Monster horror movies deliver all types of scares. From towering creatures laying waste to entire cities to sinister beings lurking beneath your bed, the beasts and fiends of monster horror movies will get you—no matter where you try to hide.
Indeed, monsters have long been an essential part of the horror genre. And while influential monster horror movies like Creature from the Black Lagoon and Godzilla laid the groundwork for the subgenre, there are also many modern and lesser-known monster movies that deserve your attention.
That's why we rounded up our favorite monster horror movies that you can watch tonight. So dim the lights and settle in, and be sure to check under the couch before you press play.
In this Blumhouse horror movie, a woman is stranded on an island following a tragedy at sea. After burying her friend who died as a result of the shipwreck, the woman waits for rescue. But when she comes across his unearthed and mutilated body the next day, she realizes that she's not alone. Something prowls the remote island, and it's hungry for flesh. And when the monster starts to hunt her, it will take everything she has to survive.
The Ritual (2017)
After a robbery results in the death of their friend, four buddies set out on a hike to honor the deceased. Though they hope the trip will offer them the opportunity to heal and reconnect, the group soon runs into trouble. When one of the four hurts his knee, the group diverts from their planned route to take a shortcut back home. Big mistake, guys. As they bushwack their way through the woods, they soon come upon strange scenes of disfigured animals and disquieting occult symbols. Something ancient lurks in these woods, and it isn't friendly to newcomers.
The Descent (2006)
A team of women spelunkers descends deep below the Earth's surface to explore a network of tunnels and caves. But after veering off into an unexplored section, a tunnel collapses behind them and traps them underground. The group tries to stay calm, but their troubles are just beginning. Something else moves through the gloom of this claustrophobic space. The spelunkers soon realize that they share the caves with horrifyingly humanoid beasts, and that they must fight back the monsters if they hope to make it out alive.
Train to Busan (2016)
Though very much a zombie movie, the pulse-pounding action sequences and sheer madness of the infected make Train to Busan a worthy entry in our list of monster horror movies. In this action-packed South Korean horror thriller, a young man and his daughter board a train headed to Busan to visit the daughter's grandmother. A woman infected with a lethal virus boards the same train to Busan. Seething, violent, and no longer human, the woman lashes out and attacks an attendant, turning her into a similar creature. The two continue to maul and infect others and the number of mutated creatures grows. As the monsters swarm the train cars, those who are still human desperately try to escape—only to find the creatures have overtaken the train stations and cities as well.
The Host (2006)
Directed by Bong Joon-ho, known for is Academy Award-winning film Parasite, The Host features a rag-tag family on a mission to save one of their one. After an assistant at a scientific lab dumps a massive amount of formaldehyde down the drain, a monster begins to grow in the nearby Han River. Though people speculate about what lurks beneath the river's murky surface, no one is prepared when a gigantic amphibious monster breaches the water. Tearing through the streets, the monster snatches Hyun-seo from her family. As the chaos continues, her family takes matters into their own hands to rescue her.
A Quiet Place (2018)
In this suspenseful horror film, silence is the key to survival. Living in a post-apocalyptic world, a young couple tries to protect their family from sightless monsters that have left society in shambles. The monsters attack anything that makes sound. Communicating in sign language, walking barefoot, and sound-proofing their compound, the Abbot family has made every effort to evade the monsters' detection. But despite their best efforts, one of the creatures has found them—and is primed to attack.
A young couple sets out on a road trip for a romantic weekend away. While on the road, they're overtaken and held hostage by an escaped prison inmate and the escapee's girlfriend. The group arrives at a seemingly abandoned gas station—abandoned save for a grotesque body riddled with splinters. And when the splintered body attacks one of them, they are all in danger.
Executive produced by Guillermo Del Toro, Splice blends the scientific, the strange, and the scary. Featuring a man-made monster, Splice tells of two scientists playing with powers beyond their control. Pushing the boundaries of genetics, the two engineer a hybrid creature that is both human and animal. Though the project starts out as a secret, the scientists struggle to conceal their experiment and control the hybrid. And though they created the part-human monster, its violent and predatory nature threatens to destroy them.
The Babadook (2014)
This psychologically terrifying Australian film tells of a dark monster known as the Babadook. Appearing first in the pages of a picture book, Babadook is a towering figure with talons and a top hat. Though Amelia assumes the monster to be fictional while reading the story to her son Sam, the evil being soon invades their lives in very real ways. Sam begins to blame his troubling behavior on Babadook, leading Amelia to destroy the book. However, Sam's disturbing behavior continues—and the picture book reappears on their doorstep. As Amelia begins to have visions of Babadook herself, she is driven toward madness.
The Monster (2016)
A young woman is driving with her daughter down a desolate stretch through the forest when she hits an animal and careens off the road. Calling for a tow and an ambulance, the mother and daughter wait for help to arrive. But as they wait, they begin to realize that this is not an ordinary case of roadkill. And when the animal's body disappears, they begin to wonder what else is in the woods.
The Hallow (2015)
A British scientist brings his young family to a secluded Irish village to study the fungi of its forests. Though they are in wonder of the forests, the couple is greeted coldly by the townspeople, who warn them that the forests are home to "the Hallow." Despite being warned to respect the legend, it is not until they meet the ghastly faeries themselves that they understand the dangers of the forests. And by then, it may be too late.
After losing his mother, Evan travels to Italy to come to terms with his grief. There he meets a beautiful and young Italian woman named Louise. As their relationship blossoms, Louise's sinister, age-old secret threatens their romance. But as her condition worsens, her deeply-rooted secret begins to threaten lives.
Attack the Block (2011)
In this brilliant and funny sci-fi horror mashup, a teenaged street gang must protect their South London block from invading monsters. The teens are in the midst of mugging a woman when a meteorite falls from the sky and crashes into a nearby car. The woman flees, while the teens scour the car for valuables—only to find a small alien creature. Soon, however, more creatures appear, and they're big. Now the teens must fight back the alien invaders and save their block from certain doom.
Cloverfield channels the city-destroying thrills of movies like Godzilla while also incorporating the shaky terror of found footage horror. Friends are in the midst of a party when New York City is struck by a massive and mysterious attack. Frightened by the explosions and screams, the group leaves the party to see what has happened—only to see a monster looming over the skyscrapers. Chaos ensues as the friends are in a desperate race to flee the scene and survive.
The Mist (2007)
Based on the novella by Stephen King, The Mist is filled with unique characters and unsettling twists. A mysterious mist descends upon the town, trapping locals inside a supermarket. Uncertain about what lurks in the ominous fog, the townspeople clash over what to do. But when some venture out into the mist, they're killed immediately, leaving those who remain in fear of a deadly monster they can barely see.
Featured still from "The Ritual" via Netflix