Be prepared to never sleep again. Don't say we didn't warn you -- these horror flicks are not for the faint-hearted. While it may seem that possession movies are overdone these days and none of them are that different or unique from each other, we've rounded up 10 of the very best guaranteed to make you quiver in the dark. The possession sub-genre is undoubtedly crowded with competition, making the task of narrowing down the top 10 nearly impossible. But we did it. Grab some popcorn, turn down the lights (okay, maybe not all of them), and press play... if you dare.
10. The Exorcist (1973)
We cannot -- and will not -- discuss possession movies without tipping our hat to The Exorcist. Seriously, you don't understand. This 1973 classic is what started it all. What makes it even scarier is that it's loosely based on actual events. When Regan starts acting strange (speaking in tongues and levitating), her mother seeks medical help only to reach a dead end. Her only glimmer of hope is a priest who requests to perform an exorcism on Regan. Not only is this movie terrifying, but its special effects were also well ahead of its time. That puking scene with Regan in her bed is too much for some people.
9. The Conjuring (2013)
The Conjuring introduces fans to Lorraine and Ed Warren, the same paranormal investigators who examined the Amityville house. All of this is true, by the way. The Warrens are real people and the Amityville murders really happened. The first Conjuring movie summons the Warrens to the Perron house where a supernatural presence has made itself known to their five daughters. Honestly, the second Conjuring might even be scarier as it introduces the nun from Lorraine's haunted childhood. The Conjuring 3 is set for release in July of 2019, and we can't wait to see what the Warrens are up to now.
8. Paranormal Activity (2007)
Sometimes, the movies with the smallest budget make the biggest impact. Just look at The Blair Witch Project. The first Paranormal Activity started with a budget of $11,000 and earned $193 million for Paramount. No biggie. In the film, we meet young couple Katie and Micah who move into a new house in San Diego. Micah quickly learns that Katie's been keeping a big secret from him: she used to see demons as a child, one of which has come back to haunt her in adulthood. Again, no biggie. Wouldn't that be a deal breaker for some? Anyway, this demon is back with an angry vengeance.
7. Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Rosemary's Baby is unlike most possession movies for a number of reasons. Firstly, the possessed individual (her baby) is never seen, so it's up to our imagination to figure out what's wrong with it. The imagery of Rosemary's reaction to finally seeing her child inside the crib is beyond disturbing (see above). Secondly, there's an underlying cult storyline as members of Rosemary's building plot to impregnate her with Satan's seed -- all while she thinks this baby is going to be her sweet bundle of joy. Nope. Wrong. Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated and sickly carrying a demon baby. The diabolical truth is revealed only after Rosemary gives birth.
6. Insidious (2010)
Okay, now this is where things get confusing. Some viewers believe Insidious and The Conjuring are tied. You'll be able to guess why in a second. After Josh and Renai Lambert's son falls into an inexplicable coma, they search for answers in the paranormal world. They begin seeing dark shadows and hearing noises on the baby monitor. So, they call over Josh's mother, Lorraine (possibly from The Conjuring?) and a team of paranormal investigators. Leader Elisa Reiner fears their son has traveled too far into a purgatory realm called "The Further." Elise must then enter the realm herself to bring the boy back. Side note: Patrick Wilson also stars in both movies, which is confusing if there's no connection between the two.
5. The Evil Dead (1981 & 2013)
Let's be honest, both the original and remake of Evil Dead are equally terrifying. We really can't pick which is better. The film franchise introduces us to Ashley "Ash" Williams and his group of friends who hike into the woods for an overnight stay in a secluded cabin. There, they find the Necronomicon book, which is filled with ancient texts that reawaken the dead. Naturally, Ash's possé can't resist the temptation to read a page or two and inadvertently release a flood or evil. The creepiest scene of all takes place in the 2013 version when Mia gets "stuck" in a tree.
4. Veronica (2017)
Possession movies aren't exclusive to the US -- just ask Paco Plaza, the director of Veronica. This Spanish flick takes place during a solar eclipse when Veronica and her friends want to summon the spirit of Veronica's father using an Ouija board. Yeah, cause that always goes well. Veronica loses consciousness and it soon becomes clear that evil demons have possessed her. Oh, did we mention that it's inspired by true events? The rolling end credits are accompanied by pictures from the police report. Local officers reported that they saw a "situation of mystery and rarity." Analyze that any way you'd like.
3. The Amityville Horror (2005)
The true horrors of this movie lie in its backstory. Let's begin with serial killer Ronald DeFeo who murdered his father, mother, two brothers, and two sisters in their sleep. Why? Allegedly because voices told him to. Fast forward some weeks later when the Lutzs moved in, unaware of the horrors that unfolded inside their home. Like DeFeo, the Lutzs also reported hearing voices and seeing paranormal figures. It got so bad that they moved out in a whim without ever returning for their furniture or belongings. Come on, how can a movie about these events possibly be anything less than alarming?
2. The Exorcism Of Emily Rose (2005)
It's not a happy ending for Emily Rose. We learn that at the beginning of the film when Father Richard Moore, the Catholic priest who attempted the exorcism, is arrested and sent to court. The rest of Emily's story is told through flashbacks and the evidence provided by witnesses. The prosecution claims Emily suffered from epilepsy and psychosis to explain her erratic behavior -- elevating, speaking in tongues, bending her body in ways it shouldn't bend -- but Moore is convinced there's more to it than science. The Exorcism Of Emily Rose plays the science vs. religion card harder than any possession movie.
1. Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)
This sequel is way better than the original. Seriously, don't bother with that one. Ouija 2: Original Of Evil takes place in 1967 Los Angeles in the home of widowed mother Alice Zander. Her youngest daughter, Doris, misses her father terribly and tries to make contact with him using an Ouija board. When will these people learn? Naturally, things don't go according to plan and the merciless spirit takes over Doris's body. Never have we laid eyes on a creepier little girl. The special effects in this movie are top notch as Doris's mouth stretches and her eyes roll in the back of her head.