If you’re looking for a movie to scare your shorts off, then you best click on over to Netflix, because the streaming service’s library features a deep slate of horror movies available to watch right now. From celebrated classics like Silence of the Lambs to campy slashers like The Babysitter to psychological thrillers like Gerald’s Game, there are so many heart-pounding horrors to choose from. Why not clear your schedule, log into your Netflix account, and set up your very own horror movie marathon?
But if you aren’t sure what terrifying film to watch, TV Guide combed through Netflix’s extensive library of horror titles to find the absolute best scary movies you can watch on the service right now. Whether you’re looking for B-movie fare, something grim and gory, a flick steeped in the supernatural, or some of the genre’s most seminal films, we’re betting there’s a streaming option for you in the list below. And once you’ve made it through all the following films, don’t forget to check out all the best horror TV shows on Netflix too!
Looking for more recommendations of what to watch next? We have a ton of them! And if you’re looking for more hand-picked recommendations based on shows you love, we have those too.
Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù, His House
Netflix released this original film just before Halloween and it’s one of the best 2020 films: scary as all heck, showing a marginalized viewpoint, and deeply emotional. The film follows a pair of Sudanese refugees who find asylum in London and are given government housing. The problem is that the house is haunted, and all signs point to the difficulties of their journey as being the source of the spooks. A genuinely terrifying film with something to say, it’s a must-see for fans of indie horror.
This 1982 film is a horror classic. Poltergeist centers around a family whose house is haunted by evil spirits that abduct their young daughter and bring her to a different dimension. Determined to save the child, the family does everything, including journey into this other world, to bring her home. Along the way, a lot of terrifying things go down that prove why Poltergeist is regarded as one of the scariest movies ever made. And yes, it has an evil clown. The movie’s so good, it was even nominated for three Academy Awards!
If you’re in the mood for some great campy horror, The Babysitter is a whole lot of fun. Starring Bella Thorne, Robbie Amell, Samara Weaving, and Andrew Bachelor, this teen horror-comedy focuses on pre-teen student Cole (Judah Lewis) who is left in the car of his babysitter Bee (Weaving) when his parents (Leslie Bibb and Ken Marino) leave town. But when Cole catches Bee and her friends doing deadly demonic rituals in his living room, the entire teen cult sets out to kill the boy to silence him. Everything about this movie is over the top but in the best way possible. And though the sequel, The Babysitter: Killer Queen, isn’t as good, the original still comes highly recommended.
The Ritual, from director David Bruckner, follows four college buddies who reunite after the death of their friend and set out on a hike through rural Sweden. But in the forest, they begin to encounter unexplained and chilling phenomena, as an ancient evil stalks them as part of a ritual sacrifice. The Ritual ratchets up the tension to pleasurable highs and delivers strong creature design that will keep you hooked until the very end — even if you never really invest enough in the protagonists to care if they get killed.
The Silence of the Lambs
This 1991 psychological horror film is a classic for a reason. Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, an FBI trainee who seeks the help of the imprisoned Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a cannibalistic serial killer, in trying to catch the murderer Buffalo Bill. It’s a suspenseful, gripping tale and the film became only the third movie ever to win the big five prizes at the Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay. While The Silence of the Lambs is far from the only take on these characters, which originated in Thomas Harris’ novels, it is the interpretation that all other Hannibal Lecter stories are measured against.
You’d expect going to a dinner part hosted by your ex-wife to be awkward, but you probably wouldn’t expect it to be this bad. The Invitation stars Logan Marshall-Green as Will, a grieving divorcé who brings his new girlfriend, Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi), to a dinner party hosted by his ex, Eden (Tammy Blanchard). As the night unfolds, Will begins to suspect that Eden and her new husband, David (Michiel Huisman), have ulterior motives for reuniting this group of old friends. This suspenseful thriller slowly builds up tension before delivering an absolutely devastating ending we’re still thinking about years later.
Mike Flanagan’s clever take on a Stephen King story, Gerarld’s Game stars Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood as a married couple aiming to reignite their passions during an isolated holiday. But when Gerald (Greenwood) suffers a fatal heart attack, Jessie (Gugino) is left handcuffed to the bed without a key and must figure out a way to survive. Gugino gives a mesmerizing performance as Jessie must confront her darkest fears. But be warned: While Gerlad’s Game is largely a psychological thriller, it also includes one of the must distressfully gory scenes in recent cinema.
Under the Shadow
Even just watching the trailer for Under the Shadow is enough to set a viewer on edge. Set in 1988 Tehran, the movie follows a mother trying to protect her child both from the Iraqi bombs raining down upon the city and from an ominous unseen figure within their own house. Much like The Babadook, Under the Sun uses this disturbing domestic premise to examine issues of maternal anxiety, claustrophobia, and resentment, including how they intersect (and often clash with) with the real-world conflict playing out in the background. It’s a taut, unnerving thriller filled with shocking and eerie visuals sure to please horror fans.
Co-written by and starring Mark Duplass, Creep is a clever addition to the found-footage genre that is so successful it spawned a film franchise, with a third movie already on the way. The minimalist film follows a young man Aaron — played by co-writer and director Patrick Brice — who answers an ad posted by Josef (Duplass) asking for help filming videos for his unborn child. But as Aaron’s work with Josef goes on, Aaron is disturbed by Josef’s increasingly unsettling behavior. But by the time he fully accepts Josef’s true intentions, Aaron realizes it may be too late for him to escape.
This techno-thriller is a true star vehicle for Madeline Brewer, who plays a cam girl, Alice, who gets locked out of her account under bizarre and threatening circumstances. After resorting to simulating violence on camera in exchange for popularity, Alice finds that an exact replica of herself has taken over her cam show. As Alice investigates the strange occurrence, she must also fight to regain the control over her life from the mysterious replica who stole it. A tightly-wound movie, Cam taps directly into current fears about the identity and voyeurism, but it’s Brewer’s performance that elevates the film and immerses you in Alice’s fear.
It Comes at Night
It Comes at Night is a post-apocalyptic film that follows a family — played by Joel Edgerton, Carmen Ejogo, and Kelvin Harrison, Jr. — who has isolated themselves in the woods in order to survive a highly contagious and deadly outbreak that has ravaged the world. But when they take in another family of survivors — played by Christopher Abbott, Riley Keough, and Griffin Robert Faulkner — the mutual distrust and paranoia between the families creates just as much danger inside the home as the contagion does outside. Director Trey Edward Shults does a masterful job of building tension in this bleak film about how far one will go to survive, and what one might lose in the process.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe
This supernatural horror movie stars Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch as father-and-son coroners who get trapped by a storm in the morgue with the body unidentified woman. As they move forward with the autopsy, the pair discover spooky and inexplicable wounds, such as scarring on her internal organs or burns inside her lungs but nowhere on her skin. This tightly-paced scarefest effectively uses the claustrophobia of the underground morgue to ramp up the tension as the duo are subjected to a series of menacing supernatural phenomena that will leave your heart racing.
Dan Stevens stars as Thomas, a young man who must infiltrate a 1900s religious cult led by a charismatic prophet (Michael Sheen) in order to free his sister. But once Thomas is living among the cult members on their secluded island, he uncovers a dreadful secret that completely changes the trajectory of the film. A provocative take on organized religion, the patriarchy, and corruption, Apostle is a mysterious and compelling slow-build made all the more enjoyable by Stevens’ captivating performance.
After their gig at a backwoods club in Oregon, a punk band witnesses a murder in the venue’s green room and are held hostage by a group of neo-Nazis who run the joint. Not willing to go down without a fight, the band faces off with the skinheads in a blood-pumping thriller. But what really makes Green Room a standout is the calibre of its cast, which includes Patrick Stewart, Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, and Alia Shawkat, all of whom bring a humanity to their roles even amidst the gnarly gore.
This gripping survival film stars Kiersey Clemons as Jennifer, who becomes stranded alone on a deserted island after a storm capsized the boat she’d been traveling on. As if the elements weren’t enough to deal with, Jennifer must also face off against a horrific sea monster that stalks at night. This sharp and suspenseful indie film is built around Clemon’s commanding performance of a woman adapting to her new environment and proving she has what it takes to survive, but lovers of creature features will also be thrilled by director J.D. Dillard’s approach to the memorable monster that is sure to spark dread.
Home invasion horror is particularly terrifying because it’s unsettlingly plausible, and Mike Flanagan’s 2016 film is up there with The Strangers and Funny Games when it comes to exploiting the concept’s frightening potential. Kate Siegel stars in this hair-raising film as Maddie, a deaf woman who must try to fight off a masked killer at her isolated home in the woods. Hush is a sharp, suspenseful tale that never slows down and will leave you not wanting to be home alone for quite some time.
The Evil Dead (1981)
From Sam Raimi and starring Bruce Campbell, The Evil Dead is a delightful cult classic. The low-budget supernatural horror film follows a group of college friends whose vacation turns deadly after they accidentally summon demonic spirits after reading from The Book of the Dead. Between Raimi’s creative direction, Campbell’s star-making performance as Ash Williams, the film’s audacious black humor, and some seriously grisly gore, The Evil Dead has everything you could look for in a horror film. And if you don’t trust us, listen to Stephen King, who has said it’s one of his favorites in the genre.
Martin Freeman stars in this zombie thriller as Andy, a father who is fighting to do whatever it takes to save his infant child’s life in rural Australia. But after Andy gets infected by his wife (Susie Porter), he only has 48 hours to find a new home for his daughter before he turns into a zombie. Cargo is much more of a character-driven zombie film than one intent on delivering gut-churning gore or sensational shocks, but it’s a harrowing journey that injects the genre with an atypical amount of heart.
Directed, produced by, and starring Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, The Endless follows two brothers who return to the UFO death cult they had escaped years prior in the hope of finding closure. As their stay at the camp goes on, the brothers bear witness to bizarre phenomena that can’t be explained, thus threatening their sense of reality and their bond. This low-budget Lovecraftian horror film is an inventive look at the destructive cycles one can get trapped in, and maybe never escape from, in life. And even as the brothers’ concepts of time and space are pushed beyond the established boundaries, the film remains firmly grounded by the interpersonal drama and relationships at its core.
Possession horror is nothing new, but Veronica is one of the best recent additions to the genre. The Spanish film follows a teenage girl, Veronica (Sandra Escancena), who begins being subjected to paranormal experiences after having a seance with a group of friends during a solar eclipse. As the occurrences increase in violence and intensity, a desperate Veronica attempts to find a way to cut her ties with whatever demonic presence has attached itself to her. The movie is filled with visceral scares and memorable imagery that’s hard to shake even after the credits roll.
Based on the Stephen King novella of the same name, 1922 stars Thomas Jane as a man, Wilf, whose life falls apart after murdering his wife (Molly Parker). After the crime is committed, Wilf is convinced he’s being terrorized by rats and haunted by the ghost of his wife, who refuses to let him forget what he did. 1922 isn’t the type of horror film to be built around shocks or splatter, but rather its horror is in the slow decay of Wilf’s mental state, as his own guilt threatens to destroy him before the law catches up.
The Blackcoat’s Daughter
Emma Roberts, Kiernan Shipka, and Lucy Boynton star in this moody thriller about two girls who are left alone at their Catholic high school over winter break and begin to experience unexplained phenomena. Told across three timelines, each focused on one of the leading actresses, The Blackcoat’s Daughter builds in dread as the truth of what’s behind the menacing occurrences is slowly uncovered.
Shutter follows a photographer, Tun (Ananda Everingham), and his girlfriend, Jane (Natthaweeranuch Thongmee), who kill a young woman in a hit-and-run. After the fatal accident, Tun is haunted by the victim’s menacing spirit, whose particularly vengeful motivations toward him are explained in well-orchestrated, emotionally resonant reveals. The film was a massive hit in Thailand when it premiered, leading to the barely watchable 2008 American remake. But if the Joshua Jackson film turned you off Shutter‘s premise entirely, you’d be doing yourself a disservice missing out on this genuinely scary, twist-filled film.
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