5. The Strangers (2008)

The masked family in The Strangers

The Strangers is a tale of the sort of senseless, random acts of violence that strike genuine fear into its audience, simply because it’s so plausible. One of those horror movie that’s “inspired by real events“, The Strangers draws on the real-life murders committed by the Manson Family. Following the events of one evening in which a “family” of three masked killers descend upon the home of an unsuspecting couple and visit unspeakable torment on them, The Strangers is a chilling and deeply disturbing watch.

What makes The Strangers so brilliant is the fact that it’s stylized as an incredibly real horror story. There’s no supernatural element, no malevolent spirits, no vengeful creatures – just the sort of evil that lurks in the everyday. The Strangers tells a story that’s realistic enough to happen to anyone, and that’s what makes it so deeply disturbing.

The Strangers presented a different type of horror movie. Instead of the focus being on killers with distinct identities and backstories, the villains are faceless stand-ins for humanity’s capacity for cruelty and evil. Moving away from the more outlandish stories that the genre is built upon, The Strangers proved to be one of the most chilling and unsettling horror movies of the ’00s, all because it really could happen to anyone.