I’m not a huge fan of gore. Blood and guts don’t do much for me. I’m looking for more psychological scares: atmosphere, tension, and things that go bump in the night. These horror movies prove that you don’t need that R rating to bring the terror.
The Ring (2002) – A woman discovers a cursed videotape that promises to kill the watcher in 7 days. I was shocked (shocked!) to find out The Ring was PG-13. With some of the best jump scares of the genre, The Ring is not your kids’ horror movie.
Insidious (2010) – After moving into a new home, a family’s son falls into a coma, leaving him vulnerable to malevolent spirits. Insidious leans heavily into the supernatural spookiness, to great success. It’s a nice, atmospheric ghost film.
Lights Out (2016) – Based on a terrifying short film (seriously, I couldn’t sleep when I saw it), this movie follows a woman haunted by a creature that can only come out in the dark. I can barely watch the trailer to this film. It promises to be a scary, but not violent, movie.
Mama (2013) – Two girls go to live with their uncle after being found abandoned in the woods, but they seem to have brought something sinister back with them. If you like creepy feral children and unexplained hauntings, this is the film for you.
The Grudge (2003) – In this American remake of the Japanese film Ju-On, a caretaker is infected with a supernatural curse leftover from the violent deaths of a house’s former residents. It’s filled with early 00’s charm, but is equally terrifying with its tense moments and jump scares.
What are your favorite PG-13 horror movies? What makes a horror movie horror for you? Let us know in the comments!