Before delving in, let’s make one thing clear. The films on this list of the highest grossing horror movies are not for the faint of heart, and it would be best if you had a lot of boldness and bravery to sit through most of the movies on this list.
Nevertheless, if you are a fan of horror and are searching for the highest grossing horror movies, you are at the right spot.
These films will turn heads and quickly render the weaker minds uncomfortable.
Just make sure the lights are on if you are ready to watch any of the films listed below. In the end, they are exciting and entertaining.
Table of Contents
- 1. IT (2017)
- 2. The Sixth Sense (1999)
- 3. IT Chapter Two (2019)
- 4. The Exorcist (1973)
- 5. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008)
- 6. The Nun (2018)
- 7. A Quiet Place (2018)
- 8. The Conjuring 2 (2016)
- 9. The Conjuring (2013)
- 10. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017)
- 11. Annabelle Creation (2017)
- 12. Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
- 13. Split (2017)
- 14. Annabelle (2014)
- 15. Halloween (2018)
1. IT (2017)
- Director: Andy Muchietti
- Star Cast: Jaeden Lieberher, and Bill Skarsgård
- Total worldwide gross: $700,381,759
Besides being a horror film, IT attracts a good amount of success in other elements. The film blends in comedy with hilarious performances from Richie and Eddie, and it also plays safely with emotional connections.
It is currently at the top of the highest grossing horror movies. The horror scenes will literarily take your breath away. It might be wise to keep young kids away if you are not ready to deal with their cries as they freak out.
The writers paid attention to developing the characters on screen. Characters like Bill, Beverly, and Ben were well written. Is Pennywise scary? Yes, it is. I will not be surprised if you end up sleeping with the lights on after watching this film.
It may not be a mind-blowing movie, but it contains enough blasts to be asleep blowing film. There is good incorporation of emotional and dramatic elements to spice it up.
In the end, this film shows how good people are without overdoing the 1980s references.
2. The Sixth Sense (1999)
- Director: M. Night Shyamalan
- Star Cast: Bruce Willis, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams, and Haley Joel Osment
- Total worldwide gross: $672,806,292
The Sixth Sense currently sits at number two of the highest grossing horror movies. When you watch the movie, there will be no doubt in your mind that it deserves that ranking, and the writing thrills you with a top-notch horror experience.
Despite his age, Haley Joel delivered an excellent performance, and his performance went a long way in breathing life into the film. The famous Bruce Willis delivered the kind of top-rated performance we expect from an actor like him.
You might find yourself watching this film repeatedly because of the different layers of complexity buried within the story. The producers managed the twist as one of the biggest reveals in the history of filmmaking, and it is thrilling.
Shyamalan planned and constructed the twist right from the film’s first scenes, and he laid out the correct number of cues throughout the film. To crown it all, this film doesn’t just focus on the supernatural horror but also the human aspects.
3. IT Chapter Two (2019)
- Director: Andy Muchietti
- Star Cast: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, and Jay Ryan
- Total worldwide gross: $473,093,228
Pennywise, the clown, isn’t done with the bit of town. Twenty-seven years after the first film’s events, Mike Hanlon phones his friends in the Losers Club to inform them of Pennywise’s return. They return to their old town to honor a promise they made to destroy the evil clown for good.
IT: Chapter Two contains many similarities to the first installment. It holds a high ranking among the highest grossing horror movies with creepy and occasionally gory scenes.
The slick directing is augmented with excellent performances from young actors and their adult counterparts.
Bill Skarsgård puts in another superb performance in playing the evil monster clown, Pennywise. He blends a mixture of being unsettling, nerve cracking, and humorous. The IT series is based on Stephen King’s novel.
This is an extended horror movie at one hundred and sixty-nine minutes. It might not appeal to some people, but it is okay for a horror movie. I would have preferred a grander ending fight, but it is not so disappointing after all.
4. The Exorcist (1973)
- Director: William Friedkin
- Star Cast: Ellen Burstyn, Max von sydow, Lee J. Cobb, Kitty Winn, Jack MacGowran, and Jason Miller
- Total worldwide gross: $441,306,145
William Friedkin directs this terrifying horror film. It is one of the most horrifying movies ever made. It will send chills down your bones and have you look around.
I’ll advise you to watch this film during the daytime, or you will end up questioning every creaking sound you hear.
The film is set in northern Iraq, where catholic priest Lankester Merrin partakes in an archaeological digging. In the process, the team discovers a medallion of Saint Joseph and an artifact representing Pazuzu and an ancient demon.
It doesn’t take long for the horror to begin. Merrin encounters a giant statue of Pazuzu and two dogs fighting in the desert as he leaves Iraq.
The rest is a tale of demon possession and the battle to banish the demon.
The Exorcist, despite being released in the 1970s, is still one the highest grossing horror movies. It set the pace for subsequent horror movies in so many ways.
The producers incorporated superb effects and sounds that enforce the startling moments. Even today, this film still holds up.
5. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008)
- Director: Rob Cohen
- Star Cast: Brendan Fraser, Jet Li, Maria Bello, John Hannah, and Russell Wong
- Total worldwide gross: $401,128,639
The film begins by diving into history. In ancient China, a warlord succeeds in uniting the country’s kingdoms and creating an empire. He becomes the Dragon Emperor and enforces the construction of the great wall of China with the corpses of his enemies buried underneath.
Despite learning to control the Chinese Wuxing elements, the emperor fears that his death will undo his accomplishments. He sends a sorceress and his second-in-command to find the long-lost oracle bones to gain eternal life.
The sorceress curses the emperor and his army after killing his second-in-command for having a relationship with the sorceress. The rest of the film is as funny as the horror scenes. Familiar faces from the previous Mummy installments appear to give us an entertaining horror flick.
I would say that the horror elements are toned down compared to the other highest grossing horror movies. Nevertheless, it is a great movie to watch with your friends and family. The only downside is that it was a desperate attempt to revive a dead franchise.
6. The Nun (2018)
- Director: Corin Hardy
- Star Cast: Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, and Jonas Bloquet
- Total worldwide gross: $365,550,119
Packed into an hour and a half run time is one of the highest grossing horror movies of all time. The Nun delivers its horror scenes in a terrifying way possible, and it will leave you freezing on your seat or bed if you are strong.
The Nun is the fifth installment in the conjuring universe and serves as a spin-off/prequel to the previous release Conjuring 2.
In 1952 Romania, two nuns living at the Saint Cartha’s monastery are attacked by a ruthless and unseen force after they entered a tunnel to retrieve an ancient Christian relic.
Both nuns die from the incident, and the Vatican sends Father Burke and Sister Irene to investigate the incident. It soon becomes a horrifying battle with a ruthless demon bent on destroying all in the monastery.
Overall, the film has remarkable cinematography with decent performances from the cast. It is overwhelmingly scary and thrilling to watch. In the end, it did an excellent job of hiding the demon in the shadows until the time was right.
7. A Quiet Place (2018)
- Director: John Krasinski
- Star Cast: Emily Blunt and John Krasinski
- Total worldwide gross: $340,939,361
John Krasinski directs this post-apocalyptic horror film written by Bryan Woods and Scott Beck. In this thrilling drama, a family of four must navigate their lives in silence after the world is attacked by creatures that hunt by sound.
The sightless aliens with sharp hearing overrun the planet and kill most of the human population. The Abbott family must take several precautions to survive on an isolated farm in the middle of the forest.
The killing scenes are as frightening as they come. The creative imagery and acting make this film one of the highest grossing horror movies. The producers managed to accomplish a remarkable feat without much audible dialogue.
A Quiet Place is thrilling to watch as you follow the survival journey of Abbott’s family. The slightest sound, such as stepping on crunching leaves, will lead these monsters to you. How can one survive such? Find out by watching this movie.
8. The Conjuring 2 (2016)
- Director: James Wan
- Star Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Frances O’Connor, Madison Wolfe, and Simon McBurney
- Total worldwide gross: $320,392,818
This supernatural horror film brings to the screen another real case drawn from the files of renowned demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren.
Peggy, a single mother of four children, invites the occult investigators when she starts witnessing strange paranormal events at home.
The director is meticulously detailed and engages easily with the material. The story takes a while to unfold but when it does, what you have is one of the highest grossing horror movies. The pace is fast and detailed from there.
This genuinely scary horror movie is currently on streaming platforms, including Netflix and HBO Max. Avail yourself this opportunity to re-watch this incredible movie and get ready to experience the tension, suspense, and dread.
The characters gave us an impeccable performance to keep up with the scary theme of this film. The Conjuring 2 might be one of the best in the conjuring universe.
Once again, we are treated to a musical score that adds to the horror.
9. The Conjuring (2013)
- Director: James Wan
- Star Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston, and Lil Taylor
- Total worldwide gross: $319,494,638
When this film was released in 2013, fans and critics became a massive hit, and it enjoyed so much success that it is currently among the highest grossing horror movies. If you’ve watched it before, you know it deserves the spot.
A demonic presence quickly confronts Roger’s family when they move into a farmhouse in Harrisville, Rhode Island, in 1971. Their dog refuses to enter despite entering the house with his wife and five children. What is it with dogs sensing ghostly presence?
It doesn’t take long before the Warrens are called up to investigate and confront this demonic presence. The film builds on the old fashion haunted scary house story so well. Catch this movie on Netflix or HBO Max.
The story is straightforward, avoiding big twists. The acting is excellent and spots on. I love this film because it gradually builds up the tension without losing a beat. This was an impeccable addition to the conjuring universe.
10. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2017)
- Director: Paul W. S. Anderson
- Star Cast: Milla Jovovich, Iain Glen, Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts, Eoin Macken, and Ruby Rose
- Total worldwide gross: $312,242,626
This is a classical end to a thrilling Resident Evil series. During the events in Washington D.C., Alice is betrayed by Wesker. She awakens to the hologram of the Red Queen, telling her to infiltrate the Hive in 48 hours.
The entire runtime is filled with non-stop action as Alice journeys 400 miles west to reach the Hive, where the Umbrella Corporation has developed an airborne anti-virus. The anti-virus is designed to kill every organism infected with the T-virus.
You might not find this film on streaming platforms like Netflix and HBO max, but it is available for rent and purchase on Itunes and Amazon.
The effects in the movie remain top-notch, enough to place it among the highest grossing horror movies.
This final installment in the Resident Evil series leans more to action than character development. The story is simple and lacks depth, but Milla Jovovich compensates with superb action sequences.
11. Annabelle Creation (2017)
- Director: David F. Sandberg
- Star Cast: Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Bateman, Anthony LaPaglia, and Miranda Otto
- Total worldwide gross: $306,515,884
This is one of the movies distributed by WanerBros for its conjuring universe. In this film, Samuel and Elle attempt to embed their beloved daughter’s spirit into a doll, and they soon realize that a demon inhabits the doll and not their daughter.
Twelve years after the incident, the Mullins agreed to provide Sister Charlotte and six girls shelter. They have been rendered homeless by the closing of their orphanage. A young orphan disabled by polio, Janice disregards warnings to avoid Bee’s locked bedroom.
When Janice finds a note saying “find me,” she sneaks into the room, which has surprisingly become unlocked. It doesn’t take long for her to find an eerie porcelain doll, unknowingly releasing an evil demon to terrorize the girls.
Annabelle Creation is a nicely made horror movie that has raked up enough profits among the highest grossing horror movies. The set pieces and individual scenes are spectacular, and making the doll the symbol of horror is also lovely.
12. Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
- Director: Paul W. S. Anderson
- Star Cast: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Kim Coates, Shawn Roberts, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Spencer Locke
- Total worldwide gross: $296,324,169
While fighting the umbrella corporation, our favorite character Alice learns of Arcadia’s mysterious haven. She joins a group of survivors heading to Arcadia, unaware of the ambush that awaits them.
The film follows the rescue efforts of Alice, as she finds and rescues survivors in Los Angeles after the T-virus outbreak. She later goes up against Albert Wesker, the head of the Umbrella Corporation.
This installment in the Resident Evil Series brought in a popular character from the video games, Chris Redfield. Other characters introduced from the video games include Claire Redfield, Albert Wesker, and Jill Valentine.
Resident Evil: Afterlife brings a pleasant experience filled with adventure, and it also ramps up the action by including two heroines performed by Milla Jovovich and Ali Larter.
Despite the toned-down horror scenes, it is still among the highest grossing horror movies.
13. Split (2017)
- Director: M. Night Shyamalan
- Star Cast: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Betty Buckley
- Total worldwide gross: $228,454,358
Horror doesn’t always have to come from supernatural or otherworldly creatures, and they could be buried deep within the human mind.
Split portrays this excellently, receiving massive success among the highest-grossing worldwide movies.
According to Scott from Forbes, the film may contain more minor thrills and chills for some people, but the theme is strong. Kevin suffers from dissociative identity disorder and has 23 alter egos in this film. One of the alters, Dennis, kidnaps three teenagers.
The rest of the movies explore the battle between all the alter egos as they struggle to dominate the body. As the film progresses, it becomes clear that there is a yet to be revealed 24th alter ego, more dangerous than the rest.
The kidnapped girls attempt to escape but are futile in their efforts. I think 23 alter egos are a little too much. There was little attention paid to the development of these egos.
However, the film has some good scenes and excellent acting. McAvoy is fantastic on screen.
14. Annabelle (2014)
- Director: John R. Leonetti
- Star Cast: Annabelle Wallis, Ward Horton, Alfre Woodard
- Total worldwide gross: $257,047,661
Annabelle is the prequel to the 2013’s The Conjuring and serves as the second installment in the conjuring universe, which has produced highly horror movies, some of which are among the highest-grossing horror movies.
Annabelle is out to wreak havoc and claim a soul. The horror scenes are scariest, and they will startle even the strongest of minds. Keep the lights on as you watch this movie. You might even stay away from the basement for a few days after viewing this film.
The story is not one of the strongest suits of this film, but the performances and cinematography are excellent. Do you think the Annabelle doll is scarier than Chucky? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.
15. Halloween (2018)
- Director: David Gordon Green
- Star Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak, and Will Patton
- Total worldwide gross: $255,498,536
John Carpenter created the famous Michael Myers character. He has appeared in eleven films, including video games, novels, and comic books. Today, he has become synonymous with horror and terrifying those who watch his movies.
In this film, Michael Myers returns to the little town of Haddonfield to terrorize the residents after escaping during his transfer to a maximum-security prison. Laurie Strode, who narrowly escaped over four decades ago, must once again confront this evil entity.
The musical score sounds haunting to add to the eerily shot scenes. This is one of the remakes that sticks as close to the original as possible. With a budget of about $15 million, Halloween raked in almost $260 million to become one of the highest grossing horror movies.