10 Best Horror Movies That Seem Normal At First, But Turn Out to Be Quite Scary

Don't discount the role that music and sights play in the story; there are many elements that go into making a horror film genuinely terrifying. The standard horror formula calls for the utilization of dim lighting, shadows, and unsettling or horrifying imagery. Consider classics like Friday the Thirteenth, Halloween, and A Nightmare on Elm Street as examples of movies you anticipate being frightful based only on visual effects. To draw your attention away from the horrifying events being depicted, some of the most inventively terrifying movies, however, employ bright or pastel hues, sunlight, and complex patterns.
Examples of horror films that don't seem like horror films include the famed Stephen King adaption The Shining, the 2019 film Midsommar, and the 2009 Greek classic Dogtooth. Even though these movies are visually lovely, the terrifying tales they depict will stay with you for a long time. To show you the bigger picture, we compiled a list of the 10 best horror movies that don’t look like horror movies at all. The scary movies in this list make their point very subtly yet effectively by utilizing fear as a medium.

#1 The Wicker Man (1973)

Best Horror Movies, The Wicker ManSource: DIRECTV

The movie centers on a police sergeant who travels to a community on an island to look into the disappearance of a girl who, according to the inhabitants, doesn't exist. The Wicker Man, despite being one of the best horror movies ever produced, takes use of its suspenseful mystery to draw audiences in and keep them watching until the stunning conclusion.
When deciding whether to accept the movie as a horrific narrative, the dread of the unknown is crucial. There is a sinister vibe that permeates the entire inquiry, implying that something terrible is going to happen even if The Wicker Man doesn't provide cheap shocks, strange fatalities, or excessive quantities of blood and violence. When it eventually occurs, viewers find it impossible to get over the horrible feeling that permeates their minds.

#2 Poltergeist (1982)

Best Horror Movies, PoltergeistSource: HBO Max

In the film, a regular family is upended when odd things start happening in their house and their little daughter is abducted by evil powers and sent to another realm. Many viewers presumably experienced fear while viewing Poltergeist as children, only to experience perplexity while rewatching the film years later.
Despite having some spooky moments and one of the best horror movie soundtracks, the majority of Poltergeists feels like a typical Disney film. Poltergeist delivers recognizable terrifying scenes like the clown attack whenever it decides to touch on horror concepts, but it is much more concentrated on the family drama portion of the story.

#3 Jaws (1975)

Best Horror Movies, JawsSource: fuboTV

After decades of filmmaking, great filmmaker Steven Spielberg is still actively engaged in his craft. Throughout his career, he mostly focused on adventure films but also worked on horror, sci-fi, and crime thrillers.
Although it continuously reminds audiences it's a horror movie with the persistent threat of a deadly white shark lurking by the shore, Jaws, one of his early works, manages to capture all of his greatest attributes in a plot that flirts with several genres. Jaws is one of Jordan Peele's favorite horror movies, and he added, "it's debatably the greatest movie of any genre." This sentence accurately sums up the movie, which takes its time to create suspense and create compelling character journeys.

#4 The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)

Best Horror Movies, The Silence Of The LambsSource: Prime Video

One of the most important films from the 1990s, The Silence Of The Lambs brought the legendary Hannibal Lecter to the big screen and featured possibly the finest performances by Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. The movie strikes a mix between a suspenseful serial killer investigation and a creepy story that slowly builds thanks to the complicated bond between Hannibal and Clarice, an outstanding FBI student.
When the focus is on the two serial murderers in the story—the vicious Buffalo Bill and the cannibal Hannibal, who ultimately flashes his fangs in the movie's iconic climax—the movie starts to get extremely spooky. The two individuals and their compelling backstories are the major factors in making The Silence Of The Lambs a horrifying horror movie rather than just a straightforward crime thriller.

#5 Raw (2016)

Best Horror Movies, RawSource: Netflix

Raw struggles to decide if it wants to be a traditional coming-of-age tale or a straightforward horror film about suppressed impulses, yet it somehow succeeds in being both. The film, one of the most contentious debuts in recent years, centers on a freshman girl who, after experiencing her first taste of raw meat as part of a vet school practical joke, becomes obsessed with human flesh.
To help viewers better understand the protagonist's motivations and what drives her behavior, Raw intercuts realistic scenes of graphic violence and cannibalism with a drama about young people's insecurities. The spectator is objectively placed in a difficult situation where they are forced to root for the protagonist while also feeling afraid of her.

#6 The Reflecting Skin (1990)

Best Horror Movies, The Reflecting SkinSource: Peacock

The Reflecting Skin excels at continuously defying viewers' assumptions with a plot that is never quite what it seems. The movie presents a highly unusual setting for what appears to be a vampire story: most of the action takes place in broad daylight in a lonely rural area made up of many open fields.
A little child in the movie believes his widowed next-door neighbor is a vampire and takes strange actions to keep her away from his brother, who has recently returned from combat. In spite of its intriguing mystery, The Reflecting Skin's shocking finale reveals to audiences that the film is truly a harsh horror film that gives its protagonists no possibility of repentance.

#7 Crimes Of The Future (2022)

Best Horror Movies, Crimes Of The FutureSource: DIRECTV

Before Crimes Of The Future was released, rumors said that it would be a repulsive, difficult-to-watch film that would ensure audience walk-outs and statements of utter astonishment. The film has a lot of body horror, but many of its violent sequences serve its sobering commentary on human development rather than being intended to shock or portray explicit violence.
Of course, the film features a few spooky scenes (especially in the opening sequences and the final 20 minutes), coming from one of the masters of the horror genre David Cronenberg, but the majority of Crimes Of The Future's unsettling aspects originate from its creepy atmosphere.

#8 Pontypool (2008)

Best Horror Movies, PontypoolSource: AMC+ Amazon Channel

Pontypool depicts a small group of individuals imprisoned within a radio station as a mystery virus that turns people into zombies and is propagated through language strikes, paying tribute to old radio and the classic War of the Worlds broadcast by Orson Welles.
The movie avoids taking any safe paths and instead prefers to dive deeply into its intricate mythology before succumbing to the gruesome aspects that make up its story. The majority of the horror in Pontypool is suggestive or communicated by audio and descriptions, but the film knows exactly when to bring the threat from the outside to their cramped location. Pontypool is entirely set in the same location.

#9 The Vanishing (1988)

Best Horror Movies, The VanishingSource: Criterion Channel

The premise of The Vanishing is really very straightforward: one day, while on a bike vacation, Rex's wife Saskia vanishes without a trace. However, The Vanishing is an anti-revenge horror film, which prevents it from sticking to a traditional storyline in favor of a powerful gut punch. Rex gets a perplexing message from a man who says he knows what happened to her three years later.
The identity of the primary criminal in the movie is immediately revealed after a suspenseful mystery is rapidly pushed to the background. The Vanishing is one of the most unusual horror stories ever told because of all of these factors, yet as the film comes to its horrific finish, spectators are left speechless by the savagery of the movie's denouement.

#10 Midsommar (2019)

Best Horror Movies, MidsommarSource: Showtime

Midsommar almost succeeds in convincing its audience that the events taking on around its main character aren't part of a horror film. Dani travels to a rural part of Sweden with her lover and his buddies as she attempts to deal with a painful family bereavement. Disturbing festive activities threaten to endanger everyone's life during what begins as a lovely vacation in a location where there is perpetual daylight.
The characters are prevented from understanding the ominous nature of the celebration by the sunny and cheery circumstances in the face of uncomfortable cultural difficulties. Every event the main characters experience, the audience shares as well. Throughout the whole film, the audience wonders when the turning point will occur that would put a stop to the characters' presence and cause them to wish to go, but this moment never materializes.
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