horror movies
Image Credit: NeedPix

The Jersey Devil, also known as the Leeds Devil, has been referenced in movies, books and television series for years. The age-old folklore is so popular that Six Flags named one of their rollercoasters the Jersey Devil Coaster

Below are the 5 best Jersey Devil movies and a few honorable mentions. Happy watching!

The Last Broadcast (1998)

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime (FREE)

Released in 1998, The Last Broadcast is an American horror movie told in documentary format. Utilizing the found footage genre, this was one of the first feature-length films to be entirely shot on a consumer-level digital video camera, similar to 2008’s Sci-Fi thriller Cloverfield.

Stefan Avalos and Lance Weiler wrote, produced, directed, and starred in the film. While some believe that The Blair Witch Project is eerily similar to this cult classic, any suggestion of major influence has been largely debunked. 

In the film, Steven “Johnny” Avkast and Locus Wheeler, a pair of TV hosts, recruit soundman Rein Clackin to record psychic Jim Suerd in hopes of finding the Jersey Devil. This is meant to increase ratings for their TV show, but the search doesn’t go as planned and leaves three men dead and one convicted for their murders. The Last Broadcast follows David Leigh, as he tries to figure out the truth behind what happened.

As expected, a film about New Jersey folklore didn’t suit the tastes of most critics, earning only a 44% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But it is definitely one of the best movies about the Jersey Devil, even over 20 years after its original release. 

The Barrens (2012)

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime ($2.99), DVD ($7.67)

Released in 2012, The Barrens is an American horror film featuring Stephen Moyer and Mia Kirshner and written, directed and produced by Darren Lynn Bousman. It is largely influenced by the Saw series, as Bousman wrote the script shortly after finishing Saw II.

The Barrens has different names throughout the world.  It is referred to as Jersey Devil in German-speaking countries, The Forest in France and Belgium, and Devil in the Woods in the United Kingdom. 

This film follows the Vineyard family as they look to escape civilization, embarking on a camping trip in the Pine Barrens region of New Jersey. Richard and his wife, Cynthia take their children, Sadie and Danny, on a getaway deep into the forest. After suffering from a traumatic experience early in his childhood, Richard comes to believe his family is being stalked by the legendary Jersey Devil and will do whatever it takes to keep his family safe.

Some critics suggested the movie was a bit predictable and missed an opportunity to truly excel, but overall, it’s a fun, well-acted movie with plenty of plot twists to keep its audience on the edge of their seats. 

Carny (2009)

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime ($2.99), DVD ($3.99)

Carny is a Canadian horror film originally designed for television and was written by Douglas G. Davis and directed by Sheldon Wilson. It starred Lou Diamond Phillips as the main character and is the 17th movie released in the Maneater Series, which includes cult classics like Maneater, Hellhounds, and Yeti: Curse of the Snow Demon. 

A traveling carnival brings with it their main attraction – the Jersey Devil – to a small town in Nebraska. The terrifying cryptid is able to escape, ravaging the town and bringing destruction to the townspeople. Sheriff Sam Atlas gathers a group of people willing to track down the man-eating beast. Meanwhile the town’s pastor seeks revenge on the horrifying creature for killing his son. 

Carny Jersey Devil movies
Image Credit: Carlos Ostos

Carny isn’t exactly a genre-defying movie, but for fans of the other films in the Maneater Series or Sci-Fi films designed for television audiences, such as the widely-popular Sharknado series, this film provides good entertainment. 

13th Child (2002)

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime (FREE)

13th Child is a direct-to-video horror, mystery, and thriller film. Thomas Ashley and Steven Stockage directed the movie, and Michael Maryk and Cliff Robertson wrote it. The screenplay is based on James F. McCloy and Ray Miller Jr.’s 1976 book, The Jersey Devil

The story takes place in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, where a monstrous creature has been said to be killing and eating humans for years. A district attorney’s assistant is sent to the forest to investigate these murders. She attempts to determine if the Jersey Devil is responsible for the killings, or if it’s a hoax.

13th Child received decent reviews from critics, which is surprising for a movie in the cryptid genre. This film has garnered a cult following, and it will forever be one of the most popular Jersey Devil movies ever made. 

Satan’s Playground (2006)

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime (FREE), DVD ($10.77)

Dante Tomaselli wrote and directed the 2006 American horror film, Satan’s Playground. Tomaselli wanted to use veteran actors and the film starred Ellen Sandweiss of The Evil Dead and Edwin Neal of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974). 

Satan’s Playground features the Bruno family, who take a vacation in the Pine Barrens region of New Jersey. Their car gets stuck in the middle of nowhere, which leaves Donna, Paula and Frank stranded with their autistic son, Sean, and baby, Anthony. The family finds what seems to be an abandoned house, but they quickly realize the danger they’re in.

This film garnered plenty of success from critics, earning a 67% on Rotten Tomatoes. Dennis Harvey of Variety called it, “[A] richly atmospheric exercise in surreal horror,” while Jeremiah Kipp of Slant Magazine quipped, “A storybook fairy tale on acid.” 

With a low $500,000 budget, the success of Satan’s Playground comes as a bit of a surprise. But Tomaselli’s ability to pay tribute to past slasher movies makes it one of the most enjoyable Jersey Devil films of all time.

Honorable Mention:

Jersey Devil (2013), 13th Child: Jersey Devil (2014), The Jersey Devil (2005), Leeds Point (2008)


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