The horror genre is hard to do right. More and more, it seems too willing to rely on cheap scares and special effects to terrify. Real terror, however, only happens when a movie taps into the subconscious horror in your imagination--the primal fears that grow and expand in the dark corners of your thoughts and prey on you when the lights go out.
  1. "The Nightmare" (2015) (streaming on Netflix)
    Casting the almost too-terrifying-to-be-real sleeping disorder of "sleep paralysis" as the subject of this half documentary/half horror film will give you plenty of reason not to ever want to sleep again.
  2. "The Shining" (1980)
    The first movie to ever make me afraid to turn a corner. A truly terrifying and seminal piece.
  3. "Paranormal Activity" (2007)
    Although "The Blair Witch Project" gets all the credit for being the first and best of the found-footage sub genre of horror, it wasn't until "Paranormal Activity" that I realized that true horror is as much about what you can't see, as what you can.
  4. "The Ring" (2002)
    Bold, psychologically draining, and disturbing as hell. Rarely has horror been so visually terrifying.
  5. "The Visit" (2015)
    M. Night Shaymalan has always had a uniquely terrifying approach to horror. While "The Sixth Sense" is 100% his scariest and best work, the realism and intimacy provided by this "found footage" style film make visiting Grandma and Grandpa a terrifying adventure.