10 Horror films proving scary doesn't need an "R" rating

Who doesn't like a good scare?  But what about when all you want is a scare, not gore or sex or anything else that often accompanies horror films.  Have no fear (yet)! We have a list of horror films that are not R-rated.  (P.S. Checkout our PODCASTS page to listen to our editors countdown this list in their own peculiar way)

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10. What Lies Beneath

Year: 2000

Cast: Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer, Katharine Towne

Director: Robert Zemeckis

What is it: Claire Spencer (Pfieffer) is the wife of professor Norman Spencer (Ford). Claire begins to suspect that her house is haunted by a ghost. Either that, or she's losing her mind. These strange hauntings reveal secrets about the couple's past. Pfieffer gives a particularly good performance in this polished thriller.

Where to watch it: It can be streamed on Amazon Prime.


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9. The Grudge

Year: 2004

Cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr, Clea Duvall

Director: Takashi Shimizu

What is it: This American remake of a Japanese horror film stars Sarah Michelle Gellar as Karen, a nurse working in Tokyo. She's exposed to a a mysterious curse that locks a person in a state of rage before it takes their life and spreads to its next victim. It's filled with subplots and told in a non-linear sequence of events. Strap tight.

Where to watch it: It can be rented on Amazon Video.


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8. The Others

Year: 2001

Cast: Nicole Kidman

Director: Alejandro Amenabar

What is it: This supernatural gothic thriller stars Nicole Kidman as Grace, a devout Roman Catholic mother who lives at home with her two children in post-WWII in the Channel Islands. Her children, who are photosensitive, become increasingly convinced their house is haunted. Kidman was nominated for a Golden Globe in this Spanish-American thriller.

Where to watch it: It can be purchased on Amazon Video or streamed on FilmStruck.


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7. The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Year: 2005

Cast: Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Jennifer Carpenter

Director: Scott Derrickson

What is it: Loosely based on a true story, this film portrays the legal case of a young woman who was supposedly possessed by a demon. It follows a self-proclaimed agnostic who is part of the defense counsel hired to defend the priest being charged with negligent homicide. The film does a good job straddling the worlds of the secular court and religious occupation.

Where to watch it: It can be rented on Amazon Prime.



6. Disturbia

Year: 2007

Cast: Shia Lebeouf, David Morse, Carrie-Anne Moss

Director: D.J. Caruso

What is it: Shia Lebeouf plays Kale, a teenager placed on house arrest. He begins to spy on his neighbor and suspects one of them to be a serial killer. Partly inspired by Hitchcock's Rear Window, this film grossed over $117 million at the box office.

Where to watch it: It can be rented on Amazon Video.


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5. The Woman In Black

Year: 2012

Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer, Ciaran Hinds

Director: James Watkins

What is it: In a post-Harry Potter performance, Daniel Radcliffe plays Arthur, a solicitor who travels to a a remote village where he finds a vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals, heralding the death of children. This moody flick trades in gore for chills.

Where to watch it: It can be streamed on Amazon Prime.


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4. The Sixth Sense

Year: 1999

Cast: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

What is it: This watershed horror film stars Bruce Willis as a child psychologist who takes on the task of curing a young boy. Cole, the boy, claims to see dead people. Willi's Malcolm is his only hope. The phrase “I see dead people” became popularized in this psychological thriller, the first film from M. Night Shyawmalan.

Where to watch it: It can be streamed on Netflix or rented on Amazon Video.



3. Jaws

Year: 1975

Cast: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss

Director: Steven Speilberg

What is it: A giant man-eating great white shark attacks beachgoers on Amity Island one summer. This prompts the local police chief to team up with a marine biologist and professional shark hunter. This scared the world into not treading too far out into the ocean and gave rise to summer blockbusters as a fixture in Hollywood.

Where to watch it: It can be streamed on Netflix.


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2. The Ring

Year: 2002

Cast: Naomi Watts, Martin Henderson, Brian Cox

Director: Gore Verbinski

What is it: Adapted from a Japanese film, which was adapted from a Japanese novel, this psychological thriller follows a journalist investigating a mysterious videotape which apparently causes the death of anyone who watches it. A slow sense of dread seeps throughout this international hit.

Where to watch it: It can be rented on Amazon Video.



1.  Insidious

Year: 2010

Cast: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins

Director: James Wan

What is it: The film centers on a couple whose son goes into a coma and becomes a vessel for ghosts in an alternate dimension who wish to inhabit hos body so they may live again. Director James Wan builds a strong sense of suspense throughout this creepy movie.

Where to watch it: It can be rented on Amazon Video


Honorable Mentions




Year: 1955

Cast: Simone Signoret, Vera Clouzot, Paul Meurisse

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot

What is it: The wife of a cruel headmaster teams up with his mistress and conspire to kill him. After the crime is committed and they dump the body in a pool, his body disappears and strange things begin to happen. Watch this one with zero distractions. You won't regret it.

Where to watch it: It can be streamed on FilmStruck.


The Night of the Hunter

Year: 1955

Cast: Robert Mitchum, Shelly Winters, Lillian Gesh

Director: Charles Laughton

What is it: Robert Mitchum gives a career-defining performance as Harry Powell, a recently released convict/preacher who is hell-bent on on fooling the children of a widow into revealing where their father has hidden $10,000. The visuals are truly something to behold in this gothic noir of a film.

Where to watch it: It can be rented on Amazon Video.


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The Witches

Year: 1990

Cast: Angelica Houston, Mai Zetterling, Jasen Fisher

Director: Nicolas Roeg

What is it: Based on a Roald Dahl book, The Witches is the nervy tale of a young boy who discovers a witch convention. The boy tries to foil their plans, even after he is turned into a mouse. Nothing is more frightening the terrorizing children.

Where to watch it: It can be streamed on Amazon Prime.

Which of your favorite movies did we miss?  Let us know in the comments below!

Elliot Morris1 Comment