The movies of the 90s were full of experimentation. Unique stories were thought of, visual styles constantly changed from before, and visual effects progressed rapidly. The decade was full of filmmakers pushing for their films to reach their full potential. With all the available resources and experimental processes, the 90s brought out some great horror thrillers that either scared audiences or chilled them to the core. Here are the best to add to any exciting collection.


6 The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

The critically acclaimed film Thesilenceofthelambs was released in 1991. Following the story of FBI intern Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), as she must interrogate a violent psychopath to help the FBI track down a serial killer. As Clarice speaks with Hannibal Lector, played by Anthony Hopkins, the lines between rationality and madness are blurred. Clarice must navigate the mental labyrinths of Lector before the killer can strike again.

This film defined psychological horror and brought an intangible threat to the audience, making them feel its imminent presence. While the story itself was disturbing, the cast did an incredible job of bringing it to life. Anthony Hopkins is an incredibly dangerous character. He played a psychopath with a background as a brilliant psychiatrist. Not only was he convicted of murder, but he was intellectually gifted and able to manipulate people with his knowledge of the human psyche. The evil that emanated from this criminal was worse than the killer the FBI was tracking.

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5 Flatliners (1990)

Flatliners is a 1990 film based on a very popular question: what is in the afterlife? It follows Nelson, played by Kiefer Sutherland, as he and his fellow medical students search for answers. They begin an experiment to die medically, then are resurrected after seeing a glimpse of what comes after death. Little did the group know that once the experiments began, there would be paranormal consequences following them in life.

The premise of the movie was relatable because everyone wondered what comes after death. The horror comes to life in the form of consequences, and it’s also very relatable. Almost as if the movie was able to show a physical representation of the guilt people can feel. The film has some of the best actors of the 90s, such as Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon and Oliver Platt, and alongside Sutherland, elevated the story.

4 Mimicry (1997)

The 1997 horror classic Imitate is directed by Guillermo del Toro. Due to a deadly virus spread by cockroaches, an evolutionary scientist, played by Mira Sorvino, develops a new species of insect that will mimic cockroaches and eliminate them. When the new species goes awry, it begins to evolve, hunting humans and learning to mimic their habits. It’s not a scary movie just because it’s based on human-eating bugs. If you add the disturbing notion of a strange species capable of evolving beyond anything we’ve ever known, it’s downright terrifying. While the film was plagued with production issues, the film proved to scare all audiences.

3 Kalifornia (1993)

The 1993 movie Kalifornia takes horror during a road trip. When writer Brian Kessler (David Duchovny) and his photographer girlfriend (Michelle Forbes) travel to notorious serial murder sites. In order to cut expenses, they carpool with strangers Early Grayce and his girlfriend, played by Brad Pitt and Juliette Lewis. They don’t know that Early is actually a sociopath in his own killing spree.

The film received mixed reviews. Some thought its plot was just an excuse for violence, while others thought it was an arthouse marvel. Despite this, the film had some of the best performances of the decade. The cast did an amazing job with the dark, gritty material. The movie has a great setup for a typical slasher movie; however, events turn sour and become a runaway train on its way to massive wreckage that the audience cannot look away from.

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2 Necessary Things (1993)

Necessary things, the 1993 film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name, is a classic horror film. When mysterious shop owner Leland Gaunt (Max von Syndow) moves into a small town, strange events plague the town. Gaunt always sells exactly what a customer wants most from its eclectic boutique; however, these perfect purchases come at a pittance price that does not include silver as currency. As the town turns and chaos erupts, the town’s sheriff (Ed Harris) struggles to maintain order while trying to stop Gaunt’s manipulation.

This film was not well received and was called depressing rather than scary. However, the movie deals with the worst of humanity, and that should be depressing. Necessary things, expressly shows the darker parts of temptation and the consequences that can follow. The performances were incredible for the number of characters the story followed. The film was also a prime example of the dark humor that emerges from chaotic situations.

1 Se7en (1995)

The neo-noir of 1995 Se7fr is a deeply disturbing thriller. It follows a retired police detective (Morgan Freeman), as he investigates his latest case. With the help of a new detective (Brad Pitt), the mysterious case revealed that the serial killer attacks people based on the Seven Deadly Sins. Outside of the case, the pregnant wife of the young detective, who wants to get away from the city plagued by crime, tries to make her husband listen to reason.

The film is a look at the depravity of humanity. The story follows the sins of the victims, the killer, the detectives, and humanity as a whole. It was disturbing, but also a reminder of a harsh reality. The performances of Freeman, Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow were incredible and gave the film a realism, among all its grit and gore. The film has an unforgettable story, but the final scenes are truly haunting and will be remembered forever.

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