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11. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

11. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
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One of the scariest movies because: Who wants to imagine being eaten by Anthony Hopkins?

What the critics say: “For all the unbridled savagery on display, what is shrewd, significant and finally hopeful about Silence of the Lambs is the way it proves that a movie can be mercilessly scary and mercifully humane at the same time.”—Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

12. Ring / "Ringu" (1998)

12. Ring / "Ringu" (1998)
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One of the scariest movies because: It’s about a killer videotape – which doesn’t bode well for the viewer of this unsettling Japanese original. More atmospheric than the American remake, Ring is worth a late-night viewing.

What the critics say:Ring forces fear into every cut as a psychic telejournalist counts down the hours till a fatal visitation, while making a gung ho attempt to save her brood.”—Edward Crouse, Village Voice

13. Saw (2004)

13. Saw (2004)
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One of the scariest movies because: Even though the death traps are beyond gruesome – though, clever in this first Saw film, tortuous in its sequels – what’s scariest is that you just might understand the villain’s twisted motives by the end of the film.

What the critics say: “A messy, gristle-cut B psycho thriller that makes you squirm a few times, but mostly makes you giggle.”—Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

14. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

14. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
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One of the scariest movies because: It’s straight-up exploitation done right: the body count is high, and the evil guys are fearsome both in appearance and demeanour.

What the critics say: “I can’t imagine why anyone would want to make a movie like this, and yet it’s well-made, well-acted, and all too effective.”—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

15. Hellraiser (1987)

15. Hellraiser (1987)
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One of the scariest movies because: This murderfest is filled with unsavoury characters – humans with dark personalities and darker motives, plus an assortment of bizarre and terrifying beasts. Not for the faint of heart.

What the critics say: “It’s the voluptuous residues of Hellraiser, not a low-voiced dude with a porcupine head, that spark the fear of mortality.”—Eric Henderson, Slant

16. The Omen (1976)

16. The Omen (1976)
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One of the scariest movies because: It presents a horrific situation that’s impossible to grapple with: How do you deal with your murderous child, even if he is the antichrist?

What the critics say: “…fun in a portentous sort of way.”—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

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17. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

17. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
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One of the scariest movies because: It’s styled like a documentary, making the terror startlingly plausible.

What the critics say:The Blair Witch Project leaves its horror to the audience’s imagination, and in doing so creates a truly scary horror film, something akin to a lost art these days.”—Keith Phipps, The A.V. Club

18. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

18. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
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One of the scariest movies because: Worse than Anthony Hopkins, who wants to imagine being eaten by hordes of undead strangers?

What the critics say: “George Romero’s remarkably assured debut, made on a shoestring, about a group of people barricaded inside a farmhouse while an army of flesh-eating zombies roams the countryside, deflates all genre clichés.”—Elliott Stein, Village Voice

19. The Host (2007)

19. The Host (2007)
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One of the scariest movies because: It’s genuinely surprising: Movie monsters are often slow and stupid, but the beast in this Korean film is fast, even calculating. Creepy.

What the critics say: “A gross, scary, funny, and dramatically satisfying ride… it’s enough to make you think twice about that river-rafting trip you were planning for next summer.”—Dana Stevens, Slate

20. Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror (1922)

20. Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror (1922)
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One of the scariest movies because: The silent film doesn’t have today’s blood ‘n’ guts special effects, but director F. W. Murnau still creates a creepy, nightmarish setting with shadows and tension. Brilliant.

What the critics say: “Remains one of the most poetic of all horror films”—Time Out

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