These 6 folk horror movies currently streaming will put you in a summer mindset

Using themes of rural isolation, folklore, and suspicion to create feelings of dread, often in broad daylight, folk horror movies are some of our favorite summer entertainment.
Florence Pugh in Midsommar - Courtesy A24/Gabor Kotschy
Florence Pugh in Midsommar - Courtesy A24/Gabor Kotschy /

Usually, summertime feels like an opportune season to revisit classic slasher movies like Friday the 13th and Sleepaway Camp, but I think we should mix things up this year and give folk horror its time to shine. Nothing makes me feel more summery than the blinding sunlight of Midsommar, a perfect way to illuminate the horror that happens during the Hårga's many shocking rituals.

We're recommending some classic folk horror films. The best part is that all the movies listed below are available to stream!

Midsommar (Max)

Ari Aster's masterpiece Midsommar really helped to revitalize the subgenre for a modern era. Midsommar references abound in other horror shows and movies, plus you'll often see reviews labeling things as "the next Midsommar" or "perfect for fans of Midsommar."

When it comes to daylight horror, you can't get much more sun-soaked than the European midsummer festivities at the center of the film, making the dark turns it takes all the more horrific. Plus, Florence Pugh delivers an Oscar-worthy performance here. It's a shame the Academy doesn't recognize horror often (maybe they're scared it would dominate).

The Wicker Man (Tubi & Prime Video)

It's basically illegal to talk about folk horror without discussing The Wicker Man (the original, not the Nicolas Cage remake). Midsommar wouldn't exist without it. It's not the first folk horror by any means, but the 1973 film is still one of the most influential.

Robin Hardy's British film stars Edward Woodward as a sergeant who travels to an isolated island where a young girl disappears. Upon arrival, he quickly becomes disturbed by the islanders' ritualistic habits and worship of ancient pagan gods. Christopher Lee also stars as the island's leader, the formidable Lord Summerisle.

Blood on Satan's Claw (Tubi)

Pre-dating The Wicker Man by a couple of years, Blood on Satan's Claw is considered one of the genre's "pioneers" along with Witchfinder General. This 1971 film set in 18th-century England revolves around a rural village where the teenagers fall prey to demonic influence.

Like many folk horror films, this one didn't start as an instant hit and actually underperformed at the box office before garnering more interest in the decades to follow, eventually leading to its reassessment. Now, it's considered a beloved cult classic.

The Borderlands (Tubi)

The Borderlands (also titled The Final Prayer) begins as a conventional found-footage horror movie that sets a group of investigators looking into an old church where a miracle supposedly happened once.

But by the end, it transforms into a haunting stealth folk horror film with an ending twist that is so harrowing you won't shake it off easily. I'll keep the description vague because it's best to know as little as possible. Shout out to the girl at a bookstore who recommended this movie one day at random—it's stuck with me ever since!

The Wailing (Netflix)

As fantastic as this Korean horror film is, it's not always easy to recommend to people because of its daunting runtime of over 2 and a half hours, but I feel like if you can watch Oppenheimer or Killers of the Flower Moon then this one shouldn't be a problem!

A riveting and frightening saga, The Wailing is set in a small village overcome with hysteria when a mysterious stranger passes through, resulting in a rapidly spreading infection that causes people to kill their loved ones. But as the police investigate, it becomes apparent that something even darker is brewing.

Apostle - Credit: Warren Orchard /

Apostle (Netflix)

2018 was an iconic year for Netflix horror movies with the releases of The Perfection, Cam, and Apostle. It's a shame the streamer doesn't invest as much in original horror anymore, but I digress.

Dan Stevens and Michael Sheen led the cast of this brutal folk horror film with shades of The Wicker Man. Desperate to find his missing sister, Thomas (Stevens) travels to a mysterious island where he discovers a cult dedicated to maintaining the island's fertile land via blood sacrifices.

To stay up to date on thrillers, sci-fi, and horror, bookmark 1428 Elm and follow our Facebook page and Twitter account!

Next. 5 best Asian revenge horror films of the last decade. 5 best Asian revenge horror films of the last decade. dark