If 2020 isn't scary enough, our guide to the best horror movies on Netflix will keep you afloat with all the spooky frights and scary jumps that you could ever need. Yes, we've picked the top movies to help you tap into fear, with new gems and classic frights.
Horror movie addicts may love the genre for wildly different reasons. Some love the thrill, others the mystery of why that killer is out there and others just want to watch unruly teens get terrorized because of some twisted karmic justice.
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We're not here to judge, and neither is Netflix. If horror movies are your thing, Netflix has a ton of them, and we've picked out some of the scariest, funniest and strangest films.
Our most recent picks include a classic bit of horror brought back from the mothballs and a recent bit of indie brilliance.
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Girl on the Third Floor
Ex-con Don Koch (Phil Brooks) is running from his past, and straight into an aging Victorian house that's about to wreck his future. Girl on the Third Floor is an excellently-shot horror movie that is dripping in gross-out frights. Brooks (better known as former WWE champion CM Punk) turns in a strong performance in this, his feature film debut, with a performance that feels both all his own and slightly related to Jack Nicholson in The Shining and Bruce Campbell in The Evil Dead. Director Travis Stevens (also making his feature film debut) will win the dark hearts of old school horror movie lovers everywhere through the film's traditional special effects, which are more ooey and gooey than CGI. We loved it at SXSW 2019.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 81%
Starring: Phil Brooks aka CM Punk, Trieste Kelly Dunn, Sarah Brooks
Alice Ackerman, a successful camgirl, used to have a tight focus on her reality. All that changes once she figures out that faking her own death will shoot her to the top of the charts, and get a ton of tips. But before she can seize on her popularity, a new rival named Princess_X — who looks just like Alice — appears and shatters the scene. The film seizes on the mob mentality behavior that drives social media circles wild, and turns into a macabre thriller as Alice begs the police for help.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%
Starring: Madeline Brewer, Patch Darragh, Melora Walters
The Evil Dead
Low-budget horror classic The Evil Dead needs to be seen on Netflix to understand its influence on the generations of horror movies that followed. Ash (Bruce Campbell) is one of five college kids whose vacation goes all kinds of wrong when they all make a terrible mistake: stopping in an abandoned mountain cabin. Maybe today's kids would know this is a path to crimson chaos, or at least they would when the gang comes across a recording that talks about the Book of the Dead. Soon, evil spirits take over our protagonists bodies, as well as the house itself. Director Sam Raimi's first film, The Evil Dead is an example of how cinema can thrive even when under limits.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 95%
Starring: Bruce Campbell, Ellen Sandweiss, Betsy Baker
This Netflix original stars Sandra Bullock, as Malorie Hayes, who is about to go on a terrifying journey down river in a boat, with only the blindfolds on their heads to protect them. Yes, normally you'd expect that everyone would want their vision when they're pitted against ghastly terrors, including infected fellow survivors, and therein lie the mysteries of Bird Box. Without the ability to actually perceive their enemies, the imaginations of Malorie and her cohorts conjure up even scarier possibilities of what's behind the blindfolds.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 63%
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, Jacki Weaver
Apostle builds its thrills slowly, as you watch Thomas (Dan Stevens) go undercover to save his sister Jennifer (Elen Rhys) from a mysterious cult. In a brilliant bit of casting, Michael Sheen plays Malcolm, the cult leader, a (rightly) paranoid creep who's obsessed with the roots and vegetation of the land.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 80%
Starring: Dan Stevens, Lucy Boynton, Michael Sheen
This Netflix original reminded many of The Road meets the graphic novel version of The Walking Dead, tracking Martin Freeman as a dad in a zombie-filled wasteland, protecting his wife Kay and baby Rosie. Those looking for something truly refreshing may be let down, but Freeman delivers a strong performance that grounds the film in relatable humanity, and Rosie's adorable nature could warm even a cold, undead heart.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%
Starring: Martin Freeman, Natasha Wanganeen, David Gulpilil
A cult thriller that flew under the radar in 2018, The Endless deals with the flaws of memory, and how we handle the stories we repress. The film tracks Justin and Aaron, a pair of brothers who receive a mysterious VHS tape (which is crazy into and of itself, who has a tape deck?) from the cult they survived. Justin swears the senders — who claim they're all fine now — were a UFO death cult, though Aaron thinks his brother is blowing things out of proportion. Then things get weird, so weird, in fact, that saying more would spoil the film's insanity.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%
Starring: Aaron Moorhead, Justin Benson, Callie Hernandez
What would happen if a high schooler got access to a tome that had the power to kill? That's the premise at the core of Death Note, an American adaptation of a beloved anime and manga series. If you enjoy it, you'll probably want to look up the source material. This Netflix version, which stars Lakeith Stanfield, Margaret Qualley and Willem Dafoe, didn't do that well with critics. The AV Club called it "perversely watchable," and gave its strongest praise to Stanfield (Atlanta, Get Out) who can make anything interesting.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 39%
Starring: Nat Wolff, Margaret Qualley, LaKeith Stanfield
Parenthood is frightening enough, but Little Evil one-ups the perils of child-rearing with a question: what if your new step-son was possessed by an actual demon. And who better to be thrust into this sticky situation than Adam Scott, who works every flavor of awkward into each role he takes.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%
Starring: Adam Scott, Evangeline Lilly, Donald Faison
Sometimes, married life can get a bit boring and predictable, and couples decide to spice things up in the bedroom. Gerald's Game is a cautionary tale, though, of what happens when husband Gerald Burlingame (Bruce Greenwood) dies during the middle of one of these experimental evenings, and leaves his wife Jessie (Carla Gugino) trapped, attached to the bedframe. And then Gerald haunts her.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%
Starring: Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Henry Thomas
What happens when you start a murder mystery by revealing the killer's identity? You get 1922, a Netflix-produced adaptation of a not-so-short story from Stephen King. It stars Thomas Jane (The Punisher) as Wilfred James, who admits to the murder of his wife, which is what happens prior to his life falling apart. As rats plague James' life, the audience begins to question what it's been told, and how much it can trust the narrator, who thinks his wife is haunting him.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%
Starring: Thomas Jane, Neal McDonough, Molly Parker
Under the Shadow
During the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, Shideh (Narges Rashidi) must care for her daughter, Dorsa (Avin Manshadi), all alone. After a neighbor dies in a missile attack, Dorsa acts stranger and stranger, until Shideh questions her own grasp on reality. Dorsa may not simply be suffering from wartime shock; Shideh slowly grows to suspect that a Middle Eastern demon called a djinn may be trying to possess the young girl.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 99%
Starring: Narges Rashidi, Avin Manshadi, Bobby Naderi
Train to Busan
Train to Busan (directed by Sang-ho Yeon) follows a group of travelers seeking safe haven from a zombie outbreak in South Korea. Hopping aboard a train bound for Busan may sound like a great way to avoid the zombie hordes, and the virus that creates them. But what if the virus carriers are on board with you? Yoo Gong plays Seok-Woo, a divorced father trying to keep his young daughter safe during the ensuing chaos.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%
Starring: Gong Yoo, Ma Dong-seok, Woo-sik Choi
Quiet, intense and unpredictable, Mike Flanagan's Hush takes a simple concept and mines it for every possible ounce of fear. Maddie Young (Kate Siegel) is a deaf author living alone on the outskirts of society. When a masked killer shows up outside, things look hopeless for Maddie, who has nowhere to turn for help. But in a silent home that she's created, her expertise might give her enough of an edge to survive.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%
Starring: John Gallagher Jr., Kate Siegel, Michael Trucco
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House
Netflix has leaned pretty hard into original content, so it was only a matter of time until the site created a horror movie. I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (directed by Oz Perkins) has a mouthful of a title, but it's a smart film that builds an eerie atmosphere. Lily Saylor (Ruth Wilson) is a nurse, hired to take care of aging horror novelist Iris Blum (Paula Prentiss). Blum's ghosts may be more real than she lets on.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 58%
Starring: Ruth Wilson, Paula Prentiss, Bob Balaban
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil
This award winning romp through blood, gore and the backwoods will be a big surprise to most, as it totally flew under the radar. The titular Tucker and Dale are buddies on a vacation who wind up mistaken for murderous rednecks, because rich preppy kids pass judgement blindly (like I just did there). The biggest name in the film is Alan Tudyk, who you might know from Buffy, Firefly and Serenity.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%
Starring: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden
The low-budget horror of The Witch is built around a family torn apart by paranoia after getting kicked out of New England during the witch-hunts of the 1630s. Beautifully shot and masterfully edited to scare the daylights out of audiences, you'll move seamlessly between being calm and ready to scream in fear.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%
Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie
The eternal wars of Punks vs Nazis is such a tried and true equation in pop culture that Green Room was made without anyone thinking twice, and released in the spring of 2016 when it became all too relevant. The chaos begins when members of the band Ain't Rights are scheduled to play a gig at a neo-Nazi skinhead bar, where they discover the body of a girl stabbed to death. Of course, the establishment doesn't want them telling their story, so they're held hostage and have to fight and search to find an escape. On their way to freedom, they find an underground drug lab, because of course they do.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat
He Never Died
Being immortal sucks when you have to spend all your time alone. Jack (Henry Rollins) never ages or dies, but needs blood to survive. The easiest way to get it is to kill and eat people, which he doesn't really want to do — partially because he has little interest in leaving the house. A run-in with the local crime syndicate forces him out of his isolation, but life isn't easy when everyone looks like lunch.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 87%
Starring: Henry Rollins, Booboo Stewart, Steven Ogg
Inspired by odd encounters when buying stuff off of Craigslist, Creep is a found-footage horror movie that ponders how much you risk when applying for jobs found in online ads. The film starts with Aaron (director/co-writer Patrick Bice), a videographer in need of work, answers a job ad posted by Josef (co-writer/co-producer Mark Duplass), who he soon realizes is a weirdo. Not only does Josef get a kick out of scaring his new employee, but he also carves "J+A" into a tree, giving Aaron a sense that this job is more than he bargained for. And one night, when Josef asks Aaron to stay for a drink, things get even weirder. You'll never think of the phrase 'peachfuzz' the same way again.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 89%
Starring: Mark Duplass, Patrick Brice
You can say "Candyman," sure. Just don't repeat it four times. That's one of the keys inside the mystery of Bernard Rose's adaptation of a Clive Barker story wherein Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) is trying to understand the urban legend of a throat-slasher who's terrorizing housing projects in Chicago's Cabrini Green. Full of nuance, Candyman is a beloved classic that's recently arrived on Netflix.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 74%
Starring: Virginia Madsen, Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley
A true classic, and an adaptation of Stephen King's first novel, the film focuses on Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) a shy teen having trouble being social at school. Things don't get any better when she has no idea how to handle her first menstruation, thanks to the combined forces of her classmates and her bizarre mother Margaret (Piper Laurie). Events culminate at the worst prom ever, in a moment that influenced horror movies for years and years to come. Directed by Brian DePalma, Carrie is simply a must for those who want to call themselves a true horror historian.
Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%
Starring: Sissy Spacek, John Travolta, Piper Laurie