Climate change and environmental catastrophes are real threats to humanity, so it’s no surprise that the horror genre has tackled these issues. The fear that accompanies these horrors can feel more effective than a regular supernatural haunting because these are things that can happen in real life.
Natural disasters, animals gone wild, and poisonous plants are just some of the ecological threats that have been portrayed in horror movies. In many cases, the characters find themselves under attack after their neglectful treatment of nature and its surroundings. These movies serve a lesson along with the scares. There’s nothing more terrifying than realizing you are up against the wrath of Mother Nature and knowing the whole situation could have been prevented.
After something strange happened to her husband on a secret mission, biologist and former soldier Lena (Natalie Portman) joins a government expedition into a mysterious area called The Shimmer. The explorers discover that the place is filled with mutated wildlife. But these beautiful creatures are hiding a dangerous side, and soon their lives and sanity are at risk.
Annihilation is a thrilling visual trip based on the novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer. Blending slick sci-fi elements with striking psychological horror, the movie is an intelligent study of how nature can evolve to protect itself. It also looks at how fragile human connection can be. The ending is open to interpretation with plenty to think about. watch it on AppleTV.
When a plague caused by cockroaches spreads across New York City, entomologist Dr. Susan Tyler (Mira Sorvino) creates a new insect species to combat the disease. The species is meant to only be alive for one generation, but she discovers they are still around years later. But these insects have evolved into something horrific.
Directed by Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Crimson Peak), mimic is a horror movie that deals with the repercussions of science experiments. The epidemic plot is eerily relevant, and the idea of mutated insects has never felt more threatening. If you’re not a bugs person, this movie could be your worst nightmare. watch it on HBO Max.
‘Long Weekend’ (1978)
Peter (John Hargreaves) and Marcia (Briony Behets) are a troubled married couple on a camping trip to mend their relationship. After arriving at the camping spot, they engage in selfish behavior that hurts the environment. Suddenly, the wildlife starts attacking them. As they fight for their survival, they will learn the true cost of their actions.
long weekend is an Australian horror movie that portrays Mother Nature’s revenge. The ecological impact of the characters’ destructive actions leads to some incredible animals vs. people scenes. The horror is more psychological than bloody, and the beautiful beach setting contrasted with the violence made for a tense and bleak atmosphere. watch it on canopy.
‘The Birds’ (1963)
Wealthy socialite Melanie (Tippi Hendren) visits a small town to pursue a potential love interest, the lawyer Mitch (Rod Taylor). As they get to know each other, there are sudden bird attacks in the town. These attacks soon escalate and turn deadly for Melanie and the townspeople.
Alfred Hitchcock’s classic movie the Birds is based on the short story of the same name by Daphne du Maurier and inspired by a real life event. Setting this disaster in a small town brings a claustrophobic terror that shows why the movie remains a classic. The scenes of birds attacking the people are distressing and violent, making you wonder if any of them will survive the onslaught. watch it on Amazon.
‘The Host’ (2006)
Two military pathologists dump chemicals into the Han River in Seoul. Years later, a monster emerges from the polluted river and kills hundreds of residents. It abducts a teenage girl named Hyun-seo (Go Ah-Sung), and her family has to band together to find her.
Directed by Bong Joon Ho (parasite, snowpiercer), The Host depicts the terrible effects of pollution on a community, focusing on a particular family. That strong family relationship is portrayed convincingly and makes you root for the characters. It’s a riveting, action-packed monster movie with emotions, humor, and enough scares to last you for days. watch it on tubing.
During an assignment, wildlife photographer Pickett Smith (Sam Elliott) meets wealthy entrepreneur Jason Crockett (Ray Milland) at his estate. Pickett realizes Crockett’s disregard for the environment affects the local wildlife and tries to warn the family that they might be in danger. But his warnings are ignored, and people are killed one by one.
There aren’t many eco-horror movies that focus on amphibians, but Frogs is an exception. Frogs aren’t the only vicious creatures in the movie, despite the title. Spiders, snakes, and alligators also come into play, bringing threats from all directions. The arrogance of the family patriarch is evident, and when the horror comes, it’s almost satisfying to see nature wreaking havoc. watch it on Amazon.
‘The Happening’ (2008)
A sudden outbreak of mass suicide occurs in New York City and quickly spreads across the country. High school teacher Elliot (Mark Wahlberg) and his wife Alma (Zooey Deschanel) go on a run with several other survivors. They soon realize that the outbreak is caused by an airborne toxin from plants and that there may be no escape.
M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening was not received well during its release, but it’s an interesting depiction of how nature threatens humanity. The characters have to handle an invisible threat where even the change of wind can be fatal. The deaths are brutal and creatively portrayed, and it makes you wonder what you would do if you were stuck in this situation. watch it on AppleTV.
‘The Ruins’ (2008)
During a vacation in Mexico, four friends explore an archeological dig in the jungle. They find the ruins of a Mayan temple and meet hostile villagers with weapons. Believing themselves to be in danger, they run into the ruins. But they end up encountering something even worse.
the Ruins is an intense survival horror where the enemy is the jungle itself. Based on the book of the same name by Scott Smith, it’s tense, unrelenting, and gory. The friendship group strains under pressure as they fight for their lives, and the movie ups the ante with a gruesome depiction of body horror. You won’t look at leaves the same way again. watch it on HBO Max.
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