10 of the Best Summer Horror Movies to Watch This Season

Although the fall is the most popular season for horror because of Halloween, I find summer to be my favorite season to watch the lighter and more fun horror movies. As soon as the summer hits, I suddenly feel the urge to watch movies about road trips, vacations, water, and camping. It’s also, in my opinion, the best time to watch slashers, horror comedies, and big budget blockbusters.

I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite summer horror movies to share. There are some classics and also some newer picks. Enjoy!

More stuff to watch

1. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

I Know What You Did Last Summer is a classic summer horror movie and still one of my personal favorites! Directed by Jim Gillespie, this film follows four friends who are haunted by a deadly secret from their past summer. As they try to evade a hook-wielding killer, tension rises. Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, and Freddie Prinze Jr. star in this campy ride that’s perfect for those who love slasher films.

2. I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998)

Continuing the suspense, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer picks up where the first film left off. Directed by Danny Cannon, the surviving characters are again targeted by the vengeful fisherman. This time, the horror follows them to a secluded island resort during a stormy weekend. Jennifer Love Hewitt and Freddie Prinze Jr. return to star alongside Brandy Norwood, ensuring another round of suspense and shocking moments.

3. Midsommar (2019)

What says “summer” better than a sunny festival in the picturesque countryside? Midsommar will take you on a visually stunning, yet deeply disturbing ride. Directed by Ari Aster, this story unfolds in a remote Swedish village where a couple and their friends attend a rare festival that only occurs every 90 years. What starts as an fun retreat soon turns into a twisted competition at the hands of a pagan cult. Florence Pugh delivers a stunning performance, making this film both beautiful and haunting.

4. Jaws (1975)

Jaws, directed by Steven Spielberg, is the quintessential summer horror film that made everyone afraid to go into the water. This blockbuster follows a great white shark that unleashes chaos on a beach community, and the local sheriff’s desperate attempt to stop it. Starring Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw, “Jaws” combines thrill, adventure, and horror in a way that continues to captivate audiences.

5. Friday the 13th (1980)

“Friday the 13th” is a horror staple perfect for a summer night scare. Directed by Sean S. Cunningham, it’s set in Camp Crystal Lake where camp counselors are stalked by an unknown assailant. This slasher film is famous for its suspense, killer soundtrack, and the debut of the iconic horror villain Jason Voorhees.

6. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a groundbreaking horror film that remains a staple for horror enthusiasts, especially during the summer, when the scorching heat mirrors the film’s intense atmosphere. Directed by Tobe Hooper, the movie follows a group of friends who fall victim to a family of cannibals while road-tripping through Texas. But the real star of the show is the iconic Leatherface, a horrifying villain wielding a chainsaw, portrayed by Gunnar Hansen. This film is not only notorious for its scares but also for setting new standards in the horror genre with its raw and realistic approach.

7. Sleepaway Camp (1983)

Sleepaway Camp might look like a typical slasher film set in a summer camp, but it’s full of unexpected twists and a shocking ending that still talks about today. Directed by Robert Hiltzik, the film revolves around shy and awkward Angela, who is sent to camp with her cousin. What follows is a series of chilling events that lead to a notorious finale. This cult classic is a must-watch for its daring approach and memorable conclusion.

8. It (2017)

It is based on Stephen King’s classic novel, and still remains one of my favorite modern horror movies. Directed by Andy Muschietti, it tells the story of a group of kids in the town of Derry who face their biggest fears when they square off against Pennywise, a shape-shifting clown. This film is not only scary but also touches on themes of friendship and childhood fears. Bill Skarsgård stars as Pennywise, bringing a new level of terror to the iconic character.

9. The Ruins (2008)

Although not the best movie, The Ruins is so much fun to watch. It follows a group of friends who venture to a remote Mexican jungle in search of a brother who has mysteriously disappeared. Directed by Carter Smith, this horror tale turns terrifying when the group encounters something deadly in the ruins. The film stars Jonathan Tucker and Jena Malone, and is known for its campy humor and shocking moments, making it a must-see for fans of survival horror.

10. Disturbia (2007)

While not technically horror, Disturbia includes some horror elements and is still one of my personal summer favorites. Directed by D.J. Caruso, it stars Shia LaBeouf as a teenager under house arrest who becomes convinced his neighbor is a wanted serial killer. With lots of tension and an insanely talented cast for such a small film (Carrie-Anne Moss, Viola Davis, and Matt Craven, David Morse also star) , this movie is great for those who like a good domestic thriller mystery with some lighthearted humor and fun summer elements.

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