Best horror movies on Netflix: 13 scary films to watch today
Scares on subscription, with these best Netflix horror movies.
The catharsis of a good horror film is hard to beat. And when you watch one on Netflix, there’s no creepy walk home or waves of dread as you cross the cinema car park afterwards.
Just keep those lights on a bit later than usual though, ok?
A generous scoop into everything tense, horrific and gory on Netflix reveals a few surprises.
First: how good have the last few years been for horror? We’ve seen handfuls of modern classics recently, and several of them are ready and waiting on Netflix. The service could also do with a bunch more scares, so we'll keep an eye on the Netflix library and add top titles are they appear. You can submit your own suggestions at the bottom of this article.
Upvote your favourite to get these horror movies ranked in an order the devil would give a thumbs-up to.
- Upgrade your TVs sound with one of the best soundbars to give these movies even more impact
Best horror movies on Netflix
A two-sentence summary of Creep does not make it sound original. It’s a found footage horror film in which a creepy guy advertises for a camera operator online. Events ensue.
However, it’s an incredibly memorable and taut micro-budget horror you won’t forget, largely thanks to the efforts of star and co-writer Mark Duplass. It’s an exercise in uncomfortable closeness with a single creepy character brought to unnerving life by an excellent performance. It fits more memorable moments into 77 minutes than many films manage in two hours or more.
It also beats the law of diminishing returns. Creep 2 is great as well.
2. The Ritual
2017’s The Ritual has a familiar premise, but an unusual feel and tone. A group of men in their 30s get together for a walking holiday, an attempt to reconnect after a friend is killed in a botched robbery.
This isn’t simply a tale of a bunch of disillusioned white guys attempting, and failing, to re-live their glory days with mortgages over their heads. But it’s a more engaging and rich starting point, for when things really start to go wrong, than a punch of attractive but irritating teenagers on spring break.
3. The Invitation
It has been a good few years for high-class, low budget horror. Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation keeps you hooked into its increasing bed of tension by nailing it to familiar social pressures and conventions.
A dinner party of old friends starts to fall apart. But is something genuinely odd going on or are we just watching the tectonic plates of complicated relationships rub up against each other? The Invitation is a masterclass in low-key dread.
4. The Cabin in the Woods
Five friends head to a cabin in the woods and spooky things begin to happen. Sound familiar? Think again, this is a haunted house story with plenty of twists and turns from the brilliant minds of Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard.
Directed by James Wan, this super scary haunted house flick is well worth a watch during spooky season – and any time of year, in fact. It's about a suburban family who move to escape their haunted house. But, here's the twist, it's not their old house that's haunted. If you end up enjoying this one, there are two more in the Insidious series, but this one is, in our opinion, the best one.
6. Bird BoxWatch now on Netflix
This scary movie from Netflix is about an unseen presence that drives people to suicide. The film begins five years after, with lots of flashbacks to what happened and all the cosmic horror that entails. As well as being a suspenseful movie and a perfect watch for jump scares, it also has some great performances from Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes and John Malkovich
7. HushStream on Netflix
Hush isn't as much of a horror-show as the Kula Shaker song, but it is a terrifying home invasion drama with a twist - the lead protagonist is deaf. This means that when a masked killer comes into her home and she is oblivious, you will no doubt be shouting at the screen. It's tense, taught and Mike Flanagan directs. The star of the show, though, is actress (and Flanagan's real-life wife) Kate Siegel. She's great as the deaf writer who faces a night of terror
8. The Exorcism of Emily RoseStream on Netflix
Before hitting global stardom with Doctor Strange, Scott Derrickson cut his teeth on two fantastic horror movies.The first was Sinister but perhaps it is The Exorcism of Emily Rose where we see his true genius knack for terror. As with many horror movies, it is the lead actress that makes the movie. Jennifer Carpenter is stunning as the titular Emily Rose, putting in such a physical powerhouse of a performance that it's hypnotic to watch.
Annihilation did not have a great time at the cinema. Following fights between the director and one of the film’s financiers about whether it was “too intellectual” for a mainstream audience, it failed to recoup profits at the box office. But it has found a comfortable home on Netflix.
It has a dream-like quality, and was adapted from a Jeff VanderMeer novel by Alex Garland, writer of Ex Machina and 28 Days Later. A team of soldiers enter the ever-growing “shimmer”, in which plant and animal life mutate and time appears to bend.
10. ApostleStream on Netflix
Gareth Evans was fresh from directing to of the best action movies of all time, The Raid and The Raid 2, when he took on Apostle. The movie is quite the departure for the director but still a brilliant, unnerving watch. Based on Dan Steven's character coming back home to find the occult has taken his town and, most importantly, his sister, this is turn of the century fable that's a pretty frightening watch.
11. EliStream now on Netflix
Eli is about a boy who can't go outside because he's allergic to lots of things. When he arrives at a medical facility that's sealed off from the outside, he finally starts to feel normal again. Well, until things take a very odd and sinister turn. This movie is scary, tense and full of twists - perfect for Halloween.
12. Gerald’s GameStream now on Netflix
Director Mike Flanagan's first Stephen King movie (he also made Doctor Sleep) is a brilliant slow burn of a movie, with the fantastic Carla Gugino taking centre stage. Given most of the movie takes place in one room (it's based on a sex game gone wrong, which sees Gugino handcuffed to a bed), it's a masterful film full of suspense and one of the most gruesome scenes that is not for the squeamish!
13. Mother!Stream on Netflix
Anyone who has seen Darren Aronofsky's Requiem For A Dream will know the director is one of the best around at making intense movies, but even that drug-fueled frenzy won't prepare you for Mother! This movie ramps it up tenfold until the ending which, well, ramps it up even more. It's a hard watch, and definitely not a mainstream, despite starring A-lister Jennifer Lawrence. But if you want to watch something strange and pretty horrific, then this is for you