Best Horror Movies 2021

If there’s any genre that produces underseen hidden gems as regularly as it produces shlocky garbage, it’s horror, and thankfully, we got a decent amount of the former in 2021. Of course, the big story is that John Krasinski’s hotly anticipated sequel A Quiet Place Part II was, quite fortunately, a rock-solid follow-up that more than delivered on its promise of creepy action and exciting world-building, winning the Golden Tomato for Best Horror Movie in the process. But this year also gave us a striking vampire tale (My Heart Can’t Beat Unless You Tell It To), a horror-comedy about a killer pair of jeans (Slaxx), and even a once-lost George Romero chiller from 1973 (The Amusement Park) that premiered on streaming for the first time last year. Whether you’re into period thrills (The Delivered) or contemporary ones (Censor), this year’s crop of acclaimed horror flicks ran the gamut.

The order reflects Tomatometer scores (as of December 31, 2021) after adjustment from our ranking formula, which compensates for variation in the number of reviews when comparing movies or TV shows.

Adjusted Score: 109690%
Critics Consensus: A nerve-wracking continuation of its predecessor, A Quiet Place Part II expands the terrifying world of the franchise without losing track of its heart.
Synopsis: Following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family must now face the terrors of the outside world as they... [More]
Directed By: John Krasinski

Adjusted Score: 98854%
Critics Consensus: Unsettling and compelling in equal measure, My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To casts a visually striking and thought-provoking spell.
Synopsis: Dwight (Patrick Fugit) prowls the streets after dark. He searches each night for the lonely and forlorn, looking for people... [More]
Directed By: Jonathan Cuartas

Adjusted Score: 98733%
Critics Consensus: A tense, terrifying, and all-around outstanding feature debut for its co-directing duo, The Boy Behind the Door should thrill discerning horror fans.
Synopsis: In The Boy Behind the Door, a night of unimaginable terror awaits twelve-year-old Bobby (Lonnie Chavis) and his best friend,... [More]

Adjusted Score: 98254%
Critics Consensus: A blunt yet visceral depiction of society's treatment of the elderly, The Amusement Park sees George A. Romero exploring a different -- yet still chilling -- type of terror.
Synopsis: Recently discovered and restored 46 years after its completion by the George A. Romero Foundation and produced by Suzanne Desrocher-Romero,... [More]
Directed By: George A. Romero


Slaxx (2020)

Adjusted Score: 98029%
Critics Consensus: A slim-cut slice of bizarre horror, Slaxx effectively balances quirk with gore -- and has the good sense to get out before its oddball premise starts showing its seams.
Synopsis: A possessed pair of jeans is brought to life to punish the unscrupulous practices of a trendy clothing company. Shipped... [More]
Directed By: Elza Kephart


Candyman (2021)

Adjusted Score: 102222%
Critics Consensus: Candyman takes an incisive, visually thrilling approach to deepening the franchise's mythology -- and terrifying audiences along the way.
Synopsis: For as long as residents can remember, the housing projects of Chicago's Cabrini-Green neighborhood were terrorized by a word-of-mouth ghost... [More]
Directed By: Nia DaCosta


The Delivered (2019)

Adjusted Score: 96331%
Critics Consensus: Bound together by Maxine Peake's magnetic portrayal of the main character, Fanny Lye Deliver'd offers impactful, richly layered period drama.
Synopsis: In 1657 England, Fanny Lye transcends her oppressive marriage to discover a new world of possibilities -- but at a... [More]
Directed By: Thomas Clay


Lucky (2020)

Adjusted Score: 95019%
Critics Consensus: A rich blend of thrilling horror and sharp social commentary, Lucky acts as a bloody good calling card for director Natasha Kermani and writer-star Brea Grant.
Synopsis: A self-help book author finds herself stalked by a threatening figure who returns to her house night after night. She... [More]
Directed By: Natasha Kermani


Censor (2021)

Adjusted Score: 96203%
Critics Consensus: Occasionally uneven but bold and viscerally effective, Censor marks a bloody good step forward for British horror.
Synopsis: Film censor Enid takes pride in her meticulous work, guarding unsuspecting audiences from the deleterious effects of watching the gore-filled... [More]
Directed By: Prano Bailey-Bond


The Night House (2020)

Adjusted Score: 97010%
Critics Consensus: Led by Rebecca Hall's gripping central performance, The Night House offers atmospheric horror that engages intellectually as well as emotionally.
Synopsis: Reeling from the unexpected death of her husband, Beth (Rebecca Hall) is left alone in the lakeside home he built... [More]
Directed By: David Bruckner

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