People often associate horror with Halloween, or the gloomier, colder times of winter when we curl up under a blanket and scare ourselves silly in the dark. Summer is the time we give to sunshine, laughter, happiness, and long, warm, dreamy days. But the hotter months can be just as terrifying as the cooler ones, and if you’re looking for beachy horror movies to get you in the mood for summer, or just horror movies to watch on vacation – I’ve got you covered! For the tourists in these summer vacation horror movies, their dreamy holidays in the sun turn into a nightmare!
Please note that this is not an extensive list of vacation horror, and for this post I’ve tried to focus on vacation horror movies that have warm and beachy vibes.
Social media influencer Madison is struggling on a solo backpacking trip in Thailand when she meets CW, who travels with ease and shows her a more uninhibited way of living, but CW's interest in her takes a darker turn. This one takes some turns you might not expect, and will make you think twice before you make your next Instagram post.
A thriller about a family on a tropical holiday who discover that the secluded beach where they are relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly reducing their entire lives into a single day. In true M. Night style, this one takes you on a crazy ride, and really benefits from a second viewing.
A family's serene beach vacation turns to chaos when their doppelgängers appear and begin to terrorize them. A stunning Jordan Peele offering that creates some genuinely unsettling moments and builds to a chilling conclusion.
The Beach House
Emily and her boyfriend Randall have been in a difficult relationship for some time, which is why the couple decides to take a short vacation at Randall's father's beach house. However, the break soon turns into a real struggle for survival. I don’t want to tell you much more about this one, because it’s best to go in blind, but this underrated cosmic beach horror shouldn’t be left off your list!
A carefree Mexican vacation takes a dark turn for a group of friends when they reluctantly agree to follow a fellow tourist to a remote archaeological dig in the jungle. Some great actors combine in this one, with some scenes that might make you cringe behind a cushion. If you like body horror – this one is for you.
A group of tourists set out on a trip to the Brazilian coast. However, after a bus accident, they find themselves stranded in a strange village, where they come face-to-face with a dangerous secret. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this brutal offering, and it’s on the top of my list for a rewatch this summer.
A couple travel to Sweden to visit their friend's rural hometown for its fabled midsummer festival, but what begins as an idyllic retreat quickly devolves into an increasingly violent and bizarre competition at the hands of a pagan cult. It’s no secret that this bright, slow-burn folk horror is one of my favourite movies, and one I repeatedly watch every summer.
A Perfect Getaway
A newly-wed couple, Cliff and Cydney, travels to Hawaii for their honeymoon. Their trip takes a terrifying turn when they learn that tourists are getting killed on the island by psychopaths. This one is fast, clever, and twisty with events you’ll never see coming.
A mysterious man invites a group of lucky guests to his secretive resort to fulfil their darkest fantasies. However, when people start arriving, things take an unexpected turn. This is the perfect film to throw on if you’re looking for something entertaining that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
The residents of a seaside Maryland community become the unfortunate hosts of mutant, waterborne parasites that take control of their minds and bodies. The only one on this list that I haven’t seen yet – so can’t FULLY recommend – but it’s definitely on my to-watch list for this year!
Three backpackers stranded in the Australian outback are plunged inside a hellish nightmare of insufferable torture by a sadistic psychopathic local. Inspired by true events, this one has some genuinely skin-crawling moments as you realise just how horrifying the situation is and you wait for it to fully unfold.
A romantic English couple meets a disarming American psychopath while vacationing in Australia. I feel like this one flew completely under the radar and is well worth a watch if you fancy a slow-burn descent into a manipulative nightmare that you don’t see a way out of.
Truth or Dare
A harmless game of Truth or Dare among friends turns deadly when someone - or something - begins to punish those who tell a lie or refuse the dare. While the majority of this is set in regular city life, sections take place on a Mexican vacation and those bits were my favourite.
What are your favourite summer vacation horror movies? Are there any I should add to my list?