What are your favorite scary movies to watch with the family this Halloween?
Here are some great PG-13 screamers. Pop some popcorn, curl up on the couch and enjoy.
- “1408” Mike Enslin (John Cusack) is a skeptic who checks into room 1408 of the Dolphin Hotel intent on debunking its paranormal legacy. Unbeknownst to Mike, however, he’s locking himself in with his own demons. “1408” gets under your skin and burrows straight to your spine with psychedelic twists and psychological bogeymen.
- “I Am Legend” A twist on the traditional horror yarn, “I Am Legend” tells about Robert Neville (Will Smith), possibly the last man alive after a violent disease turns most of the globe into crazed bloodsuckers. It’s only a matter of time before he and the zombies come mano-e-undead-mano in humanity’s last stand. Taut suspense mixed with the starkness of the apocalypse helps underscore this movie’s theme of one man’s struggle to preserve mankind’s better nature.
- “Wait Until Dark” Susy Hendrix (Audrey Hepburn) is a blind woman terrorized mercilessly in her own home by a gang of criminals looking for drugs mistakenly given to Susy’s husband. Of special note is the ending, a climax that will have you wetting the edge of your proverbial seat after nearly two hours of roller coaster dread. As good as Halloween movies get.
- “Carriers” Most disease flicks can’t make the grade for best PG-13 Halloween movies because their abject grossness begets the scarlet R rating. “Carriers,” a tale about four friends trying to outrun civilization-ending disease, keeps fluid-spillage to a restrained minimum all the while making you fear the very air you breathe.
- “Monster Squad” A staple of ’80s sleepovers, “Monster Squad” forever belongs in the pantheon of great Halloween movies for its infusion of camp and tour-de-force of classic monsters culled from early horror lore. To prevent said monsters from taking over the world, the self-titled “Squad” of neighborhood kids must recover a prized amulet with magical powers. Watch it to rekindle your childhood love of all things scary and fun.
- “Red Eye” By focusing on mood and constant tension, “Red Eye” is a natural inclusion in the best PG-13 Halloween movies catalog. Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) is taking the red eye flight home when she learns she’s sitting beside a sociopath who will kill her if she makes one wrong move. “Red Eye” is the quintessential Halloween movie that will play your expectations like a finely-tuned fiddle and leave you begging for an encore.
- “What Lies Beneath” This is one of those Halloween movies that ramps the suspense to almost unbearable, nail-chewing levels. Claire Spencer (Michelle Pfeiffer) is a woman haunted by ghostly goings-on in her home while trying to keep her mental health and the health of her family in check. The most Hitchcockian of the Halloween movies on the list, “What Lies Beneath” casts long shadows that will have you flipping on lights the second the credits roll.
- “The Innocents” Martin Scorsese—maybe you’ve heard of him?—ranks “The Innocents” as one of the greatest scary movies of all time, and with good reason. Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr), a wet-behind-the-ears governess, is charged with overseeing a country mansion holding more deadly secrets than rooms. A metric ton of creepy atmosphere keeps this film afloat nearly five decades after its smash debut.
- “The Ring” The king of Halloween movies during the 2000’s, “The Ring” chronicles Rachel’s (Naomi Watts) investigation into the origins of a mysterious videotape alleged to have caused a series of gruesome deaths. The hair-raising eeriness begins in the opening scene and never slackens.
- “The Sixth Sense” Of the best PG-13 Halloween movies, nothing beats undisputed champion “The Sixth Sense.” Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) is a child psychologist forced to confront shocking truths about himself while helping Cole (Haley Joel Osment), a troubled young boy who communicates with spirits. The relationship between Malcolm and Cole is so rich and the scares so meaningful and well-timed that it makes this film well worth repeated viewing. Hands down, the absolute pinnacle of Halloween movies.