Suburban horror movies are scary because it represents home. Home is believed to be a safe place where people can go to relax. And suburban horror movies represent the American dream of living in a nice neighborhood with a white picket fence.
Suburban horror movies peel away the layers to show suburbia not to be what it seems to be on the surface, and the home is not a safe place but a terrifying nightmare. Suburban horror almost always involves a home invasion.
‘The Stepfather’ (1987)
The Stepfather clocks in at just under 90 minutes. It is loosely based on a true story about the home’s predator. A man murders his entire family and then marries a widow with a teenage daughter, and he plans on murdering this family too.
The Stepfather is scary because, unfortunately, a predator in the home is common. It is a movie that triggers that fear and a movie that people can relate to.
‘Child’s Play’ (1988)
Child’s Play may have a silly premise. A movie about a doll possessed with the spirit of a serial killer but at its heart it deals with a fear that everyone has dealt with and that is the fear of childhood. Childhood can be scary, and growing up into adulthood is a frightening experience.
People either repress their childhood or forget about it when they become adults. But think back and remember your childhood. Everyone has a few memories of something scary that happened during their childhood—a time when they felt helpless or afraid. Child’s Play taps into that fear.
inside will probably be one of the most uncomfortable horror movies you will ever watch and keep you on the edge of your seat. inside is a movie about a stalker (Beatrice Dallea) who decides to terrorize a pregnant widow (Alysson Paradise) on Christmas Eve.
The stalker breaks into the pregnant window’s house and tries to cut her baby out of her with scissors. The unnerving raw brutality of evil makes this a terrifying and squeamish movie to watch.
‘The Purge’ (2013)
The Purge is the first and arguably the best movie in The Purge movie franchise. It is the creepiest movie of the franchise and is a suburban nightmare.
The movie is about when the American government sanctions 12 hours when all criminal activity is legal. The movie is scary because people mistrust the government, and seems like something the American government could do in the future. It taps into the fear of conspiracy theories and the small things people do to each other daily that could come back to haunt them. Cut that person off while driving? Rip that person off in the business deal? Those types of things could get you killed during the purge.
‘The Strangers: Prey at Night’ (2018)
The Strangers: Prey at Night is the sequel to The Strangers and is a lot like The Purge. The difference is that they are not invading homes to get back at someone. They’re just doing it for the hell of it.
This movie works because they are real people like that in the world. They kill people because they think it is fun to do on a boring weekend. The scary thing is that some of these people could be your neighbors.
‘Paranormal Activity’ (2007)
Paranormal Activity is a little low-budget independent film that became a surprise hit like The Blair Witch Project. It was shot with a low budget, so they had to be creative with the scares, and it worked.
Ghost has been scary in horror movies for a long time, and Paranormal Activity does a great job tapping into people’s fear of spirits. It is a scary movie to watch in bed when you’re at home at night. It taps into the classic fear of ghosts.
‘Don’t Breathe’ (2016)
Don’t Breathe taps into the fear of bad people doing things in neighborhoods and bad things that might be happening in your neighbor’s house right under your nose.
Don’t Breathe is a movie about three Detroit thieves (Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, and Daniel Zovatto) who enjoy breaking into the homes of wealthy people. The thieves get more than they bargained for when they decide to break into the home of a blind veteran (Stephen Lang).
‘The Babysitter’ (2017)
Satanic panic was an era in the 1980s and 1990s that scared many Americans. Movies like Helter Skelter and Cobra terrified Americans; the fear of a shadow government of Satanists pulling all the strings behind the scenes, the fear of Godless teenagers who listened to metal sacrificing animals and then humans swept across America.
The movie The Babysitter taps into that same fear when it is revealed that a teenager’s (Judah Lewis) dream girl babysitter (Samara Weaving) is a satanic cult member.
‘When A Stranger Calls’ (2006)
When A Stranger Calls is a remake of the 1979 cult classic original. both When a Stranger Calls and the phone call in the original scream movie tap into the same fear.
The fear is that someone has been watching you and called to tell you about it. They may even be in your home. This is a scary fear because it is such a violation of privacy. The fear that someone is watching you, and they know your number.
‘Suburban Nightmare’ (2004)
Suburban Nightmare is a low-budget dialogue-driven dark comedy horror movie. If low-budget dialogue-driven horror movies aren’t your jam, check out the classics Halloween or A Nightmare on Elm Street; both clock in at a little over 90 minutes.
But if you like the creative way low-budget dialogue-driven horror movies must move a story forward, give Suburban Nightmare a shot. Suburban Nightmare asks, “What happens when married serial killers fall out of love?” It isn’t like they can get a divorce; they have too much information on each other.
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