Cults. They’re eerie and enigmatic, yet they’re also interesting and entrancing in equal measure. Here are some of the most scary movies about this subject.
Cults. Their presence is both unnerving and enthralling at the same time. In this selection of cult films, you’ll find anything from horror flicks about cultist necromancers to documentaries on actual cults hiding in plain sight.
Because they’re so horrific, all of these movies have a lasting impact. Even if it’s merely to teach the world the truth about cults and their brainwashing techniques, these videos are worth seeing. In the following list, we’ve listed the ten most terrifying cult movies (according to IMDb).
1. The Lodge (6.0)
Grace (Riley Keough) is a soon-to-be stepmother who is snowed in with her fiance’s two children at a small resort community in The Lodge. All hell breaks loose between the three of them as tensions build.
Grace is tricked into believing she’s in purgatory by her stepchildren. The people around Grace don’t realize that she was raised in an extreme Christan cult and is now convinced that she’s battling for her shot at eternal life in heaven.
2. The Sacrament (6.1)
Filmmaker Eli Roth’s The Sacrament reimagines the real-life Jonestown Massacre in a vague, fictitious way. People’s Temple, a Christian socialist group in Guyana, South America, constructed its own community in the 1970s.
An American senator visited the town in 1978 and discovered that some of its residents were planning to flee. The senator was slain by the group’s leader, Jim Jones, and everyone was told to commit ritualistic suicide.
3. The Ritual (6.3)
For those who haven’t seen The Blair Witch Project, The Ritual takes place in a wooded area where a group of hikers discover a cult attempting to call an ancient demon.
One of the most intriguing aspects of The Ritual is how it transitions from a slow-burn horror picture to a monster movie at the conclusion, once the demon is summoned.
4. Mandy (6.5)
Mandy was an unexpected hit. starring Nicolas Cage as Red, the protagonist of a mountain community with his girlfriend Mandy in the background. After an infamous hippie cult kidnaps Mandy, Red embarks on a crazy, trippy, and totally engrossing vengeance quest. The film’s score, as well as its use of lighting and color, were all highly commended.
For all of the numerous feral performances that Cage has provided, in movies both good and horrible, Cosmatos’ style-driven 1980s-tastic enthusiasm for odd characters and places takes full use of Cage’s genius, and then some,” a RogerEbert critic wrote.
5. Martha Marcy May Marlene (6.9)
A young woman who recently escaped a cult was Elizabeth Olsen’s breakout performance. On her return to the normal world, she is haunted by memories of what she had to endure as a member of the group.
At its Sundance premiere, the picture was lauded by reviewers and walked away with several honors. For Elizabeth Olsen, it was the beginning of a career that would make her one of the most accomplished actors in Hollywood.
6. The Vow (7.1)
“Self-help” group NXIVM was the subject of the documentary The Vow, which uncovers its sex cult and exposes the group’s leaders (nex-ee-um). The group’s founder, Keith Raniere, and actress Allison Mack were arrested in 2018 for racketeering and sex trafficking, bringing the group to a standstill.
HBO’s documentary The Vow explores the group, its members, and the long-term suffering that the cult’s survivors face in a comprehensive and compelling way. Keith Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in prison in October for his role in the NXIVM trials and investigations.
7. The Master (7.2)
Freddie (Joaquin Phoenix) discovers a new religious/self-help movement, “The Cause,” in this Oscar-nominated 2012 film.
The group’s charismatic leader, who seems to come up with new rules and lessons every day, is the driving force behind their quest for wisdom. L. Ron Hubbard’s drive for the development of Scientology served as a major inspiration for the film, which also aimed to criticize American optimism during World War II that it was the world’s sole saviour.
8. Jesus Camp (7.4)
A summer at an evangelical Christian summer camp for children is the subject of the documentary Jesus Camp. An outcry erupted across the country after viewers saw toddlers being systematically misled and emotionally mistreated in the documentary.
Despite the fact that the camp had to be closed, the film was nominated for Best Documentary at the 79th Academy Awards. The film is also a cultural artifact of the anti-Islamic sentiment that swept the United States following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
9. The Wicker Man (7.5)
In the course of investigating the abduction of a little girl on a Scottish island, a reporter discovers that the island’s inhabitants have formed a Celtic cult. Because of the poor quality of the island’s harvest, the locals had little choice but to make a human sacrifice in order to satisfy the gods.
One of the greatest horror films ever made, Midsommar was inspired by the film, which was remade in 2006 and renamed Midsommar in 2019.
10. Rosemary’s Baby (8.0)
Rosemary is impregnated with Satan’s spawn by a demonic sect in Roman Polanski’s classic picture. The film was lauded not only for its suspense and horror, but also for its revolutionary nature. It was one of the first movies to talk about rape and the occult in any way.
It is a common idea that the film’s focus on Rosemary wondering if she’s going insane is an allusion to the antiquated belief in “female hysteria”.