Great Modern Slasher Movies

While not the first slasher, John Carpenter’s masterpiece, Halloween, ushered in the golden age of carnage that would dominate horror cinema through the 1980s. Just like Grunge music or reality TV, the initial appeal wore off, and the genre grew stale, but there has been a resurgence of fresh, innovative slasher films.

With a basic formula of a shadowy killer slaughtering teenagers, slasher movies are a bit limited, but creative twists and new approaches have sharpened the knives on a genre that had been dull for decades. Great modern slashers owe their existence to the classics, but have carved out their own bloody niche.

10 The Funhouse Massacre

The Funhouse Massacre

The Funhouse Massacre

Six of the world’s scariest people escape from a local hospital and proceed to unleash terror on the unsuspecting crowd of a Halloween Funhouse, whose themed mazes are inspired by their various reigns of terror.

Director
Andy Palmer

Cast
Robert Englund, Jere Burns

Genres
Slasher

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The Funhouse Massacre, released in 2015, realized that if one stalker was chilling, then a whole slew of them is pure mayhem. Instead of one bloodthirsty madman escaping an asylum for the criminally insane and killing teens at a funhouse, this movie has six of them.

As a nice touch, each of the killers is a nod to both real and fictional murders, with Hannibal Lecter, Norman Bates, Orin Scrivello (sadistic dentist from Little Shop of Horrors), and cult leader Jim Jones getting represented. There is also a muscular killer clown and an extra-psycho Harley Quinn rounding out the roster.

9 Happy Death Day

Happy Death Day

Happy Death Day

A college student must relive the day of her murder over and over again, in a loop that will end only when she discovers her killer’s identity.

Director
Christopher Landon

Cast
Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard

Genres
Comedy, Slasher

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One way to get a slasher film to stand out is by mixing it with something not traditionally associated with horror. The 2017 film Happy Death Day, was Groundhog Day with a baby-face masked killer, in which a college student must constantly relive her birthday that always ends in her brutal murder.

Time loop stories can get monotonous, but the movie did a great job of unfolding the mystery and Jessica Rothe was truly amazing as Tree Gelbman, the frequent victim. A general rule for slasher movies is there has to be five to ten victims, but Tree helped the killer surpass that by dying 11 times before breaking the loop.

8 Bodies, Bodies, Bodies

Bodies Bodies Bodies

Bodies Bodies Bodies

When a group of rich 20-somethings plan a hurricane party at a remote family mansion, a party game turns deadly in this fresh and funny look at backstabbing, fake friends, and one party gone very, very wrong.

Director
Halina Reijn

Cast
Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Chase Sui Wonders, Rachel Sennott

Runtime
94 minutes

Bodies, Bodies, Bodies seems like any other unimaginative, by-the-numbers, slasher film in which a group of young people spend the weekend in a remote location and the corpses start stacking up. Instead, it ended up being one of the most original entries in the genre, with a twist M. Night Shyamalan wishes he thought up.

When one in their group ends up dead, the circle of friends accuse each other of being the killer. Those accusations turn to violence, and one by one the former friends die, until there are two final girls. Without any spoilers, when the actual killer is revealed it is mind-blowing, giving this 2022 movie one of the greatest slasher endings ever.

7 Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey

Winnie the Pooh Blood and Honey Poster

Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey

Release Date
March 17, 2023

Director
Rhys Frake-Waterfield

Cast
Amber Doig-Thorne, Maria Taylor, Danielle Ronald, Natasha Tosini, May Kelly, Paula Coiz, Craig David Dowsett, Richard D. Myers, Nikolai Leon

Rating
Not Rated

Main Genre
Horror

Absurdist slasher neo-classic, Winnie-the-Pooh: Blood and Honey, shows exactly why Disney fought so hard to keep their characters out of the public domain. A.A. Milne’s beloved characters from his Winnie-the-Pooh children’s stories weren’t as lucky as Mickey Mouse and were turned into brutal killers.

The 2023 film worked under the premise that a grown up Christopher Robin returned to Hundred Acre Wood only to discover that Pooh and Piglet have gone feral and are now cannibalistic killers with a hatred of humanity. There are a lot of ways filmmakers have unnerved audiences, but Winnie-the-Pooh decapitating a woman is one of the most original.

6 Freaky

Freaky

Freaky

After swapping bodies with a serial killer, a high-school senior discovers that she has fewer than 24 hours before the change becomes permanent.

Director
Christopher Landon

Cast
Vince Vaughn, Kathryn Newton

Genres
Comedy, Slasher

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The 2020 film, Freaky, is Freaky Friday if Jodie Foster (or Lindsay Lohan) traded places with Jason Voorhees. In fact, the film in which a teenage girl switches bodies with a male serial killer, was originally titled “Freaky Friday the 13th,” and it delivers all the laughs and corpses one would expect from such an odd pairing.

Freaky Friday has been remade a half-dozen times, and body swap movies have been done to death, but adding a slasher to the mix brought freshness to both genres. Vince Vaughn, the killer with a female soul, portraying a 17-year-old girl is one of the greatest things he’s ever done and worth the price of admission.

5 The Final Girls

The Final Girls

A young woman grieving the loss of her mother, a famous scream queen from the 1980s, finds herself pulled into the world of her mom’s most famous movie. Reunited, the women must fight off the film’s maniacal killer.

The Scream movies were meta for acknowledging the tropes from slasher films, but The Final Girls took it a step further by throwing the characters into an actual slasher film to experience the tropes themselves. In a way that is not insulting to the intelligence, a group of friends are transported into an 80s classic slasher staring one of the girls’ mother.

As fans of the film they are now within, the group tries to use their knowledge of the plot to thwart the killer. Instead, they and the cast members are systematically slaughtered down to the final girl. Not only is this 2015 film fun and original, it is a legitimately good slasher that doesn’t skimp on the blood and gore.

4 The Maid

The Maid

The Maid

A teenager Joy works as a domestic maid but is haunted by the previous maid’s spirit to discover the secret behind her death.

Runtime
100 minutes

Genres
Slasher, Supernatural

Films from Hong Kong, Korea, and Japan have found an audience in the United States, but there hasn’t been much love for Thai cinema. The 2020 film, The Maid, could change all of that if American audiences would just give it a chance. It’s got great production value, plenty of scares, and most importantly a creepy story that is as original as it is unsettling.

When a new maid goes to work for an uptight wealthy family, she begins seeing the ghost of her predecessor and suspects a murderous secret in the mansion. That’s obviously a bland premise, but that’s not what this movie is about at all. Without warning, this supernatural horror turns into bloody violent slasher that will leave viewers positively shocked.

3 X

X Film Poster

X (2022)

Director
Ti West

Cast
Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Brittany Snow, Kid Cudi

Main Genre
Horror

X is a film about a cast and crew who rent a rural farmhouse to film a porno in the 1970s. It has a Texas Chainsaw Massacre kind of vibe but diverges from the source when the elderly couple who rented out the location turn out to be homicidal perverts. There are many scenes that can’t be unseen and give the audience, for lack of a better term, the heebie jeebies for life.

The filmmakers knew they were onto something with this 2022 movie and filmed a prequel called Pearl, which is the elderly killer wife’s backstory, at the same time they made X. The movie hits all the right notes with gore, freakiness, and an interesting twist on the genre, but is made great by the intense performance of Mia Goth who plays both Pearl in heavy prosthetics and Maxine the final girl.

2 Terrifier

Terrifier

Terrifier

On Halloween night, Tara Heyes finds herself as the obsession of a sadistic murderer known as Art the Clown.

Director
Damien Leone

Cast
Jenna Kanell, David Howard Thornton

Genres
Slasher, Horror

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Terrifier came seemingly out of nowhere in 2016 to become not just one of the best new slashers, but one of the all-time greats. It didn’t achieve this with some radical twist on the genre, but rather by doing it so well. The title isn’t misleading as the movie is genuinely terrifying, while many slashers are unintentional comedies.

Terifier also nails the practical effects gore with some of bloodiest and most inventive kills ever captured on film. It is however the film’s killer, Art the Clown, that made this an instant classic. Many people are afraid of clowns, but Art is so sinister and menacing that even those without coulrophobia will be haunted in their nightmares by him.

1 Terrifier 2

Terrifier 2 Movie Poster

Terrifier 2

After being resurrected by a sinister entity, Art the Clown returns to the timid town of Miles County where he targets a teenage girl and her younger brother on Halloween night.

Director
Damien Leone

Cast
Lauren LaVera, Jenna Kanell, David Howard Thornton, Kailey Hyman

The sequel Terrifier 2 ranks a little higher than the original because it pulled off the impossible feat of outdoing the first one. The gore is more over-the-top, the kills are more creative, and there’s a whole lot more of an intriguing story. Art the Clown even picked up a sidekick in the Pale Little Girl, who may or may not exist, to add to the creepy mayhem.

What makes Terrifier 2 the best of the new crop is that it established Art the Clown as a franchise slasher. The killer clown got his start in a pair of short films from creator Damian Leone and had a small role in the feature All Hallows Eve, but his two appearances atop the marque in the Terrifier films put him on the podium with greats like Leatherface, Michael, Jason, and Freddy.

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