31 Days of Horror: 5 Modern Horrors That Are Actually Scary

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Horror is one of those genres that will never die, and will always push out countless entries every year, some that are okay, some that are horrendously bad, and some the are terrific. Unfortunately the latter of those is very rare these days, but there are some modern horrors that are actually scary…

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Sinister (2012)

modern horrors that are actually scary

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Ethan Hawke stars as a family man, dad, husband and failing writer who moves his family across the country into a house that was recently the location of a family murder. Not the smartest of moves admittedly, but it soon makes sense when he’s revealed to not only be a writer, but a true crime writer attempting to be inspired for his next big hit.

Throughout the film Hawke is busy investigating the murders whilst also trying to explain away the odd goings on with his own family and the house itself. Finding some found footage regarding the murders, he realizes there’s more than just the one he knows about, and they’re all linked in a chain, one after the other.

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Each of the found footage films are especially unsettling, and whilst the film doesn’t really stick the landing so much, and it has a needless, much less scary sequel, the film is one of very few modern horrors that are actually scary.

Related: 31 Days of Horror: 5 Perfect Horror Endings That’ll Shock and Scare You

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Hereditary (2018)

modern horrors that are actually scary

Ari Aster feature length debut is a memorable one. Foreboding, intense, dread-filled and a slow burner, the film fills the first two thirds of its runtime with drips and drabs of story here and there, the focus being the family as they deal with tragedy, as well as the back drop of the supernatural goings on littered throughout the family’s history.

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The film’s last third goes from zero to hundred in a rapid pace, but it never feels rushed, with everything unraveling around the family, and a supernatural pact coming to the fore. Featuring Toni Collette as the mother of the family trying to keep everything together, most of all herself, she features in the films most unnerving and shocking scenes involving cheese wire and a demented smile…

The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)

modern horrors that are actually scary

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A group of college students arrive at what they think is a family property with the intent in cataloging the elderly mother’s battle with dementia. What was originally thought to be dementia turns out to be something considerably more dangerous and supernatural, and the film follows the students and the daughter of the afflicted trying their best to get to the bottom of what’s going on, survive and also help the possessed mother.

The film has it all, body horror, jump scares, terrifying visuals and more, making it one of the better modern horrors.

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The Strangers (2008)

modern horrors that are actually scary

Another feature film debut, this time from writer and director Bryan Bertino. No supernatural elements involved this time, just three human antagonists whose only motivation is to torture, play with and kill an unfortunate family in their own house.

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More dread and tense than much outright gore, the reason the film works is two-fold, one, it could genuinely happen, much more so than the other films in this list, and two, Bertino knows to keep the camera on every scene a little too long, making it unnerving and constantly wondering where the three killers are, and what’s going to happen next.

Related: 31 Days of Horror: 5 Most Profitable Horror Franchises

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Rec (2007)

modern horrors that are actually scary

Not to be confused with the American remake Quarantine, REC is everything the remake wanted to be. Tense, horrifying, hard-to-watch and more, REC follows a news crew as they enter and are then trapped in an apartment complex due to a virus outbreak.

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This virus turns its victims into angry, rabid, froth-mouthed assailants, who lose all rationality and restraint. Shown from the news crew’s camera, with more often than not the scariest parts of the film being what isn’t shown, or what’s caught in a few frames but nothing more, and that is what makes it one of the five modern horrors that are actually scary.

There’s our choice for five modern horrors that are actually scary… There’s probably lots more, so what others would you include?

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Written by Luke Addison

Luke Addison is the Lead Video Game Critic and Gaming Editor. As likely to be caught listening to noughties rock as he is watching the latest blockbuster cinema release, Luke is the quintessential millennial wistfully wishing after a forgotten era of entertainment. Also a diehard Chelsea fan, for his sins.

Twitter: @callmeafilmnerd