Cinematic Gems for the Faint of Heart: 10 Movies That Promise Entertainment Without the Scare

By Lizzy Ervin · May 24, 2023, 6:00 PM EDT

In an online forum, user u/tonymosh stated, “My son (11) is very interested in watching scary movies, but I've held back due to his age. So I introduced a few menacing movies with scary visuals or intensity.”

He continued, “But I stopped short of anything too aggressive and nothing honestly in the horror genre. So my main restrictions are no sex (innuendo is fine), no heavy religious stuff, and low/moderate gore. Any recommendations on how to move to the next level?”

The online community responded and delivered these ten age-appropriate movies to introduce the horror genre to a curious eleven-year-old.

1. Gremlins (1984)


Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Gremlins shares a story about a cute little Mogwai named Gizmo.

It draws on legends of mischievous folkloric creatures that cause malfunctions known as, Gremlins. Gizmo is the cutest little furball, but there are rules with Mogwais: do not expose them to light, don't get them wet, and don't feed them after midnight.

After violating the rules, a group of wild, murderous gremlins terrorizes a town. 

2. Tremors (1990)


Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Tremors is a scary movie franchise spawning six sequels, a TV series, and a video game. But the first one is the cult classic and incredible watch.

It tells the story of underground creatures that can sense vibrations and attack from below.

A small isolated town is terrorized by them as the Tremors pick them off, one by one.

3. The Burbs (1989)


Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

The Burbs is a comedy horror story about a strange family who moves into an eccentric culdesac. These neighbors isolate themselves, don't take care of their yard, and are caught digging in their backyard in the middle of the night.

The neighbors begin to suspect something isn't right with them and work together to uncover the truth. 

4. Freaky (2020)


Image Credit: Universal Pictures

Freaky puts a comedy horror spin on Freaky Friday. The story follows a teenage girl who unintentionally swaps bodies with a middle-aged male serial killer. Once she discovers that she has less than 24 hours before the change is permanent, she and her friends work together to undo the switch and stop the killer before he offs all of their friends. 

5. I Know What You Did Last Summer


Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

I Know What You Did Last Summer is the first in the franchise of slasher films. It follows four teens stalked by a hook-wielding maniac, one-year after the anniversary of killing a man in a car accident and covering it up. 

6. Killer Clowns From Outer Space (1988)


Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Killer Clowns From Outer Space is a sci-fi horror comedy that follows a group of evil aliens who resemble clowns invading a small town. They plan to capture, kill and harvest the human inhabitants for sustenance.”

7. The Blair Witch Project (1998)


Image Credit: Artisan Entertainment.

The Blair Witch Project is the first in a five-film franchise. It tells the story of three film students who set out to document the Blair Witch, a local legend in Maryland. The students disappear, but their video footage is found a year later. The reputedly recovered footage is the movie viewers' experience. 

8. The Faculty (1998)


Image Credit: Miramax

The Faculty follows unusual occurrences on a high school campus. A journalism student witnesses the school nurse being killed and then sees she's alive again. Then, other teachers and students begin acting strange. He bands together with a group of unlikely friends to investigate and overcome The Faculty.

9. It (1990)


Image Credit: Warner Bros. Television Distribution

The original two-part miniseries follows a group of kids who an evil clown terrorizes. However, the clown can take the form of whatever their fears are, but adults don't see It. One of the gang loses their little brother to the monster, and the group vows to stop It before it gets them first.

10. Poltergeist (1982)


Image Credit: Warner Bros. Ent

Poltergeist is a cult classic spawning two sequels and a remake. It tells the story of a family that moves into a brand-new haunted home with malevolent ghosts who abduct their five-year-old daughter. 

Did people online get this right, or are there other horror films you'd introduce preteens to the horror genre with that aren't mentioned?

This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.

11. Nightmares Come Alive: Unmasking the Most Sinister Creatures from Every State in the U.S.


From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the blue waters of the Great Lakes, these vast and mysterious areas are home to more than just wildlife.

See the Creepiest Mythical Creatures from Each State in America.

12. Top 15 Fan-Voted Hands Down Scariest Movies of All Time

1. The Descent Pathe Distribution

Image Credit: Pathé Distribution.

With hundreds of thousands of horror movies available on streaming services, it can be tough to know which ones are terrifying and which are not. Horror buffs often struggle to feel absolute terror when we've watched so many scary movies over the years.

Check out the Top 15 Fan-Voted Hands Down Scariest Movies of All Time.

13. 10 Best Movies To Send Chills Down Your Spine

1. The Dark and the Wicked RLJE Films

Image Credit: RLJE Films.

Long-time horror fans often complain that most scary movies no longer phase them. Horror lovers constantly search for movies that make them feel the terror that helped them fall in love with the genre in the first place.

See the 10 Best Movies To Send Chills Down Your Spine.

14. Darkness Beckons: Unveiling the 10 Films That Will Haunt Your Dreams When Watched in the Dark

8. Ju On The Grudge Lions Gates Films

Image Credit: Lions Gates Films.

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.

See the 10 Films That Are Hands Down the Scariest Movies to Watch in the Dark.

15. 10 Hands Down Most Frightening Movie Scenes That Aren’t a Jump Scare

1. It Warner Bros.

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

While the horror genre is known for jump scares, those moments aren't the scariest parts of horror. The psychological elements that play out on screen in horror films are far more terrifying than any jump scare could be.

Check out the 10 Hands Down Most Frightening Movie Scenes That Aren’t a Jump Scare.