25. Hereditary (2018)
> Starring: Toni Collette, Milly Shapiro, Gabriel Byrne
> Directed by: Ari Aster
> Runtime: 127 min
> Available on: Vudu, Apple iTunes, YouTube, Google Play Movies, Microsoft Store, Amazon Prime Video, Kanopy, Amazon Video, Redbox, FandangoNOW, DIRECTV
Writer and director Ari Aster’s feature debut, a horror flick about one troubled family, is both shocking and disturbing. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave it a Freshness rating of 89%, with many warning viewers that the unsettling film will stick with them long after the credits roll.
24. The Conjuring (2013)
> Starring: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston
> Directed by: James Wan
> Runtime: 112 min
> Available on: Apple iTunes, Vudu, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Microsoft Store, Amazon Video, AMC on Demand, DIRECTV, FandangoNOW, Hulu, Fandango
Director James Wan — who developed his horror credentials directing films such as “Saw” and “Insidious” — helmed this movie about a pair of paranormal investigators (played by Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson) who assist a family whose property is haunted by dark forces. Fans of ghostly New England-based horror will especially appreciate the film, which received Freshness ratings of 85% from critics and 83% of users on Rotten Tomatoes.
23. Scream (1996)
> Starring: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette
> Directed by: Wes Craven
> Runtime: 111 min
> Available on: Amazon Video, Google Play Movies, Hoopla, Apple iTunes, Microsoft Store, YouTube, AMC on Demand, DIRECTV, Vudu, Redbox, FandangoNOW, Tubi TV, fuboTV
Years after having directed classics such as “The Hills Have Eyes” (1977) and “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984), master of horror Wes Craven scored another massive genre hit with “Scream.” The movie about a teenage girl who, along with her friends, is terrorized by a masked killer remains exceptionally frightening despite its self-aware usage of “slasher” movie tropes. Both critics and users delivered it a Freshness rating of 79%.
22. Manhunter (1986)
> Starring: William Petersen, Kim Greist, Joan Allen
> Directed by: Michael Mann
> Runtime: 120 min
> Available on: Apple iTunes, YouTube, Google Play Movies, Microsoft Store, Amazon Video
Five years before the release of Jonathan Demme’s “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991), director Michael Mann released “Manhunter,” which is similarly based on the work of writer Thomas Harris and features the deranged Dr. Hannibal Lecktor. Mann’s crime thriller — in which a former FBI agent tracks a serial killer called “the Tooth Fairy” — is dripping with dread, thrilling critics who gave it a Freshness rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes.
21. Poltergeist (1982)
> Starring: JoBeth Williams, Heather O’Rourke, Craig T. Nelson
> Directed by: Tobe Hooper
> Runtime: 114 min
> Available on: Apple iTunes, Vudu, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Microsoft Store, Amazon Video, AMC on Demand, DIRECTV, Redbox, FandangoNOW
Described by Roger Ebert as “the movie ‘The Amityville Horror’ dreamed of being,” “Poltergeist” is an expertly crafted haunted house film from director Tobe Hooper and producer/co-writer Steven Spielberg. It was among the top ten highest grossing films of 1982 and was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Visual Effects. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes, who deemed it “consistently frightening,” gave it an 85% Freshness rating.