Founded by Jason Blum, the production company Blumhouse has released various types of movies to critical acclaim. Blumhouse produced a handful of non-horror movies before putting themselves on the map with Paranormal Activity (2007). Ever since, they’ve become synonymous with the horror genre, even if they’ve produced films of every type (that’s right, the studio behind Sinister also produced Tooth Fairy and Benji).
And sure, Whiplash (2014) and Blackkklansman (2018) continued their trend of producing critical darlings outside the horror sphere. But the films on this list showcase the true brand identity of Jason Blum’s studio and its many recurring collaborators (Jordan Peele, Mike Flanagan, James Wan, M. Night Shyamalan). These are among the most popular movies of their respective years, regardless of genre, and they hold up wonderfully today. Here are Blumhouse’s 15 best horror movies, ranked.
15 Split (2016)
Release DateNovember 15, 2016
Continuing his Unbreakable trilogy, M. Night Shyamalan crafted the first supervillain origin movie: Split (2016). The villain’s name is Kevin Wendell Crumb — a man with dissociative identity disorder who harbors 23 disparate personalities. He’s played to a career-defining degree by James McAvoy, who truly shines when Kevin’s final personality, known as The Beast, reveals himself with superhuman powers.
A Compelling Plot Renewed Shyamalan’s Career
In an underground compound, the man with many names holds three girls captive: Casey, Claire, and Marcia. They’re played by Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, and Jessica Sula, with everyone involved bringing a compelling plot to convincing life. This is among the all-time great Shyamalan flicks and, after his small-scale hit The Visit, helped re-launch the director’s career after roughly a decade of poorly received films. Rent on Google Play, Apple TV, YouTube, and Vudu.
14 M3GAN (2022)
Release DateJanuary 6, 2023
WritersAkela Cooper , James Wan
With Gerard Johnstone as director, M3GAN (2022) was written by Akela Cooper from a story she developed alongside James Wan. It chronicles the creepy invention of Model 3 Generative Android, also known as M3gan: a children’s doll that comes to life by dint of artificial intelligence. The project is overseen by Gemma, who’s played by Alison Williams.
A Chaotic Premise
Gemma assigns her niece Cady (played by Violet McGraw) as M3gan’s primary user. The toy then develops a bond with her new companion, and protects her at all costs. Though not the scariest movie of the Blumhouse bunch, M3GAN is well-written until its final frame, and the doll’s demented demeanor nonetheless provides some fright. Stream it on Prime Video, Rent on Google Play, Apple TV, YouTube, and Vudu.
13 Paranormal Activity (2007)
The movie that put Blumhouse on the map was Paranormal Activity, a supernatural horror film. Oren Peli wrote, directed, and shot the project, then also sat in the editing room to piece the final product together. The work of a true auteur, he crafted a compelling plot that facilitated inventive elements of found-footage films.
The Birth of a Popular Horror Franchise
After experiencing supernatural happenings in their home, protagonists Katie and Micah set cameras up to document the haunting. And rest assured, fans were eager to see it play out. Off just a $15,000 budget, Paranormal Activity accrued nearly $200 million at the worldwide box office, spawning a massive franchise. And while the sequels run the gamut of quality, the first entry holds up as a classic of Blumhouse horror. Stream it on Max, Rent on Google Play, Apple TV, YouTube, and Vudu.
12 Sinister (2012)
Release DateMarch 29, 2012
Another entry in the supernatural subgenre, Sinister (2012) features two staples of the Blumhouse stable: Scott Derrickson, the director, and Ethan Hawke, the lead actor. The latter plays Ellison Oswalt, a true crime writer who moves his family into a haunted house in order to chronicle the real-life hangings that took place therein.
Ethan Hawke Becomes a Scream King
This is the first notable horror film of Ethan Hawke’s career, and it’s one of his most impressive performances, period. He’s gone on to secure himself as a bona fide Hollywood scream king, and for many fans, Sinister represents the scariest movie in which he’s ever appeared, though he would deliver a better performance in a later Blumhouse film from Derrickson. With a haunting premise and a charismatic performance from Hawke, it’s easy to see why. Rent on Google Play, Apple TV, YouTube, and Vudu.
11 Happy Death Day (2017)
One of the great modern slasher directors is Christoper Landon, and his most famous film is Happy Death Day (2017). Its script was penned by Scott Lobdel, revolving around college student Tree Gelbman, who’s played by Jessica Rothe. After being murdered on her birthday, she wakes up via a time loop, and begins searching for the killer to stop her never-ending death.
Groundhog Day Becomes a Horror Film
With a science-fiction twist on slashers and inspired by Groundhog Day, Happy Death Day hit home as a refreshing take on the fan-favorite subgenre. A sequel was released a few years later, also directed by Landon and then from his own original script. But the original stands tall as the more notable production from Blumhouse, as Landon executes an enticing premise with well-written dialogue and keen direction. Rent on Google Play, Apple TV, YouTube, and Vudu.
10 Insidious (2010)
Starring Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne under James Wan’s capable direction, Insidious (2010) ranks among the most famous horror films of the 21st century. Of all time, perhaps, and with good reason. Several scenes stand out as legitimately frightening experiences, and the lead actors are convincing every step of the way.
The Fantastic First Film in a Franchise
Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne have reprised their roles as Josh and Renai Lambert, and Wilson even directed Insidious: The Red Door, but without a doubt, the first movie holds up as the highest-quality entry in the franchise. It’s a memorable and terrifying story about demonic possession with a great cast and some incredible jump scares. Stream it on Netflix, Rent on Google Play, Apple TV, YouTube, and Vudu. Check out our interview with Wilson about Insidious: The Red Door below:
9 Freaky (2020)
Release DateNovember 13, 2020
With an emphasis on laughs, Freaky (2020) is among the finest horror comedies in recent memory. Written and directed by Christopher Landon, it takes a Freaky Friday approach to the slasher subgenre as a high school girl named Millie (played by Kathryn Newton) magically switches bodies with a serial killer known as “The Butcher.”
The Leads Share Wonderful Chemistry
The Butcher is played by Vince Vaughn, and he shares a hilarious, tangible chemistry with Newton until the film’s final frame. This is among the most uproarious performances of Vaughn’s career — undoubtedly saying something given his penchant for Hollywood comedies — and the same can be said for Newton. An essential Blumhouse horror comedy, Freaky represents the peak of Chris Landon’s career so far. Stream it on Peacock, Rent on Google Play, Apple TV, Prime Video, and Vudu. Check out our interview with Kathryn Newton below, where she compares Freaky with her role in Lisa Frankenstein with her co-star Cole Sprouse.
8 The Black Phone (2021)
Another Scott Derrickson and Ethan Hawke collaboration, The Black Phone (2021) was adapted from a short story by Joe Hill. For those unfamiliar: Hill is the son of Stephen King, who’s of course provided the perfect canvases for dozens of horror directors to paint their respective masterpieces throughout the years. Now, Hill is joining the ranks.
A Chip Off the Old Block
Joe Hill wrote a terrifying story about a masked killer, nicknamed “The Grabber,” who kidnaps a teenager named Finney. The villain is played to a spine-chilling degree by Hawke, while Mason Thames is excellent Finney. He uses a rotary phone in his room of captivity to communicate with the former victims of The Grabber, then uses their expertise to escape. It’s a thrilling experience and a very gritty coming-of-age film. Stream it on Peacock, Rent on Google Play, Apple TV, Prime Video, and Vudu.
7 Halloween (2018)
Thanks to David Gordon Green as the writer-director, Halloween (2018) sparked a renewed interest in the fan-favorite horror franchise. Rob Zombie attempted a reboot in the prior decade, and of course, several sequels to John Carpenter’s original had been released throughout the 20th century, but this David Goron Green iteration is the most impressive of the bunch, even if the planned trilogy was ultimately less than the sum of its parts.
A Successful Halloween Sequel
Legitimately scary moments are punctuated by humor to a convincing degree in Halloween, resulting in a motley tone that provides a sense of rejuvenation to one of horror’s most influential franchises. This is the greatest movie the series has seen since Carpenter started it off with Halloween (1978) — the film at hand acts as a direct sequel while throwing all other iterations to the wayside. A good move, as it resulted in an all-time Blumhouse great. Rent on Prime Video, Google Play, Apple TV, and Vudu.
6 Creep (2014)
Release DateJune 23, 2014
Directed by Patrick Brice with Mark Duplass as his co-writer, Creep (2014) also features those two creatives in the primary roles. The former plays Aaron, who responds to an ad posted online by a man named Josef — played with intensity by Duplass. Josef is dying of an illness, so the protagonist agrees to film Josef for the day, as he hopes to record footage for his unborn child to view in the future. As the day progresses, Josef’s requests render him the titular character.
Creep Is Shocking and Unforgettable
There’s no denying the consistently creepy nature of Josef and his bizarre idea of content. Some images in Creep will likely stick with you. But many of these shocking, off-putting scenarios are awkwardly hilarious in the moment, resonating with the audience on various emotional levels. Though not the most conventional of horror films by Blumhouse, it’s easily among the best. Stream it on Netflix, Rent on Google Play, Apple TV, and Vudu.
5 Us (2019)
Release DateMarch 14, 2019
Among the most valuable directors that frequently make movies for Blumhouse is Jordan Peele, who marked his second feature film with Us (2019). Lupita Nyong’o plays the protagonist, a matriarch named Adelaide Wilson, whose family is attacked by their dopplegängers while vacationing at the beach.
The first act of Us promises another classic of modern horror from writer-director Jordan Peele, though where the film goes was definitely polarizing to some viewers. Taken allegorically and not literally, however, Us is a brilliant meditation on class and race in America, a downright revolutionary film. With deep Jungian themes and harsh criticisms of society, Us certainly throws some curveballs but deserves your attention. Stream it on Prime Video, Rent on Google Play, Apple TV, and Vudu.
4 Creep 2 (2017)
Release DateOctober 14, 2017
Once again, Patrick Brice takes on the auteur role with Creep 2 (2017). Returning as his co-writer is Mark Duplass, who reprises his eponymous role as Josef. But now, he has another creepy companion, named Sara. She’s played by Desiree Akhavan, taking over the videographer role for Brice’s role in the former film. One of the rare sequels that improve upon the first film, Creep 2 is one of the greatest found footage films ever made.
Creating a Creepy Chemistry
Duplass and Akhavan create amazing chemistry in Creep 2. Brice and Duplass performed brilliantly in the original, but the ability of Akhavan to so seamlessly integrate her character into the franchise renders this sequel all the more impressive. This is among the finest horror films of the century, messing with the audience’s psyche while toying with the found-footage subgenre. Stream it on Netflix, Rent on Google Play, Apple TV, and Vudu.
3 Hush (2016)
Release DateMarch 12, 2016
Written and directed by Mike Flanagan, who’s made several horror movies under the Blumhouse banner, Hush (2016) is among the most refreshing slasher films of the century. It’s arguably peak Flanagan, who crafted a compelling premise about a deaf writer: she moves into a secluded, wooded cabin to find solitude and inspiration for her next novel. Then, a killer attacks.
Hush Is a Masterclass in Suspense
Twists unfold and result in a masterclass of suspense, with the premise alone promising thrilling moments galore. Flanagan capitalized on the quirks of his protagonist — played by his wife, Kate Siegel — as her deafness allows for brilliant sound design: Hush frequently puts the viewer in her shoes by silencing diegetic noises. It’s an original experience, and a classic modern slasher. Not Currently Available to Rent or Stream (Except Here).
2 The Invisible Man (2020)
Written and directed by Leigh Wannell, based on H.G. Wells’ novel of the same name, The Invisible Man (2020) boasts tremendous name value for a modern horror flick and yet brilliantly reinvents the classic story with a feminist, digital twist. It tells the tale of a woman, Cecelia Kass, trapped in an abusive relationship until she manages to escape. Unfortunately, her partner is a brilliant scientist who uses his technological skills to stalk and torment Cecilia invisibly.
The Best Modern-Day H.G. Wells Adaptation
This story has been adapted for the big screen on a few occasions, most notably by James Whale. Along with Dracula (1931) and Frankenstein (1931), his 1933 version helped usher in the Universal horror craze. There have also been comedic interpretations (one with Chevy Chase), and animated adaptations. But when determining the scariest version of The Invisible Man in film, Leigh Wannell’s recent iteration is arguably the most intense and powerful. Stream it on Peacock, Rent on Google Play, Apple TV, Prime Video, and Vudu.
1 Get Out (2017)
Release DateFebruary 24, 2017
A masterclass in screenwriting, Get Out (2017) marked the directorial debut of Jordan Peele. It took the world by storm, receiving rave reviews and accruing numerous nominations at the Academy Awards. And even then, its success at the box office is perhaps equally impressive.
Jordan Peele Receives Widespread Praise
It stars Daniel Kaluya as Chris, who kicks off the plot when he agrees to meet his girlfriends’ parents. But upon arriving at their grand estate, Chris unravels dark secrets about the Armitages that threaten his life — a compelling plot, for which Peele’s screenwriting efforts received reverence. With some truly haunting moments and thematic resonance aplenty, Get Out stands tall as the finest Blumhouse horror movie yet. Rent on Google Play, Apple TV, Prime Video, and Vudu.