We love a . There’s nothing like being terrified and made to really think hard about what you’re watching–and there are lots of good ones out there that gain critical acclaim, cult appreciation, and at times both. But for every wonderful psychological horror movie released on the big or small, there seems to be an even amount that is just–well. But for some just saying they’re ” very bad” isn’t enough or simply cut it.
From completely unnecessary sequels and reboots that completely miss the point of their excellent predecessors to horror movies that conflate great horror villain origin stories with real-world mental disorders, bad psychological horror movies often disappoint on more than one level and leave you hoping you’d saved yourself the time and read the IMDB plot summary instead.
Still, at times it’s great to come at these situations as well prepared as possible–so we’ve made a list of 10 psychological horror movies you’ll probably want to bypass.
M. Night Shyamalan has turned into a meme over the years for his groan-worthy twists and surprise endings–in fact, we could reasonably populate this list only with his filmography if we wanted to branch out in genres–but in times of really missing the mark in psychological horror, The Happening is one unique movie. You don’t get much silly than plants that hate particular people.
They say you should never judge a book by its cover so we’d like to extend the same courtesy to movies with absolutely ridiculous names, but unfortunately, The Bye Bye Man you should judge all you want, even if you can get past a pack of terrified teens trying to say the expression with dire sincerity.
To be fair, The Boy was really very good! We can’t say the same for this sequel, though, which is making little to no sense, actively seemed to want to undermine and mix all the good and pure ideas of the first movie.
You’d think with the fame of internet urban legend Slender Man, as well as the capital of free, amateur-made web series on YouTube, Hollywood would feel very motivated to pull out all the stops in making a big-budget, big-screen version of this man. Instead, we got Slender Man, a movie that is clearly best left unwatched–but not for any scary reasons, just because you’ve clearly got better ways to kill your time.
The trailers for this one got a lot of potentials: twin boys become convinced their mother has been body-snatched by a monster after she goes under extensive plastic surgery. It was moody and mysterious and seemed to ensure a delightfully surreal spiral into paranoia. The reality, however, wound up being a tedious slog through some bad metaphors about grief and misunderstood youth psychology. It still gets some style points, but this is it.
The original Jacob’s Ladder from 1990 was a harrowing and thought-provoking study of PTSD in a soldier fighting with the trauma of serving in Vietnam. The 2019 remake was certainly not that. Watch the original and skip this.
The early ’00s were unprecedented times for all of us, but while some horror was making the best of it–or at least not being so bad they unexpectedly wound up being good–other movies were doing whatever FeardotCom was attempting to do. It’s dated, broken, and a mixed mish-mash of ideas that will surely make you recoil for all the wrong reasons.
Scary old houses are a star of horror that really ought to work no matter the context, but The Disappointments Room shows otherwise. What could have been a run-of-the-mill gothic spirit story wound up being a clumsy story about fear of disability and mental illness–in other words, a tremendous disappointment.
The first Cube is a scary, movie with great practical effects and mystery to keep your attention peaked from beginning to end. Cube 2 Hypercube is basically the bad WinAmp visualizer you’ve ever seen and made it into a movie.
Check out this another riff on the Slender Man style of urban legend, The Tall Man leads to not only be tedious but also tells a wildly silly tale about real-world problems like foster care and adoption. And despite how sensationalized it all is, the movie still maintains to be anything but horror.