While horror certainly seems to have a reputation as a nihilistic, often depressing genre and in some instances that can certainly be the case many the genres offerings are ultimately about finding catharsis through adversity, vicariously experiencing real-world fears and anxieties through a fictional lens.
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Still, what many people dont seem to realize is that many horror films arent only cathartic but legitimately uplifting, leaving its audience in a positive mindset by the time the credits roll. After all, if action movies can depict bloody carnage and murder and still end on an emotional high, then why not horror? Here are ten great horror movies that are also surprisingly uplifting.
Serving as a sequel to both Stephen King and Stanley Kubricks different versions of The Shining, Doctor Sleep sees director Mike Flanagan continue his unequaled streak of critically acclaimed horror adaptations.
The story follows a grown-up Danny Torrance, whos forced to protect a young girl named Abra when shes targeted by a cult of ancient beings who feed on the shining. Sure, the movies ending is decidedly darker than that of its source material, but it still concludes on a surprisingly uplifting note, nonetheless.
Simply put, theres absolutely nothing uplifting about the first two acts of The Babadook. In fact, life seems like living hell for protagonist Amelia Vanek, whose attempts to juggle the grief of losing her husband with the stress of raising her troubled child have her on the verge of mental breakdown.
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Throw a malevolent supernatural entity known as the Babadook into the mix, and its clear the Vanek family isnt having the best time. As it turns out, however, the Babadook itself is a metaphor for Amelias overwhelming grief, and the creature is eventually overcome when she angrily acknowledges and confronts it resulting in one of most cathartic endings in recent memory.
A fun, breezy New Zealand horror-comedy, Housebound tells the story of Kylie a rebellious young woman whos put under house arrest with her mother after attempting to steal from an ATM. As the days progress, both Kylie and her mother begin to suspect theres a supernatural force at work in the house.
Simultaneously funny and tense, the troubled relationship between the films central mother and daughter serves as the heart of the movie, culminating in a climax thats both touching and satisfying in equal measure.
An underappreciated coming of age horror-comedy, Netflixs The Babysitter follows twelve-year-old boy Cole, who falls in love with his attractive, charismatic babysitter only to discover shes part of a murderous Satanic cult.
Although its not perfect, the movie is a frenetic breath of fresh air, anchored by a star-making performance from modern-day scream queen Samara Weaving as the movies titular babysitter. Admirably blending the horror, comedy, and coming-of-age genres, The Babysitter is a must-see for fans of all three.
Despite being directed by Tobe Hooper most well-known for directing the uncompromising horror masterpiece The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Poltergeist has much more heart than your average horror flick, likely due to the heavy creative input of Steven Spielberg. Still, the movie has more than its fair share of effective scares.
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The movie follows the Freeling family, who find themselves haunted by malevolent spirits after its discovered their house was built on a Native American burial ground.
While Happy Death Day leans more heavily into its comedy than its horror, theres no denying that the movie is a bona fide slasher. The story sees its heroine, Theresa Tree Gelbman, caught in a bloody time loop. Waking up on the same day over and over again, Tree is repeatedly hunted down and killed by the same masked murderer, only for the loop to reset.
Tree uses her unique situation not only to track down her would-be killer but to right the wrongs in her life, resulting in one of the most uplifting slasher movies ever made.
Cleverly deconstructing the slasher genre and its pervasive final girl trope, 2015s horror-comedy The Final Girls avoids comparison to Scream by transplanting its main characters into a fictional horror film named Camp Bloodbath, where protagonist Max comes face to face with the movies star her own deceased mother.
While its not as intelligently scripted as The Cabin the Woods, Scream, or Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, the movie is arguably the most touching of them all, with Max and her mothers relationship forming the emotional core of the movie.
Based on the case files of real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, The Conjuring franchise is unrivaled in its ability to blend legitimately terrifying sequences with an endearing amount of humor and heart with the Warrens serving as an unwavering force of good.
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The first movie in the series, The Conjuring, sees the Warrens attempt to save the loving Perron family from the demonic spirit of a malevolent witch.
Perhaps the most unique film on this list, Spring follows the troubled Evan, who suffers a devastating series of personal crises after his mother dies and he loses his job. Unsure what else to do, Evan takes a trip to Italy, where he meets the beautiful Louise who just so happens to harbor a dark, millennia-old secret.
Despite essentially being a romantic body-horror film, Spring feels refreshingly earnest, with its surprisingly touching ending winning over even the most hardcore horror fans.
When Hereditary director Ari Aster made the claim that his follow-up film Midsommar would essentially be a break-up movie, fans of the director raised their eyebrows. As it turns out, however, thats exactly what the movie was somehow managing to be both incredibly disturbing and cathartic at the same time.
Given everything protagonist Dani has been through prior to the characters trip to Sweden, her acceptance by the cult in the movies climax is strangely comforting, despite the fact that it occurs under the most unsettling circumstances imaginable.
NEXT: The 15 Best Asian Horror Movies
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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero