Are you looking for the best horror movies on Netflix right now? 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 scariest new releases in horror to stream on Netflix, including recent additions like The Blackcoat’s Daughter and It Comes at Night and all-time horror classics like Poltergeist and The Silence of the Lambs. This list features horror for fans of all kinds to watch, whether it’s Halloween or not! The newest additions to the list will be added at the top and marked with an asterisk.
Rather than an attempt to include as many diverse and memorable choices as possible from what’s currently available to stream, we lean towards those horror movies that scored well on aggregate sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. In some cases, we may pick more critically divisive movies that we still feel are worth checking out. The ultimate goal, however, is to ensure there’s something for horror fans of all tastes.
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Best Movies on Netflix by Genre:
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- Best horror TV shows on Netflix
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- Best superhero movies and TV shows on Netflix
- Best Netflix original movies
Please note: This list pertains to U.S. Netflix subscribers. Some titles may not currently be available on international platforms. This article is frequently amended to remove films no longer on Netflix and to include more horror movies that are now available on the service.
The Evil Dead (1981)*
Sam Raimi’s original ghoulish, splattery “Cabin in the Woods” demon possession romp is ready to swallow your soul, as Bruce Campbell’s Ash Williams must contend with the nightmarish monsters he inadvertently unleashes while reciting an ancient incantation.
Girl on the Third Floor (2019)*
CM Punk, real name Phil Brooks, and Banshee’s Trieste Kelly Dunn star in Travis Stevens’ gross-out Girl on the Third Floor — about a man who tries to renovate a rundown mansion for his family and gets caught up in the home’s heinous history.
Session 9 (2001)*
This psychological horror gem follows a cranky cleanup crew — featuring Peter Mullen, David Caruso, and Josh Lucas — as they remove asbestos from an abandoned mental hospital…and fall victim to the building’s figurative, and literal, darkness.
Sleepy Hollow (1999)*
In Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s most raucous team up, Depp’s quirky investigator Ichabod Crane travels to upstate New York to solve the mystery of a headless, horse riding apparition that’s slicing its way through the small town residents of Sleepy Hollow. Christina Ricci, Christopher Walken, and Miranda Richardson co-star.
Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley star in this Cronenberg-ian sci-fi monster mash, from Cube’s Vincenzo Natali, about a couple who attempt to create hybrids of species by introducing human DNA into their work of splicing animal genes. The result is “Dren,” a creature that’s both a beautiful dream and a haunting nightmare.
This stunning found footage-style slice of psychological horror stars Patrick Brice (who also directs) as a videographer assigned to record an eccentric client (co-writer Mark Duplass) who claims to have an inoperable brain tumor. The film’s excellent sequel, Creep 2, is also on Netflix.
This well-received Netflix original offers up a new kind of doppelgänger yarn as a camgirl, played by The Handmaid’s Tale’s Madeline Brewer, encounters a mysterious woman — who looks just like her and takes over her channel.
Before I Wake (2016)*
Having collected dust on the shelf for two years before being released in 2018, Mike Flanagan’s Before I Wake stars Kate Bosworth, Thomas Jane, and Doctor Sleep’s Jacob Tremblay in a tale about a couple who, mourning the death of their son, welcome a foster child into their lives. A boy whose dreams — and nightmares — manifest physically as he sleeps.
This recent Netflix original centers on a boy, receiving treatment for his auto-immune disorder, who discovers that the house he’s living in isn’t as safe as he thought. Kelly Reilly, Max Martini, and Charlie Shotwell star.
The Perfection (2018)*
Girls’ Allison Williams, along with Steven Weber and Dear White People’s Logan Browning, star in this intense stalker thriller about a troubled musical prodigy who seeks out the new star pupil of her former school, sending both musicians down a sinister path with shocking consequences.
Skip the remake and the unnecessary sequels and go straight to the original. Poltergeist remains one of the greatest haunted house movies of all time, with a filmmaking dream team that includes director Tobe Hooper and writer/producer (and reportedly co-director) Steven Spielberg. The film benefits from the same whimsical flair as so many great Spielberg movies, but it’s also a genuinely terrifying look at what happens when an ordinary family moves into the wrong neighborhood.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Jonathan Demme’s Oscar-winning film wasn’t the first time Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter made it to the big screen, but it was surely the best. The 1991 picture landed Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Anthony Hopkins), Best Actress (Jodie Foster), and Best Screenplay (Ted Tally), while also launching a franchise about the oh-so-suave cannibalistic genius. Of course, if you somehow haven’t seen The Silence of the Lambs yet, you must do that immediately on Netflix… with some fava beans and a nice chianti. You can also check out the 2002 prequel Red Dragon, a more safe but still completely enjoyable follow-up.
Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988)
Perhaps no movie on Netflix more blatantly skirts the line between horror and camp humor, and that’s why we love Killer Klowns From Outer Space. This kooky, low-budget cult classic chronicles an invasion by man-eating clowns from outer space. It’s a fun homage to the B-movies of yesteryear, but the creature effects and music are genuinely good, enough that Killer Klowns will still scratch that horror itch even as it makes you chuckle.
The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015)
If it’s a horror film distributed by A24, it’s probably worth watching. The Blackcoat’s Daughter may not have garnered as much attention as other A24 releases like The Witch, but it’s a great example of a psychological thriller that avoids the usual cliches and jump scares of most modern horror movies. Emma Roberts and Lucy Boynton star as two boarding school students who stay behind over the holiday break and discover their teachers may actually be Satanists, though the plot takes quite a few turns from there.
It Comes at Night (2017)
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.
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.
In the Tall Grass (2019)
One of the newer additions to the Netflix horror library, In the Tall Grass has quite a 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 cornfield 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.
Under the Shadow (2016)
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.
Would You Rather (2012)
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?
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.
Green Room (2015)
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 traveling 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.
Cult of Chucky (2017)
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!) recently hitting theaters, 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.”
The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
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.
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
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.
Gerald’s Game (2017)
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.
The Invitation (2015)
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.
The Ritual (2017)
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.
How We Choose the Best Horror Movies on Netflix
Horror is a wide-ranging genre, ranging from classic monster fests to slasher flicks to high-brow, thoughtful creepers. We try to focus on horror movies that have a time-tested reputation like Poltergeist, as well as those movies that scored well on aggregate sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. In some cases, we may pick more critically divisive movies like Cult of Chucky that we still feel are worth checking out. The one common thread is that all these movies explore the scares and the screams in a bloody good way.
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