10 Scary (But Not Too Scary) Movies That Non-Horror Fans Would Enjoy

Redditor u/tonymosh stated, “My son (11) is very interested in watching scary movies, but I’ve held back due to his age. So I introduced a few menacing movies with scary visuals or intensity.”

He continued, “But I stopped short of anything too aggressive and nothing honestly in the horror genre. So my main restrictions are no sex (innuendo is fine), no heavy religious stuff, and low/moderate gore. Any recommendations on how to move to the next level?” Redditors responded and delivered these ten movies as age-appropriate movies to introduce the horror genre to a curious eleven-year-old.

1. Gremlins (1984)

Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Gremlins shares a story about a cute little Mogwai named Gizmo. It draws on legends of mischievous folkloric creatures that cause malfunctions known as, Gremlins. Gizmo is the cutest little furball, but there are rules with Mogwais: do not expose them to light, don’t get them wet, and don’t feed them after midnight. After violating the rules, a group of wild, murderous gremlins terrorizes a town. 

2. Tremors (1990)

Image from the movie Tremors
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Tremors is a scary movie franchise spawning six sequels, a TV series, and a video game. But the first one is the cult classic and incredible watch. It tells the story of underground creatures that can sense vibrations and attack from below. A small isolated town is terrorized by them as the Tremors pick them off, one by one. 

3. The Burbs (1989)

the burbs
Image Credit: Universal Pictures

The Burbs is a comedy horror story about a strange family who moves into an eccentric culdesac. These neighbors isolate themselves, don’t take care of their yard, and are caught digging in their backyard in the middle of the night. The neighbors begin to suspect something isn’t right with them and work together to uncover the truth. 

4. Freaky (2020)

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

Freaky puts a comedy horror spin on Freaky Friday. The story follows a teenage girl who unintentionally swaps bodies with a middle-aged male serial killer. Once she discovers that she has less than 24 hours before the change is permanent, she and her friends work together to undo the switch and stop the killer before he offs all of their friends. 

5. I Know What You Did Last Summer

I know what you did last summer
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures

I Know What You Did Last Summer is the first in the franchise of slasher films. It follows four teens stalked by a hook-wielding maniac, one-year after the anniversary of killing a man in a car accident and covering it up. 

6. Killer Clowns From Outer Space (1988)

killer clowns from outer space
Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.
  • Watch on Paramount+, Pluto TV, and Showtime.

Killer Clowns From Outer Space is a sci-fi horror comedy that follows a group of evil aliens who resemble clowns invading a small town. They plan to capture, kill and harvest the human inhabitants for sustenance.”

7. The Blair Witch Project (1998)

The Blair Witch Project
Image Credit: Artisan Entertainment.
  • Watch on Peacock and HBO Max.

The Blair Witch Project is the first in a five-film franchise. It tells the story of three film students who set out to document the Blair Witch, a local legend in Maryland. The students disappear, but their video footage is found a year later. The reputedly recovered footage is the movie viewers’ experience. 

8. The Faculty (1998)

Underrated Horror Movies
(L-R) Jordana Brewster and Elijah Wood | Courtesy of Miramax

The Faculty follows unusual occurrences on a high school campus. A journalist student witnesses the school nurse being killed and then sees she’s alive again. Then, other teachers and students begin acting strange. He bands together with a group of unlikely friends to investigate and overcome The Faculty

9. It (1990)

It movie 1990
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Television Distribution

The original two-part miniseries follows a group of kids who an evil clown terrorizes. However, the clown can take the form of whatever their fears are, but adults don’t see It. One of the gang loses their little brother to the monster, and the group vows to stop It before it gets them first.

10. Poltergeist (1982)

Image Credit: Warner Bros. Ent
  • Watch on HBO Max and YouTube.

Poltergeist is a cult classic spawning two sequels and a remake. It tells the story of a family that moves into a brand-new haunted home with malevolent ghosts who abduct their five-year-old daughter. 

Did Reddit get this right, or are there other horror films that you’d introduce preteens to the horror genre with that aren’t mentioned?

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