. The Babadook (2014)
After the death of her husband, a mother (Essie Davis) deals with depression while also trying to parent her young son, who often has violent outbursts. Complicating matters further, she inadvertently reads a mysterious children’s book that shows up on her doorstep and unleashes the dreaded Mister Babadook on her and her son. What follows is a claustrophobic, nightmare-inducing film about one mother’s worst nightmare.
5. Suspiria (1977)
Suspiria was remade in 2018, but if you truly want to be filled with dread, then you need to watch the 1977 original. The movie focuses on a young woman named Suzy (Jessica Harper), who arrives at a dance school in Germany ready to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a professional dancer. Instead, she begins to feel constantly sick as more and more of her fellow students die under mysterious circumstances.
Even More Scary Movies To Watch If You Love Hereditary
- Us (2019)
- The Ritual (2017)
- The House of the Devil (2009)
- The Hole in the Ground (2009)
- The Devil’s Doorway (2018)
- Wake Wood (2009)
- Drag Me to Hell (2009)
- The Conjuring (2013)
- The Orphanage (2007)
- The Omen (1976)
- Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
- Veronica (2017)
- Get Out (2017)
- A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
- Let the Right One In (2008)
- The Innocents (1961)
- Carrie (1976)
- A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)
- Mother! (2017)
- I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016)
- It Comes at Night (2017)
- The Dark and the Wicked (2020)
- The Lodge (2019)
- Insidious (2010)
- Relic (2020)