Halloween is the best time of the year to indulge in all the scary and frightening traditions that you enjoy doing. Putting up decorations, dressing up and trick-or-treating are all fun, but horror movie marathons take the cake. Many complain that horror movies nowadays are not very good, but a lot of gems exist out there from the last decade. Here is a list of the essential modern horror movies to watch to get into the Halloween spirit.

“IT” (2017)

The reboot of “IT” from 2017 gave Pennywise the Dancing Clown a new look, played masterfully by Bill Skarsgard. The movie is dripping with eerie and disturbing moments, which can be credited to the excellent directing of Andy Muschietti. The film revolves around a group of children that have a killer clown haunting them and preying on their fears. The child actors all did a great job and provided an emotional element to the story that elevated “IT” to special horror movie status.

“Hereditary” (2018)

Ari Aster’s major film directorial debut is already a modern horror classic. The film features hard-hitting performances, including Toni Collette, who plays a struggling mother, and Alex Wolff, the confused teenage son. The film is about a family that starts to have horrible things happen to them, and chaos ensues from there. The images and moments that occur in the movie are unforgettable with a truly original horror plot.

“It Follows” (2014)

“It Follows” is an example of a great concept and great execution to go with it. The concept is that the main character has a burden placed on them where someone is always following them. The only way to get rid of this is to have intercourse with someone, thus transferring it to that person. The concept is done perfectly because director David Robert Mitchell knew how to build up the scares and make every scene tense to some degree.

“Train to Busan” (2016)

Zombie movies are always essential but began to lose their popularity as the 2010s progressed. “Train To Busan” felt like a rejuvenation of the zombie genre with high-stakes moments and freaky zombie designs. As it states in the title, a group of characters finds themselves on a train when a zombie outbreak occurs. The heart of the film was the father-daughter relationship, which will definitely make you want to grab some tissues. Having such an emotional element to the film sets it apart from other zombie movies and establishes itself as essential Halloween viewing.

“The Conjuring” (2013)

James Wan’s “The Conjuring” is good old-fashioned horror dealing with paranormal entities in a spooky house. In the movie, paranormal investigators visit a farmhouse to deal with disturbances reported by the family living there. The jump scares in the film hit hard and keep you on the edge of your seat. Wan knows how to create anxiety-inducing scenes, and his work here might be his best out of all his horror ventures.

“The Cabin in the Woods” (2011)

Directed by Drew Goddard, this film features a giant twist that turns the whole plot on its head. The initial plot is about five teenagers going to a cabin in the woods for a weekend, but horrible events begin to happen. While this story sounds extremely generic, the details that begin to be unveiled ensure an unforgettable watching experience.

“The Babadook” (2014)

“The Babadook” features a mother reeling from the death of her husband while managing to parent her small son. The son begins to become haunted by some kind of monster in the house, believed to be The Babadook. Director Jennifer Kent’s use of subtlety and unknown information works amazingly well for the horror of the movie. Knowing so little about the monster makes it even scarier to watch. The entire movie just feels extremely distressing too, especially during the son’s scenes.

Try watching these with the lights off, preferably with some popcorn on hand. These are the essential modern horror movies for Halloween. There is no better way to celebrate the scariest holiday of the year!