Top 10 Best Horror Movies of 2021 (So Far)

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Top 10 Best Horror Movies of 2021 (So Far)

VOICE OVER: Kirsten Ria Squibb WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
It's been a great year for horror so far! For this list, we'll be looking at the best, scariest horror movies to see a North American release in 2021. Our countdown includes “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It”, "Saint Maud", “A Quiet Place Part II”, and more!
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Top 10 Horror Movies of 2021 So Far


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 horror movies of 2021 so far.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the best, scariest horror movies to see a North American release in 2021. We will be including international movies that have been released in other countries prior to 2021, so long as the domestic release occurred this year.

Have you seen any of these films? Let us know in the comments!

#10: “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It” (2021)

Ed and Lorraine Warren return in this threequel, this time with Michael Chaves at the helm rather than James Wan. The film is actually the eighth installment in “The Conjuring Universe”, and although it may not reach the heights of “The Conjuring” 1 or 2, it’s still a heck of a lot better than “The Nun” or “Annabelle”. The story is based on the real life trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson, who killed his landlord and blamed demonic possession. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga reprise their roles as the Warrens, and their presence and chemistry is largely what make the movie work. Full of suspense, atmosphere, and a few good jump scares, “The Devil Made Me Do It” is a must for fans of the franchise.

#9: “Violation” (2020)

Directed by Canadian filmmakers Madeleine Sims-Fewer and Dusty Mancinelli, “Violation” makes for a thrilling directorial debut. Sims-Fewer also stars as Miriam, a woman in a crumbling marriage who goes to visit her sister and brother-in-law, husband in tow. Unfortunately, Miriam suffers a horrible tragedy during the visit, and she proceeds to embark on a quest for personal revenge. This is a very raw and very brutal film that gives viewers an unflinching look at assault and the fractured mental states that can result. It certainly doesn’t make for easy viewing, but if you have the stomach for it, “Violation” is a powerful film.

#8: “Slaxx” (2020)

Another Canadian film, “Slaxx” wonderfully toes the line between horror and comedy and never takes itself too seriously. This comedic tone is largely due to the movie’s outrageous premise, as it concerns clothing store employees being attacked by a pair of possessed jeans. “Slaxx” is a ton of fun, mixing incredibly gory thrills with hilarious satire aimed squarely at corporate culture, materialism, and high fashion. It’s designed as a B-movie, complete with a silly concept, intentionally over-the-top acting, and corny visual effects. While it’s certainly not a terrifying movie, it is a quirky and enjoyable way to spend 77 entertaining minutes.

#7: “The Queen of Black Magic” (2019)

Originally released in its native Indonesia back in 2019, “The Queen of Black Magic” received a domestic release through the horror streaming service Shudder in 2021. Horror fans would do well to check it out. The story concerns three men who take their families to visit the orphanage in which they grew up. While there, they must contend with long-buried personal traumas, a missing girl, and menacing, otherworldly entities. The movie tells a fantastic story filled with mystery and shocking plot twists, and it’s drenched in a wonderfully eerie atmosphere. Add in a solid dose of bloody violence, and you have an interesting horror movie that serves as a welcome introduction to Indonesian horror.

#6: “The Stylist” (2020)

Played by the talented Najarra Townsend, Claire is a lonely hair stylist who has difficulty socializing and finding friends. She also murders her customers and cuts away their scalps so she can wear their hair. So there’s that. Claire’s serial killing ways seem to end when she befriends a customer named Olivia, who asks Claire to style her hair for her upcoming wedding. “The Stylist” is a great horror film that proves suitably stylish, violent, and surprisingly complex. Claire makes for a fascinating villain protagonist, who manages to be surprisingly sympathetic and relatable. Townsend is remarkable in the role, and she helps elevate “The Stylist” beyond typical genre fare.

#5: “Lucky” (2020)

A bizarre and incredibly creative horror film, “Lucky” was written by and stars Brea Grant, who’s most well known for playing Daphne Millbrook in “Heroes”. Grant plays a self-help book author named May who suffers violent visions. The movie begins as a typical home invasion thriller as May sees a man breaking into her house. However, her husband informs her that this vision is a nightly occurrence, and everyone close to May refuses to explain her confusion. The movie is told entirely through May’s point of view, and it begins to incorporate “Groundhog Day”-esque elements as the violent invasion repeats over and over again. “Lucky” is as scary as it is mysterious and tantalizing, proving one of the most intelligent horror movies in some time.

#4: “PG: Psycho Goreman” (2020)

Following the Lovecraftian “The Void” and “Leprechaun Returns”, writer-director Steven Kostanski created the crazy genre mash-up that is “Psycho Goreman”. It follows a young brother-sister duo who accidentally unearth an alien monster. The brother and sister befriend said monster, and he becomes their exceptionally violent companion. “Psycho Goreman” is utterly delirious and a creative throwback to ‘80s movies, complete with rubber suits, practical gore effects, and a Spielbergian story involving children, adventure, and otherworldly entities. It also finds a lot of time to poke fun at itself, parodying its obvious influences. Fans of ‘80s cinema will find more than enough to love here.

#3: “A Quiet Place Part II” (2021)

John Krasinski’s 2018 film “A Quiet Place” took a unique premise and crafted a tense, emotional story that made for one of the best horror films of the year. How do you follow that up? Well, ask Jim from “The Office”, because he delivered again with the sequel. Expanding on the story and lore of its predecessor, “A Quiet Place Part II” sees the Abbott family set out in search of other survivors. It proves to be a fraught journey, because as we all know, apocalypses bring out both the best … and worst in people. Once again, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmons, and Noah Jupe turn in excellent performances, as does Cillian Murphy as Emmett. It’s an edge-of-your-seat horror adventure that’ll leave you speaking in hushed tones for hours afterwards.

#2: “The Vigil” (2019)

Having premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival all the way back in 2019, “The Vigil” was a long time coming to the domestic market. This is an example of religious horror, being heavily steeped in Orthodox Jewish traditions. The story concerns a young Jewish man named Yakov who must hold vigil over a deceased member of his religious community. He is subsequently accosted by evil spirits. “The Vigil” is a great little horror movie that remains firmly fixed to Yakov’s point of view and the horrific experiences he undergoes in the dark. The movie also finds time to explore Yakov’s character - specifically the ways in which he grapples with his Jewish identity.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Spiral: From the Book of Saw” (2021)
It’s No “Saw” But It Does Offer a Fresh Spin on the Formula

“Come True” (2020)
The Scariest Dream-Based Horror Film Since “A Nightmare on Elm Street”

“Prisoners of the Ghostland” (2021)
Nicolas Cage Ventures Into the Supernatural Ghostland to Rescue the Governor’s Daughter

“Jakob’s Wife” (2021)
Jakob Must Fight for His Wife, Who Has Fallen Under the Influence of the Mysterious “Master”

“The Power” (2021)
A Period Horror About a Young Nurse Spending the Night in a Dark Hospital

#1: “Saint Maud” (2019)

This horror film shares some commonalities with “The Vigil”. It also premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2019, and it’s also steeped heavily in religion. Morfydd Clark plays Katie, a palliative care nurse going by Maud after converting to Roman Catholicism. Maud becomes dangerously obsessed with “saving” her new client - a terminally ill ex-dancer suffering from stage four cancer. Maud makes for a disturbing protagonist, and viewers are constantly subjected to her troubling thought process. “Saint Maud” has been compared to the works of screenwriter Paul Schrader, particularly “Taxi Driver” and “First Reformed”. Like Schrader’s unsettling protagonists, Maud slips further and further into madness, her deteriorating mental state proving just as scary and hard-to-watch as the supernatural visuals.
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