By Noelle Buffam · March 26, 2011

Supernatural film is a genre that centers around supernatural elements, such as ghosts, gods, goddesses, and miracles. Supernatural films deal with the unknown questions of life; therefore, they tend to incorporate religious elements into the plot. Since they emphasize the unknown, Supernatural films are considered quite suspenseful. These films often cross over into other genres, creating hybrids like Supernatural-Comedy and Supernatural-Drama.

Examples of Supernatural Film:

What Lies Beneath While others believe her to becoming delusional, a woman is convinced that ghosts haunt her house.

Poltergeist  A ghost haunts a suburban home and kidnaps one of the children through the television set.

Ghost After a man is murdered, he tries to communicate with his wife through a psychic.

Sub-genres of Supernatural Film:


Supernatural-Comedy takes the elements of the Supernatural film genre and combines it with a comedic twist. Unlike other sub-genres, the supernatural elements (such as ghosts) tend to be funny instead of scary. This sub-genre can appeal to old and young alike, depending on the level of humor.

Examples: Ghostbusters, Casper, Hocus Pocus.


Supernatural-Horror film is a sub-genre that includes ghosts, demons, or other depictions of supernatural occurrences. Often, Supernatural-Horror films combine elements of religion into the plot. Common themes in Supernatural-Horror films include the afterlife, the devil, and demonic possession. Unlike Religious Thrillers, Supernatural-Horror films are not limited to specific religious elements and can contain more vivid and gruesome violence.

Examples: The Exorcist, The Ring, The Omen.


Supernatural-Religious films deal strictly with religion and the unknown in connection to God. These films are very similar to Religious Thrillers. Exorcisms, demonic possession, and church cover-ups are typical themes of Religious and Supernatural Thrillers. This sub-genre often questions the validity of current church practices and beliefs.

Examples: The Devil’s Advocate, The Ninth Gate, The Da Vinci Code.


Supernatural-Thriller films incorporate supernatural themes that are considered mysterious. Unlike other sub-genres, Supernatural-Thrillers thrive on the “edge of the seat” feeling. The audience is in an almost constant state of anticipation. The plot usually revolves around a mysterious event or person and the quest to find out the truth.

Examples: The Sixth Sense, Frequency, The Dead Zone.