Scariest PG-13 Horror Films, From ‘The Ring’ to ‘Poltergeist’

The pure response to listening to “horror film” and “PG-13” in the identical breath is, almost definitely, skepticism. How scary can a film truthfully be when its score is a mere step away from Scooby-Doo? There’s not a lot blood. Minimal swearing. No severed limbs. Youngsters change friendship bracelets as a substitute of bodily fluids. But, there is a treasure trove of movies that make up for what they lack in R-rated horror tropes by upping the ante with efficient leap scares, eerie atmospheres, and a few genuinely scary scenes. You see, PG-13 shouldn’t be a dying knell for a horror movie, because the 2023 success of 5 Nights at Freddy’s would attest to. In actual fact, it opens up a large berth of creativity to ship scares with out resorting to the tried and true of the slice and cube. Listed here are among the finest PG-13 horror motion pictures.



1 Indicators (2002)

Directed by M. Evening Shyamalan

Picture through Buena Vista Photos

It is Mel Gibson in a movie that is scarier than his real-life antics — in case you can imagine it. In Indicators, Gibson performs Graham Hess, a widowed former man of the material who lives in a farmhouse together with his brother Merrill (Joaquin Phoenix), son Morgan (Rory Culkin), and daughter Bo (Abigail Breslin). In the future, the Hess household finds massive crop circles of their cornfield, which they first attribute to native vandals, however quickly be taught the reality is way scarier. Crop circles have been showing globally, and with them guests that seem like aliens. Director M. Evening Shyamalan is phenomenal at wringing terror out of pressure, maximizing the claustrophobic feeling of the household within the basement, barricaded towards the aliens. Whereas Indicators is not Shyamalan’s scariest film, it stays a grasp class of fearing the unseen. The ending is somewhat handy (until you subscribe to the speculation that the aliens are literally demons), however the film delivers a superb leap scare or two.

Signs Poster


Launch Date
August 2, 2002

M. Evening Shyamalan

Important Style


2 Arachnophobia (1990)

Directed by Frank Marshall

Julian Sands as Dr. James Atherton, holding a tarantula in a jar in Arachnophobia
Picture through Buena Vista Photos Distribution

Jeff Daniels as Dr. Ross Jennings, John Goodman as exterminator Delbert McClintock, and an entire boatload of a new breed of lethal spider, with an unknown, deadly toxin, that has taken root within the city of Canaima, California, killing a number of townspeople and able to take out extra. Be sincere — you have been satisfied at “lethal spider,” weren’t you?

arachnophobia poster


Launch Date
July 20, 1990


Important Style

Don Jakoby , Al Williams , Wesley Strick

Eight legs, two fangs and an perspective.

Watch on AppleTV+

3 The Ring (2002)

Directed by Gore Verbinski

Daveigh Chase as Samara Morgan, looking menacingly into the camera in The Ring
Picture through DreamWorks Photos

To be truthful, The Ring shouldn’t be the scariest of the movies on this listing. The movie focuses on journalist Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts), who’s investigating a mysterious videotape that kills anybody who watches it after seven days, one among which was her niece. Satisfied that the video, which has ties to younger Samara Morgan (Daveigh Chase), a lady with psychic skills who was killed by her mom, is certainly cursed, Rachel races towards time to discover a technique to cease her impending dying. Cerebral, haunting, dreary, and a metaphor for the hazards of media? You guess. Scary? For probably the most half, no, however the iconic ultimate scene, the place (SPOILER) Samara crawls out of the tv, is among the scariest, most haunting, and memorable moments in horror film historical past, legitimizing The Ring‘s place on this listing.

The Ring movie poster (2002)

The Ring

Launch Date
October 18, 2002

Important Style

RENT on Prime Video

4 Scary Tales to Inform within the Darkish (2019)

Directed by André Øvredal

Natalie Ganzhorn as Ruth "Ruthie" Steinberg, looking in a mirror while a spider leg protrudes from a bump in her cheek in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Picture through Lionsgate Movies

Scary Tales to Inform within the Darkish is an anthology movie based mostly on the e-book collection by Alvin Schwart. It options 4 tales weaved into the story of a lady, Stella (Zoe Colletti), who finds a e-book of horror tales written by Sarah Bellows, who took her personal life years in the past after being accused of utilizing witchcraft to kill the city’s youngsters. It could appear, nonetheless, that Sarah remains to be writing tales, because the 4 tales are new tales which might be showing on previously clean pages… and getting used to take out Stella’s buddies one after the other. It is a stunningly chilling movie, which is unsurprising given Guillermo del Toro’s involvement as author and producer, and we are able to solely hope that the long-awaited sequel lives to see the sunshine of day.

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5 The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

Directed by Scott Derrickson

Emily (Jennifer Carpenter) being pulled from her bed by a demon in 'The Exorcism of Emily Rose.'
Picture through Sony Photos Releasing

What occurs when an exorcism ends in the dying of the one being exorcised? That is what’s explored in The Exorcism of Emily Rose which is predicated on an equally horrific true story — a horror movie that rises above the style to incorporate thought-provoking questions on religion and the powers of darkness. Father Moore (Tom Wilkinson) performs an exorcism on a younger woman, Emily Rose (Jennifer Carpenter), which tragically ends in her dying. The priest is arrested for homicide, with lawyer Erin Bruner (Laura Linney) defending her consumer within the face of his seemingly unbelievable claims of the reality.

Exorcism of Emily Rose Poster

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Launch Date
September 9, 2005

Scott Derrickson

Important Style


6 Lights Out (2016)

Directed by David F. Sandberg

Teresa Palmer as Rebecca, hanging onto a doorframe and looking terrified in Lights Out (2016)
Picture Through Warner Bros.

Lights Out was first launched in 2013 as a three-minute quick movie, one which used its time successfully to a genuinely terrifying ending. The quick went viral on Vimeo and YouTube, which caught Hollywood’s consideration, with Warner Bros. and horror-auteur producer James Wan profitable the battle for movie rights. The truth that a movie was made based mostly on a brief, viral clip is not stunning — that is the Hollywood that made Machete and Thanksgiving off of pretend trailers in Grindhouse, in spite of everything — however the truth that the movie is superb most definitely is, with a vengeful spirit, one way or the other linked to their mom, terrorizing a younger girl, Rebecca (Teresa Palmer), and her brother, Martin (Gabriel Bateman). The spirit can solely be seen when the lights are out, by the way in which, therefore the title, and in case you’re pondering “Why do not they simply have the lights on then?” they did consider that, solely “Diana” minimize the facility to their home. No plot holes right here, simply transfer alongside.

Lights Out Film Poster

Lights Out

Launch Date
July 22, 2016

David F. Sandberg

Important Style

Watch on Netflix

7 Insidious (2010)

Directed by James Wan

The Lipstick Face Demon behind Patrick Wilson's Josh Lambert in Insidious.
Picture through FilmDistrict

Talking of James Wan, Insidious is a testomony to only how gifted the filmmaker is. It’s a horror movie that is actually distinctive and undeniably scary, nearly as good as Wan’s The Conjuring. Younger Dalton Lambert (Ty Simpkins) falls right into a coma after seeing an evil entity, with no clarification as to why. Shortly afterward, supernatural issues begin occurring round the home, prompting the Lamberts to maneuver to a brand new house. Guess what else was within the shifting van? Yep, the transfer would not cease the paranormal actions, so psychic Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) is introduced in to assist.

The highly effective Elise informs the dad and mom that Dalton has the flexibility to astral journey, solely now he’s trapped in “The Additional,” one other dimension the place quite a lot of tortured souls stroll aimlessly. This prompts the Lambert household patriarch, Josh (Patrick Wilson), to make use of his personal forgotten skills to astral journey and save Dalton. Total, Insidious is only a nice, scary movie, with a terrific nearer that units up the marginally higher (within the opinion of the creator) Insidious 2.

Insidious Film Poster


Launch Date
April 1, 2011

Important Style

Watch on Max

8 Mama (2013)

Directed by Andy Muschietti

Nikolaj Coster-Waldeau and Jessica Chastain as Luke and Annie, protecting Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and Lily (Isabelle Nélisse) in Mama
Picture through Common Photos

When even the radio spots selling the movie ship chills down one’s backbone upon listening to a toddler’s voice merely say “mama,” a film must be good… and Mama is. 5 years after his similar twin brother, Jeffrey, kills quite a lot of individuals, together with his ex-wife, Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and his girlfriend Annabel (Jessica Chastain) soak up Jeffrey’s two daughters, Victoria (Megan Charpentier) and Lily (Isabelle Nelisse). The women spent the final 5 years remoted in a secluded cabin within the woods after their father deliberate to kill them however was himself killed by a mysterious entity, and their feral state displays their time spent alone.

Nicely, “alone” might not be the best phrase. How about spentthe final 5 years with a long-deceased mom’s creepy spirit in a secluded cabin within the woods? Even in dying, Mama (Javier Botet) is taking care of the children she claimed as her personal, and is not all that eager about Victoria rising nearer with Annabel, with enjoyable and frolicking falling intently behind.

Mama 2013 Film Poster


Launch Date
January 18, 2013

100 Minutes

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9 A Quiet Place (2018)

Directed by John Krasinski

A Quiet Place succeeds on quite a lot of ranges. It is the movie that proved John Krasinski is extra than simply Jim from The Workplace, and is yet one more instance of the exceptionally gifted Emily Blunt‘s simple talent as an actress. It is a movie with little dialogue and a knockout efficiency by deaf actress Millicent Simmonds. Most significantly, it is scary as all hell. Krasinski pulls out all of the stops and extra right here, with each creak or whisper fraught with the fear of a monster listening to it. Two scenes, particularly, make the film an absolute must-see, each with Blunt’s Evelyn Abbott entrance and heart: the primary is the place Evelyn has the misfortune of stepping immediately onto a rusted nail, barefoot, whereas the second is Evelyn giving start within the bathtub whereas monsters are in the home. Blunt reveals the ache and the fear by way of her face and eyes, desperately needing to scream however figuring out she will be able to’t. It is an incredible efficiency that ought to have garnered Blunt extra awards than the lone Display screen Actors Guild Award she acquired.

The film’s sequel, A Quiet Place Half II, was additionally extremely profitable, with a hotly-anticipated spin-off prequel, A Quiet Place: Day One, arriving in June 2024 and one other sequel reportedly within the works.

A Quiet Place Poster

A Quiet Place

Launch Date
April 3, 2018

Important Style

Hire on AppleTV+

10 Poltergeist (1982)

Directed by Tobe Hooper

Heather O'Rourke as Carol Anne Freeling, screaming in 'Poltergeist'
Picture through MGM

“They’re right here.” Two easy phrases, spoken by younger Heather O’Rourke as Carol Anne, sign that the evil spirits have arrived within the Freeling household house. For those who thought listening to “mama” was creepy (see above), then you definitely’ll soiled your drawers with these phrases. The paranormal antics are harmless at first, however slowly develop into one thing way more sinister, culminating in Carol Anne being taken right into a religious realm. Poltergeist had house patrons insisting on background checks to ensure there wasn’t a burial website on the property, and, paired with the IT miniseries of 1990, led to the ostracization of clowns for 1000’s of youngsters — and adults.

poltergeist poster


Launch Date
June 4, 1982

Craig T. Nelson , JoBeth Williams , Beatrice Straight , Dominique Dunne , Oliver Robins , Heather O’Rourke

Important Style

Hire on Apple TV+

11 The Boogeyman (2023)

Directed by Rob Savage

Sophie Thatcher as Sadie Harper holding a lighter in 'The Boogeyman'
Picture through twentieth Century Studios

The Boogeyman is predicated on a 1973 quick story by horror auteur Stephen King, which can be scary sufficient for many. Fortunately, it is extra on the 1408 aspect of the size, not the my-God-this-is-awful Most Overdrive finish. The film is fairly simple: a malevolent drive, “The Boogeyman,” that killed a household’s three youngsters, has now come to the house of Will Harper (Chris Messina) and his two daughters. As a result of, apparently, the lack of their mom in a automobile crash is not crappy sufficient, the Boogeyman begins terrorizing them. The movie most likely should not be as efficient as it’s, however, rattling, it is fairly efficient, due to some stable performances, nice environment, and a bunch of legit leap scares.

Watch on Hulu

12 Cloverfield (2008)

Directed by Matt Reeves

Armed with a revolutionary, game-changing promotional marketing campaign, Cloverfield roared — actually — onto the scene in 2008, a movie that took benefit of the discovered footage craze of the time. It was akin to watching a Godzilla movie from the perspective of a citizen within the metropolis Godzilla was ripping aside. The discovered footage aspect works extremely properly in Cloverfield, including a way of realism to the occasions of the movie that is not usually discovered within the horror film style. And seeing the Statue of Liberty’s head rolling down the road is definitely worth the worth of admission alone.

Cloverfield Poster


Launch Date
January 15, 2008

Matt Reeves


13 1408 (2007)

Directed by Mikael Håfström

John Cusack as Mike staring at a noose in 1408
Picture through Dimension Movies

Gee, a cynical, skeptical author who goes round debunking so-called supernatural phenomena, travels from L.A. to New York to spend one night time in room 1408 of the Dolphin Resort, which is reportedly cursed. There is no method that can go sideways for author Mike Enslin (John Cusack)! Think about his shock when there is no such thing as a “reportedly” in regards to the cursed nature of the room in any respect, and his horror when he realizes that he might not even make it by way of to the morning. Based mostly on a brief story by Stephen King, 1408 delivers the scares.

1408 Movie Poster


Launch Date
June 22, 2007

Important Style


14 Drag Me To Hell (2009)

Directed by Sam Raimi

Lorna Raver as Mrs. Ganush, looking rageful with her teeth bared, holding out her fist in Drag me to Hell
Picture through Common Photos

Sam Raimi positive does love the useless dragging across the residing, eh? In Drag Me to Hell, Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is a mortgage officer at a financial institution who refuses a time extension on a mortgage to previous Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver), putting her with the prospect of dropping her house. Unhealthy name, Christine. Now the previous girl’s positioned a curse on her that may see Christine dragged to the very depths of hell in just a few days, days full of terror as she waits. Appears somewhat extreme. Could not Ganush simply write a sternly worded letter?

Drag Me to Hell Poster

Drag Me To Hell

Launch Date
March 15, 2009

Alison Lohman , Justin Lengthy , Lorna Raver , Dileep Rao , David Paymer , Adriana Barraza

Important Style

Watch on Netflix

15 The Others (2001)

Directed by Alejandro Amenábar

Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman) speaking to Anne Stewart (Alakina Mann), who wears a veil over her face in The Others
Picture through Dimension Movies

It is 1945, and in a distant nation home lives (?) Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman), a religious Catholic and loving mom to her two youngsters, each of whom have a extreme sensitivity to mild. Consequently, the house is saved darkish. A trio of servants arrives on the house, searching for employment, and Grace obliges. Nevertheless, others additionally arrive on the house. Solely they’re the extra spooky, supernatural, unseen sorts, who’ve eerie voices and play the piano. Grace is not too eager on these guests, aka supernatural entities which might be freaking her and her youngsters out. However who’re these entities? Victims of a deadly tuberculosis outbreak? A household, murdered within the house, that refuses to go away? Or are they one thing else completely? The Others is a deftly made psychological horror, ratcheting up the strain and worry all through the movie earlier than dropping its stunner of a twist that nobody may see coming.

Nicole Kidman in the poster for The Others

The Others

Launch Date
August 10, 2001

Alejandro Amenábar


Alejandro Amenábar

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