Demonic possession and spiritual hauntings are two of the most common themes in modern horror movies, which means any movie that wants to take this road needs to be truly unique and stand out.
A well-crafted horror film doesn't just startle with jump scares—it should get you invested in the characters, get you thinking about how they'll escape the haunting or avoid possession, and even make you re-think your own beliefs as characters become stuck in moral dilemmas.
But, of course, it should also be scary and innovative.
If you're a horror film fanatic or just someone who wants to test your mettle when it comes to supernatural horror, here are some of the best horror movies about possession and hauntings.
8. Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)
Insidious: Chapter 2 starts right after the timeline of the first film. After going to the spirit realm to get his son, Josh Lambert was left behind in the other world—but his body seems to be okay and lives normally.
This normal life of the intruder was ruined as the family finds him suspicious and gets help from another psychic. The turn of events in the outside world is not as action-packed as what happens in the real Josh as he struggles to find his way out of the spirit realm.
7. The 8th Night (2021)
The 8th Night is a mystery thriller with a legend-meets-reality story that revolves around an exorcist, the stepping stones, and a myth about the demon's eyes which was sealed long ago.
After being disgraced for his research about the myth, a professor vowed to prove to the world that what he had found out was real—and breaks the seal on the "eye," giving birth to a monster that causes disaster and deaths around the world.
Upon finding out that the "eye" was awakened, a monk who guards the other "eye" orders the young Chung-seok to look for the successor of the guardian of the eye. This isn't an out-and-out horror, but it has plenty of creepy scenes that will certainly haunt you.
6. Blumhouse's Truth or Dare (2018)
Imagine you're playing a game and an uninvited player just comes in and makes it more thrilling, exciting, and deadly. Blumhouse's Truth or Dare is a supernatural horror film filled with tension, emotion, and death as the game goes on and its players grow desperate to end it.
With every turn of "truth," a secret nobody wants to know comes out of the player's mouth. With every "dare," a player has to do what he's asked to—otherwise, he or she dies. Along the way, players become possessed by an unknown spirit as they play.
5. The Unborn (2009)
Though it takes quite some time to develop its plot, The Unborn still features several disturbingly possessed characters and creepy figures who haunt the main character.
The story revolves around a girl named Casey, who has some supernatural ties with haunting events that include her family's past and a "dybbuk" who lurks in her bloodline. The film uses twisted bodies of animals and persons to escalate the horror experience.
4. The Last Exorcism (2010)
The Last Exorcism is the movie that got many of its viewers hooked on exorcism movies, leading to other greats like The Omen and The Exorcist. It's a found-footage horror movie that describes exorcism as a kind of hoax and trickery.
The film follows the story of filmmakers and a priest who are documenting fake possessions and exorcisms, believing that it's all lies—until they get to the case of Nell.
The best part of the film is when the priest confronts the demon (in possession of Nell). The devil says he'll leave the girl if the priest can remain silent for ten seconds—with the devil breaking one of his fingers every second.
3. The Possession (2012)
The Possession revolves around a family who's haunted by an entity their little girl brings into the house.
As the story progresses, the development of the plot also gets horrifying as the truth about the box is revealed. With that, the hauntings and the unexplained events get stronger (and creepier).
There are many scenes in the film that will give you chills, like the hand inside the throat or the face in the MRI.
2. Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)
Ouija: Origin of Evil is one of many horror movies that features the mysterious Ouija board. It looks like a typical board game, which tempts the characters to play it just for fun—without knowing that the very board calls forth evil instead of the soul they intend to talk to.
Ouija: Origin of Evil is the prequel to the movie Ouija (released in 2014), with a story that centers on a family living in the year 1967. The mother Alice earns her living as a spirit medium, with her daughters Lina and Doris as her accomplices.
When she adds the Ouija board to their scheme, disturbing events start to happen. They think the spirit they call is someone they loved, but it's an evil tricking them into believing its dark plot.
1. The Conjuring (2013)
The Conjuring is one of the best horror movies about possession, as it's based on real-life cases of possession and hauntings that were documented and investigated by Ed and Lorraine Warren.
The term "real-life" will definitely give you goosebumps, while its depictions of paranormal entities and how they pop up on screen are truly terrifying and are not for the faint-hearted.
Because of its success, it gave rise to an entire franchise of horror movies (collectively known as The Conjuring Universe), which gives us everything when it comes to our horror film needs. The franchise includes spin-off films like Annabelle and The Nun.