The 24 Best Animal Attack Horror Movies, Ranked


These frightening films about animals running amok pack one hell of a bite.

Last week, reports surfaced that Insidious filmmaker James Wan and Happy Death Day‘s Christopher Landon were teaming to reboot the seminal spider horror offering, Arachnophobia.


Walt Disney Co.

With that in mind, I was inspired to assemble and rank 24 of the all-time best horror movies in the “animal attack” subgenre in case anyone feels like their media diet needs to become a little wilder…

24.

Squirm


American International Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Jeff Lieberman’s slimy slice of scare fare is a fantastic blend of camp and gross-out body horror, just as a flesh-eating worm flick should be.

23.

Beneath (2013)


Chiller TV / Courtesy Everett Collection

Larry Fessenden’s tense thriller about teens terrorized by a bloodthirsty fish flips the animal horror subgenre on its head by emphasizing the true danger between humans in desperate times.

22.

Kingdom of the Spiders


Dimension Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

William Shatner headlines this chilling cable television mainstay about creepy, crawly tarantulas ravaging through a rural Arizona town.

21.

Grizzly


Warner / FVI / Joda Productions / Montoro Productions / Prod.DB / Alamy

A low-budget, land-bound rip-off of Jaws, Grizzly has nonetheless harbored a cult audience and was even briefly acknowledged as the top-grossing independent film of all time prior to the release of Halloween.

20.

Piranha 3D


Dimension Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

Alexandre Aja’s first entry on this list features plenty of cameos, graphic nudity, and gruesome gore, but its tongue-in-cheek approach to its ridiculous elements helps the fierce horror-comedy stay above water.

19.

Venom (1981)


Paramount / Courtesy Everett Collection

Nicol Williamson, Susan George, and Oliver Reed added a level of pedigree to this underground horror favorite about kidnappers under siege by a deadly snake loose in a house that was nearly directed by The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’s Tobe Hooper.

18.

Ticks


First Look Pictures / Prod.DB / Alamy

Produced by practical FX horror bastion Brian Yuzna, Ticks employed incredible creature designs and a charismatic cast that included Seth Green, Peter Scolari, and Alfonso Ribeiro to make up for an undercooked (yet admittedly fun) script.

17.

Razorback


Warner Bros. Pictures / Alamy

Australian filmmaker Russell Mulcahy may be best known for his beloved directorial work on the action classic Highlander, but the filmmaker first cut his teeth with this underrated ‘80s killer boar movie.

16.

Burning Bright


Lions Gate / Courtesy Everett Collection

Step Up franchise stalwart Briana Evigan is incredibly effective in anchoring this survival horror film about a young woman and her autistic brother who must avoid their stepfather’s illegally purchased tiger who gets loose while they take shelter in their home during a hurricane. 

15.

Rogue (2007)


Third Rail Releasing / Courtesy Everett Collection

From the director of Wolf Creek, Rogue pits a number of rising stars, including Radha Mitchell, Michael Vartan, Sam Worthington, and Mia Wasikowska, against a man-eating crocodile that attacked their respective boats and left them stranded deep in Kakadu National Park.

14.

Jaws II


Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

A surprisingly maligned sequel, Jaws II may not be the stone-cold classic that is its predecessor, but the film nevertheless effortlessly crafts a stellar slasher flick in which the killer is another shark with a taste for human flesh.

13.

Alligator


Group 1 Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

Before filmmaker Lewis Teague let a certain Stephen King creation off the leash, he turned heads with this impressive (if a little too outrageous) creature feature about a giant alligator wreaking havoc throughout a city, which includes a truly terrifying sequence in which the alligator makes an unwelcome appearance in a suburban swimming pool.

12.

Backcountry


IFC Midnight / Alamy

Though the film initially pulls off a pitch-perfect bait-and-switch on the audience, the animal attack elements in this horror picture are disturbingly realistic and nothing short of nightmare fuel.

11.

The Shallows


Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Jaume Collet-Serra delivers (as per usual) with this largely one-woman show in which Blake Lively must use her wits and limited resources to avoid becoming shark food while stranded far from the shore of a remote beach.

10.

Lake Placid


20th Century Fox / Courtesy Everett Collection

Written by TV wunderkind David E. Kelley and directed by horror legend Steve Miner, this awesome animal attack movie is especially bolstered by an inspired, against-type supporting turn from the legend herself, Betty White.

9.

The Reef


Image Entertainment / Courtesy Everett Collection

Andrew Traucki’s utterly unnerving shark film not only contains some of the scariest scenes in the subgenre’s history, but is even more petrifying when you discover it was based on a true story.

8.

Arachnophobia


Walt Disney Co. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Produced by Amblin Entertainment, Arachnophobia has enough practical uses of real spiders to send chills down your spine while offering enough goofiness and giant spider puppeteering goodness to keep you from slipping out of your skin.

7.

The Grey


Open Road Films / Courtesy Everett Collection

Liam Neeson lent his post-Taken star power to Joe Carnahan’s intense horror-thriller about survivors of a plane crash who find themselves stalked by a pack of hungry wolves.

6.

Deep Blue Sea


Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

Though people might know Deep Blue Sea best for its now-iconic shocking death scene, there’s plenty more to love in Renny Harlin’s high-concept “super sharks” horror movie.

5.

Crawl


Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

A young woman and her injured father fight for their lives when they are trapped in their basement with hungry alligators and rising water during a hurricane in Alexandre Aja’s brutal edge-of-your-seat horror-thriller.

4.

Anaconda


Columbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

This star-studded fright flick put animal attack films back on the map in the late ‘90s and still remains a bone-crunching callback to the more lighthearted and somewhat exploitative era of the subgenre.

3.

The Birds


Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

This critically acclaimed film following birds that raise hell in a quiet San Francisco suburb will always be one of the most recognizable entries in Alfred Hitchcock’s late-career renaissance.

2.

Cujo


Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

Lewis Teague’s undeniable classic of the animal attack subgenre showcases Stephen King’s harrowing tale of a woman and her sick son trapped in a car stalked by a rabid St. Bernard in all of its ferocious glory.

1.

Jaws


Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

The most legendary animal attack horror film of all time, Jaws has changed not only the horror genre but the movie business permanently and caused multiple generations to think twice before going into the ocean.



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