[Top 15] Paranormal Movies Released in 2021

Even cute girls can get haunted


If you’re anything like me, it’s never too early (or too late) to delve into some nail-biting, nightmare-inducing films that will have you checking your locks before bed. I’ve had so many conversations with friends about “scary movies” where I’m told that they can handle gore, serial killers, and maximum cringe in their films but once you mention spirits or “demons,” it’s a deal-breaker for them. Whether you’ve known someone who has claimed to have had a supernatural experience or you’ve experienced one for yourself, find a buddy you can trip on the way out the door because these 15 Paranormal Movies of 2021 are some crazy flicks you don’t want to watch alone. 

The Unholy (Available on streaming with Starz Subscription)

 

Helmed by the newfound director, Evan Spiliotopoulos, The Unholy is about a deaf woman, Alice, who is healed of her disability and claims she was bestowed supernatural healing powers by “The Virgin Mary.”  Produced by the legendary Sam Raimi, The Unholy pulls no punches in its underlying religious themes and seems to want you to think twice about who you place your spiritual allegiance on. The film follows Gerry, a journalist with a tainted reputation, to New England where miraculous healings have been taking the surrounding area by storm. Fueled by a desire to reclaim his popularity, Gerry focuses his efforts on Alice’s newfound healing abilities to discover the true source of her unexplainable power. Even with its exceedingly low rating on Rotten Tomatoes, The Unholy is a strange but interesting approach to the paranormal genre, and with its major shortcomings during filming due to the pandemic, the film is unexpectedly entertaining and fun. Thankfully, it is an easy watch with a fairly short runtime of only 99 minutes and barely adequate jump-scares. Although it may be no Drag Me to Hell, The Unholy is certainly a quality piece that can be thrown on with some loud, wimpy friends who want a sad semblance of a satisfying scare.

Malignant (Streaming on HBO Max)

 

I am a huge James Wan fan. With his unforgettable establishments of the Saw series and Conjuring universe, Wan has quickly established himself to be a master of horror, mixing old-school with the new. His most recent film, Malignant, is no exception. The film places us in the bustling city of Seattle where Madison, played by Annabelle Wallis, returns home to her home only to be thrashed around by her abusive husband. After losing her unborn baby due to traumatic events, Madison continues to suffer extremely violent dreams and visions, only to wake and find the people who died in her dreams are actually being murdered in real life. 
For any fan of the 80s horror genre, this is a treat for the senses and an incredible breath of fresh air for those looking for a new take on the meaning of suspense. The film takes you on a journey of emotional twists, unexpected turns, perfectly timed jump scares, and will have you guessing to the very last moment. Even for the bravest of hearts, Malignant is a film that will have you questioning your own grip on reality.

 

The Deep House (Streaming on Hulu)

 

One thing is dealing with haunted houses above ground but imagine getting stuck in one…underwater. The Deep House is an incredibly unique experience stemming from the familiar premise of a thrill-seeking couple looking for YouTube views by visiting haunted houses. Led by their tour guide, Pierre, they come across a perfectly preserved house, hidden deep beneath the surface of a lake in Europe. What awaits them is something so evil, they could have never prepared themselves for it. This claustrophobic English film, directed by budding French filmmakers Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo, is not for the faint-hearted, taking the viewer on a fear-fueled journey of satanic rituals and reinforces anyone’s phobia of drowning. A film that reminded me of The Ruins, The Deep House leaves you gripping the edge of your seat and will have you and your partner yelling at your screen like bumbling idiots.

The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It (Streaming on HBO Max) 

 

Over the past decade, James Wan’s Conjuring series has become a household name for any horror aficionado or paranormal film junkie. The most recent film in the gripping story of demonologists, Ed and Lorraine Warren, is one of the grittiest films in the universe that launches you into an emotional rollercoaster opening with a diabolical exorcism rivaling cult classics like The Exorcist: The Version You’ve Never Seen Before. Despite mixed reviews from critics, the third installment of The Conjuring series drives the viewer into a moral argument of good intentions; horrible execution. Ed and Lorrain Warren embark on their darkest case yet as their failed attempt to exorcise an 8-year-old boy turns into a massive legal and spiritual battle to save a young man’s life.
The Conjuring 3 has big shoes to fill as the eighth installment in The Conjuring Universe, however, the strong performance of returning leads Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson, make up for the slightly lacking story compared to previous installments. Don’t take the critic's word for it as any die-hard fan of the franchise will have a blast watching this worthy segment in the life of the world-renowned paranormal investigators.

Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin (Streaming on Paramount Plus)

 

No “paranormal movie” list is complete without at least one Paranormal Activity movie, right? As a professional courtesy to the previous installments, Paranormal Activity: Next of Kin makes our top 15 list of paranormal movies released in 2021. 
Riding off of the established popularity of the franchise, Next of Kin follows a woman named Margot as her friends make a documentary of her meeting her “first biological relative.” Things quickly take a turn for the worst when Margot discovers that her mother, who abandoned Margot as a baby, is actually still alive and living somewhere on the farm. In a now desperate search for more answers, Margot continues to uncover an increasingly sinister reason as to why her friends brought her to this eerie farm in the first place. 
Reported to be a reboot rather than a continuation, franchise creator Oren Peli and producer Jason Blum come together in an attempt to revive the series with a new twist. Although the story may fall flat for some, anyone who gets their kicks from spiritual rituals and creepy cliffhangers will surely enjoy this installment in the franchise. The lead actress isn’t hard on the eyes either. 

No One Gets Out Alive (Streaming on Netflix)

 

POV: It’s Friday night. Your girlfriend/boyfriend is rambling about their crappy week while they pull the lukewarm pizza out of the oiled-soaked pizza box and you’re trying to figure out what to put on the TV to get them to shut up. Have no fear, No One Gets Out Alive is on Netflix and they will definitely shut up. Or not. They might scream at the TV, or even play on their phone with their greasy fingers, but at least they’re not talking to you anymore. 
Based on the novel of the same name, an illegal immigrant named Ambar moves to Cleveland after the death of her mother in search of a normal life. Plagued by disturbing visions and dreams, Ambar struggles for hope and is given no choice but to stay at a creepy boarding house where the landlord and his disabled brother grow increasingly hostile towards Ambar launching her into a fight for her life against not only physical but supernatural forces as well.
I’d imagine that this movie feels a lot like hearing someone you love who babbles on incoherently: It’s not that you hate it, you’d just really appreciate it if they’d get to the point and finally shut up so you can pay attention to something else. It’s not to say this is a bad film and with a short runtime of barely 90 minutes, No One Gets Out Alive is a fantastic way to get someone to pay attention to something else for a little bit while you scroll through Instagram. 

 

The Manor (Streaming on Amazon Prime)

 

Some people in this world try to put themselves in other people’s shoes. Some could care less. I’ve often asked myself the type of perception of reality older folks have as they deal with debilitating mental issues such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The Manor explores this dark theme as well as presents the daunting question: how far humans are willing to go to avoid the inevitable fate we all must face? 
In The Manor, a woman diagnosed with Parkinson's is admitted to a beautiful nursing home where she comes to terms that this is the last address she’ll ever have. Yet her once comfortable evenings become living nightmares as she begins to see an eerie tree-like figure looming over her in bed every night. She questions her grip on reality as her only friends continually dismiss her cries for help.
A unique take on the loneliness of old age, The Manor poses more questions than it does provide insight into the experience of a senior citizen left to helplessly live out the last few years of their lives. Nevertheless, shrouded by a blanket of paranormal events, The Manor will ensure you never want to step foot in a nursing home as long as you live.

 

The Power (Exclusively on Shudder)

 

As someone who finds hospitals eerie and unsettling, The Power resurfaces an irrational fear of being stuck in a large building where people dying is an everyday occurrence. This same fear is shared by a nurse trainee in 1970s London, whose main goal is to do everything in her power to forget about her past. Fate, however, has different plans for her as she must face her deepest fears during her first overnight shift to discover her true purpose in life. Thanks, Five Nights at Freddy’s for my chronic PTSD.
The Power is an indie supernatural film that can be easily overlooked due to its lower budget and lack of a well-known cast. Don’t let this fool you though as this film delivers a haymaker of talented acting, robust filmmaking, and terrifying sequences that will have you leaving the nightlight on for the first time since you were a kid. With an exceptional Rotten Tomatoes rating of 84%, you’d be hard-pressed to call yourself a paranormal movie fan if you skip this flick. 

The Djinn (Streaming on Hulu) 

 

Strongly leaning on the theme of “be careful what you wish for,” The Djinn is an American horror story starring the talented young actor, Ezra Dewey, as a young mute boy who struggles with the disappearance of his estranged mother. In his efforts to find happiness, the young boy summons an entity that he believes will grant him the wish of speaking again. This futile attempt sends the boy into a terrifying game of cat and mouse with a murderous entity that can assume the identity of dead people. 
A highly-rated indie film with top-notch performances, The Djinn is an exciting and terrifying twist on a common theme heard growing up. Coupling emotional struggles with a diabolical type of coming-of-age story, The Djinn is an easily missable film that you certainly wouldn’t want to miss if you can help it.

The Night House (Available wherever Blu-Ray or Digital films are sold)

The Night House | Official Trailer
 

Reeling from the recent suicide of her late husband, Beth suffers from delusions and depression while she contemplates her husband’s peculiar suicide note. After finding evidence that causes her to suspect her husband was cheating on her, Beth attempts to discover if her husband was truly the loving man she always believed him to be and the reason behind her supernatural experiences in their house. 
If someone made you watch The Lake House with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock, the time has finally come to exact your revenge. The film offers a fresh and engaging experience while tackling big issues such as depression and life after death. With big names attached like actress Rebecca Hall and producer David S. Goyer, The Night House is a chilling story that will keep you entertained all the way through to the credits. 

The Medium (Exclusively on Shudder)

 

Millions of people all over the world worship many different deities and gods. It’s almost impossible to keep track of all the different idols but in a mockumentary style type of film, The Medium follows a tormented girl living in Thailand, who is supposedly possessed by one specific goddess. She begins to display multiple personalities and dreams of strange things. 
This film is a hit or miss and if you’re open-minded to many different horror sub-genres, you actually might enjoy this. Disclaimer, however, for anyone prone to motion sickness and nausea, think twice before watching this movie. If movies like Cloverfield and Chronicle gave you a headache, this one might make you puke. 

The Vigil (Streaming on Hulu)

 

In Jewish traditions, a vigil is when a Jewish person dies and someone is hired (or volunteers) to remain with the deceased until they are taken to be buried, in an effort to protect them from evil. In the film, a man deals with guilt and a deeply rooted trauma while trying to make ends meet and takes up a job for someone who has just died. Shortly after taking the job, the man begins to experience supernatural occurrences and feels a malevolent presence stalking him throughout the house. 
I enjoyed the Vigil and believe that even though its deeply rooted themes of forgiveness and trauma are fairly generic and familiar, the stellar performance of the lead character and unique concept set this film as one of our top choices for a paranormal film to watch this year. Released in the US in 2021, The Vigil is one indie horror flick you won’t want to miss.

Seance (Exclusively on Shudder)
 

If Mean Girls and The Craft had a baby, Seance would be the red-headed stepchild. When a girl arrives at a new school, she quickly learns to juggle bullying from the “it-crowd” and the ghost that’s haunting her dorm room. Things take a turn for the worst when they perform a seance and kids around the campus start getting killed off, one by one. 
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy teen horror movies as much as the next guy but Seance takes it to a whole new level that I’m not entirely sure I was personally fond of. However, if you’re smoking with a few friends and want to watch some cute girls take on a paranormal entity while trying to fight their confusing sexual urges, Seance may be the movie for you. 

Antlers (Streaming on HBO Max)

 

Tack the name Guillermo del Toro on a film and it’s bound to be nothing short of creative and unique. Antlers is no exception but don’t expect a Pan’s Labyrinth and Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark. Antlers is a much darker, gorier, and freakier take on a long-forgotten myth that has you wondering if this movie is a creature feature or something much more sinister. 
Follow Lukas, a quiet boy who seems to have some connection to a creature the police are linking to gruesome murders all around town. The boy’s teacher, played by Keri Russel, is concerned for the boy’s safety as she feels a deep connection to him when she finds his disturbing drawings and witnesses his concerning behavior. When she discovers his abusive environment at home, her further involvement lurches her into a supernatural conflict she never expected. 
Blurring the line between creature-feature and the supernatural, Antlers is a high-quality film with fantastic performances by some familiar faces. If you don’t mind some gore, you’ll definitely enjoy this one

Old (Anywhere Blu-Ray and Video on Demand are sold)

 

Critically acclaimed filmmaker, M. Night Shyamalan, delivers his most recent supernatural thriller about a family vacationing on a secluded beach where they quickly realize that time works differently than they normally perceive it. As the helpless parents watch their children age at a baffling rate of 1 year every 30 minutes, the others on the beach all grow increasingly hostile as they all try to escape. One by one the beachgoers are picked off as the family’s efforts to leave the island are thwarted by constant blackouts. 
Signs was one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. The performances, the authenticity, the storytelling, everything was near perfect. My love for M. Night has since then been grandfathered into anything else he makes because he is genuinely a wonderful filmmaker but his stories tend to fall flat for me. However, his recent success with Split has persuaded me to give the veteran storyteller another chance. 
If you enjoy mind-bending psychological thrillers with an unforeseeable twist, Old should be one of your next films. Unfortunately, seeing as it’s not currently on any streaming services, I would wait until it pops up on something you already pay for then go out of your way to see this film unless you are that much of a die-hard M. Night fan, in which case, you’ve probably already seen it.

Conclusion
 

For any die-hard thriller/suspense/paranormal movie fan, Shudder provides an extensive library for that specific niche for only $4.75 a month. Start a free 7-day trial here: https://www.shudder.com/

2021 may not have been the absolute best year in terms of paranormal films but I have to say that even though the world is still reeling from an atrocious pandemic, filmmakers haven’t done a half-bad job helping us forget about all this nonsense. 
With that, I only hope that 2022 follows that uptrend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When he’s not traveling at lightspeed to different parts of the galaxy, Wesley is traversing the mean streets of Orlando, FL in search of his next biggest adventure.
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