Happy March Break Month, fiends! While the concept of “Spring Break” may look entirely different this year, there is one type of escapism that we will always have. Movies are unique in their ability to transport a viewer, and while most of us will not be taking any real-life vacations any time soon, there is a bounty of vacation horror movies out there to fill that hole. Allow me to give you an excellent place to start with ten destination horror movies streaming right now.
Ranging from genre staples to modern classics, to underappreciated gems, there is a little something for everyone with an internet connection to be found here. Safe travels and Bon Voyage!
10. The Beach House (2019)
Where to Stream: Shudder
Vacation Destination: The Beach!
Toes in the sand, basking in the sun, watching the waves crest and crash on the shore, the beach sounds like the perfect place to unwind. That is until everyone on the beach falls mysteriously ill and transforms into dead eyed monsters covered in nasty skin lesions. In The Beach House, young couple Emily (Liana Liberato) and Randall (Noah Le Gros) are anticipating a relaxing vacation at Randall’s parents’ beach house. Things start to get a little strange when they find an older couple, Mitch (Jake Weber) and Jane (Maryann Nagel), are already staying at the beach house, but this awkward encounter proves to be the least of their worries. If you find yourself in a landlocked area missing the beach, pop this movie on and you’ll be more than happy to stay away from the sun and surf for a while more.
9. Tourist Trap (1979)
Where to Stream: Shudder, Tubi
Vacation Destination: Slausen’s Lost Oasis
This one will make you rethink all those fun rest stop attractions on your next road trip. After some mechanical issues, a group of friends is forced to stop at a museum full of mannequins and wax figures, run by the eccentric Mr. Slausen (Chuck Connors). Initially, he seems helpful and friendly, but the longer the group stays there, the more cracks begin to show in the facade. Buckle your seatbelts and keep your eyes on the road because you won’t want to miss this low budget gem.
8. The Perfection (2018)
Where to Stream: Netflix
Vacation Destination: Shanghai, China
The most horrifying scene in this movie for me involves the logistics of something going wrong while you are traveling and it is a waking nightmare. An excellent guide of what not to do while traveling, The Perfection tells the story of two talented young cellists, Charlotte (Allison Williams) and Lizzie (Logan Browning), starting from the time they meet in Shanghai through the unpredictably violent lengths they go to in the pursuit of perfection. It sounds like I’m being vague because I am! This is a movie best experienced with as little information as possible in order to get the full effect.
7. Triangle (2009)
Where to Stream: YouTube, Tubi, Prime, PlutoTV, Vudu
Vacation Destination: Big ol’ Boat
I hope you don’t get sea sick because we’re heading out to the open waters with the 2009 psychological horror Triangle. Single mother Jess (Melissa George) sets out on a boating trip with a group of her friends, but after unsafe weather conditions capsize their small boat, the group boards a passing ocean liner to search for help. It turns out though that what they find on the ship may be more terrifying than if they had stayed on the wreckage of their own boat. Hold onto your sailor hats and other nautical accessories because this is one twisted ride. Plus, Triangle also comes with an early performance from Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games, Independence Day: Resurgence) that’s not to be missed.
6. Funny Games (1997)
Where to Stream: HBO Max
Vacation Destination: Austria
For anyone who is unfamiliar with Funny Games, let me be the first one to tell you, it’s a major bummer. Talk about a vacation gone wrong. When a wealthy family plans to spend some time in their lakeside vacation home, they are unexpectedly held hostage and tortured by two young men who want to play some seriously sick games with them. Funny Games is not for the faint of heart, but for those willing to stick through some mega disturbing content, the payoff is pretty spectacular.
5. Zombeavers (2014)
Where to Stream: Prime, Tubi
Vacation Destination: Lakeside Cabin
If you’re someone who hates fun, then you can go ahead and skip this recommendation. This movie has everything, no cell service, attractive college students wearing very little clothing, and of course, zombie beavers. You just can’t beat that. Zombeavers is a sincerely funny movie following a group of friends on a lakeside getaway that gets thwarted by the titular zombeavers. It’s the absolute perfect popcorn movie and would make for an incredible Zoom watch party with friends.
4. Midsommar (2019)
Where to Stream: Prime
Vacation Destination: Hälsingland, Sweden
I think we can all relate to the experience of going through something in our personal lives that makes the idea of running away to some far off location sound very appealing. Midsommar proves to us that as good as that sounds, that may not always be the best solution. After enduring a horrific personal tragedy, Dani (Florence Pugh) travels with her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) and his group of friends to Sweden. They all participate in a midsummer celebration and find themselves in way over their heads. Enjoy the sunshine, the free drugs, and the free love. Skol!
3. The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
Where to Stream: Shudder, Tubi
Vacation Destination: Mojave Desert, Nevada
I think the biggest takeaway we have from road trip horror movies is that you should never stop. Anytime these characters stop for anything, they’re in big trouble and that’s no different in Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes. After their car skids off the road and their panicked dogs run for the hills, the Carter family follows suit and are ambushed by a family of cannibals living there. Gritty and deeply unsettling, The Hills Have Eyes may be too off putting for some, but others may find some really interesting layers of analysis once you get past the cannibalism of it all.
2. The Descent (2005)
Where to Stream: Prime, Hulu
Vacation Destination: Appalachian Mountains, North Carolina
In another vacation spurred on by devastating personal tragedy, The Descent focuses on the grieving Sarah (Shauna Macdonald) as her friends orchestrate a spelunking trip in an effort to bring her back to her old self. As far as vacation envy goes, The Descent serves to solidify my resolve that I never want to go spelunking, cave diving, or what have you as long as I live. It’s dark, it’s terrifying, it’s confusing, and to top it all off, the girls may not be alone in there. This movie is an all-timer, a triumph of the human spirit, and I guarantee it moved me more than whatever won best picture that year.
(One Google search later: LOL I was right, Crash won best picture in 2005. Go home Academy, you’re drunk.)
1. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Where to Stream: HBO Max
Vacation Destination: London, England
For the traveler on a budget, backpacking can be a great way to see new parts of the world without breaking the bank entirely. You just got to be careful of any strange people or animals you may run into on the moors at night. In An American Werewolf in London, two young New York travelers, David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) learn that the hard way after they are attacked during a full moon. Come for the vacation vibes, and stay for essential werewolf movie viewing, including a transformation that won the film the first ever Academy Award for Best Makeup. A great movie as well as a historical landmark!
What are your favorite vacation destinations in horror movies? Would you recreate any of the above vacations? Let us know over on Twitter, in the Nightmare on Film Street Subreddit, and on Facebook in the Horror Movie Fiend Club!