As Netflix’s library of movies ebbs and flows, discovering the proper film to observe can really feel like bailing out the ocean with a spoon. Think about the truth that horror is among the most cost-effective genres to supply, and also you’re left with a tsunami of titles that typically appear indistinguishable from each other. So when you’re in search of one thing good to observe on Netflix that may really scare you, selecting a film is usually a daunting activity.
Whereas Netflix’s priorities appear to shift as shortly as its content material choice grows, the streamer’s horror library stays a excessive level with unique triumphs, just like the “Worry Avenue” trilogy and a large providing of Mike Flanagan works, in addition to performs in established franchises, like director David Blue Garcia’s “The Texas Chainsaw Bloodbath” (2022). From classics and some field workplace toppers to obscure overseas titles you might need by no means found with out the omnipotent algorithm, there’s one thing for each horror fan to take pleasure in.
To make your job slightly simpler, we’ve compiled an updating record of a few of the scariest movies presently obtainable on Netflix. Hold studying for 20 of our picks, together with “The Ring,” “Gerald’s Sport,” and alternatives from “Guillermo del Toro’s Cupboard of Curiosities.” All titles can be found in July 2023, and are listed in no explicit order.
With editorial contributions by Steve Greene, Tambay Obenson, and Zack Sharf.
[Editor’s note: This guide was published in fall 2021 and has been updated multiple times since.]
“Paranormal Exercise” (2007)
Whereas “Blair Witch” spawned scads of imitators (and its personal mixed-bag of a franchise), no different movie captured the probabilities of discovered footage and the inherent terror of the “actual” till a decade later when Oren Peli shot his chilling spin on a haunted home thriller in only a week. Made on a shoestring funds and with the minimal of crew (the digital camera is stationary a lot of the time), Peli’s characteristic follows a younger couple whose lives are endlessly altered by the unknown lurking of their San Diego house.
Like “Blair Witch,” it’s a fundamental premise, however enlivened by the discovered footage angle and the unshakable sense it may very well be actual (kudos to actors Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat, who stay thrilling and pure even within the craziest of circumstances). Like “Blair Witch,” the movie was eye-popping sufficient in a competition atmosphere to garner Hollywood consideration, although it was initially believed that Peli would merely remake the movie for an even bigger operation.
No want, the unique sufficed, freaking out audiences world wide and pulling in almost $200 million within the course of. The inevitable franchise has confirmed a bit unwieldy, topic to each narrative retconning that diminishes the straightforward pleasures of its preliminary plot and a handful sequences worthy of such an unique success. —KE
“The Ring” (2002)
Gore Verbinski’s supernatural story is a remake of the 1998 Japanese horror movie “Ringu,” primarily based on the novel of the identical identify by Koji Suzuki. A journalist investigates the legend of a videotape comprised of disturbing, mystifying photographs which when watched, results in a cellphone name foretelling the viewer’s loss of life in seven days. Led by an impassioned efficiency from Naomi Watts, this enigmatic ghost story is heavy on environment — thanks partially to it’s gloomy, remoted Seattle setting — and provides up some real scares. Darkish, unsettling, and intentionally paced, a number of thrilling twists that steadily reveal the movie’s mystifying plot will maintain the viewers’s consideration. The primary American “J-Horror” remake, followers of the unique ought to discover this remake almost as compelling. It spawned 3 sequels and paved the way in which for extra American remakes of Japanese horror movies, together with “The Grudge.” —TO
“Dice” meets “The Menu” on this chilling contained horror film about inmates combating over connoisseur meals in an enormous vertical jail. Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s twisted allegory for the risks of human greed and individualism boasts one of the distinctive horror ideas we’ve seen in years, and finds a method to make its dystopian morality play plausible with beautiful manufacturing design. Come for the creepy premise, keep for a few of the most unusual units you’ll discover on Netflix. —CZ
Gareth Evans proved he can direct motion in addition to nearly anybody with “The Raid: Redemption,” however with “Apostle,” he confirmed audiences that horror is firmly inside his wheelhouse as properly. This stellar people horror effort tells the story of a person (Dan Stevens), who infiltrates a spiritual cult on a distant island in an try to extract his sister from it, however what he finds is extra horrifying than something he might presumably think about. —CZ
“Blood Purple Sky” (2021)
One of many extra enjoyable Netflix unique horror motion pictures in latest reminiscence, Peter Thorwarth’s “Blood Purple Sky” will get extra mileage out of its “vampires on a aircraft” story than it had any proper to. Whereas the German hijacking thriller might by no means get as gory as its wild logline suggests, it makes up for it in sufficient psychological drama to make for a extremely entertaining viewing. Whereas the thought feels like pure camp, it takes itself extra severely than one would possibly suppose and delivers some actual scares within the course of. —CZ
In director Nicolas Pesce’s stunning first characteristic “The Eyes of My Mom,” an toddler little one is kidnapped and raised by a lunatic. Within the first jiffy of his followup “Piercing,” an toddler almost will get stabbed by an ice choose. It comes as no shock that Pesce has raised the bar for his twisted style sensibilities on this concise sophomore effort, a slick adaptation of Ryu Murukami’s novel about one other disturbed thoughts who finds a extra productive outlet than infanticide in S&M. Although it falls wanting the eerie surprises present in his black-and-white debut, “Piercing” delivers simply sufficient macabre delights to verify a darkly comedic sensibility on the rise. —ZS
“[REC]” filmmaker Paco Plaza prompted a stir in 2017 when his horror film “Veronica” grew to become a viral sensation on Netflix. The movie is a fictional account of an alleged true story which occured in Madrid in 1991, the place a younger lady died all of a sudden a number of months after utilizing her Ouija board. In Plaza’s movie, a teenage lady tries to make contact together with her lifeless dad utilizing a Ouija board throughout a photo voltaic eclipse. The lady’s associates be a part of her, however quickly all three understand that their plan to succeed in the lifeless has had horrific penalties. Social media erupted in 2017 when the movie hit streaming, with many subcribers saying they needed to flip off the film halfway by its runtime as a result of it was simply too terrifying. —ZS
Martin Freeman should shield his daughter from a zombie outbreak in “Cargo,” a Netflix horror providing that additionally tackles environmentalism and colonialism. Taking a web page from “A Quiet Place,” which additionally explored parenting beneath distinctive apocalyptic circumstances, “Cargo” stands out from the pack by asking viewers to think about what they could do in the event that they knew their life was doomed however they may nonetheless provide their little one hope. Because the world continues to turn into a darkish and unrecognizable place, that seed of hope simply may be the important thing to overcoming insurmountable odds, whether or not it’s a zombie infestation or the possibility to proper the wrongs of the previous within the hopes of a greater future. —ZS
Thomas Jane provides his greatest efficiency in ages on this poetic tackle the Stephen King novella of the identical identify. In “1922,” a man kills his spouse and feels responsible about it. That’s the gist of its premise, and whereas nothing groundbreaking, the story mines a level of profundity out of the standard supernatural thriller tropes at its core. As directed by Zak Hilditch (whose 2013 debut “These Closing Hours” was an expressionistic apocalyptic story), “1922” has the deserves of a strong “Tales From the Crypt” or “Masters of Horror” episode, with a simple story that folds the fragile visible language of a rural Terrence Malick drama into the mould of existential horror. The outcome suggests what would possibly occur if Malick took at stab at “The Inform-Story Coronary heart,” with a mentally disturbed male protagonist straight out of King’s “The Shining.” So whereas not probably the most unique or stunning King story, it hits a number of the proper notes. —ZS
“His Home“ (2020)
This tender however terrifying Netflix film tells the story of two Sudanese asylum-seekers who arrive in Britain with their demons in tow. Among the best debut movies of 2020, Remi Weekes’ shrewd, tender, and sometimes terrifying “His Home” begins with a intelligent premise — the immigrant expertise as a horror film — and expands on that concept in figuring out and surprising methods. Whereas a lesser movie might need condescended to those characters and mined straightforward scares from the indignities of the assimilation course of, Weekes’ dingy chiller implicitly acknowledges that life can be troublesome for a grieving Black couple who present up in England with nothing however one another and some trinkets to their names, and it by no means stops utilizing its style as a torch to light up the precise types these shadowed difficulties would possibly take. —ZS
“The Ritual“ (2018)
Horror favorites like Guillermo del Toro and Mike Flanagan took to social media in 2018 to champion David Bruckner’s lost-in-the-woods chiller “The Ritual.” The movie stars Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier, and Sam Troughton as 4 associates who get collectively to honor the reminiscence of one among their late buddies by setting out on a climbing journey by Sarek Nationwide Park in northern Sweden. The forest, nonetheless, is hiding some darkish secrets and techniques, and it doesn’t take lengthy for the group to be put in jeopardy after they discovery one thing terrifying is lurking about. Del Toro “extremely beneficial” the film to his followers and known as it “wonderful and scary.” Flanagan, in the meantime, mentioned the movie was “severely nice” and “dripping with rigidity.” —ZS
Simply if you thought the discovered footage horror style had hit its restrict, Patrick Brice and Mark Duplass dropped “Creep” to get followers excited in regards to the subgenre over again. Brice performs a down-on-his-luck filmmaker who solutions a web based advert to movie the eccentric Josef (Duplass) for a whole day. Filming round Josef’s household cabin in Northern California, the director quickly realizes that not every little thing is because it appears. The primary a part of “Creep” has an oddly hypnotic high quality, with Duplass starring in what looks like a efficiency artwork piece. Because the day goes on, the dynamic between the 2 characters steadily mutates and turns into extra imbalanced till Josef makes a startling revelation late at night time and issues turn into unrelentingly creepy. The revelation forces the director to flee the cabin, and that’s when “Creep” goes from hypnotic chiller to scary good horror film. —ZS
“Beneath the Shadow“ (2016)
Leap scares and a frantic father or mother shielding her little one from ominous supernatural forces: These tropes are hardly new to the horror style, however they obtain a contemporary spin in “Beneath the Shadow,” the feature-length debut of Iranian director Babak Anvari. The Tehran-set story takes place in 1988, as Iraqi bombs rain down on the top of the 2 international locations’ conflict, an attractive historic backdrop for issues that go bump within the night time. On the face of it, the setting of “Beneath the Shadow” might recall to mind 2014’s black-and-white Iranian vampire story “A Lady Walks Dwelling Alone at Evening,” however the similarities cease with the nationality and demonic presence. As a substitute, “Beneath the Shadow” bears a better similarity to “The Babadook,” which additionally targeted on a mom defending her child from an an eerie, largely unseen determine who might or will not be a metaphor for psychological duress. —ZS
“Handmaid’s Story” star Madeline Brewer and “The Love Witch” breakout Samantha Robinson lead this eerie mind-fuck about our on-line personas. Brewer performs Alice, an bold camgirl who wakes up at some point to find she’s been changed on her present with a precise reproduction of herself. This early twist sends the film even deeper into Lynchian territory, however “Cam” would have been loads efficient with out it. Director Daniel Goldhaber, resisting the urge to restrict your entire movie to a pc display screen (à la “Unfriended”) creates a totally credible live-stream group. Lola’s internet chamber is slathered in a neon pink mild that turns every little thing it touches into the stuff of pure creepiness. “Cam” is ready to replicate the unusual home of mirrors that we’re all misplaced in every time we go surfing, and it’s in a position to viscerally convey the panic of looking for a means out. The last word answer that Alice devises is simply too easy to be dramatically satisfying, however it’s plausible sufficient to scare you off social media… if just for a few minutes. —ZS
“Gerald’s Sport“ (2017)
Mike Flanagan directs this compelling, trustworthy Netflix remedy of Stephen King’s ebook and will get assist from his dedicated actors Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood. “Gerald’s Sport” facilities on a lady chained to a mattress after a kinky intercourse sport gone improper who’s pressured to wander the darkish contours of her personal thoughts. How do you make a film out of that? Flanagan figured it out. It takes a particular type of filmmaker to sort out the challenges of a single-set survival film, whether or not it’s Danny Boyle in a canyon (“127 Hours”) or Rodrigo Cortés inside a coffin (“Buried”), however the closest cinematic comparability to “Gerald’s Sport” is James Wan’s “Noticed,” which additionally includes terrified individuals handcuffed towards their will. Right here, trendy horror maestro Flanagan tackles the tough proposition with a eager visible sense and loads of disorienting twists. Identical to King’s ebook, the movie adaptation of “Gerald’s Sport” is disturbing, grotesque, and absurd. —ZS
“Worry Avenue“ (2021)
The kitschy genius of Leigh Janiak’s “Worry Avenue” trilogy, which the writer-director has tailored for Netflix from R.L. Stine’s younger grownup horror books of the identical identify, is that every of its three chapters provides its personal full-tilt throwback similtaneously all of them bleed collectively into an entirely trendy story. That story — a frothy however fanged story of cursed outsiders, cyclical violence, power-mad white males, and just about each different evil that appears prime of thoughts today — is loads of the second in its subject material, however much more so in its development. At a time when the border that separates motion pictures and tv can look like a relic from an outdated map, the “Worry Avenue” trilogy makes these divisions appear extra irrelevant than ever. Right here we now have three feature-length titles, every of which belongs to a special custom of horror cinema. —ZS
“I Am the Fairly Factor That Lives within the Home“ (2015)
Osgood Perkins broke out together with his 2015 directorial debut “The Blackcoat’s Daughter” and most not too long ago earned sturdy critiques with this yr’s “Gretel and Hansel,” however wedged in between these efforts is his sturdy Netflix unique “I Am the Fairly Factor That Lives within the Home.” Ruth Wilson provides a commanding efficiency as a live-in nurse who involves imagine her aged employer’s home is haunted. Perkins doesn’t waste a second on this 87-minute supernatural chiller that’s additional proof the writer-director is among the most neglected administrators within the horror style. —ZS
“Guillermo del Toro’s Cupboard of Curiosities: The Post-mortem” (2022)
“The Post-mortem” follows a simple-enough premise: A health care provider is distributed in to determine what truly killed the victims of mining explosion. With out being slowed down by all of the transferring items of an hourlong plot, this turns into a showcase for the type of precision you’d anticipate from a narrative advised by exact incisions. Prior makes probably the most out of the tiniest particulars, be it Luke Robert’s menacing smile, the squelching sound of jostling organs, or the foot pedal controlling Dr. Winters’ (F. Murray Abraham) reel-to-reel recorder. And so they’re all introduced with the matter-of-fact confidence its protagonist has, even when dealing with his personal loss of life. Of all these tales, that is the one that completely harnesses that feeling of seeing one thing simply barely off, like wanting right into a stranger’s eyes and seeing them glow slightly too brightly. It’s an episode constructed on tiny, managed actions, setting the stage for a showdown for the destiny of humanity that takes place within the cosmic battlefield of the thoughts. —SG
“Guillermo del Toro’s Cupboard of Curiosities: Graveyard Rats” (2022)
Tailored from the 1936 debut work of writer Henry Kuttner, the second within the “Cupboard of Curiosities” follows one other man deep in debt. Having already made peace with betraying his grieving purchasers and stealing from their lifeless family members, an undertaker faces off with a pack of rodents he claims is stealing his stolen treasure straight off the corpses nonetheless underground. There’s a straightforward-enough message to Vincenzo Natali’s movie and that’s “don’t mess with the lifeless.” Quite than selecting aside the that means on this maybe not obligatory cautionary story (Are grave robbers working today? Do individuals even get buried with jewels anymore?), the enjoyable on this installment might be discovered by watching the writer-director and star David Hewlett give up to the sinfully foolish pitter-patter of rat-infested terror. From gross-out bouts of physique horror (Rat! In! Mouth!) to a staggering underground atmosphere reveal, “Graveyard Rats” takes the straightforward idea of its title to spooky extremes for an nearly faultless one-off scare. —AF
“Guillermo del Toro’s Cupboard of Curiosities: The Viewing” (2022)
Most of “Cupboard of Curiosities” is following characters who’ve fatally unhealthy concepts. One of many causes that “The Viewing” works so properly is that, for an honest chunk of its runtime, the characters invited to a personal exhibition on the house of an eccentric gazillionaire imagine they’re going to make it out of the expertise with a rad story and nothing else to essentially fear about. Cosmatos and Stewart-Ahn whip up a central group of artists and scientists, gathered to absorb a once-in-a-lifetime night of ultra-rare booze, coke, and different…indulgences. Earlier than issues descend into chaos — when a room in a Cosmatos joint will get drenched in blood-red mild, it’s solely a matter of time — “The Viewing” is extraordinarily cautious about the place and when to start out dialing up the uneasiness. It’s not simply the gory penalties or the way in which Peter Weller delivers the phrase “shit your thoughts” or what emerges from the Obelisk Room (or the best Michael McDonald smash reduce in historical past). As with all nice horror story transformations, it’s the sense that the world because it exists on this shiny, alternate model of September 1979 won’t ever, ever be the identical. —SG
Learn IndieWire’s full information to “Guillermo del Toro’s Cupboard of Curiosities.”