A creepy forest is one of the best horror movie settings, evoking characters who are stranded and have to fight for their lives, coming across creatures, monsters, and killers. There are plenty of scary films that feature rustic houses out in nature, from The Cabin in the Woods to Cabin Fever, but there are also movies that are about hiking, camping, and exploring the great (and now dangerous) outdoors.
From an ’80s slasher set at a summer camp to some horrifying films where being outside in nature goes wrong fast, Redditors are sharing their picks for scary movies with forest locations.
Some of the most fascinating horror films feature characters going into nature and hoping to have a great experience. They often don’t anticipate the danger that they find, but in Willow Creek, the characters are looking for something specific. For Redditor CitizenDain, Willow Creek is a good pick for a scary story about the forest, calling it “the Blair Witch of Bigfoot.”
Like the characters in The Blair Witch Project, Kelly and Jim are traveling into the woods to find a creature that not everyone would say exists. The couple can’t deny that Bigfoot is real when they come across him and he’s more horrifying than they ever could have expected. Willow Creek is often considered a fan favorite found footage movie.
The Canadian movie Backcountry continues the theme of characters being unaware of the threat lurking in the woods that they’re about to set into. Jen and Alex head out on a camping trip and learn that there is a deadly black bear around. Even just knowing that the bear is nearby is enough to make audiences fearful.
Redditor CitizenDain suggested Backcountry and wrote that it’s “Not supernatural and maybe more suspense/thriller, but a really well made movie.”
While there are several slasher movies set at summer camps, Friday the 13th is the most well-known. The 1981 film The Burning also fits into this category. Redditor damonstein wrote that the film has a “Fun campground setting and lots of really really good gore.”
Just like Jason Voorhees is bullied and wants to hurt the people who wronged him, The Burning features a character named Cropsy who is involved in a horrible accident and then returns to Camp Blackfoot.
When the Creeds move into a new house in the country, they learn that there’s a pet burial ground behind the home. Even before anything awful happens, it’s clear that this isn’t the best place to raise a family, and the setting is beyond creepy.
The film franchise has seven movies, and the first one from 2003 is about college-aged characters whose car stops working and who come across cannibals named One Eye, Saw Tooth and Three Finger, Saw Tooth. Wrong Turn is definitely one of the most unnerving stories about being lost in the forest at the exact wrong time.
Airing on the SyFy channel in the U.S. and Movie Central On Demand in Canada, “Grizzly Rage” is another horror movie about the forest, recommended by Redditor cookiesshot.
After the main characters finish college, they want to celebrate their newfound freedom by going into a wooded area called Saranoc Grotto. No one is supposed to go there, but they’re feeling rebellious. Before long, a grizzly bear appears and the first brutal murder happens.
There are some creative found footage horror movies, and Man Vs. sometimes employs this technique to tell the story of Doug, a reality TV host who heads into the woods hoping to get a great story. Doug’s last name is Woods, so his series is called Woods Vs.
One Redditor wrote that the movie is “really good until the awful CGI shows up. Still worth watching.” The premise does draw people in, as it’s hard to resist wanting to know what happens to Doug and if he’s successful in surviving this time in nature.
Redditor SpiderGirlGwen recommended the popular A24 release The Witch and added, “IMO a must see horror movie for any horror lover.” The movie follows a family living on a farm in New England in the 1630s.
The main character, Thomasin, is said to be a witch, which creates the major conflict in the story and isolates her from everyone else. The movie’s storytelling has been praised and it has it all, from a smart ending to a sense of dread throughout the whole run time.
One Redditor suggested “The Ritual,” which is considered one of the best horror movies on Netflix. Four friends go on a hiking trip in Sweden and they slowly realize that they are getting more than they bargained for as they see an odd symbol that they don’t recognize in the woods.
Fans of scary stories about friends hiking and exploring nature, only to come across a creature who wants them dead, will appreciate The Ritual. The movie has also many emotional and moving moments.
Although the title Pumpkinhead evokes thoughts of Halloween, the movie does have some scenes in the forest. Redditor Forbidden_Donut503 wrote that the story is “not totally in the woods, more about the country, but still some great woods horror.”
Pumpkinhead follows Ed Harley, who comes across the creature while living in the countryside. Ed learns more about the creature and also comes across a witch who gives him some explanation for why Pumpkinhead acts the way that it does. The movie is campy, which works when looking for a movie with a forest setting.