Good PG-13 Horror Movies

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 5:57 pm

It’s tough to find good PG-13 horror movies, but this list has ten which should fit the bill. While the gore may not be equal to that of its R-rated cousins, these PG-13 films make up for it with plenty of suspense, dark humor, and compelling scripts. One has John Turturro in a funny hat, while yet another features Samuel L. Jackson in a role which strangely calls for little to no yelling. If you’re looking for something that won’t traumatize the kids, give one of these good PG-13 horror movies a try.

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Drag Me to Hell (2009) – Cute little Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) works at a bank, and her refusal to help an old gypsy woman draws down a most potent curse. Can she save her soul within the required three days, or will the malevolent demon known as the Lamia come and drag her to hell? Sam Raimi directs his first horror film since Army of Darkness, and Justin Long co-stars as Christine’s really, really, really nice boyfriend.

Secret Window (2004) – Johnny Depp stars as Mort Rainey, an author who’s retreated to his cabin in the woods to deal with writer’s block and his impending divorce from his unfaithful wife (Maria Bello). Enter John Shooter (John Turturro), a dangerous backwoods sort who claims that Mort plagiarized one of his stories. Mort sets out to prove him wrong, but Shooter winds up being far more dangerous than he initially appears. There’s an interesting twist in the final act, and people who enjoy eating corn will love the film’s closing scene.

The Sixth Sense (1999) – A freaky little kid (Haley Joel Osment) sees the spirits of the dead, and a depressed child psychologist (Bruce Willis) helps him learn to deal with his gift. The film’s twist got all sorts of positive reaction, but it seemed to me to be nothing more than the latest in a long line of weak endings from director M. Night Shyamalan. Still, the movie’s infinitely more entertaining that either Lady in the Water or The Happening, plus it co-stars a member of New Kids on the Block.

The Mothman Prophecies (2002) – Richard Gere characters often spend much of their time either being self-absorbed or seducing the ladies, but this time he trades his usual behavior in for an opportunity to look frightened and morose. After the death of his wife, reporter John Klein (Gere) becomes obsessed with tales of the Mothman, a supernatural being which may serve as a omen of doom for people or places. When his search leads him to a small town, he must team up with the unusually attractive town sheriff (Laura Linney) to try and stop whatever nightmare is beginning to unfold. Surprisingly atmospheric, The Mothman Prophecies is solid entertainment for those interested in unexplained phenomena.

Night of the Comet (1984) – If you like to combine your post-apocalyptic horror with zany 80’s comedy, then you should get a kick out of Night of the Comet. Teen sisters Regina and Samantha Belmont are among a handful of survivors once the Earth passes through the tail of a comet. Unfortunately, those who aren’t immediately disintegrated are turned into bloodthirsty zombies who’d like nothing better than to feast on a couple of Valley Girls. Blending sci-fi, zombies, romance, horror and comedy, there’s a little something here for everyone. Plus, it also co-stars Geoffrey Lewis, better known Orville Boggs in the Every Which Way But Loose series (and the father of Juliette Lewis).

The Grudge (2004) – The American remake of the Japanese film, Ju-on: The Grudge, the story centers on a Japanese house which holds the revenge-obsessed spirit of Kayako, a murdered wife who’s fond of emitting an unnerving death rattle every chance she gets (and don‘t forget about the sounds her broken neck makes as it twists to and fro). As various people come and go from the haunted home, the malevolent Kayako engages in madness-inducing slaughter every chance she gets. Caught up in the horror are such names as Sarah Michelle Gellar, Bill Pullman, and Clea Duvall. If you like this American version, don’t forget about its two sequels or the four Japanese films.

1408 (2007) – Mike Enslin (John Cusack) is a modern-day cynic who debunks haunted sites and then writes about his experiences. When he receives a postcard telling him to stay away from Room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel in New York City, he naturally books himself a room. When he arrives for his stay, the hotel’s manager (Samuel L. Jackson) does his best to dissuade him, even offering him an $800 bottle of cognac and an upgrade to the penthouse suite. But Enslin persists, intent on disproving the claim that no one has lasted longer than one hour in the room. And that when the fun begins in this film based on a short story by Stephen King.

The Uninvited (2009) – Another American remake of an Asian horror film, The Uninvited was based on the 2003 South Korean shocker A Tale of Two Sisters. This one also features two sisters, Anna and Alex Ivers (Emily Browning and Arielle Kebbel), as well as their father (David Strathairn) and his lover (Elizabeth Banks). Anna has spent time in a psychiatric ward, and upon her release she begins to suspect that her father’s girlfriend is trying to kill her and her sister. It’s one twist after another from there, and you won’t truly know what the hell is going on until the films waning minutes. While inferior to the original source material, it’s still one of the better PG-13 rated horror films you’ll manage to find on the shelves of your local video store.

The Others (2001) – Shortly after World War II, a mother (Nicole Kidman) and her two young children begin to experience odd events in their lonely mansion on the isle of Jersey. Filled with shadows and suspense, The Others is just one of several films on this list to feature a major plot twist near the end. I guess if you can’t have gore and frequent nudity, a plot twist will have to do.

Darkness Falls (2003) – After the locals mistakenly murder the local disfigured woman (every town has one, right?), she begins returning for vengeance, visiting any child who sheds their last baby tooth and killing them if they set eyes upon her. Generations pass, and the story becomes nothing more than a local legend. That is, until a group of modern-day teens have an encounter with the sinister “Tooth Fairy.” Keep in mind that the villain is vulnerable to light, so you can expect loads of shadows and darkness throughout the film’s 86 minutes. Adults may roll their eyes, but Darkness Falls is pretty effective at scaring young teens.

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Now that we’ve plumbed the depths of good PG-13 horror movies, it’s time to get the required plugs out of the way. For more entertaining and thought-provoking movie recommendations, take a peek at these articles:

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 1st, 2009 at 5:57 pm and is filed under Good Movies, Thoughts on Film. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “Good PG-13 Horror Movies”

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May 30, 2010

alexis okelberry

i have seen all these movies thay are all really good the one i loked the most was the uninvited it has a good twist and it is a good horror movie that is why it is # 8 on this list!

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