St. Patrick’s Day is quickly approaching, and it’s the perfect time of year to check out some fantastic Irish horror films instead of watching Leprechaun again for the 300th time.
Irish horror is at its best when it weaves together elements of its religious and political history with its rich folklore to create a creeping sense of dread, and you’ll see many of those elements in the films on this list.
Without further ado, let’s dig into my picks for the best in Irish horror. If you have suggestions or titles you prefer, don’t hesitate to let me know down in the comments!
The Devil’s Doorway (Available on Hulu with Subscription; For Rent on Vudu, Amazon, Google Play, and AppleTV)
Director Aislinn Clarke takes us back to the 1960s to a “Magdalene laundry,” an Irish home/asylum run by the Roman Catholic Church and overseen by nuns for so-called “fallen women.”
Fathers Thomas (Lalor Roddy) and John (Ciaran Flynn) are sent to the home to investigate a supposed miracle that has occurred on the property involving a statue of Mary who has cried tears of blood.
Of course, upon their arrival, they discover much more is going on behind the closed doors of the asylum and they soon find themselves in the midst of a battle between good and evil.
“Do you know how many of the church’s messes that I personally have had to clean up?” the reverend mother asks the priests. “Do you know how many of the babies born here had fathers who were Fathers, Father?”
The Devil’s Doorway is a terrifying film that will put you on the edge of your seat and hold you there until the credits roll.
The Cured (Available for rent on Vudu, Amazon, Google Play, and AppleTV)
David Freyne created one of the most thought-provoking and intense zombie film’s of the last 20 years with The Cured.
After a zombie plague ravaged Europe, scientists were able to find a cure for the disease, returning a large percentage of the infected population back to healthy citizens. There’s just one catch. The Cured remember everything that happened during their time as zombies.
Society mistrusted them to begin with, but when they find out that the formerly infected remember, the hatred grows. Many are forced to live segregated from the rest of society which leads to a powerful and dangerous movement to restore their rights as human beings.
Central to the story is Senan (Sam Keeley), one of the cured who has found a home with his sister-in-law.
Any good zombie movie leaves you with questions about society, and The Cured is no different. Be sure to give it a watch and let us know what you think!
The Hole in the Ground (Free on Amazon Prime; Available to rent on AppleTV, Redbox, Google Play, and Vudu)
Lee Cronin’s The Hole in the Ground centers on a single mother named Sarah (Seána Kerslake) who lives with her young son, Chris (James Quinn Markey), in the rural Irish countryside.
Chris disappears into the woods behind their home one night and upon his return, he is changed, different from the boy she knew. Sarah soon finds herself in a living nightmare as she tries to discover what is real and what is not and what, if anything, the mysterious sinkhole behind their property has to do with the change in her son.
This folk horror film, steeped in lore, is a must see for fans of Irish horror.
Citadel (Stream for free on Amazon Prime, Shudder, CONTV, The Roku Channel, and FawesomeTV [Thriller & Horror])
The 2012 psychological horror film Citadel marked the feature film directorial debut of Irish director Ciaran Foy (Sinister 2).
The tension-laden thriller stars Aneurin Barnard as Tommy Cowley, a young father with crippling agoraphobia which set in after his wife was brutally attacked by a gang of feral children. Now, living alone with only his young daughter for company, Tommy realizes that those same hooded children have come for the girl.
Barnard’s performance as Tommy is incredible. His fear radiates from the screen and his paranoia is infectious.
Without Name (Stream with Shudder, Amazon Prime ,and Tubi; Available for rent on Vudu)
Without Name from director Lorcan Finnegan (Foxes) may be one of the finest examples of folk horror from Ireland in years.
Set in an ancient forest called Gan Ainm (without a name), the film centers on a land surveyor named Eric (Alan McKenna) who is sent into the woods to map and assess it, but he soon finds that the land itself eludes him. The woods change; dark figures appear among the trees, and he’s soon completely confounded by the task at hand.
There’s a lot to see in Without Name. The cinematography alone is worth watching for, but there is also a very real and visceral terror evoked throughout the film. Watch it. You’ll thank me later.
Check out the rest of our list on the Next Page!