We all have that one movie that stays with us, especially when we talk about the horror genre. The best horror movies can give you a scare even in broad daylight. Bona fide horror movies usually consist of maniac sharks, unholy books that bring back revengeful souls, chainsaws with jumpscares, creepiness, old abandoned houses, and a considerable amount of blood. However, certain horror movies psychologically trick you and open your mind to exploring horror from an entirely different angle. If you are a scary movie buff, you might just watch the newest folk horror film, “Unwelcome,” directed by Jon Wright. The film neatly takes you back to your childhood folklore about people from the forest who take away your most precious possessions if you approach them for help. In this film, a couple is robbed of their daughter for seeking help from the “Red Caps.”
Without giving away too much about the film for those who haven’t watched it yet, here is a list of a few folklore horror movies you must watch. It is fair to say that each of these films has portrayed horror in its own twisted way, which makes it really difficult to compare them.
The Witch (2015)
Robert Eggers “The Witch” undoubtedly tops the list for featuring horror at its best. The slow-paced 17th-century horror tale is based on a family in New England. The family is struggling to be together for they suspect that someone among them is practicing witchcraft. Several creepy instances happen throughout the film. The mastery of the film lies in its creepy atmosphere, eerie color tone, and spine-chilling music. All folklore horror movie fans must watch this at least once in their lifetime.
It might be an exaggeration, but you can never praise this film enough. The film is probably the most polarizing folklore horror that you have come across so far. The film showcases grief and depression, blending them with the horrors of cult practices. Ari Aster surely knows how to play with the audience’s mind by presenting them with raw paganism. Florence Pugh’s performance is sure to leave you speechless. The film’s ending is wild, unexpected, and beyond imagination. The film will undoubtedly leave you spellbound. (Spoiler Alert! The ending of “Unwelcome” might be inspired by this movie.
The Wailing (2016)
It is inarguable that South Korean horror movies leave a very prominent mark. “The Wailing” is no different. The film is both critically and commercially acclaimed for all the right reasons. The tone, the ambiance, the background music—everything is in sync to scare the life out of you. Though conventionally, it is not based on folklore with cults or satanic rituals. It is the tale of an investigating officer who tries to solve multiple murders in the area. However, the movie predominantly revolves around an antagonizing demonic spirit inspired by Japanese folklore with add-ons from South Korea.
Directed by Scott Cooper and produced by Guillermo del Toro, the Oscar-winning director, “Antlers” is a movie you can’t avoid. The story brings back Native American folklore’s Wendigo into modern society. It is a heartbreaking story of a father-son duo affected by the spirit of Wendigo, who now craves human flesh. The older son has had to lock them up and feed them regularly (spoiler alert again! “Unwelcome” too has a similar concept). The film leaves you feeling dreadful with its state-of-the-art practical effect and the environment. It is one of those movies that will stay with you for a long time.
Rainer Sarnet adapted Andrus Kivirakh’s novel, which has spine-chilling descriptions of a 19th-century Estonian village. The film “November” is based on a mystical village troubled by supernatural beings. Well, you have restless spirits, witches, magical creatures (of course not friendly) called “Kratts,” and, of course, the Devil himself. The film is shot in monochrome, which gives you an eerie sensation as it mind-blowingly captures the sinister vibes of the tale. The story revolves around the farmers of the village, who use magical power to keep these unnatural beings at bay. However, to keep the lifeless beings away from them, the villagers themselves turn far worse. The film is an exceptional depiction of folklore.
The Ritual (2017)
You cannot argue that the Swedish forests give off a very creepy vibe. Based on a novel by Adam Nevill, the film “The Ritual” takes you through such a forest, setting the perfect tone for a horror movie. Director David Bruckner sure knows how to create an impactful horror movie. The film might appear to be a little dull at the beginning, but soon after, it takes you on a roller-coaster ride of horror as it introduces the ancient beast Jotunn. It is difficult not to enjoy the horror in the film.
The Babadook (2014)
If you were blessed enough to have your grandparents around while you were growing up, you sure have heard the story of “Babadook.” Of course, the name varies, but the characteristics are mostly identical. Babadook himself has a myriad of folklore surrounding him. However, Jennifer Kent’s take on The Babadook deals mostly with the emotional trauma of a single mother and her paranoid child. The movie is not as flattering as the others, but there are certain dark elements that will absolutely grab your attention.
It is immensely difficult to pick a handful of movies from the ocean of folklore horror films across the globe. However, these movies are the most appreciated in the folklore horror subgenre. So, enjoy watching them and be prepared to be perpetually affected by each one of them.
See more: Top 7 Films Like ‘Gulmohar’ That You Can Add To Your Watchlist