Horror Movies Rated PG-13 Can Still Be Scary

With the latest horror films coming out this month, A Quiet Place (Apr. 6) and Blumhouse’s Truth or Dare (Apr. 13) both rated PG-13, a friend of mine presented to me a question on my way home from work. He asks, “What are you top 5 horror films rated PG-13?” Immediately, I was intrigued with the question. It is something I have probably talked about a lot sporadically but never really thought about the question and made a list for myself to be ready when said question would arise. Well, now I have no excuse. I have thought about it and here are my top 5 favorite horror films rated PG-13.

#5 What Lies Beneath (2000) Horror Drama

This murder mystery ghost story directed by Robert Zemeckis is both intriguing, sexy, and well-acted keeping me guessing to the very end with a surprise ending I didn’t expect to see. Paired with an amazing score, this is a movie that doesn’t need blood, guts, or a body count to give me the chills. Michelle Pfeiffer is so great in this movie and Harrison Ford in a role I never thought I would see him in.

#4 Drag Me to Hell (2009) Horror Comedy

Sam Raimi directed this hilarious and disturbing film focusing on a woman who has been cursed for her lack of empathy and she just has three days to lift the curse or she gets dragged to hell. Many may not see this as a comedy but there were laughable moments. This movie featured one of the best fights I have seen on film between two women. This film was awarded for best horror movie at the Scream Awards. Special effects and makeup are great and just an all-around fun movie. All done without over the top swearing and less gore to warrant a PG-13 rating.

#3 The Others (2001) Horror Mystery

Nicole Kidman should have been nominated and won an award for her performance in this haunting ghost story. Kidman plays a mother to her two children who have a rare photosensitivity disease that causes the sun to harm them. She also believes there are ghost haunting her. She can’t leave and she has to protect her kids at all cost. This movie scared the @#$^ out of me. The tension and edge of your seat tactics makes this one of the scariest film I have ever seen. The look on Kidman’s face through this film makes you scared for her and scared with her. Top it all off with one of the biggest twist endings I still talk about today. I can’t even remember one drop of blood in this film and still managed to be a horror film.

#2 The Sixth Sense (1999) Horror Mystery

M. Night Shyamalan’s horror movie debut changed the way you look at horror movies rated PG-13 again. He proved that it doesn’t take an R rating to bring people to the theatre and profit at the box office. If you had the privilege of experiencing this film with the whole world in theatres not knowing what to expect from this hot new director, you were lucky. There were some great jump scares, fantastic acting from Toni Colette and Oscar nominated child actor Haley Joel Osment at the time, and again one of the best twist no one saw coming. A movie inspired by an episode of a little TV show called “Are you afraid of the dark?” which is a show for kid’s shows that a horror movie can be a successful PG-13 movie because it comes from a great story and script.

#1 Insidious (2010) Horror Mystery

I love this film so much. Newcomer director James Wan (Saw & Conjuring Series) took one of the oldest horror story telling plots of a family being haunted by spirits in their new house and gave it a creative spin to make his film new and modern with old school scares and just relying on suspense and cinematography to give us the horror movie hard core fans can appreciate. Packed full of jump scares, not one scare felt like the one before. Each one was different from the rest which kept you on your toes and also has a wonderful plot that isn’t explore much in cinema. I don’t think if it wasn’t for this film we wouldn’t have films like A Quiet Place in theatres now. If you haven’t seen this film yet, check it out. If you are a horror fan like me; you will not be disappointed.

Honorable Mentions

Happy Death Day
Lights Out
The Final Girls
The Monster Squad

So there you have it. This was a tough list to put together and there are plenty of films not on this list that are fantastic. These films were great milestones in terms of filmmaking and my growing love of horror and thriller movies. I would love to hear your top 5 PG-13 horror films and do you believe that a good horror film doesn’t have to be rated R? Comment below your top 5 and your thoughts on this topic.

See you at the movies.


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