Even as a teenager or younger pre-teen, I remember having an affinity for scary movies. However, I was always repulsed by gore. If your child is mature enough to handle horror movies without getting traumatized, but you don't want them to see a ton of blood and guts, these are 15 non-gory scary movies you can watch together for a fun spooky night.
1 – Coraline (2009)
This PG-rated animated movie isn't an explicit horror film, but it's a very creepy drama with horror undertones that are appropriate for younger kids. Coraline is an adventurous young girl who discovers a hidden door in her new home, which leads her to an alternate version of her life. Everything seems perfect in this other world, but things turn dark when Coraline discovers that her Other Mother and the alternate reality are not what they seem.
2 – Insidious (2010)
A family moves into a new home, but their son falls into a coma shortly after. They soon discover that evil spirits haunt their house, and they must call in a team of paranormal experts to save their son and rid their home of the evil presence. This is a much more adult-level horror film than the previously mentioned Coraline, but I was 13 when I first saw this and fell in love. The movie is rated PG-13, so it may be more disturbing to tweens, but Insidious is a classic jump-scare movie without any explicit gore.
3 – The Conjuring (2013)
The Conjuring follows the paranormal investigations of Ed and Lorraine Warren as they help a family being terrorized by a demonic presence in their home. Based on a true story, the Warrens try to uncover the source of the haunting, and they face one of the most powerful and terrifying entities they have ever encountered. This is a great one for older teens, but it may be too disturbing for tweens because it's rated R.
4 – The Others (2001)
Set in 1945 on the island of Jersey, The Others follows a mother and her two children living in a remote, dark mansion. Strange things begin to happen, and they soon realize that their house is haunted by spirits that seem to be trying to communicate with them. Rated PG-13, The movie maintains a spooky atmosphere by building tension with creepy suspense, but it is not excessively violent or graphic.
5 – Tremors (1990)
In a small town in Nevada, the residents must fight for their lives when giant underground monsters begin attacking them. With the help of a few unlikely heroes, they must figure out how to defeat the creatures and save their town. This comedy horror earned itself a PG-13 rating and is relatively tame compared to other horror films on this list because it incorporates a lot of humor.
6 – Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Set in 1799, Sleepy Hollow follows Ichabod Crane as he investigates a series of murders in the town of Sleepy Hollow. He soon discovers that a headless horseman is committing the murders and must find a way to stop him before he strikes again. This Tim Burton-directed horror movie is rated R for some graphic violence and brief nudity, so it may only be appropriate for older teens.
7 – Signs (2002)
My favorite of M. Night Shyamanlan's filmography, Signs, follows a family living on a Pennsylvania farm who are experiencing strange occurrences. As crop circles appear in their fields, they realize they may not be alone and must protect themselves from an alien invasion. It's rated PG-13, making it a good option for teens and tweens. The atmosphere is creepy and suspenseful but isn't disturbing or graphic. Seeing a horror film explore a non-paranormal story like aliens is always refreshing.
8 – M3GAN (2023)
M3GAN is the most modern horror movie on this list about a young girl who develops a relationship with a lifelike AI doll named M3GAN. However, as their relationship deepens, M3GAN starts to exhibit dangerous and unpredictable behavior as her creator loses control over her. This film was a blast to see, as it's a fun camp horror movie that's both unsettling and hilarious. It's rated PG-13, and while it does contain some graphic violence, it's nothing excessively gory.
9 – The Fog (1980)
The Fog takes place in a small coastal town in California that is haunted by a group of vengeful ghosts who were killed in a shipwreck 100 years ago. As the fog rolls in, the ghosts seek revenge on the descendants of those who caused their deaths. Rated R, the movie contains some brief nudity and graphic violence, so it's not recommended for tweens.
10 – The Shining (1980)
Only recommended for older teens, The Shining follows a family who moves to a remote hotel in the mountains for the winter so the father can work as the caretaker. As the family becomes isolated in the hotel, they begin to experience strange and terrifying events that drive the father to the brink of insanity.
11 – Krampus (2015)
Krampus is a horror comedy that follows a dysfunctional family who is visited by Krampus, a demonic creature who punishes those who have lost the Christmas spirit. As the family members try to survive the night, they have to come together to fight Krampus and his minions. This is a fun horror twist for your annual Christmas film viewing traditions, and Krampus is rated PG-13, so it's appropriate for younger teens.
12 – Child's Play (1988)
Child's Play tells the story of a young boy who receives a doll named Chucky for his birthday, not realizing the soul of a serial killer possesses it. As Chucky begins to wreak havoc, the boy and his mother must find a way to stop him before it's too late. It's rated R because it contains many adult themes like adult language, graphic violence, and sexual innuendos. However, there is no nudity or excessive Saw-level gore.
13 – Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)
In Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, a young girl is sent to live with her dad and his girlfriend in their new home. This new home was the home of a painter and his son who both mysteriously disappeared. While trying to fix up the new estate, the young girl discovers the secrets hidden in the basement and why the painter may have gone missing.
14 – The Sixth Sense (1999)
This classic thriller follows a young boy who can see dead people. A child psychologist starts helping him come to terms with his new power, all while the psychologist is working on fixing his fractured personal life. But this plot-twist-heavy movie is one that people still talk about to this day!
15 – The Others (2013)
The Others is very similar in its premise to The Sixth Sense, and without spoiling anything, the plot focuses on a woman and her children who are convinced their estate is haunted. There aren't a lot of jump scares in the movie, and there's very little gore, if any! It's a spooky movie the entire family of horror fans will love.
Jaimee Marshall is a culture writer, avid movie buff, and political junkie. She spends the bulk of her time watching and critiquing films, writing political op-eds, and dabbling in philosophy. She has a Communication Studies degree from West Chester University of Pennsylvania, where she flirted with several different majors before deciding to pursue writing. As a result, she has a diverse educational background, having studied economics, political science, psychology, business admin, rhetoric, and debate.
At Wealth of Geeks, Jaimee places an emphasis on film and television analysis, ranking the best [and worst] in media so you can find more diamonds in the rough and waste less time on box-office duds. You can find her articles on politics and culture in Evie Magazine, Katie Couric Media, Lotus Eaters, and Her Campus. You can also find her find her episode of Popcorned Planet, where she analyzes the Johnny Depp & Amber Heard trial. She has written extensively about due process, free speech, and pop culture.