There are a lot of good scary horror movies to choose from on Netflix…
Are you looking for the best horror movies streaming on Netflix right now? We’ve got you covered with our monthly updates on the best scariest new movies.
It’s as wild and as varied as a film genre gets — from indie stories of terror to digital features of killing to high-brow masterpieces about evil — and whatever the brand of horror you’re in the mood for, there’s something on the service for you. So let’s take a look at the best scary new releases in horror to stream on Netflix right now, including many of the top recent horror films from 2019, 2018, and 2017, as well as many of the best, all-time greatest classics. We’ve picked splatter thrillers, terror-inducing nightmare fests, schlocky tales, blood-curdling flicks, and more. It’s horror for fans of all kinds to watch, whether it’s Halloween or not!
Here’s a list of the most recent films covered in this article:
- It Comes at Night
- Rosemary’s Baby
- In the Tall Grass
- Under the Shadow
- Would You Rather
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Or follow these links for the best of other genres:
Not a Netflix subscriber or prefer Amazon? We went ahead and added some links for those, if that’s your thing.
Please note: This list pertains to U.S. Netflix subscribers. Some titles may not currently be available on international platforms.
Best Horror Movies on Netflix Right Now
One of the great truths of horror is that what you can’t see is infinitely more terrifying than what you can see. Too few horror movies seem to understand that, but at least there’s It Comes at Night. This is a post-apocalyptic horror movie that does a whole lot with very little. It’s set in the middle of a global pandemic, but focuses solely on a single family struggling to stay alive in a remote cabin. The oppressive darkness and uncertainty surrounding the plague and its victims make for a frighteningly good ride.
Netflix’s horror library just got a big boost now that one of the most critically acclaimed horror films of all time has been added. Rosemary’s Baby’s impeccably well-made on all fronts. It’s a true showcase for director Roman Polanski’s keen eye. The score is terrific. But most of all, the movie features a real tour de force performance from star Mia Farrow. That’s essential for a movie all about the terror facing an expecting mother as she realizes something is seriously wrong with her neighbors. This movie remains so impactful because, beneath all the Satanist trappings, the scares are all too real.
Carrie is the very first film adaptation of a Stephen King story, and many would argue it’s still the best. Maybe that’s because the supernatural elements take a firm backseat to the story of a lonely teen girl (Sissy Spacek) dealing with the cruelty inflicted by her peers and her own mother (a deliciously evil Piper Laurie). By the time Carrie’s fleeting happiness is snatched away and the bloodbath starts, we can do nothing but mourn for a lost young woman who never had a chance.
This Netflix Original tackles a familiar horror sub-genre (the home invasion thriller) with a fun new wrinkle. Kate Siegel stars as a reclusive writer who also happens to be deaf-mute. That disability proves life-threatening when a murderous stalker begins hunting her. Hush is incredibly suspenseful and uses its premises to maximum effect. It was one of the earliest signs that Netflix is a true force to be reckoned with when it comes to original horror films.
One of the newer additions to the Netflix horror library, In the Tall Grass has quite the strong pedigree. It’s based on a novella written by Stephen King and his son Joe Hill, is directed by Cube and Splice director Vincenzo Natali and stars The Conjuring’s Patrick Wilson. It also boasts a simple and effective premise. Innocent people are lured into a corn field when they hear screams, only to find escape very difficult indeed. The movie sometimes struggles to pad out that premise into a feature-length plot, but this one is still well worth checking out.
Not only is Netflix home to The Conjuring, it also has the horror film without which that blockbuster franchise wouldn’t exist. Insidious is another case of a familiar sub-genre (in this case the haunted house movie) being reinvigorated through tight plotting and clever execution. Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne star as a hapless couple who move into their new home and suddenly find their son becoming a vessel for the spirits trapped there.
This universally acclaimed, Persian-language horror film is a must-watch for horror fans with a Netflix subscription. Set in the 1980s in post-revolutionary Tehran, Under the Shadow stars Narges Rashidi as a woman grappling with both the ordinary pressures of living under an oppressive regime and some decidedly supernatural shenanigans in her apartment building. Like so many great horror films, Under the Shadow manages to provide both insightful social commentary and spine-tingling horror.
If Hostel isn’t enough, Would You Rather is another worthwhile addition to the divisive “torture porn” genre. This one boasts an especially strong premise, with Brittney Snow starring as a struggling woman trying to care for her terminally ill brother. She’s approached by a wealthy philanthropist (Jeffrey Combs) with an intriguing offer – participate in a friendly game of “Would You Rather?” and her brother’s treatment will be paid in full. Naturally, that game involves far more than its participants could have imagined.
Similar to 2018’s Bird Box, Fractured is a Netflix-exclusive horror movie that managed to make a major splash on social media. The film’s twist ending has certainly created a major stir. Fractured stars Sam Worthington as a man whose wife and daughter disappear in a hospital, sending him on a desperate quest to prove they ever actually existed in the first place. Is he just crazy, or is there something more sinister at play?
Bernard Rose’s 1992 horror flick (adapted from a Clive Barker short story) is basically the thinking man’s slasher movie. It packs in all the gore and scares fans of Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street could ask for. But at the same time, it takes a more cerebral approach to the genre, one heavily rooted in the racially charged history of its Chicago setting. Tony Todd’s titular character may well be the most sympathetic slasher villain ever.
Like Gerald’s Game, 1922 strongly suggests that Netflix may be the best home for Stephen King adaptations. King veteran Thomas Jane stars as a tortured farmer confessing to an unspeakable crime. He convinced his own son to murder his soon-to-be ex-wife in order to save the family farm. James delivers a career-best performance in a film that’s less about overt scares than it is wallowing in pure human misery.
It may not be the follow-up to The Raid 2 fans were expecting, but Apostle proves that Gareth Evans has a flair for more than just martial arts movies. This period drama carries strong echoes of The Wicker Man (the good version), casting Dan Stevens as a man posing as a new recruit to a dangerous cult in the hope of rescuing his captive sister. Needless to say, the film goes to some pretty strange and terrible places by the time that journey wraps up.
We’re used to Patrick Stewart playing some of the noblest heroes in pop culture, including Professor X and Captain Picard. That makes his unexpected turn as a Neo-Nazi gang leader here all the more memorable. Green Room is basically a survival horror movie, with the members of a travelling punk band finding themselves fighting for freedom after witnessing a bit too much at their latest gig. As director Jeremy Saulnier’s followup to Blue Ruin, it’s a very different but no less compelling indie horror film.
There’s a bit of Child’s Play/Chucky renaissance going on right now, with a reboot (featuring the voice of Mark Hamill as Chucky!) in the works, a TV series from franchise creator Don Mancini, and then the ongoing series of sequels to the original 1988 film about the killer doll. As we said in our Cult of Chucky review, “Too many horror sequels feel like cheap and soulless cash ins. Cult of Chucky has big ideas, strong performances and some moments that rank among the best in the series. The other classic slasher franchises may be failing, but lately, Chucky is making entertaining horror sequels look like child’s play.”
Eli Roth’s best thriller, Hostel, is a vicious and mean-spirited trip to eastern Europe, where boorish and immature American tourists are kidnapped and used as fodder in the torture trade. These are the type of heroes you’d normally want to die in a low-budget horror movie, but Roth’s brutal violence and his lingering looks at their torment pushes Hostel beyond those familiar, mindless thrills and into the realm of the tragic and horrifying.
One of the creepiest and most original horror movies in years, The Autopsy of Jane Doe stars Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch as a father-son team of morticians who are tasked with performing an autopsy on a mysterious corpse that turned up at an inexplicable crime scene. As they dissect the body they discover one impossible medical mystery after another, until they find – too late – that the horrors haven’t stopped now that “Jane Doe” is dead. it’s suspenseful, fascinating, and scary as heck.
Guillermo del Toro’s Oscar-winning dark fairy tale tells the story of a young girl in early Francoist Spain, as she retreats into a world of horrifying magic to escape her fascist, violent new stepfather. Her world is so grim that even her imagination is tainted, and her childhood fantasy life more closely resembles a waking nightmare, filled with gruesome monsters and cruel temptations. Pan’s Labyrinth is haunting, earnest, and beautifully eerie.
A family that’s too Puritan for 1630s colonial America, which was spectacularly Puritan, is forced to live on their own, on the outskirts of the world. Grief, deception, hypocrisy and religious paranoia take hold, and the family starts tearing each other apart. Robert Eggers’ instant, modern classic The Witch is a masterpiece of mood, and captures the historical era with immersive specificity. You’ll feel like you’re trapped on this farm with these people, and going mad right alongside them.
This unexpected, creepy hit from 2016 stars Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead) as a babysitter hired by eccentric millionaires to take care of their… doll? At first she thinks it’s the easiest gig in the world, but she gradually begins to suspect that the doll is more alive than it appears. Spooky atmosphere and some very unexpected developments make The Boy a standout creepfest.
A bumbling cop investigates a series of mysterious deaths in his small town, and discovers that the real horror may be closer to home than he realizes. The Wailing sprints from genuine dread to broad horror comedy and back again, keeping you on your toes the whole time. You’ll never know where exactly this movie is going, but you’ll be glad it went there.
Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson play supernatural investigators who take on a job protecting a large family from a malevolent presence. James Wan directs the hell out of The Conjuring, crafting memorable characters and scary set pieces that will make you jump right out of your seat, shrieking like nobody’s business. It’s as frightening as it is classy.
Carla Gugino travels to an isolated cabin with her husband to spice up their marriage, but he dies while she’s handcuffed to the bed, and now she’s trapped, starving, and staring down a feral dog that’s found its way into the house. Mike Flanagan’s impeccably constructed adaptation of the Stephen King novel Gerald’s Game is a suspenseful film, but also a bravura showcase for Gugino’s incredible acting talents.
Logan Marshall-Green is invited to his ex-wife’s house for a dinner party, but there’s something… off. He can’t quite put his finger on it but there are suspicious little details everywhere, and director Karyn Kusama skillfully keeps us on a knife edge the whole movie, wondering what the heck is really going on. The Invitation is a subtle horror thriller, but if you like a movie with a slow burn, and impressive psychological insight, it’s a must see.
A single Iranian mother is trapped in her apartment with her frustrating young child and, after a missile strikes her building, a demonic djinn which starts manipulating them. Babak Anvari’s eerie and emotionally charged horror movie takes on a greater significance when placed against the political backdrop of Iran in the 1980s, but whether you’re picking up on all the subtext or only watching Under the Shadow as a straight-up supernatural thriller, you’re going to be impressed.
The zombie apocalypse has been unleashed in South Korea, and a group of total strangers are stuck on a speeding train when the outbreak starts. Sang-ho Yeon’s breathless horror-thriller figures out every possible way to make “zombies on a train” seem new and exciting, and builds a whole cast of characters you won’t want to watch get eaten, even though you know most of them will. Train to Busan is one of the most pulse-pounding zombie movies ever.
A group of friends are backpacking through the woods, but after spending the night in an abandoned cabin with a bizarre religious icon inside, they start to experience inexplicable phenomena. There are some familiar elements in David Bruckner’s The Ritual, but the film’s got a great cast and eventually leads to unusual, horrifying conclusions.
So there you have it: what to watch on Netflix right now in the world of horror movies. Check back here each month for new titles as Netflix adds them!
Note: This article is frequently amended to remove films no longer on Netflix, and to include more horror films that are now available on the service.
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