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18 Outdoors & Wilderness Horror Movies To Make You Scared to Go Outside – RANKED

Welcome to Knockout Horror and to another horror movie list. In keeping with our outdoors list theme, today we will be bringing you 18 Outdoors & Wilderness Horror Movies To Make You Scared to Go Outside. Of course I will be ranking these movies but, in something of a change from some of our other lists, most of these movies are legitimately decent.

There isn’t a single movie I could point to here as being outwardly bad or not worth checking out. Sure, a couple of them aren’t exactly on my personal favourites list, but they are all completely watchable.

What’s Lurking in the Woods?

I have tried to approach this list in a bit of a different way from most lists like this. Many outdoors, wilderness, horror movies feature human killers but that isn’t the case with any of the movies on this list. Every movie here features a non-human source of mayhem. Some feature animals, some feature mythological creatures, some feature aliens. It’s a nice mix.

It’s too easy to delve into the horror back catalogue and pick a bunch movies that feature humans hunting people through the wilderness ala Deliverance and Mercy Falls. I really wanted to mix things up and create a unique list that wasn’t like all the others.

Because, let’s be real,. It’s a lot more fun to imagine that the snapping branch you just heard or the guttural moan that haunts you while you try to sleep under the stars. Actually came from something entirely more bestial or otherworldly than simply a human, right?

18 Outdoors & Wilderness Horror Movies

So that’s the rule with this list. None of the threats here are entirely human and nothing here is easy to explain. We have watched all of these movies but only reviewed a handful. I will probably get round to them all in time but all of these movies come with my personal recommendation. Obviously my ranking is subjective and I expect yours will differ slightly so keep that in mind. With that being said, let’s start.

18

Survive The Hollow Shoals (2018)


A survival enthusiast heads into the great outdoors to challenge himself to spend 60 days in the Georgia Hollow Shoals in this ultra low budget movie by Jonathon Klimek. Presented in a found footage, vlog style, recorded by our intrepid survivalist himself. Survive the Hollow Shoals isn’t going to be for everyone but it is still quite watchable.

Found Footage Horror Movie Survive The Hollow Shoals

Reminiscent of a camp fire ghost story. It can drag a bit at times but it also deserves a lot of praise for how minimalist it is. Definitely not the best movie on this list, hence its placement at 18, but still a pretty good movie. We awarded Survive the Hollow Shoals 2.7/5 in our review.

17

Willow Creek (2013)


Bobcat Goldthwait, who you may know as the actor/comedian who starred as the shrieky voiced character Zed in Police Academy or Elliot Loudermilk in Scrooged (shameless plug for our review). Is also a prolific director and a massive Bigfoot fan. Goldthwait has taken part in documentaries searching for the big hairy cryptid and has also made a horror movie based on the mythological creature.

Willow Creek (2013)

That very horror movie, Willow Creek from 2013, happens to be our second entry into this list. This movie follows a couple camping out in the woods being harassed in their tent by something that is both curious and super aggressive. This has a pretty low rating on IMDB but I find it to be a legitimately enjoyable movie with some decent tension. Well worth checking out, especially for fans of Bigfoot.

16

Long Weekend (2008)


I believe this one is titled Nature’s Grave in the USA. Long Weekend is a 2008 Australian horror remake of the 1978 movie of the same name. Following the story of a couple, in a somewhat frayed relationship, heading out to the beach to spend a weekend away. Only to find that disrespecting nature may end up costing them much more than their marriage. This is a fairly slow moving horror story that has an important message.

Screenshot from horror movie Long Weekend (2008)

Long Weekend focuses on Mother Nature fighting back. Placing the great outdoors as something of an antagonist and a hero in the story. James Caviezel and Claudia Karvan star in what can be a, sometimes, confused film that is fairly effective in parts and quite unsettling in others. It loses its way a little here and there and the message can get a little mixed up. But this one is definitely worth checking out for something a little different.

15

Significant Other (2022)


A couple head out to the woods of the Pacific Northwest to spend some time together. Only to find that an awkward marriage proposal will only be the start of a series of increasingly strange and unfortunate events in this Sci-Fi horror movie from directors Dan Berk and Robert Olsen. This is a gorgeous movie set in a stunning, yet oppressive, location that definitely deserves a watch.

The woods feel genuinely oppressive here as they keenly hide their secrets. Significant Other has a few twists here and there and a decent amount of suspense. Some may find that it drags a little here and there and some may even consider it to not be horror due to the unexpected direction it goes in. But Significant Other makes for a compelling story if you desire something that doesn’t feel quite like most other horror movies.

14

Gaia (2021)


We are off to South Africa for our next movie. At 14 is 2021 fantasy horror Gaia by Jaco Bouwer. A forest ranger is rescued by a father and son, who have been living off the land, after being injured in a trap. Little does she realise that the father and son’s obsessive devotion to the forest and one particular tree hides a fiendish secret.

Gaia Horror Movie Review

This one owes a lot to the video game series The Last of Us but still manages to be a genuinely effective horror movie with some very tense moments. Gaia feels quite unique thanks to the deep forest location, the interesting monster designs and the strong connection between the horror and the world around us. It also benefits from the performances of its lead cast including Monique Rockman and Carel Nel. It verges into the trippy at times and places a lot of weight in some of its fantasy aspects but definitely well worth checking out for fans of outdoor and wilderness horror movies. We awarded Gaia 3 out of 5 in our review.

13

Man Vs. (2015)


Perhaps a bit of a guilty pleasure here as I love these types of movies. Man Vs. sees a reality television survival expert stalked by something otherworldly while spending five days alone in the Ontario wilderness to film his new show. This one is put together in a found footage, television show, style and works really well for the most part.

This movie takes a lot of what makes reality television shows like Alone special and turns it into prime horror fodder. Turning up the suspense and isolation of the great outdoors to 11 and keying in on the paranoia that comes with being alone in the wilderness. The fantastic location and genuinely isolated feel of our protagonist offers up a sense of vulnerability that a lot of movies lack. Not a perfect horror by any stretch but a hell of a lot of fun.

12

The Honeymoon (2014)


A couple head off to an idyllic lake house for a honeymoon in the great outdoors in 2014’s The Honeymoon. Things start to go awry when Paul (Harry Treadaway) finds his new wife, Bea (Rose Leslie), wandering naked in the middle of the woods. The changes she is exhibiting seem to suggest that something went drastically wrong while she was outside, transforming her into something Paul doesn’t recognise.

A Screenshot from horror movie The Honeymoon (2014)

First time director Leigh Janiak manages some decent tension and a few scares in this rather self contained, tight, little sci-fi horror movie. I probably don’t like this movie as much as a lot of the big time movie critics do but I still found it to be watchable. A lot of people really like this one and it doesn’t quite play out in the way you might expect. Give it a try.

11

Black Water (2007)


We are back to Oz for this next one. A massive salt water crocodile attacks a group of tourists taking a boat ride through a mangrove swamp in 2007’s Black Water. An effective and tense movie designed to keep you on the edge of your seats and to give you an everlasting fear of anything crocodilian.

David Nerlich teams up with The Reef’s Andrew Traucki as Traucki proves for the first time that he is adept at creating creature based survival movies. The less said about The Reef: Stalked the better. This one is based on the harrowing true story of two friends who spent the night stuck in a tree as a large crocodile, that had previously killed their friend, stalked them into the early hours. Decent stuff and, while not being one of the best movies on the list, still very watchable.

10

The Ruins (2008)


Our number 10 entry is The Ruins from 2008. A group of friends head out to Mexico for a relaxing holiday that is completely upended when they agree to take part in an archaeological dig deep in the forest. After uncovering some ancient Mayan ruins, it soon becomes clear that something sinister hides among them.

A screenshot from horror movie The Ritual (2008)

Okay so this one has a slight human element but there are some seriously freaky natural elements here that will have your skin crawling. There are some very effective moments of body horror and some fantastic creature designs to boot that make this one really stand out from the rash of similar movies in the 2000s. Well worth checking out for a movie that eschewed many of the trends of the time.

9

Rogue (2007)


We are back in Australia next and we are being chased by another bloody big salty.. Crikey! The Aussie wilderness really wants you dead and it isn’t shy about showing it. Rogue released in the same year as the above mentioned Black Water but tends to be a little more highly regarded. It follows the story of an American journalist on a job in the Australian outback finding herself stranded on a rapidly flooding island surrounded by a man eating crocodile.

To be honest, you can take this one and Black Water and interchange them as they are very similar. I would say that Rogue has a few more thrills and Greg McLean’s directorial pedigree is hard to ignore with classics like the Wolf Creek movies under his belt. He would also go on to direct the Daniel Radcliffe action movie Jungle in 2017. Rogue is just good, old fashioned, creature horror fun with plenty of bite.

8

Loop Track (2023)


This one is a fairly new movie and a bit of a sleeper in my opinion. Loop Track follows the story of a man heading into the New Zealand wilderness to escape from his everyday life which is rapidly falling apart. Despite wanting to stay away from people, he ends up grouping up with a couple of fellow hikers. All the while, he believes the group are being stalked by something sinister. Should he trust the fears that have caused him so many problems already or ignore them completely?

A screenshot from horror thriller movie Loop Track (2023)

This is a decent little horror movie that goes in a direction you might not expect. The atmosphere remains throughout and the consistent question of whether our protagonist is simply paranoid or whether the group are actually being followed really helps to up the tension. This is a well acted, low budget, movie that deserves a watch. The ending may leave some people wanting but we have put together an Ending Explained article to clear some things up. We awarded Loop Track 3.8 out of 5 in our review.

7

Annihilation (2018)


Deus Ex Machina’s Alex Garland directs our next entry at number 7 as Natalie Portman stars in 2018’s Annihilation. A meteor has crashed into the earth creating a bizarre, anomalous, zone full of mutated flora and fauna known as the shimmer. After only one person returned from an expedition to the area. Lena (Natalie Portman) joins a group to head into the shimmer and attempt to discover its secrets.

Annihilation is much more than a simple science fiction horror movie. It explores myriad themes including depression and grief as well as presenting a complex and intriguing story. At times, it out paces its own ambition which can lead to the movie being somewhat divisive amongst viewers. Hence why it is a bit lower in this list than it should probably be. It’s still a great movie in its own right, however, and will resonate massively with some.

6

The Ritual (2017)


David Bruckner’s The Ritual is next at number 6 in our list. A group of friends head deep into the woods on a backpacking vacation in Sweden. Little do they realise they are about to stumble upon something truly evil hidden amongst the trees. This one was a bit of a sleeper hit in 2017. It is legitimately scary in parts, the woods feel like they are closing in on the characters, the wilderness is completely hostile and the movie features a believable group of characters and friends. Gorgeous cinematography and some fantastic pacing keep the tension going throughout.

The Ritual

I do feel like it doesn’t quite nail the landing and it missed an opportunity to be great. But The Ritual is still effective horror viewing that benefits from some great casting and a genuine sense of camaraderie between the characters. Bruckner would go on to direct the well received The Night House as well as the remake of Hellraiser but The Ritual remains his most unique and effective outing yet.

5

Backcountry (2014)


We have a movie that is way more enjoyable than it has any right to be at number 5 with 2014’s Backcountry. A couple goes camping in the woods to escape the hustle and bustle but their lack of experience leads them right into the territory of a massive black bear in this super effective creature horror movie. Backcountry is tense and legitimately brutal in parts. Pulling absolutely no punches at all.

A screenshot from horror movie Backcountry (2014)

What makes this movie all the more significant is the fact that it is, at least somewhat, based on the true story of Jacqueline Perry and Mark Jordan. A couple who were attacked by a bear in the wilderness of Northern Ontario resulting in the death of Jacqueline Perry. The final half of this movie is legitimately nail biting and features some of the more effective scenes in any creature horror. Awesome stuff and well worth checking out, despite the completely unlikable male protagonist.

4

The Descent (2004)


This one had to be here right? And it is one of two Neil Marshall helmed horror movies in our top 5. The Descent follows a group of women spending a vacation in the Appalachian mountains. The group, eager for adventure, decide to head into a cave system for some spelunking. Where they encounter something truly evil deep underground. The Descent is widely considered to be one of the best horror movies of the 2000s and it is easy to see why.

The Descent (2005) Horror Movie Review

Legitimately tense in parts with iconic creature designs and full of nerve shredding moments of horror contained in the pitch black. The Descent rarely lets up once it gets going. It’s not one of my personal favourite horror movies but I can’t ignore just how effective it is and how much love it gets. The Descent ticks all the boxes when it comes to this type of horror movie. We awarded it 3.5 out of 5 in our review but I think most people would rate it a little higher than that.

3

Dog Soldiers (2002)


Dog Soldiers is number 3 on our list and is, also, the second Neil Marshall movie we are looking at today. A group of soldiers head deep into the wilderness of Scotland on a routine exercise. Only to be attacked by something that threatens to turn them all into something horrifying. Dog Soldiers has gained a bit of a cult following in recent years and remains a must watch horror movie.

A screenshot from horror movie Dog Soldiers (2002)

Marshall attempts to do something completely different with Werewolves and creates an energetic movie that feels nothing like most of the movies that came before it. The comedy elements hold up well and the movie has aged pretty nicely, despite the low budget. When everyone else was making horror films about vampires and zombies, Marshall dared to do something different and it pays off.

2

The Blair Witch Project (1999)


Yes I am aware that this is predictable and I am aware that you could probably see this coming from a mile off. But I can’t possibly put together a list of the best outdoors and wilderness horror movies without mentioned 1999’s found footage, genre reviving, horror movie The Blair Witch Project. The entire movie takes place in the woods, after all.

Following the story of a group of students heading deep into the woods to make a documentary about a witch that supposedly haunts a small town. The Blair Witch Project sees our protagonists seemingly lost and at the mercy of the elements, their own minds, and a merciless entity that appears to be stalking them at night.

The Blair Witch Project (1999) Review

A lot of people bag on this film and the level of hype it received didn’t do it any favours when it comes to its place in horror history. But I firmly believe that The Blair Witch Project is a brilliant horror movie deserving of significant praise.

I didn’t really get it back when it released and I admit to being one of those teens who was seriously put off by the hype. But I grew to love it on subsequent watches. It does so much with so little and helped revive horror when things were looking beyond stale. An awesome movie, even if many don’t agree. It deserves its roses and it deserves a top 3 place on this list.

1

Troll Hunter (2010)


The brilliant and completely unique Troll Hunter from 2010 earns the top spot on our list of Outdoors and Wilderness horror movies. André Øvredal is on top form in this found footage movie that manages to still be fantastic, even with some completely ridiculous CGI.

A group of students investigating a series of bear killings. Soon begin to follow a hunter around only to discover that what he is hunting isn’t exactly an animal. It is actually enormous trolls that haunt the wilderness of Norway and the students are going to encounter them first hand.

This is one of those rare found footage horror movies that takes an absolutely ridiculous concept and makes it completely plausible. Well acted, tense, and a hell of a lot of fun. Troll Hunter is so different from everything else on this list that I truly believe it deserves the top spot.

Øvredal would go on to direct the equally excellent but completely different Autopsy of Jane Doe later on but Troll Hunter remains his best movie. Awesome stuff and worth checking out even if you hate found footage horror.

Thanks for Reading!

So that is 18 Outdoors and Wilderness Horror Movies Ranked. There were a lot of great movies here as the wilderness simply makes for a great horror topic. I have been following something of an outdoor theme on this site as of late when it comes to lists. That means there is a bit of crossover here so if this is a topic you enjoy, why not check out some of my other lists.

Namely, 10 Backpacking Horror Movies That Will Stalk You On The Trail – RANKED,10 Creepy Camping Horror Movies to Make You Scared of the Woods – RANKED and 25 Hiking, Backpacking and Camping Movies To Stalk You Outdoors – RANKED. You may see the same movie a few times but there are plenty of different suggestions as well.

Thanks for spending your time with Knockout Horror. I truly appreciate it. It is incredibly difficult to get any kind of traction with a horror website nowadays. Particularly one that is fairly niche and run by only one person so when you choose to check this site out over much larger ones I am genuinely touched. If you like to support smaller sites, why not check out some horror reviews, some horror ending explained articles or some horror lists? Take care and I will, hopefully, see you again soon.