Best Horror Movies on Netflix
Fear is arguably humanity's most primal instinct. Tapping into that emotion in a controlled setting can help you master the feeling and ultimately better yourself as a person. Or maybe you just want to see some adorable teenagers get butchered by a madman with an unconventional weapon. 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.
Candyman, the latest addition to this list, is a classic from 1992 that we're watching to get further into the spooky season. Looking for the best horror shows on Netflix? The streaming platform's new Netflix and Chills section has collects all of the frights and delights it can find, including American Horror Story season 8.
Credit: Merrick Morton/Netflix
Looking for something a little more cheerful? Check out Disney Plus and the cheaper than Netflix Disney Plus price.
CAM (2018) — 94 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
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.
Bird Box (2018) — 62 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
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.
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Apostle (2018) — 78 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
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.
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Cargo (2018) — 86 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
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.
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The Endless (2018) — 93 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
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.
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Death Note (2017) — 38 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
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.
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Little Evil (2017) — 83 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
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.
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Gerald's Game (2017) — 90 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
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.
Yoga Hosers (2016) — 22 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
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.
Maybe the most critically disliked movie on this list, Yoga Hosers is an odd little film from Kevin Smith. Yes, that Kevin Smith, of Clerks and Mallrats and Clerks 2 fame — a background that’s clear when you see that it stars teens working at a Canadian convenience store, Eh-2-Zed. Unfortunately, their dreams of attending a seniors (Grade 12 in the great white north) party is spoiled when an creepy evil force arises from the Canadian underground. Yoga Hosers demonstrates both Smith’s complete lack of care for what people think of his later years and his love of cheesy 1980’s movies. Also, it’s possibly best consumed if you’re under an influence or two.
Under the Shadow (2016) — 98 Pecent Rotten Tomatoes
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.
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Train to Busan (2016) — 96 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
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.
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Hush (2016) — 94 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
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.
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I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016) — 60 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
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.
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2011) — 85 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
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.
The Witch (2016) — 91 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
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 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.
Green Room (2016) — 90 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
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.
He Never Died (2015) — 87 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
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.
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The Conjuring (2013) — 86 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
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.
Credit: The Duplass Brothers/Blumhouse Productions
Looking for all the jump scares and shocks you can handle? Time to hit Play on The Conjuring, which was so successful at disturbing audiences that it started a franchise. The series stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as paranormal investigators — what we'd call ghost hunters — Ed and Lorraine Warren. The film, which finds the couple investigating their own home, a Rhode Island farmhouse in disrepair, earned strong critical praise for its usage of old-school horror techniques, and its lack of reliance on CGI.
Credit: Michael Tackett
Sixth Sense (1999) — 85 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
They say hiking is good for you, but what about when you run across a snake with fatal fangs? That's just the tip of the story for Beth Slocum (Aubrey Plaza), as she comes back for life after death, to the surprise of parents Maury (John C. Reilly) and Geenie (Molly Shannon). And if that trio of comedy superstars isn't enough, the supporting cast features even more star power, with Paul Reiser, Anna Kendrick and Alia Shawkat. The central crux of the story revolves around Beth and her boyfriend Zach (Dane DeHaan), as the pair try and live the lives they would have, before she became an unpredictable zombie.
Let's go back to where it all started for M. Night Shyamalan: the simmering thrill-ride of The Sixth Sense. Not only did the film's shock ending place itself in the pantheon of surprise twists, but it made a star out of a young Haley Joel Osment. And unlike the rest of the films in Shyamalan's ouvre, The Sixth Sense doesn't hit you over the head with cloying parables or wretched over-acting, as Osment, Bruce Willis and Toni Collette's performances demonstrate the value of measured restraint.
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Scream (1996) — 79 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
Too much self-awareness can kill the tension in a horror movie, but Wes Craven's scream proved that winks and nods can also lead to screams. In Woodsboro, everyone thinks they're an expert about horror movies, but once the phone rings, all that confidence evaporates once the Ghostface killer (no relation to the Wu Tang member) starts talking. An all-star filled cast, including Drew Barrymore, Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox drives the film to success, enough so that three sequels followed.
Credit: Warner Bros.
Candyman (1992) — 70 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
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.
Carrie (1976) — 94 Percent Rotten Tomatoes
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.
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