Looking for a scary movie to watch this month? Here's our guide of 50 scary movies worth checking out in time for Halloween. Our list focuses on lesser-known 21st-century flicks. To read more about our selection process, click here.

ZOMBIES

Pontypool (2008)

An Ontario shock jock (Stephen McHattie) listens with horror from the relative safety of his radio station as a virus breaks out in the city around him in this Canadian low-budget zombie film based on a novel. Not rated.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries

Rammbock (2010)

In this German film, when a man visits his ex-girlfriend’s apartment in hopes of rekindling their relationship, he instead finds that a rage virus has turned people into bloodthirsty cannibals. Rated R for some horror violence.

Available at: Amazon Prime Video

Cargo (2017)

A father (Martin Freeman) must protect his 1-year-old daughter, Rosie, from a viral infection in post-apocalyptic Australia. Based on a 2013 short film, the zombie thriller also examines the strained relationship between Australians and Aboriginal peopple. Not rated.

Available at: Netflix

Train to Busan (2016)

A man accompanying his young daughter by train to see his estranged wife encounters a zombie outbreak in this South Korean thriller full of endearing characters. TV-MA rating.

Available at: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video


THE SUPERNATURAL

Mama (2013)

After two young girls are discovered living alone in an abandoned cabin in the woods, their uncle and his girlfriend take them into their home, only to find that a supernatural spirit they call “Mama” has latched onto them. Rated PG-13 for violence and terror, some disturbing images and thematic elements.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries, Amazon Prime Video

Insidious (2010)

Directed by James Wan and starring Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne, the four-film franchise kicks off with a couple trying to rescue their comatose son from evil spirits. Rated PG-13 for thematic material, violence, terror and frightening images, and brief strong language.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries, Amazon Prime Video

The Possession (2012)

“The Walking Dead’s” Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays the father of a young girl who purchases an antique box housing an evil spirit at a yard sale. Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving violence and disturbing sequences.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries, Amazon Prime Video

The Conjuring (2013)

In another James Wan-directed film, paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) investigate a haunted New England farmhouse. The “Conjuring Universe,” as it’s so-called, includes five films, including this year’s “The Nun,” starring Farmiga’s real-life sister, Taissa. Rated R for sequences of disturbing violence and terror.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video

Oculus (2013)

Adult siblings return to the home where their mother and father suffered violent deaths to prove that an antique mirror was to blame. Rated R for terror, violence, some disturbing images and brief language.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix


HAUNTED HOUSES

The Pact (2012)

When a woman reluctantly returns to her childhood home after her mother dies and her sister disappears, she soon becomes aware of an unsettling presence within the house’s walls. Rated R for some strong bloody violence and language.

Available at: Amazon Prime Video

The Innkeepers (2011)

As the Yankee Pedlar Inn prepares to close for good, two young employees take one last stab at investigating the hotel’s storied paranormal activity. Rated R for some bloody images and language.

Available at: Amazon Prime Video

Grave Encounters (2011)

Strange things start happening after ghost-hunting film crew members lock themselves into an abandoned mental hospital. Not rated.

Available at: Amazon Prime Video

Paranormal Activity (2007)

After a young couple experiences strange occurrences in their home, they set up a video camera to record themselves while they sleep. This found-footage thriller spawned five other films, although you could (and should) probably stop at 2011’s “Paranormal Activity 3.” Rated R for language.

Available at: RVL, Amazon Prime Video

Sinister (2012)

Ethan Hawke plays a true-crime writer who discovers a box of home videos depicting grisly murders shortly after moving into a new home with his family. Rated R for disturbing violent images and some terror.

Available at: Amazon Prime Video

The Awakening (2011)

In this British supernatural drama, an author known for debunking paranormal claims investigates a boys’ boarding school after reports of ghost sightings. Rated R for some violence and sexuality/nudity.

Available at: Amazon Prime Video


MASKED MADMEN

The Strangers (2008)

Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman star in this unsettling home-invasion flick in which three sadistic strangers attack the couple in the wake of some awkward relationship drama. Rated R for violence/terror and language.

Available at: Amazon Prime Video

Creep (2014)

A young man accepts a job filming a dying man’s last messages to his son but soon begins to question his intentions — and his sanity. Rated R for brief violence and language.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video

Hush (2016)

A deaf and mute woman living in an isolated home in the woods encounters a serial home invader intent on terrorizing her. But she won’t back down so easily. Rated R for strong violence/terror and some language.

Available at: Netflix

Them (2006)

In this French-Romanian film, a young couple living in a remote country house are inexplicably terrorized by a group of home invaders. Rated R for some violence and terror.

Available at: Amazon Prime Video


HOLLYWOOD HORROR

Dream House (2011)

This psychological thriller starring real-life couple Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz got a 6 percent Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes, but don’t let that scare you away. Rated PG-13 for violence, terror, some sexuality and brief strong language.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries, Amazon Prime Video

Pay the Ghost (2015)

Nicolas Cage stars as a college professor whose young son disappears during a Halloween parade. The film also stars “The Walking Dead’s” Sarah Wayne Callies. Not rated.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix

1408 (2007)

A cynical author (John Cusack) who investigates paranormal activity at tourist traps checks into The Dolphin Hotel, intent on debunking its sinister history. The film, based on a 1999 short story of the same name by Stephen King, includes four alternate endings. The film is scheduled to run Oct. 20 during AMC’s FearFest. Rated PG-13 for thematic material including disturbing sequences of violence and terror, frightening images and language.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries, Amazon Prime Video

What Lies Beneath (2000)

An empty-nester (Michelle Pfeiffer) experiences a haunting in her home but struggles to convince her scientist husband (Harrison Ford). Be prepared to start checking behind your shower curtain whenever you’re alone in the bathroom. Rated PG-13 for terror/violence, sensuality and brief language.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries, Amazon Prime Video

The Skeleton Key (2005)

A young nurse (Kate Hudson) accepts a job at a plantation home caring for a man said to have suffered a stroke. Also stars Peter Sarsgaard, John Hurt, Gena Rowlands and Joy Bryant. Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, some partial nudity and thematic material.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries, Amazon Prime Video

The Others (2001)

Nicole Kidman plays the mother of two photosensitive children who is convinced her home is haunted. Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and frightening moments.

Available at: RVL, Amazon Prime Video

The Ring (2002)

This American remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film “Ringu” follows a newspaper reporter (Naomi Watts) as she investigates the existence of a videotape full of disturbing images that may be connected to a rash of teenage deaths. “Ringu,” which I have not yet seen, is also available at local libraries. Not rated.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries, Amazon Prime Video


PSYCHOLOGICAL

The Babadook (2014)

A woman struggles to raise her young son after the violent death of her husband in this award-winning Australian film. Not rated.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix

Session 9 (2001)

An asbestos cleaning crew (led by “CSI: Miami’s” David Caruso) attempts a quick job at a condemned mental hospital. Rated R for language and brief strong violence.

Available for purchase at: Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon and other stores

The Descent (2005)

A group of female friends get lost while exploring an unmapped cave system and realize their tense relationships aren’t the only thing they can’t escape under ground. Rated R for strong violence/gore and language.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries, Amazon Prime Video

The Caller (2011)

After moving into a new apartment, a recent divorcee (Rachelle Lefevre) receives disturbing phone calls from a mysterious woman who increasingly blurs the line between the past and the present. Rated R for some violence/disturbing images, language and a scene of sexuality.

Available at: Amazon Prime Video

The Invitation (2015)

A man accepts a party invite to his former house from his ex-wife and her new husband only to realize that their intentions may not be so innocent. Not rated.

Available at: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video

The Endless (2017)

Two adult brothers return to the UFO death cult they escaped as children after struggling to adapt to the outside world. The film’s directors Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson also star in this mind-bending look at our obsession with control. Contains some violence and strong language. Unrated.

Available at: Netflix


BLOOD AND GORE

The House of the Devil (2009)

This slow-burning slasher film captures the 1980s zeitgeist so effortlessly that you’ll forget it was made in the 21st century. Roger Ebert wrote, “The film may provide an introduction for some audience members to the Hitchcockian definition of suspense: It’s the anticipation, not the happening, that’s the fun.” Rated R for some bloody violence.

Available at: Amazon Prime Video

We Are Still Here (2015)

In the 1970s, a man and woman grieving the death of their son move to a new home and find that its previous owners’ social disgrace may not yet be dead and buried. Not rated.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries, Amazon Prime Video

Saw (2004)

There are now eight films in the “Saw” film franchise, including last year’s critically panned “Jigsaw.” Forget what you’ve heard about any of those and go back to the original directed by James Wan. Two strangers awake to find themselves chained up in a large bathroom as a serial killer manipulates their every move. Rated R for strong grisly violence and language.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries, Amazon Prime Video


CAMPY DARK COMEDIES

Dead Snow (2009)

In this Norwegian film, a group of medical students skiing in the snowy mountains is attacked by zombie Nazi soldiers protecting their treasures. Yes, zombie Nazis. The film’s sequel “Dead Snow: Red Vs. Dead” (available at Roanoke Valley Libraries) takes the absurdity even further. Not rated.

Available at: Amazon Prime Video

The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

While vacationing at a deserted cabin in the woods, a group of American college students encounter more than their fair share of horror movie tropes and monsters in this satirical love letter to the genre. Rated R for strong bloody horror violence and gore, language, drug use and some sexuality/nudity.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries, Amazon Prime Video

Housebound (2014)

After repeated run-ins with the law, a woman is sentenced to house arrest under her mother’s care in a potentially haunted house in this New Zealand horror comedy film. Not rated.

Available at: iTunes


FOREIGN FILMS

The Orphanage (2007)

This award-winning Spanish film follows a woman who returns to the orphanage where she was raised as a child with her husband and young son only to encounter a strange boy with a sack over his head. Rated R for some disturbing content.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries, Amazon Prime Video

Ju-on: The Grudge (2002)

This Japanese film inspired the 2004 American remake starring Sarah Michelle Gellar that scared me witless. Filmed in a series of vignettes, the film centers on a cursed home in Tokyo. Rated R for some disturbing images.

Available at: Amazon Prime Video

Shutter (2004)

After a night of partying, a young couple accidentally run over a woman with their car on a dark country road and leave her to die. Soon, mysterious images begin showing up in their photographs. For viewers who prefer their heart palpitations to come from heartthrobs rather than horror, check Roanoke Valley Libraries for the 2008 American remake starring Joshua Jackson. Rated R for some bloody violence including disturbing images, brief nudity and language.

Available at: Netflix

Under the Shadow (2016)

In 1980s Tehran during the War of the Cities, a mother refuses to evacuate with her young daughter, despite the very real threat of missile attacks — and evil spirits. Rated PG-13 for terror, scary images and brief language.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video

Let the Right One In (2008)

A 12-year-old boy develops romantic feelings for a strange vampire child who moves into the apartment next door with an older man in this haunting Swedish film. Rated R for some bloody violence including disturbing images, brief nudity and language.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries, Amazon Prime Video

Veronica (2017)

In Madrid 1991, a teenage girl, played by the award-winning Sandra Escacena, becomes haunted by a demonic spirit after playing with a Ouija board during a solar eclipse. TV-MA rating.

Available at: Netflix

The Eye 2 (2004)

After attempting suicide when her lover rejects her, a pregnant woman begins to see the spirits of dead people in this Hong Kong supernatural thriller. Rated R for disturbing violent images.

Available at: Amazon Prime Video

The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

Directed by Guillermo del Toro (“Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Hellboy,”) this gothic horror film set during the Spanish Civil War centers on a young boy who discovers that the orphanage where he’s staying is haunted. Rated R for violence, language and some sexuality.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries, Amazon Prime Video


MONSTERS AND CREATURES

The Ritual (2017)

A group of thirtysomething friends hiking through the Scandinavian wilderness take a misguided shortcut through the woods. Based on a 2011 book of the same name by Adam Nevill, the film examines how friendships can change as men get older, especially when they’re pitted against a malevolent being that wants them dead. TV-MA rating.

Available at: Netflix

Trollhunter (2010)

In this Norwegian “mockumentary,” a group of students investigate a smattering of bear killings only to find that there’s a much bigger mystery to uncover. In fact, it’s much, much bigger. Rated PG-13 for some sequences of creature terror.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries, Amazon Prime Video

The Host (2006)

In this South Korean film blending satire with real scares, a huge amphibious creature attacks a riverside crowd and kidnaps a man’s daughter. Reviewer Jim Emerson of Rogerebert.com called it “the most hideously beautiful movie-monster since H.R. Giger’s ‘Alien.’” Rated R for creature violence and language.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries

Jeepers Creepers (2001)

Two college-age siblings driving home for spring break make a gruesome discovery in the basement of an abandoned church, but no one believes their horrifying story. The 2003 sequel starring Ray Wise is a solid encore for fans of teen horror. Rated R for terror violence/gore, language and brief nudity.

Available at: Roanoke Valley Libraries, Amazon Prime Video