The horror selection on Netflix can be intimidating, but if you know where to search, you’ll find some truly terrifying moments.
Horror movies to stream on Netflix
As the collection of Netflix’s original films expands rapidly, choosing the right movie to watch can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. Given that horror movies are among the most cost-effective to produce, it can be overwhelming to sort through the multitude of titles that often appear indistinguishable from one another. However, if you’re seeking a truly frightening viewing experience, the horror genre on Netflix offers a treasure trove of options.
While Netflix’s content priorities may change frequently, its horror library remains a standout feature. From classic films and recent box office hits to lesser-known foreign titles, there’s something for every horror aficionado to enjoy. To make the search easier, we’ve compiled a list of the scariest films currently available on Netflix. Check out our 22 top picks.
The horror genre may evolve and change, but one thing remains constant: creepy clowns are always frightening. To experience this fear, look no further than Andy Muschietti’s two-part adaptation of Stephen King’s novel. Bill Skarsgård’s portrayal of Pennywise the clown, a sinister shape-shifting predator who haunts children, is truly terrifying. This movie is a prime example of why Stephen King remains the undisputed king of horror and is one of the better Stephen King adaptations of the past decade. —CZ
In this hair-raising contained horror film, “Cube” and “The Menu” collide as prisoners engage in a fierce battle over exquisite cuisine in a towering vertical jail. Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia has created a sinister allegory that highlights the perils of human avarice and self-centeredness. It stands out as one of the most original horror concepts in recent years, and its dystopian tale of morality is brought to life with remarkable production design. Don’t miss the chance to experience the spine-tingling premise, and be sure to stay for the one-of-a-kind sets featured on Netflix.
“The Mist” (2007)
“The Mist,” directed by Frank Darabont, who also directed “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Green Mile,” is a methodically chilling horror story based on a Stephen King adaptation that takes on a Lovecraftian theme. The story revolves around a town that is consumed by an eerie mist. Although the mist is home to some frightening creatures, the film’s true horror lies in the evil that humans are capable of revealing when their survival is at risk. If you want to experience something that is deeply unsettling without being too graphic, “The Mist” is an excellent choice.
I Know What You Did Last Summer” (1997)
The cult classic status of this teen slasher movie, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Jennifer Love Hewitt and directed by Jim Gillespie, is well-deserved. The slasher genre has always relied on gruesome simplicity, and this tale of four friends fleeing from a hook-wielding murderer highlights that sometimes, a sinister figure armed with a menacing weapon is enough to terrify viewers. Rather than settling for the disappointing 2021 TV version, opt to revisit the original movie for a real scare.
It Follows” (2014)
With so many horror movies being released every year, it can often feel like the genre has tackled every possible original idea, and all that’s left is to find new spins on the best ones. But once in a while, someone comes up with a premise that’s truly fresh. Such was the case with “It Follows,” David Robert Mitchell’s chilling film about a supernatural entity that essentially takes the form of an STD. When a young girl (Maika Monroe) finds herself terrorized after a strange sexual encounter, she is forced to pass the demonic being on to a new sexual partner. What could have been a ridiculous “Friday the 13th” style teen sex horror is played completely straight, and Mitchell’s competent directing produces something downright thrilling.
To launch her film career, Julie Ducournau created a delightfully gory cannibal story before winning the Palme d’Or for “Titane.” The film, “Raw,” stars Garance Marillier as a veterinary student who becomes consumed by an unquenchable hunger for human flesh and will do anything to satisfy it. Ducournau masterfully utilizes this basic idea to create a multitude of stunning body horror scenes.
Gareth Evans demonstrated his exceptional directing skills in “The Raid: Redemption,” but with “Apostle,” he demonstrated his mastery in the horror genre as well. This exceptional folk horror film follows the story of Dan Stevens, who infiltrates a cult on a remote island to rescue his sister. However, he discovers that the reality he encounters is even more horrifying than anything he could have imagined.
“Blood Red Sky” (2021)
Peter Thorwarth’s “Blood Red Sky” is a highly entertaining Netflix original horror movie that packs a punch despite its seemingly campy premise of “vampires on a plane.” The German hijacking thriller balances psychological drama with just enough gore to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. Despite sounding like a cheesy concept, the movie takes itself seriously and delivers some genuinely scary moments.
In Nicolas Pesce’s highly anticipated follow-up to “The Eyes of My Mother,” “Piercing” begins with a close call as an infant is nearly stabbed with an ice pick. It’s clear that Pesce has taken his twisted genre style to the next level in this concise and slick adaptation of Ryu Murukami’s novel. The film follows a disturbed individual who finds a more satisfying outlet in S&M rather than infanticide. Although it doesn’t quite live up to the eerie surprises of his first feature, “Piercing” still offers enough macabre delights to showcase Pesce’s growing dark humor.
In 2017, filmmaker Paco Plaza caused a commotion with his horror film “Veronica.” The movie became a huge hit on Netflix, causing a sensation on social media. “Veronica” is based on an alleged true event that took place in Madrid in 1991, where a young woman passed away shortly after using a Ouija board. The film tells the story of a teenage girl who tries to communicate with her deceased father using the board during a solar eclipse, only to find out that their attempt to reach the afterlife has led to disastrous results. Many viewers reported turning off the movie midway due to its frightening content.
In “Cargo,” Martin Freeman is tasked with safeguarding his daughter amidst a zombie outbreak. This Netflix horror flick not only touches upon the theme of horror, but also delves into the issues of environmentalism and colonialism. Taking inspiration from “A Quiet Place,” which showcased the challenges of parenting during a unique apocalypse, “Cargo” sets itself apart by forcing the audience to contemplate their actions if they were faced with the inevitability of their own death, but still had a chance to offer hope to their child. As the world transforms into a bleak and unfamiliar place, hope becomes the ultimate weapon in overcoming obstacles, be it the zombie menace or the opportunity to rectify past mistakes in the pursuit of a better future.
Continue Reading on indiewire