The Best ‘Elevated Horror’ Movies

The Best ‘Elevated Horror’ Movies

If you’ve heard people talking about horror at all in the past decade, you’ve probably heard the phrase “elevated horror.” You’ve also probably heard the endless debates about whether or not it’s a real genre, whether or not it’s fair to lump some horror movies into a different category than others, and whether elevated horror movies are actually scary, or if they’re just “weird.” But what does it actually mean for a horror movie to be considered elevated?

The term is basically a contemporary extension of the “art horror” movies of the ’60s and ’70s, movies that were visually striking and/or thematically dense as well as being simply scary. The “elevated” of elevated horror implies that there’s something more going on besides the traditional blood or demon possessions or boogeymen or vampires. One could, of course, argue that all horror movies have more to them upon closer reading than just the scary parts, that they’re all “about trauma” in one way or another (more on that later). Elevated horror is just the term we’ve started using to describe movies that seem obviously more complex than others.

So, what actually “counts” as elevated horror? It’s ultimately a “you know it when you see it” thing, but over the past ten years fans have developed a canon to dip into if you’re interested in learning more about this unofficial subgenre. It’s mainly dominated by the Ari Asters and the David Robert Mitchells and the Jordan Peeles — newer directors whose early films breathed new life into the horror genre with their examinations of family dynamics and race and class and sexuality — but you’ll see some cinema veterans in here as well, directors who combined their indie sensibilities with certain facets of horror to create something that feels artier than your run-of-the-mill slasher. These movies aren’t better than any other horror movies, but they’re an interesting look at the new ways we’re figuring out how to scare the pants off each other.

The Best Movies To Watch If You Love Elevated Horror

What does it actually mean for a horror movie to be considered elevated?

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