The 10 Films That Will Make You Afraid to Turn off the Lights

By Stephanie Allen · May 11, 2023, 9:26 AM EDT

1. The 10 Films That Will Make You Afraid to Turn off the Lights

Hereditary A24

Part of the thrill of watching horror movies after dark is that enhanced feeling of terror, whether it's a psychological scare that messes with your mind or a jump scare that has you levitating out of your seat. So when a community of horror film buffs was asked which movies were the most frightening to watch in the dark, they replied with films that will make you want to watch them in a well-lit place.

2. Hereditary (2018)

2. Hereditary A24

Image Credit: A24.

A combination of occult horror and psychological thriller, Hereditary had commenters still reeling from that scene. Several movie fans even admit to being so freaked out they routinely check the corners of ceilings before entering a darkened room. That's real fear right there.

3. Ju-On/The Grudge (2004)

1. Ju On The Grudge Lions Gates Films

Image Credit: Lions Gates Films.

The American remake of the Japanese hit film lacked the gratuitous violence of conventional slasher pics. Instead, the apparitions suddenly appearing from the dark and the unsettling death rattle sounds will make you afraid of every unlit corner of the house.

4. IT (1990)

4. It ABC

Image Credit: ABC.

A two-part television miniseries adapted from the Stephen King novel features Tim Curry's terrifying turn as Pennywise, the monstrous clown with an insatiable appetite for children.

The frights generated by this movie stay with you long after watching it. Even though it was made for a television audience, this version of IT is far scarier than the big-screen adaptations.

5. The Ring (2002)

3. The Ring DreamWorks Pictures

Image Credit: DreamWorks Pictures.

Horror movie fans can have a spooky meta experience by watching this creepy movie about people who die seven days after watching a weird movie. Samara's soulless stare and disjointed movements have viewers running to turn on the lights.

6. Paranormal Activity (2007)

5. Paranormal Activity Paramount Pictures

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

The inaugural film in the Paranormal Activity series shook horror movie fans in the discussion, with numerous movie enthusiasts confessing that watching this realistic film made them sleep with the lights on for the first time in their adult lives.

7. Insidious (2010)

7. Insidious Film District

Image Credit: Film District.

For one filmgoer, the story of a family haunted by demons was a genuinely chilling experience the first time they watched it, explaining, "Something about seeing things in the background that the characters do not is just...terrifying." The film's demonic images will make you afraid to enter a darkened room or even be home alone.

8. Session 9 (2001)

6. Session 9 USA Films

Image Credit: USA Films.

If the film's backdrop, an abandoned insane asylum with a sketchy history, doesn't unnerve you, then the creepy patient voice recordings, odd disappearances, and the shocking ending will. Ironically, one of the main characters in the film suffers from an extreme fear of the dark.

9. Gerald's Game (2017)

8. Gerald_s Game Netflix

Image Credit: Netflix.

After her husband dies during a bondage session gone awry, a bound woman is forced to confront the ghosts of her past and a menacing entity called The Moonlight Man, who may or may not be real.

The foot-licking scene "still randomly enters my brain right before I go to bed," says a horror film buff on the forum. It must be hard to fall asleep with that thought in your mind.

10. Event Horizon (1997)

10. Event Horizon Paramount Pictures

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

When a space crew attempts to rescue a ghost ship called the Event Horizon, they discover the spacecraft has not only opened a portal to Hell but also possesses a demonic force that preys on the rescuers. If any movie can induce nightmares and make you scared of the dark, it's this cult classic.

This thread inspired this post.

11. The Cell (2000)

9. The Cell New Line Cinema

Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

The stunning visuals of The Cell are juxtaposed against the vivid nightmarish fantasies from the mind of a comatose sadistic kidnapper and serial killer. The disturbing torture scenes are hard to watch and, not surprisingly, will give viewers awful dreams. This isn't a movie to watch at nighttime.