The best horror films of the year so far, ranked by creepiness

The year started out kind of slow when it comes to horror films, but now that the release calendar has ramped up, there are at least a few horror films worth watching in 2024.

While it’s still early, it’s hard not to feel like this year’s horror theme is one of “fun” (if you’re our kind), or at least “playfulness.” Featuring cutthroat swimming pools haunting former baseball pros, deadly monasteries, and spooky talk shows, most of the best films of the year so far do an excellent job of making their horror feel fresh and inventive, making us laugh and scream in equal measure.

But whether you prefer the laugh-out-loud ending or just the screams, we’ve put together a list of the best horror movies of 2024 so far, ranked by creepiness. Scariness is certainly different for everyone, but we tried to break it down into two categories: terror, which is the overall tension of the movie, jump scares and general tension, and gore, which has everything to do with how gory the movie gets.

Night swimming

Image: Blumhouse/Universal Pictures

Duration: 1h 38m
Director: Bryce McGuire
Form: Wyatt Russell, Kerry Condon, Amélie Hoeferle
Where to watch: Digital purchase on Amazon And Apple TV

Night swimming is a movie about a killer pool, and it’s both better, funnier, and scarier than you might expect. Featuring a fantastically goofy performance from Wyatt Russell as an ex-baseball player who moves his family to a new house with an ancient and evil wishing pool in the backyard, the film has a very specific tone that jumps back and forth from silly to creepy. without any notice.

Night swimming is for the die-hard horror fans. Not because it’s particularly scary (it’s not), but because the scary is limited to a few great ideas and specific moments, and otherwise the film is a self-aware and silly blast. It’s a film perfectly crafted for anyone who loves scrolling through a streaming service and putting on a fun little horror movie at 11:30 p.m. In other words: Night swimming It’s a beautiful time, but a time you may not remember much about a week later.

How scary is Night Swim?

Total anxiety score: 3/10

Late Night with the Devil

Ingrid Torelli sits in a chair with a nosebleed and wristbands, while David Dastmalchian and Laura Gordon sit nearby in Colin Cairnes and Cameron Cairnes' Late Night With the Devil

Image: IFC Films/Shudder

Duration: 1h 33m
Directors: Cameron Cairnes, Colin Cairnes
Form: David Dastmalchian, Laura Gordon, Ian Bliss
Where to watch: Theaters

In this amazing faux documentary, we follow the behind-the-scenes story of the final episode of a struggling 1970s talk show, as the host and producers attempt to communicate with a demon in an attempt to gain show-saving ratings. It’s not going well.

What makes Late Night with the Devil What works so well is that it fully captures the mood of the subject. Everything from the set to the studio audience is perfect, and it’s all held together by desperate host Jack Delroy, played with nervous energy and Carson-esque charm by the extraordinary David Dastmalchian. This loving re-creation is not only an impressive achievement, but it also gives the film the real feeling of being a kind of pirated live TV broadcast that would thoroughly creep out those unlucky enough to watch and inspire urban legends in the years to come.

How scary is Late Night with the Devil?

Total anxiety score: 5/10


Sydney Sweeney in Immaculate, screaming with her face covered in blood

Image: Neon

Duration: 1h 29m
Director: Michael Mohan
Form: Sydney Sweeney, Alvaro Morte, Simona Tabasco
Where to watch: Theaters

Spotless tells the story of a devout American nun who mysteriously becomes pregnant shortly after being transferred to a convent in Italy. Her seemingly immaculate conception sparks immediate passion from her fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, but she suspects something far darker than a miracle is going on.

Beautifully filmed and led by a fantastic performance by Euphoria‘s Sydney Sweeney, Spotless is creepier and more terrifying than actually scary, but the rain of blood – both pregnancy-related and otherwise – still makes it one of the best and most gripping horror offerings of the year.

How scary is Immaculate?

Total anxiety score: 7/10

In a violent nature

In the film In A Violent Nature, a figure wearing a mask and two hooks in his hands stands opposite a forest

Image: Shudder

Duration: 1h 34m
Director: Chris Nash
Form: Ry Barrett, Andrea Pavlovic, Cameron Love
Where to watch: In cinemas from May 31

In a violent nature is easily the most unique horror film of the year, taking the typical ‘teens in the woods’ premise and following it from the killer’s point of view. The film contains few details about the killer’s backstory, but in an added fun twist, they are also largely drawn from snippets of campfire stories about teenagers that the killer overhears.

Surprisingly, for a film about a supernatural murder monster, this is also one of the calmest horror films of the year, cleverly and beautifully passing the time with long, uninterrupted stretches of the monster simply walking through nature, waiting for his next encounter with the teenagers who disturbed his sleep. But once he gets to them, In a violent nature also transforms into one of the most gruesome films of the year, finding new and inventive ways to tear people apart that will make even the most hardened horror vets cringe.

How scary is In a violent nature?

Total anxiety score: 8/10