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Take the fear out of a first date with these five tried-and-true genre classics — guaranteed to excite, fright, and delight for the perfect date night.

One of the most exciting aspects of connecting with someone new on a dating platform is what happens next. Like any great mystery thriller, you never know where the journey will take you — and the anticipation is part of the thrill. Of course, when it comes to our love lives, we all hope for far more romcom than horror. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find romance through a shared passion for great genre entertainment. For my money, there’s no better first date than one cozied up on the couch watching an exciting, adrenaline-pumping scary movie. And with Halloween right around the corner, you have even more of an excuse (not that need one) to suggest an evening of Netflix and chills with your newest crush or your significant other.

Fortunately, Netflix has hundreds of titles to choose from. In fact, picking one from the vast offering is often the hardest part. Fortunately, dating experts from this website have curated a list of the top five movies that you can’t go wrong with, especially with someone special by your side to enjoy every heart-pounding moment.

1. Pan’s Labyrinth (2008)

Guillermo del Toro is a visionary filmmaker capable of creating unique, unforgettable stories that are both terrifying and emotionally affecting. And Pan’s Labyrinth is widely regarded as his magnum opus, a dark fairytale about good vs evil and the triumph of the human spirit. Take the childlike wonder and lurid fantasy sequences of Alice in Wonderland, mix in the real life horrors of brutal warfare, and combine with some truly captivating and frightful creatures.

In the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, a young and imaginative girl, Ofelia, travels with her sick pregnant mother to be with her new stepfather. But he is a Captain in the victorious Franco’s fascist army, a sadist whoo is ruthlessly hunting a pocket of republican fighters. In parallel with the traumas above the ground, Ofelia enters an underground world where she must endure gruesome tasks involving fairies, giant frogs, and the terrifying Pale Man  who cannibalizes children!

This magic meld of traditional fairy tales, combined with both real world and fantastical horror is the perfect choice for a first date.

2. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Touted by many critics and horror fans alike as one of the greatest horror/psychological thrillers of all time, The Silence of the Lambs is an undisputed classic — and for good reason. Anthony Hopkins is superb as Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant cannibalistic killer who a novice FBI agent (Jodie Foster, in a career-defining role) must turn to for assistance in tracking down the serial killer responsible for abducting a senator’s daughter. Instantly iconic, The Silence of the Lambs was the fourth highest grossing film of 1991 and one of the most successful Oscar winners ever.

There are taut scenes when Clarice engages in a cat and mouse dialogue with Lecter in his maximum-security prison, and equally tense moments when she pursues the serial killer through his labyrinthine lair. When Hannibal escapes custody and embarks on a bloody rampage, the tension becomes almost unbearable.

If you’re looking for a film that will give you the perfect excuse to cuddle while being scared senseless, this is the one. And the intensity of the relationship (though non-romantic) between Agent Starling and Dr. Lecter only enhances those sizzling date night vibes.

3. Splice (2010)

Humans playing God and blending the DNA of various creatures to create superbeings is never a good idea. In this horrifying feature, two young scientists, Clive (Adrian Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) add human DNA to a subject during a laboratory experiment, creating a hybrid creature they name Dren (Delphine Chanéac). She has beautiful features, but the powerful legs of a rodent, and a tail with a scorpion-like sting. The tension is heightened as the couple are forced to hide their unethical experiments away from the authorities, while Dren begins exhibiting ruthless predatory tendencies.

There’s also a love story aspect to this film, echoing elements of mythological romanticism, such as mermaids and other human hybrid creatures. Here, a man falls in love with something that is not completely human.

This unusual film has enough twists and turns to keep you enthralled. And, while it does boast some solid scares and impressive create effects (not to mention a decent amount of gore), it’s actually quite a smart and thought-provoking film, layered with clever metaphors. So, you’ll have plenty to talk about afterwards.

4. Poltergeist (1982)

Directed by Tobe Hooper, the man behind The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Salem’s Lot, Poltergeist was produced by none other than Steven Spielberg. Often regarded as a landmark in suspenseful horror, it was a true original when it came out. In the decades that followed its release, the film has inspired so much genre filmmaking that it’s easy for modern audiences to forget how unique it was at the time — and how special it remains (as the recent remake attempt proved).

In Poltergeist, strange and creepy happenings beset an average California family, the Freelings — Steve (Craig T. Nelson), Diane (JoBeth Williams), teenaged Dana (Dominique Dunne), eight-year-old Robbie (Oliver Robins), and five-year-old Carol Ann (Heather O’Rourke) — when ghosts commune with them through the television set. Initially friendly and playful, the spirits turn unexpectedly menacing, and, when Carol Ann goes missing, Steve and Diane turn to a parapsychologist and eventually an exorcist for help.

Although it was created to be a family friend movie (Hooper wanted an R rating, but Spielberg pushed for PG; PG-13 didn’t exist at the time), there are more than few frightening scenes involving toy clowns, skeletons being exhumed from graves during a thunderstorm, terrifying trees, and otherworld entities that will transform your date night into a series of satisfying jump scares into each other’s arms.

5. The Descent (2005)

The Descent

What could be scarier than a bunch of intrepid spelunkers finding their escape route barred after a cave-in? How about discovering others are lurking in the shadows of this pitch-black subterranean cave system — others that are only vaguely human, can see in the dark, and seem to have developed a taste for the flesh of the inhabitants of the outside world?

Neil Marshall’s cave-dwelling horror has been included in list after list of the most frightening films of all time. The premise is simple: Sarah’s (Shauna Macdonald) husband and child die in a car crash, and exactly one year later, she reunites with her gal pals for a fun weekend of caving. However, the therapeutic girls getaway turns into a terrifying fight for survival when the ladies end up stalked by strange demons and desperately trying to escape crushing caverns. In addition Marshall’s decision to delivering heart-stopping, nail-biting horror, Marshall’s decision to cast all females pushed the genre into exciting new territory.

This claustrophobic thriller will also have you on the edge of your seats as you watch these female adrenaline junkies fighting for survival against the nightmarish humanoids intent on dining on them.

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