The scariest movie you will ever see will not be a horror film, it will be a documentary. Truth is always more terrifying than fiction, and that's what makes scary documentaries so satisfying and so effective: knowing without a doubt that the horrors described in them are real makes it impossible to pretend they don't exist. If, like me, you're weirdly fascinated by true-life horrors and want to scare yourself even more, check out the below 17 scary documentaries from the past 20 years. But be warned, you might never sleep again.
As a general rule, true crime documentaries tend to be the most terrifying and the most satisfying. But depending on what you find personally scary, murder stories might not send a chill down your spine the same way a religion documentary might, or a documentary on climate change. From true-crime to religion and climate change, the scariest documentaries released in the past two decades have covered it all with terrifying editing, music, and distressing accuracy. Whether you're into urban legends, murders, or corrupt criminal justice, there's a scary doc for you. Here are 17 super scary documentaries from the past 20 years guaranteed to give you nightmares. Watch at your own risk.