Best of British Horror

The Girl with All the Gifts
The Girl with All the Gifts

The world of horror films gives a unique insight in the fears of the country producing them, but those that really succeed give universal shivers for any audience! British horror is distinct for taking on the country's traditional 'stiff upper lip' attitude, with films that work to steadily undermine this, causing psychological thrills and planting scares that challenge notions of our own national identity. Embracing the country's past, British horror includes a pulsating vein of unconventional spirituality, challenging the established way of things and creating instability. Closely aligned with satire, in these films mysterious goings-on are used to create parallels between fear of the paranormal, and our other persistent unspoken fears that are more grounded in reality. 

The Girl with all the Gifts

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration111 mins

The Girl with all the Gifts(2016)

Adaptation of the popular novel about a teacher and child’s perilous quest for survival in a society all but eradicated and turned into zombies.

This film uses the zombie genre to question society’s treatment of those who are different and challenges entitlement. At the film’s heart is a young girl who is half-human, half-zombie who is a predicament for the humans responsible for her. Does she represent hope for humanity? Or is she a symptom of irreversible change?

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The Wicker Man

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration84 mins

The Wicker Man (1973)

A God-fearing policeman travels to a remote Scottish island and uncovers a fanatical pagan cult in this British horror classic.

Religion and beliefs are at odds in this horror film that sets up an opposition between a police officer and the people he’s trying to investigate. Building towards an unforgettable finale, this film undermines the faith placed in the shared value of humanity to shocking effect.

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Don't Look Now

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration106 mins

Don't Look Now(1973)

Unforgettable psychological horror about a couple who decamp to Venice in order to forget the tragic death of their daughter.

This tense and unnerving thriller, set in the chilly and labyrinthine canals of Venice, focuses on the unravelling mental state of a man recovering from the sudden death of his daughter. Making use of the grandiose yet dilapidated setting to create a foreboding atmosphere, this film is as beautiful as it is disturbing.

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Shaun Of The Dead

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration95 mins

Shaun Of The Dead(2004)

Good-natured loser Shaun has to find his inner hero when he and friends are thrown into battle with zombies in modern-day London.

The comedy-horror sets up zombies as a particularly persistent nuisance, preventing dosser Shaun from enjoying his routine pub experience with his best mate Ed. Used as a tool to bring issues simmering beneath the surface to a head, how Shaun reacts against these undead invaders will dictate how his relationship with long-suffering girlfriend will continue.

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The Awakening

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration102 mins

The Awakening(2011)

Florence Cathcart is a ghost-busting skeptic who is summoned to investigate a 'haunted' school in this British horror.

Investigating a haunted house in the wake of World War One, rationalist Florence comes up against phenomena that defy even her ability to explain. The trauma that the country has experienced during the war and the great sense of loss informs this handsome mystery.

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10 Rillington Place

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration106 mins

10 Rillington Place(1970)

Disturbing drama based on a notorious British crime case, about a young couple renting a room in post World War Two London from a dangerous man.

An address significant for the terrible crimes committed within, and events significant as a catalyst for changing the criminal justice system, 10 Rillington Place stars major British actors to tell its chilling true story. This is a horror not so much in its ability to scare, but in its representation of real-life horrific acts, and its questioning of society's response.

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Village of the Damned

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration74 mins

Village of the Damned(1960)

Creepy British sci-fi in which a group of blond-haired, glowing-eyed children all mysteriously born on the same day start to take over a village.

Inexplicable events teamed with implied incidents create a fantastically creepy atmosphere in this classic horror film centred around children with unpredictable powers and unknown intentions in rural England. Paring back its scares to a more low-level malevolence, this is an influential horror that has spawned many imitations.

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Sightseers

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration84 mins

Sightseers(2012)

A dark comedy about a couple's tranquil, idyllic country retreat that turns into a grotesque and murderous spree!

A film that satirically takes on British attitudes is Sightseers, which throws together two misfits in an awkward relationship where they discover that something they have in common is the desire to bump off people that they find annoying. Embracing the darker side of classic British impatience for those that don't follow the rules, this film goes way beyond passive aggression.

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A Field In England

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration86 mins

A Field In England(2013)

A unique, unusual historical drama set during the English Civil War, in which a group of army deserters become involved in a chaotic treasure hunt.

Another creation by contemporary cult director Ben Wheatley, this film takes the audience away from familiarity to immerse them in an experience that is unapologetically bizarre, delivering an unrelenting assault on the senses. This psychedelic historical drama takes its characters on a hallucinogenic trip in search of riches, which ends up unravelling their very humanity.

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Dead Of Night

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration99 mins

Dead Of Night(1945)

Five scary stories link together in this chilling British classic from Ealing Studios.

Made by the stalwart of British filmmaking, Ealing Studios, Dead of Night is a ‘portmanteau’ film that weaves several distinctly chilling tales together under an overarching theme, making sure to hit all the notes required to disturb audiences long after they’ve left the cinema.

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Berberian Sound Studio

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration89 mins

Berberian Sound Studio(2012)

Acclaimed, atmospheric exploration of the Italian horror genre through the eyes of an unassuming sound engineer.

This unnerving thriller gradually strips away our protagonist's notion of reality as life begins to imitate art. Spending long hours in a studio creating the soundtrack for a project with which he is not completely comfortable, an awkward sound engineer finds himself feeling cut off from the Italian crew with which he is working, whose Satanic sound effects start to take a toll

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Sherlock Holmes - The Hound Of The Baskervilles

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration83 mins

Sherlock Holmes - The Hound Of The Baskervilles(1959)

Handsomely gothic, fast paced and beautifully acted, genre master Terence Fisher's old-fashioned chiller is a real classic of horror cinema.

Made by the infamous Hammer studios in glaring Technicolour, this adaptation of the famous Arthur Conan Doyle novel featuring Sherlock Holmes stars many leading horror actors of the day taking on slightly more subdued roles than usual in this mystery. The film has been praised by critics for its faithful representation of Conan Doyle’s characters.

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The Haunting

Cert12

Age group14+

Duration107 mins

The Haunting(1963)

Deeply creepy English horror, as Dr Markway and three colleagues decide to spend the night in a mansion in order to prove the supernatural.

Unsettling in its lavish attention to details that, brought together, create an effect to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, this is a film that functions as a probing psychological drama as well as it does a haunted house mystery.

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