The 8 scariest PG-13 horror movies ever made

These horror movies are terrifying without needing to feature much blood or gore.
Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and Marcus (Noah Jupe) brave the unknown in "A Quiet Place Part II.”
Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and Marcus (Noah Jupe) brave the unknown in "A Quiet Place Part II.” /

Sometimes you're in the mood for a horror movie but you want to watch something that doesn't really have blood and guts galore.

Not everyone enjoys gore, and there's nothing wrong with that! Luckily, the horror genre is full of all sorts of different sub-genres and many don't have any bloodshed at all, especially these PG-13 flicks that are still absolutely terrifying despite not being R-rated.

The Grudge (2004)

For many adults in my generation (hello, fellow '90s babies), The Grudge was one of our earliest horror movie memories and truly the stuff of nightmares.

It also helps that you can't go wrong with Sarah Michelle Gellar in a leading role. But whether it was the eerie croaking noise or the infamous scene where Kayako crawls down the stairs, The Grudge still holds up to this day and I recommend checking out the Japanese original Ju-On, too.

The Ring (2002)

Another remake of a Japanese horror film during an era where doing so was all the rage, The Ring and The Grudge stand out as two American remakes that were genuinely good amid a lot that... weren't. These two movies would make one horrific double feature, that's for sure.

One of the things that scares us most when watching horror is the possibility of something we see on-screen becoming reality, and that's precisely what happens in this movie, where a cursed videotape breaks the boundary between real life and TV. Like The Grudge, The Ring features an iconic scene where a girl with long black hair crawls toward the camera—this time emerging from a TV set.

Lights Out (2016)

David F. Sandberg made his directorial debut with this 2016 film adapted from a haunting short film that had been circulating online. It takes a very simple premise, being afraid of the dark, and turns it into a well-crafted horror movie with some nail-biting jump scares.

Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) must protect her younger brother when their mother starts being tormented by a malveolent entity she calls "Diana," that only emerges in complete darkness.

The Others (2001)

The Others is a masterpiece of atmospheric horror. I don't think I've ever felt so tense, riveted, and full of suspense as I did when I first watched this movie at a sleepover as a teenager. Nicole Kidman stars as Grace, a religious woman who lives with her children in a spacious manor on the English coastline.

Afflicted with a rare photosensitivity disorder, Grace must go to extreme lengths to ensure their safety, which becomes complicated when they begin seeing supernatural phenomena in the house. The Others works entirely on suspense and atmosphere, without the need for any blood or violence, proving how effective it can be to keep your horror very simple and still make it scary as hell.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

It always surprises me when I remember that The Exorcism of Emily Rose is rated PG-13. The horror is so intense and visceral that it felt like an R-rated movie.

Jennifer Carpenter was excellent in the leading role, and her possession and exorcism scenes were some of horror's finest. The real-life story this film is inspired by is equally fascinating.

A Quiet Place (2018)

Similar to The Others and a few other horror movies on this list, A Quiet Place relies entirely on tension-building. Sometimes PG-13 movies are flat-out more effective because they have become more creative with their scares and cannot rely on gore or bloodshed, at least not too much.

John Krasinski did an incredible job as director, writer, and actor for this movie set in a world where its survivors have to remain quiet so the monsters, who hunt by sound, cannot find them. The saga spawned a sequel and a prequel that's coming out this June, A Quiet Place: Day One.

Insidious (2010)

Another film you might forget is PG-13 because it's famous for giving us one of the best jump scares in the genre and reminding viewers everywhere that just because it's daylight doesn't mean you're safe!

Insidious is a delightfully weird and seriously creepy film. It is particularly horrifying to parents everywhere who might fear their kid could fall asleep and wake up in a demonic realm. No one has ever heard "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" the same way since. Can James Wan and Leigh Whannell keep working together forever?

Disturbia (2007)

Sort of a modern-day Rear Window for teenagers, Disturbia is a surprisingly brutal and darkly entertaining movie starring Shia LaBeouf in one of his best roles to date. This is one of those films that often gets forgotten because it is aimed at younger viewers, but that doesn't stop it from being frightening.

David Morse, in particular, is downright creepy as hell as the film's primary antagonist. Disturbia was one of the first horror films I saw in theaters and has stuck with me ever since. Thirteen-year-old me even considered buying binoculars after watching to keep tabs on my neighbors... just in case.

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