Movies Like 'The Ring' to Watch Next

In the mood for ghosts, demonic spirits, or possessed children (and, in some cases, all three)?
by Taylor Freitas — 

Naomi Watts in 'The Ring'

DreamWorks Pictures

Directed by Gore Verbinski, The Ring is an English-language remake of Hideo Nakata's Japanese horror classic Ringu. This supernatural thriller follows Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts), a Seattle-based journalist investigating the recent deaths of several teenagers.

According to a popular urban legend, the teens were killed seven days after watching a cursed videotape. Trying to understand what happened, Rachel decides to watch the tape herself — and soon suffers the terrifying consequences of that decision. She begins seeing images from the video in real life, and as she digs deeper into its origins, she uncovers the tragic and terrifying story of Samara Morgan (Daveigh Chase), a local girl whose supernatural abilities made her an outcast in the community.

Following its release in 2002, The Ring became a sleeper success, eventually grossing $129 million at the domestic box office (after earning $15 million over its opening weekend). Since then, the film has spawned a set of feature-length sequels (2005's The Ring Twoand 2017'sRings). 

This month, The Ring celebrates its 20th anniversary. That, plus having Halloween right around the corner, means it's a great time to revisit the franchise or check out another similarly scary film. If you're in the mood to watch something new, check out the following lineup of supernatural horror flicks, with many of the titles centering around ghosts, demonic spirits, or possessed children (and, in some cases, all three).

Here, Metacritic shares 10 films like The Ring, ranked by Metascore.


'The Babadook'

Umbrella Entertainment

The Babadook

Metascore: 86
Best for: Fans of dark and disturbing monster stories
Where to watch:

, , ,
Runtime: 93 minutes

Released in 2014, Jennifer Kent's The Babadook is a psychological horror film that revolves around Amelia Vanek (Essie Davis), a widowed single mother trying to raise her troubled young son, Samuel (Noah Wiseman). Already traumatized by her husband's death, Amelia becomes increasingly worried about Samuel when he starts talking about a monster who he believes is coming to kill them both. Things escalate when the boy finds a dark storybook called Mister Babadook, which suggests that the creature he's been imagining is real — and is intent on ruining their lives.

"Its horrors go beyond any single raggedy phantom, reaching back to the primordial fear of death and loss: of a child, of a loved one, of one's own sense of self." — Abhimanyu Das, Slant


JoBeth Williams and Craig T. Nelson in 'Poltergeist'



Metascore: 79
Best for: Fans of classic ghost films
Where to watch:

, , , ,
Runtime: 114 minutes

Like The Ring, 1982's Poltergeist revolves around a child with an inexplicable link to the paranormal. Directed by Tobe Hooper, this Oscar-nominated filmtells the story of the California-based Freeling family. Life is fairly normal for dad Steven (Craig T. Nelson), mom Diane (JoBeth Williams), and their three kids until strange things start happening around the house. For one, glassware begins to break, and furniture starts to move on its own. But it's even more unsettling when their youngest daughter, Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke), develops a disturbing fixation with the family's TV — which appears to have a supernatural connection.

"A surprisingly yet successfully restrained lesson in how to haunt a house." — Kim Newman, Empire


Vera Farmiga in 'The Conjuring'

New Line Cinema

The Conjuring

Metascore: 68
Best for: Fans of paranormal-themed films inspired by true events
Where to watch:

, , , ,
Runtime: 112 minutes

Based on the real-life experiences of married ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), The Conjuring is a 2013 thriller directed by James Wan. It follows the husband-and-wife duo as they visit a Rhode Island farmhouse that is believed to be haunted by an evil presence. While there, they discover that the property has a long history of death and violence and plan an exorcism to rid the house of its dark energy. Naturally, things start to go horribly wrong for the Warrens, who find themselves targeted by the sinister spirits.

"A throwback to old-school spine tingling." — Steve Persall, Tampa Bay Times


Teresa Palmer in 'Lights Out'

New Line Cinema

Lights Out 

Metascore: 58
Best for: Fans of haunting horror flicks that are heavy on jump scares
Where to watch:

, , , ,
Runtime: 81 minutes

Lights Out is a 2016 supernatural horror movie directed by David F. Sandberg, based on his short film of the same title. It stars Teresa Palmer as Rebecca, a young woman who returns home after her half-brother, Martin (Gabriel Bateman), tells her that he's been noticing odd occurrences while living with their mother, Sophie (Maria Bello). Martin explains that he's seen Sophie speaking with an unknown woman in the shadows of their home — something that Rebecca also experienced when she was a child. As Rebecca digs deeper, she uncovers a terrifying truth that threatens to destroy the entire family.

"An effective, tidy little chiller." — Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times


Caity Lotz in 'The Pact'

IFC Midnight

The Pact

Metascore: 54
Best for: Fans of tense haunted house thrillers
Where to watch:

, ,
Runtime: 89 minutes

Set in Southern California, The Pact is a 2012 hair-raising horror film written and directed by Nicholas McCarthy. The movie follows sisters Annie (Caity Lotz) and Nicole Barlow (Agnes Bruckner), who come back to their childhood home ahead of their mother's funeral. While staying in the house, Nicole walks through a mysterious door and goes missing, prompting Annie to investigate the strange circumstances around her disappearance. In the meantime, she begins having recurring nightmares about a crying man and a headless woman, leading her to uncover some horrifying secrets about her mother's life.

"It works hard, and the first half hour is textbook creepy, but the oldschool grab-bag of shocks struggles to jolt a dour script to life." — Paul Bradshaw, Total Film


Ethan Hawke in 'Sinister'

Summit Entertainment


Metascore: 53
Best for: Fans of fright-filled films based on found footage
Where to watch:

, , , ,
Runtime: 110 minutes

Ranked as one of the scariest movies of all time and partly inspired by The Ring, Sinister is a mystery horror film co-written and directed by Scott Derrickson. In it, Ethan Hawkeplays true-crime author Ellison Oswalt, who finds a box of Super-8 videos in his new home — only to discover that they contain gruesome footage of multiple murders. When eerie things start to happen around the house, Ellison begins to suspect that his family might become the killer's next victims. Sinister is now regarded as a cult classic among horror fans andspawned a sequel in 2015.

"A mixed bag of old-school and contemporary horror tricks that occasionally raises a hair prickle of intrigue." — Liam Lacey, The Globe and Mail


Rose Byrne in 'Insidious'



Metascore: 52
Best for: Fans of creepy horror movies about possessed children
Where to watch:

, , , , ,
Runtime: 102 minutes

Another Wan-directed horror film, 2010's Insidious features Wilson and Rose Byrne as Josh and Renai Lambert, a married couple with three young children. One day, their young son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) sneaks off to explore the attic in their new house and, not long later, mysteriously falls into a coma. After they bring him home from the hospital, the Lamberts start experiencing unusual and unsettling events, which continue even after they move into another home. They soon learn that their son has been possessed by a demon. To save him, they must enter into a dark realm called "The Further." This is the first film in a franchise.

"Creepy spirits in old-timey dress, ear-stabbing sound cues, slamming doors and bloody handprints: The horror flick Insidious isn't scared to be trite." — Kyle Smith, New York Post


From left to right: Ariel Gade and Jennifer Connelly in 'Dark Water'

Touchstone Pictures

Dark Water

Metascore: 52
Best for: Fans of horror-driven mysteries adapted from foreign films
Where to watch:

, , , ,
Runtime: 105 minutes

Dark Water, like The Ring, is an English-language remake of a Japanese horror movie (which was also directed by Nakata). Released in 2005, the Walter Salles-directed film revolves around Dahlia Williams (Jennifer Connelly), a single mother who moves into a run-down apartment complex on Roosevelt Island, N.Y., with her daughter Cecilia (Ariel Gade). As they're adjusting to their new life, Dahlia notices that the ceiling is leaking dark water from the vacant apartment above, resulting in a grim discovery about the building's history and former occupants.

"Well-crafted but thoroughly unsuspenseful." — Todd McCarthy, Variety


Sarah Michelle Gellar in 'The Grudge'

Sony Pictures

The Grudge

Metascore: 49
Best for: Fans of supernatural horror films set abroad
Where to watch:

, ,
Runtime: 92 minutes

Takashi Shimizu directed this 2004 English-language remake of The Grudge, adapted from his 2002 Japanese-language version of the film. It follows Karen Davis (Sarah Michelle Gellar), an American nurse in Tokyo who's sent to take care of an aging woman suffering from dementia. She doesn't realize, however, that anyone who visits the woman's home is exposed to a deadly curse — and she's the next victim. Her fate quickly becomes apparent when she arrives at the house, where she finds the body of a boy who died there years earlier — as well as the malicious spirit of the boy's mother. 

"It's not a disaster by any stretch, but purists will ache to show newcomers the horrific genius of 'Ju-on' over The Grudge as soon as they exit the theatre." — Marc Savlov, The Austin Chronicle


Lucy Boynton in 'Don't Knock Twice'

IFC Midnight

Don't Knock Twice

Metascore: 45
Best for: Fans of supernatural horror films or British cinema
Where to watch:

, , , ,
Runtime: 93 minutes

If you like movies that center around urban legends (like The Ring), then Caradog W. James' Don't Knock Twice from 2017 could be an enjoyable watch for you. It follows a young woman named Chloe (Lucy Boynton), who's in the midst of rebuilding her relationship with her mother, Jess (Katee Sackhoff), a recovering drug addict. Unbeknownst to Jess, Chloe visits an abandoned house that was long-rumored to be the home of an evil witch. Soon after, the family starts experiencing strange and supernatural events — which appear to be related to Chloe's visit to the fabled witch.

"Although replete with creepy shocks, this lacks the narrative finesse to match the committed performances and slick visuals." — David Parkinson, Empire