Scary movies based on true stories act like a dope for some people. If you’re one of those, then you probably live for true crime podcasts and haunted houses and all that scary stuff and you likely know that the scariest stuff is based on reality. With most scary movies, you can watch and go to sleep saying, “It’s just a movie.” But scary movies based on true stories don’t offer that same assurance, which makes them 10 times more frightening.

Perhaps your idea of horror is blood and guts. Perhaps you like psychological thrillers that totally mess with your head. Or perhaps you’re all about spirits and paranormal phenomena. Whatever you’re into, there are scary movies based on true stories out there for everyone, and very disturbing incidents. They go from mildly unsettling to fully nightmare-inducing, so if you’re up for a fine scare this spooky season, then these are the real-life scary movies you need to stream tonight.

The Exorcist (1973)

IMDb Ratings: 8/10

Every preteen can behave like the devil from time to time, but likely nothing like this. In The Exorcist, the youthful daughter of an actress begins encountering strange changes in her physical appearance and character. When these weird occurrences take a disturbing and evil turn, her mother fears that medical doctors are not the answer to their problem. It’s based on an exorcism of a young boy that took place in 1949.

The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)

IMDb Ratings: 5.9/10

After discovering their son has cancer, the family shifts to a new house in Connecticut to be closer to his medical team. As they settle in, the house’s past begins to reveal itself, and they understand the hard way that sometimes bad things happen to good people. The movie is loosely motivated by a supposed haunting of a Connecticut family in the ’80s.

The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)

IMDb Ratings: 5.6/10

A fierce killer with seemingly no motive strikes fear into the lives of a small town. Based on the 1946 murders by the “Phantom Killer” in Texarkana, Texas/Arkansas, this movie will leave you double-checking the locks on your doors before you go to bed.

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The Snowtown Murders (2011)

IMDb Ratings: 6.6/10

Even though labeled as a crime-thriller, this Australian film is more of a scary movie. After his mom gets involved with a new boyfriend, Jamie (Lucas Pittaway) is provided the father figure he’s always wanted. But when his new role model reveals his dark side, Jamie sees himself stuck in a nightmare.

Wolf Creek (2005)

IMDb Ratings: 6.2/10

What began as an exciting road trip turns bleak when a group of friends’ car breaks down. With no option but to accept help from an unstable outsider, the Australian teens discover themselves fighting for survival. The serial killer who encouraged the movie, Ivan Milat, died in jail in 2019 after serving more than 20 years.

The Amityville Horror (2005)

IMDb Ratings: 6/10

Available on: Netflix

When a family moves into a house with a murderous past, they are tormented by evil presences. In this remake of the 1979 original, you’ll undergo the 28 days of unexplained horror that happened in the long island village nearly half a century ago.

Monster (2003)

IMDb Ratings: 7.3/10

When a Florida prostitute determines it’s time to get her life together, it appears as she might finally be on the right track. But after learning that she doesn’t have many skills needed to hold a “regular” job, Aileen Wuornos (Charlize Theron) chooses a criminal lifestyle.

My Friend Dahmer (2017)

IMDb Ratings: 6.2/10

The movie is a peek into the early life of the infamous serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer, which is very disturbing. As you peek into his home life, the brutal puzzle pieces start to fall together.

The Watcher (2016)

IMDb Ratings: 5.4/10

A young couple buys their first house but shortly finds that someone is not happy they’ve moved in and won’t stop until they’re gone. The movie is based on a true incident that took place in New Jersey where a family bought a house without knowing that there was a deranged stalker living in that house.


The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

IMDb Ratings: 6.7/10

After conducting an exorcism on the young Emily Rose (Jennifer Carpenter), a priest is imprisoned for her murder. Though when a lawyer takes the case, they may have no option but to believe the unbelievable.

The Conjuring (2013)

IMDb Ratings: 7.5/10

Available on: Netflix

The sole thing scarier than having five daughters is living in a haunted house with them. The Conjuring records the Perron family’s struggle with sinister forces.

Angst (1983)

IMDb Ratings: 7.3/10

In Angst, a killer is freed after serving only a decade of jail time for murder. Though some people never change. With the desire to kill creeping up on him once again, he chooses to torment a family in a rural home.

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The Quiet Ones (2014)

IMDb Ratings: 5.1/10

Available on: YouTube

An Oxford University professor makes a team of his students perform experiments and gather the darkness from within Jane Harper, a possessed young woman. Their endeavor puts them in over their heads, and they see themselves face-to-face with an unrelenting evil.

The Afflicted (2011)

IMDb Ratings: 4.6/10

In a household where their mother explains unspeakable acts of abuse with perverse religious beliefs, four siblings are clung in a hell on Earth. The Afflicted is based on the Theresa Knorr case of the 1980s.

Winchester (2018)

IMDb Ratings: 5.5/10

Available on: Amazon Prime

Having hundreds of rooms and standing seven stories, the Winchester house outside San Francisco, California has no lack of space for hauntings. When vindictive entities begin striking too closely for her liking, Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren) puts out to build a prison to contain them permanently.

The Girl Next Door (2007)

IMDb Ratings: 6.5/10

Two sisters lose their parents and then they are brought to live with their aunt who subjects them to abuse as a form of discipline. Her son, along with other neighborhood boys, is twisted into participating in her sickening torture.

The Haunting of Sharon Tate (2019)

IMDb Ratings: 2.8/10

Expectant actress Sharon Tate (Hilary Duff) is forced into the middle of the Manson Family cult. With her husband out of the country, she and her baby are threatened by the sick ways of the Manson Family.

Borderland (2007)

IMDb Ratings: 5.7/10

This movie will cause every college student to rethink their spring break plans. When three friends road trip to the Mexican border, they are encountered with a group of satanic criminals who are looking for their next human sacrifice. When one is seized and kept by the criminals, the other two have one task: rescue him before he’s killed. The story is loosely influenced by a religious cult leader from the ’80s.

Scream (1996)

IMDb Ratings: 7.3/10

Available on: Apple Tv

Influenced by the Florida murders of the Gainesville Ripper (Daniel Rolling), Scream traces a killer and his deadly game. The climax of this film will make you trust nobody, not even your closest friends.

The Rite (2011)

IMDb Ratings: 6/10

Available on: YouTube

Michael Kovak (Colin O’Donaghue), a seminary student, is advised to take a course in exorcism to spark his faith in Christianity. What he understands will stay with him forever.

Child’s Play (2019)

IMDb Ratings: 5.7/10

Based on a real doll named Robert, Child’s Play reveals the story of a young boy and his new toy: a doll with a bright striped shirt, flaming red hair, and a persistent desire to kill.

Open Water (2003)

IMDb Ratings: 5.7/10

Available on: Amazon Prime

Inspired by the real-life disappearance of Tom and Eileen Lonergan, Open Water follows a couple who become stranded in shark-infested waters after their touring boat accidentally leaves them. You may have to steer clear of oceans after watching this one.

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Hounds of Love (2016)

IMDb Ratings: 6.5/10

Available on: Amazon Prime

Although Hounds of Love is a crime thriller, it is equally scary. The movie follows a young woman attempting to flee a couple who kidnaps and tortures her. The 2016 film is based on the crimes of Australian couple David and Catherine Birnie, also known as the Moorhouse Murders.

The Possession (2012)

IMDb Ratings: 5.9/10

Available on: Netflix

The Possession is regarding a family whose daughter becomes interested in a haunted dybbuk box and finally becomes possessed. The movie is based on a story of a real and haunted dybbuk box.

The Sacrament (2013)

IMDb Ratings: 6.1/10

Picture the infamous Jonestown Massacre set in the modern-day. That’s the real-life link for The Sacrament is about two fictional VICE journalists who document their coworker’s search for his sister after she joins a solitary cult.

10 Rillingtone Place (1971)

IMDb Ratings: 7.5/10

This British crime drama is which appears to be a horror movie is based on the story of serial killer John Christie, who killed eight women including his own wife. The case is extremely sad considering Christie tended to throw police off by helping convict his neighbor for one of the murders. Finally, the man was acquitted after Christie was apprehended.

Backcountry (2014)

IMDb Ratings: 6/10

Backcountry may change your love for camping. The 2014 film is influenced by a couple that encountered a ravenous man-eating bear while on a camping trip in Ontario.

Things Heard & Seen (2021)

IMDb Ratings: 5.3/10

Available on: Netflix

It is among the best Scary Movies Based On True Stories. Although this is a thriller, it is an equally scary movie that tracks a young woman (played by Amanda Seyfriend) who goes Manhattan behind to move to a small town with her husband, never anticipating that their new home will have sinister secrets. Though it’s inspired by a fiction novel by Elizabeth Brundage, that novel was based on Brundage’s real-life brushes with the supernatural.

Lord of Chaos (2019)

IMDb Ratings: 6.6/10

Back in the ’90s, a teen who tried to launch Norwegian black metal in Oslo led to a series of shocking advertising stunts. This extremely unsettling flick tells the story of the Norwegian black metal scene from the view of Mayhem co-founder Euronymous.

Above Suspicion (2021)

IMDb Ratings: 5.7/10

Above Suspicion tells the story of real-life FBI agent Mark Putnam who after migrating to a mining town in Kentucky on his first assignment started a two-year affair with a local woman, Susan Smith, who too occurred to be his best informant. Things only got more twisting and tragic from there.

We hope that you enjoy watching these scary movies based on true stories. If you’re into dark movies, here’s a list for you.


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