What are some good ghost story movies that aren't quite horror?
January 10, 2014 5:53 AM   Subscribe

My partner loves ghost story movies that take out the usual blood-and-gore trappings of horror movies. The Others is a particular favorite. Can you recommend other movies in this unsearchable-on-Netlflix microgenre?
posted by HeroZero to Media & Arts (43 answers total) 81 users marked this as a favorite
I liked Stir of Echoes. It seems similar in tone to The Others.
posted by Kriesa at 5:59 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]

Kwaidan Is a Japanese movie with four ghost stories. Moody. Not gory. It's subtitled, if that's your thing.
posted by hot_monster at 6:10 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]

Has he seen The Haunting?
posted by Erasmouse at 6:14 AM on January 10

The Awakening.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:16 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]

posted by bondcliff at 6:19 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]

The Uninvited (1944)
The Innocents (1961)
The Haunting (1963)
None of these are gory, but they're all very high on the chills and atmospherics.
posted by mdrew at 6:19 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]

Session 9.
The Haunting. (only the original)
The Innocents.
House of the Devil. (not about ghosts, but it's near enough to the same genre, and the tone is right)
The Innkeepers.
Solaris / Solaris (the two versions are comparable in quality, and I actually prefer Soderbergh's version) (not technically about ghosts per se, but not only is it close enough, but I feel inclined to quip, "I'm not saying it's ghosts, but it's ghosts.") (either way, it's not a horror story at all, but it is a great pair of movies about ghost-type things)
Repulsion (not about ghosts, but in practice, it's hard to differentiate it from an out-and-out ghost story - if a psychological condition produces in you the same sensation that a malevolent ghost would, then what's the difference?)
The Tenant
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:21 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]

The Sixth Sense
posted by Kruger5 at 6:24 AM on January 10

The Changeling.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:26 AM on January 10 [4 favorites]

I loved "Stir of Echoes", but be aware that it includes a graphic rape scene, several rotting corpses, and a shooting. Seconding "The Changeling".

Check out Whistle and I'll Come to You - the other BBC adaptations of M.R. James' stories are worth looking into as well.

Kuroneko is also very atmospheric and spooky, and - with the exception of a minute or so at the start - largely bloodless.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:32 AM on January 10 [4 favorites]

Nthing The Haunting.

Also, one of my old favorites is Ghost Story. There are a few death scenes, but nothing gory by today's standards.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:38 AM on January 10

Does he like ghost stories that aren't horrible at all? Then you might try The Ghost and Mrs Muir, The Canterville Ghost and (especially) Blithe Spirit.
posted by ubiquity at 6:43 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]

Look for The Conjuring when it hits Netflix, very little gore, self concusouly old fashioned ghost story.
posted by The Whelk at 6:48 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]

Oh, and Topper. But not the sequels.
posted by ubiquity at 6:48 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]

Thanks all. A quick note from the partner: she watched The Awakening a couple weeks back and really loved it, so that's certainly on the right track. Keep 'em comin'!
posted by HeroZero at 6:52 AM on January 10

The Orphanage.
posted by amarynth at 6:55 AM on January 10 [5 favorites]

Truly Madly Deeply, without question!
posted by h00py at 7:03 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]

(It's not scary at all though, if that's important).
posted by h00py at 7:04 AM on January 10

The Woman in White.
posted by vitabellosi at 7:16 AM on January 10

The Descent
posted by rhizome at 7:34 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]

I haven't seen it since I was a kid, but Lady in White should fit the bill.
posted by Neely O'Hara at 7:43 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]

The Skeleton Key
posted by greta simone at 8:05 AM on January 10 [2 favorites]

It's been a while since I've seen it, but Session 9 was pretty creepy and suspenseful, and I don't recall much, if any, blood and gore. Possibly one scene, but it's certainly not a slasher film.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 8:22 AM on January 10

The Woman in Black.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:44 AM on January 10

The Village doesn't have ghosts, but it is wonderfully creepy without being gory.
posted by tracer at 9:04 AM on January 10

I also came in to suggest The Haunting (1963).
posted by michellenoel at 9:23 AM on January 10

I might also check out Rebecca, Dragonwyck, and and Laura. They may not fit neatly into the category - Laura doesn't even feature a creepy old house - but they all have strong elements of Gothic suspense and psychologically-driven fear. Plus, they're all classics that feature Hollywood legends in their prime.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:41 AM on January 10

Seconding The Orphanage. The fact that it is not in English made it that much more engrossing for me.
posted by jenjenc at 10:00 AM on January 10

I really liked Mama, which was essentially gore free and pretty creepy. It sort of loses itself in the final act, but good up till then.
posted by codacorolla at 10:23 AM on January 10 [1 favorite]

Lady in White
posted by haplesschild at 10:47 AM on January 10

Seconding the M R James recommendation. The BBC used to show these as Christmas horror stories back in the 70s. They are a little dated now, but still great. Available on dvd, but not sure about Netflix.
posted by Fence at 12:19 PM on January 10

The Bunker
posted by xbonesgt at 12:26 PM on January 10

What Lies Beneath
posted by ZabeLeeZoo at 1:04 PM on January 10 [1 favorite]

Not a ghost story per se but The Milagro Beanfield War has a wonderful ghost in it and is a very enjoyable movie. And seconding, Truely, Madly, Deeply with Alan Rickman as the ghost, delightful.
posted by BoscosMom at 9:39 PM on January 10

The Conjuring is indeed pretty good, if a little silly. James Wan's earlier movie, Insidious is also worth a look.

A couple of others not mentioned here that I have enjoyed (although none really approach The Others) :
Dark Water (original Japanese, not the Hollywood remake)
posted by arha at 2:27 AM on January 11 [1 favorite]

The Other. Not The Others. But, The Other.
posted by Senator at 3:04 PM on January 11 [1 favorite]

The Secret of Crickley Hall was a BBC adaptation of a James Herbert novel

The tradition of a BBC MR James adaptation was revived this past Christmas with The Tractate Middoth

Crooked House had a similar vibe
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:48 PM on January 11

I submit that Mulholland Drive is a ghost story.
posted by BeBoth at 6:51 AM on January 12

As others have said, definitely The Orphanage if she liked The Awakening and The Others.
posted by chill at 10:33 AM on January 12

Good suggestions here already (most of what I came in to recommend are already here).

The Possession.
And the 1989 version of The Woman In Black.
posted by biscotti at 1:47 PM on January 12

Wanted to mention the lushly atmospheric Tale of Two Sisters. Wallpaper has never been so creepy.
posted by whistle pig at 6:25 PM on January 12

Ditto The Lady in White, The Changeling, The Woman in Black, The Shining...
posted by Lillypad331 at 8:46 AM on January 13

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