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5 Underrated Horror Movies to Start Your Summer Off Right

From Hulu to Prime to Max to here are some visually striking and underrated horror movies to start your summer off right and where to watch!

(Credit: Ilze Kitshoff/20th Century Studios)

From Hulu to Prime to Max, here are some visually striking and underrated horror films to start your summer off right!

While it may not be Spooky Season quite yet, there is still a perfect selection of horror movies to watch for the Summer. So gather your friends, cuddle up on the couch, and get ready to watch some movies.

1. Braid (2019)

Three women lay down on a grave all wearing white and huddled together. Image Source: Blue Fox Entertainment

Where to Stream: Peacock, Prime, Pluto TV, and ITV

Also called Dying to Play, Braid is one of my personal favorites. It made its debut in film festivals and hit theaters in 2019. This is a film you have to watch more than once. The more you watch it the more you catch onto things you hadn’t before.

The movie follows two wanted women who must visit their estranged friend to steal her money all while playing a make-believe game they came up with as children.

When I first watched this film, it left me in a state of awe and bewilderment. I had more questions than answers, but the more I read about it the more I fell in love. This is a psychological horror movie full of twists and turns while also containing visually stunning shots.

With a run time of 1 hour and 22 minutes, it’s the perfect way to unwind after a long day on the beach.

2. The Empty Man (2020)

Where to Stream: FX, Max, and Prime Video

The words The EmptyMan Made Me Do It are written on a bathroom mirror in what appears to be blood. Image Source: 20th Century Studios

For the Urban Legend lovers out there!

Based on the popular comic book series from Boom! Studios, The Empty Man follows a retired cop trying to uncover the truth surrounding several disappearances of teenagers in a Midwestern town.

From the start of the movie, I was entranced. It doesn’t follow standard film rules but breaks them in fascinating ways that work for the story. Like the protagonist, you are pulled into this world full of different twists and turns however in the end you get the answers you are searching for. There are no loose ends to be tied.

It starts with an urban legend that soon untangles into cosmic horror but does so in a way that makes sense. This film is on the longer side with a run time of 2 hours and 17 minutes. The perfect watch after sitting by a fire roasting marshmallows.

3. Bliss (2019)

Where to Stream: Prime, Peacock, Pluto TV, ITV, and Vudu

A woman drives her car late at night wearing sunglasses while dry blood is around her chin. The words ‘Bliss’ appear to the left of her. Image Source: Dark Sky Films

Brief content warning: This movie contains flashing images that can cause discomfort or trigger people with photosensitive epilepsy.

Bliss is an arthouse horror film through and through. Centered around a struggling artist going through the worst art block she has ever experienced, she will do anything to get out of it. What follows is a hallucinatory rabbit hole of sex, drugs, and murder within the city of Los Angeles.

This is a movie that pulls you in completely, and as soon as the title opens the film with the song Revolt by The Nymphs, you know what you’re in for. It borders on experimental, only to turn into a gorefest at the end. This is one of the first horror films I have seen where neon lights are heavily used, and it works. The atmosphere of loud bars, house parties, studios, and even bathrooms builds toward the movie and completely draws you in.

It’s a spectacle you can’t look away from and has one of the most jaw-dropping deaths I have ever witnessed. With a run time of 1 hour and 20 minutes, it’s perfect before a night out.

4. Medusa (2021)

Where to Stream: Prime and ITV

A woman is laying down on a hospital bed wearing scrubs and looking at the ceiling. Her hair is around her looking like a halo. Image Source: Music Box Films

For people who prefer slower-paced atmosphere horror films. Medusa centers around a group of Evangelical vigilantes who slowly begin to realize the world they live in isn’t as glamorous as they thought it was.

The main character, Marianna (Marianna Oliveria) is one of the leaders of this group. She and the other women prowl the streets at night and attack women they believe are sinners and get them to accept Jesus Christ as their savior.

After an attack gone wrong, Marianna is left scarred and decides to volunteer at a hospital. The women are all hiding something, and it doesn’t take long for their carefully constructed facades to dissolve.

This movie left me speechless. With color pallets similar to that of Girl Defined videos I was enamored with the way the film depicts religious trauma as a whole. Few movies do this, much less horror films and it’s refreshing to see. This movie deeply unsettled me but in the best way possible.

With a run time of 2 hours and 12 minutes, it is a late-night movie and something you and your friends can discuss after watching.

5. Swallow (2020)

Where to Stream: Prime, Hulu, Apple TV, and AMC

Image Source: IFC Films

Swallow is a two-in-one genre going from Horror to Drama. The movie is about a pregnant housewife who develops pica, an urge to ingest inedible objects and materials. When her husband and his family begin to control her life she is forced to face trauma from her past.

This is one of the very few horror movies that genuinely made me cry. The horror element isn’t supernatural, instead, it is the feeling of being trapped within your life and feeling like there is no escape.

I was on the fence about watching this at first, but I am so glad I did. I was squeamish when she did ingest the objects but it is a pivotal moment within the film. It’s one of those movies where you root for the main character, Hunter (Haley Bennett), and have no idea what the ending outcome will be.

The drama at the end ties the movie up in a neat little bow and it makes you stew in the silence of what you’ve just watched. If you’re not a big fan of horror this would be the movie for you. It is realistic in a way that is sickening but also incredibly human.

With a run-time of 1 hour and 35 minutes, it’s a heavy watch, but one you won’t ever forget.

I understand that these films aren’t as scary as others so if you’re into being scared we have just the article for you! I have to know, what is your favorite underrated horror movie? Let me know and thanks for reading!

Written By

Maryann McCarthy is in her junior year of college. She's majoring in film and television and is interested in being up to date on what is happening both within the industry and within the independent side of filmmaking.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ann Dowling

    June 14, 2024 at 11:45 pm

    Since I’m not a fan of horror movies myself, I really enjoyed Maryann’s take on these films. Clear, concise and peaked my interest for sure.

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