TV & Movies

8 British Halloween Films Guaranteed To Keep You Up At Night

Plenty to sink your teeth into in the lead up to October 31.

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Originally Published: 
Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù as Bol Majur in 'His House'.
Aidan Monaghan/NETFLIX

The week leading up to Halloween is the perfect time to get a group of friends together to carve some pumpkins, eat all of the sweets you bought for trick or treaters, and have a horror movie marathon.

Although Halloween movies are perhaps most typically associated with the U.S. (think Hocus Pocus and The Addams Family as well as less-kid-friendly options like A Nightmare On Elm Street, It, and, more recently, Candyman), the truth is that over here in the UK, we have plenty of options to choose from too – and we’ve listed some of the best below.

In this edit, you’ll find out-and-out smash hits (did you know Lady In Black made $129m at the box office, for example?) as well as some more niche examples that you can really show off to your friends about. The most recent release on this list – His House, which premiered in 2020 – not only offers a classic horror storyline (possessed houses and lurking ghosts) but also a searing analysis on current political and social structures in the UK. Elsewhere, you have Ghost Stories, which somehow combines laugh-out-loud humour with bone-chilling terror. A feat of cinematic genius.

Read on to find out which movies will be keeping you entertained in the lead up to October 31.

1

The Awakening (2011)

The Awakening is straight up terrifying. If you don’t like creepy child ghosts this is definitely the Halloween film that will scare the socks off you. Set in the 1920s, the story follows Hoax exposer Florence Cathcart (played by Rebecca Hall) as she visits a boarding school to explain why a child ghost has been spotted. She soon realises she is in way over her head as "the missing" start to appear. Even writing this sent shivers down my spine.

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2

Under The Shadow (2017)

An international co-production between Jordan, Qatar, and the UK, Under the Shadow is a Persian-language horror film that follows a mother and daughter as they’re haunted during the War of the Cities in 1980s Tehran. Under the Shadow is one of those rare horror films that is indescribable – and the trailer does not do it justice as to how mind-bendingly terrifying it is.

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3

His House (2020)

Fleeing a war-torn South Sudan, Bol and Rial head to Britain with their daughter Nyagak for a better life. Tragically, the couple end up losing their child as they cross the channel and, when they’re finally granted probational asylum, they’re given a dilapidated house they can’t leave due to the risk of deportation.

Being forced into this home and unable to leave, strange and mysterious things start happening, and Bol and Rial are stuck. Believing the house is possessed by a sea witch, the couple start to fight back, and things take a turn for the scarier.

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4

Woman In Black (2012)

Do not be fooled, while the Woman In Black stars Daniel Radcliffe, his harmless days of Harry Potter are long behind him. This film is no joke, it will have you jumping out of your skin. It has all the makings of a great horror film; spooky empty house, dead owners, a creepy lake. Radcliffe stars as Arthur Kipps, a solicitor who travels to a village to discover that there is a ghost of a woman terrorising the locals. Instead of running for the hills he sticks around to see why she is so vengeful with terrifying consequences.

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5

Malevolent (2018)

Starring Little Women’s Florence Pugh, Malevolent is haunting. A group of scam artists make their money by faking paranormal activity. However, after working in a desolate country house unexplainable things start to happen. It soon becomes too much for them to ignore and one by one they fall prey to what they’ve been mimicking. Malevolent isn’t for the easily scared and fainthearted.

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6

Ghost Stories (2018)

Darkly funny and witty, don’t be sucked into Ghost Stories and start thinking it’s a comedy style mockumentary. Professor Phillip Goodman doesn’t believe in the supernatural. In fact he’s so sceptical that he’s creating a film to debunk spooky stories and occurrences. Filmed from the perspective of the production crew that are helping him interview mediums and psychics. It’ll leave you totally unnerved.

Watch on Amazon now

7

The Girl with All The Gifts (2016)

As the title suggests, this post-apocalyptic horror focuses on a young girl named Melanie who is exceptionally gifted. She’s also one of a dozen or so children who are somewhat immune to a mutated fungal infection that wiped out most of humanity. That is until they get close to human scent – then the infection overrides their free will and they try to feast on human flesh.

Essentially, The Girl with All The Gifts is your run of the mill zombie movie, but with a lot more heart (and tears). Starring Sennia Nanua, Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine, and Glenn Close, this film will have you on the edge of your seat throughout.

Watch on Amazon now.

8

The Hallow (2015)

Last but not least if you’re serious about being truly freaked out this Halloween then The Hallow is the film for you. It is straight up terrifying. Following Adam (played by Joseph Mawle) and Claire (played by Bojana Novakovic) as they move into their new secluded house in Ireland it becomes abundantly clear they may have made a mistake. The entire family ends up fighting for their lives against demonic beings that live in the woods. This film is truly chilling and perfect for Halloween. But you were warned here, you will have nightmares.

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