If you’ve had a long week at work or if life is just generally getting you down, as life tends to do sometimes, there are some feel-good horror movies that should lift your spirits. While casual fans of the genre may not think of horror movies as feel-good, longtime fans know that there are some horror films that will leave viewers feeling refreshed after the credits roll. Sure, sometimes we want a tale of the macabre to give us chills, but other times we just need a scary-fun time to leave our troubles behind. There are the obvious horror titles that one can go to for some cheering up, such as Shaun of the Dead or the nostalgic ’80s classic Fright Night, but the movies listed below are hits that flew under the radar for many, and they all received high marks from both critics and audiences alike.
Currently available on HBO and HBO GO, Fido is directed and co-written by Andrew Currie, and it stars Carrie-Anne Moss, Billy Connolly, Dylan Baker, and K’Sun Ray. Fandango provides the premise for one of the best horror-comedies centered on zombies.
“When a cloud of space dust causes the dead to rise as ravenous zombies, the ZomCon Corp. emerges to conquer the creatures and domesticate them to become menial workers and pets for humans. Now, in an idyllic town, a skeptical boy finds a best friend in his family’s new fiend, which he promptly names Fido. But Fido’s control collar malfunctions, and the neighbors wind up on the menu.”
The zombie subgenre of horror is just about exhausted, but Fido breathes new life into it. The ’50s-like town of Willard is reminiscent of Pleasantville, and it’s the perfect backdrop for this tongue-in-cheek social satire. There is enough gore in this movie to please avid horror fans and plenty of humor to keep them laughing. Some fans felt that Fido was a bit too sentimental, but that precious vibe may be just what you need to cheer you up if you’ve had a trying week.
The Final Girls (2015)
Currently playing on Freeform, The Final Girls is brilliantly directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson, and it features a stellar cast: Taissa Farmiga, Nina Dobrev, Malin Akerman, Alia Shawkat, Alexander Ludwig, Adam Devine, Thomas Middleditch, Angela Trimbur, and Chloe Bridges.
As horror fans know, a by-the-books slasher flick must have a final girl, and this film gives us one like we’ve never seen before. Max (Farmiga) is a young woman whose late mother, Amanda (Akerman), was a scream queen famous for her role in the faux 1986 slasher Camp Bloodbath. Reluctantly, Max attends an anniversary screening of Camp Bloodbath with her friends, and they are sucked into the silver screen and must survive the horror flick’s machete-wielding psychopath, Billy Murphy. They join forces with the film’s camp counselors, including Max’s mom.
This is one of those horror movies that could have been excessively cheesy and really bad, but thanks to sharp writing, directing, and acting, it has just the right amount of cheese and is an absolute blast. This plays on ’80s slashers in a fresh way, and even after all of the on-screen killings, viewers are likely to walk away from The Final Girls feeling hopeful and refreshed.
Available on most popular VOD outlets, this is not only one of the best feel-good horror films, but it’s also one of the best haunted house movies of the last several years. Movies centered on ghosts have been done to death, but this story is told in a truly unique fashion. Written and directed by Gerard Johnstone, Housebound stars Morgana O’Reilly, Rima Te Wiata, Glen-Paul Waru, and Cameron Rhodes.
With a stunning score of 97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, the site provides the plot for one of the best horror movies of 2014.
“Kylie Bucknell [O’Reilly] is forced to return to the house she grew up in when the court places her on home detention. Her punishment is made all the more unbearable by the fact she has to live there with her mother Miriam [Wiata] – a well-intentioned blabbermouth who’s convinced that the house is haunted. Kylie dismisses Miriam’s superstitions as nothing more than a distraction from a life occupied by boiled vegetables & small-town gossip. However, when she too becomes privy to unsettling whispers & strange bumps in the night, she begins to wonder whether she’s inherited her overactive imagination, or if the house is in fact possessed by a hostile spirit who’s not particularly thrilled about her return.”
It will be a hard task to find a ghost story with more wit and genuine suspense than Housebound. At times, this movie is certainly scary. Packed with deadpan humor, Morgana O’Reilly’s often-hilarious performance is simply brilliant, and the entire cast really delivers. Frequently, horror-comedies are funnier than they are frightening, but this selection entices both emotions equally. Like The Final Girls, the overall essence and ending of Housebound is that of a feel-good spirit.
The Babysitter (2017)
Netflix original movies usually miss the mark, and many of them are quite abysmal. However, this Netflix gem is splendidly made, and it is a must-watch for horror fans. Directed by McG, The Babysitter stars Samara Weaving, Judah Lewis, Bella Thorne, Emily Alyn Lind, Hana Mae Lee, Andrew Bachelor, Robbie Amell, and Leslie Bibb.
Cole (Lewis), a 12-year-old timorous boy who is bullied at school, has protective parents that still insist he is watched by a babysitter when they go away for a night. The upside, his longtime sitter, high-schooler Bee (Weaving), is gorgeous and a lot of fun, and he has a massive crush on her. He also has a crush on his neighbor, Melanie, which is a bit more age appropriate.
One fateful night, Cole stays up when he’s supposed to be asleep and sees what really goes on in his house during late-night hours; he witnesses Bee and her friends murder someone in cold blood as a sacrifice to Satan. Now, the timid Cole must find his inner strength if he is going to survive the night evading Bee and her band of killers.
Most coming-of-age feel-good movies don’t usually feature a ton of gore, brutal killings, and a babysitter that belongs to a Satanic sex cult, but this Netflix gem is an exception to those rules. Before all the horror starts, Cole’s seemingly healthy relationship with Bee is charming and endearing. The pair create some humorous and touching moments, and The Babysitter would have been just as good as a dramedy featuring the two characters. Luckily, their on-screen chemistry shines even brighter once the action and suspense kicks in, and that’s where the real laugh-out-loud moments start to happen.
You may want to avoid the trailer for The Babysitter, as it reveals some of the best scenes from the film. This 85-minute slasher is one of the best horror movies on Netflix, and the outrageous splatter paired with an endearing feel-good essence will have you coming back for more.