If Halloween season was 365 days long, Netflix would have you covered with something scary to watch every single night. Hell, for some types of people Halloween might be every single day. And for those of you looking to get scared who don’t have the time to scroll through every single one of the titles you’ve never heard of on Netflix, we have just the thing for you.
Below we’ve curated the best horror movies to watch on Netflix right now. These range from critically acclaimed classics, to under-the-radar indie gems, to goofy b-movies, and even some straight-up comedy. And, of course there are a few Stephen King adaptations thrown into this mix. Would any list of frights be complete without the master himself? No matter what type of scare you need we have you covered. And, if you’re a horror die hard who’s gotten through everything on Netflix (are you okay?), why not branch out and check out our list of best horror movies of all time. It’s not our fault if you can’t sleep at night.
Nominated for three Academy Awards, the Stephen Spielberg produced and written Poltergeist is considered one of the best horror films of all time. A California family’s ideal suburban life is turned into a nightmare when spirits haunt their home and warp their young child.
Silence of the Lambs
Perhaps the most critically acclaimed horror movie of all time, Silence of the Lambs is the only film of its genre to win Best Picture at the Oscars. It’s also one of only a handful of films in history to win all five major Academy Award categories. This classic stars Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling, an FBI agent who must seek the help of the imprisoned cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lecter to help catch the serial killer known as Buffalo Bill.
Nothing is scarier than a pubescent boy coming of age and realizing he’s got a crush on his babysitter. Unless, said babysitter is in a demonic cult that sacrifices random dudes in your parents kitchen.
Killer Klowns from Outer Space
Who needs Pennywise, when you have Jojo the Klownzilla, the monster space clown? If you truly, truly need a getaway movie, Killer Klowns from Outer Space might be one of your best options on Netflix. Best not to know too much about this one going into it, but rest assured, it’s one big mess of living balloon animals, popcorn-shooting guns, and blood-drinking extraterrestrial clowns.
It Comes at Night
If you’ve watched an A24 screamfest before, you know what you’re getting with It Comes at Night. An A-plus cast (Joel Edgarton and Carmen Ejogo, here), claustrophobic thriller focused on a slowly crumbling family, and scares that will stay with you for a week. At least.
Florence Pugh is a must-watch in just about every role she takes on nowadays, but in a horror movie? After her tortured, weirder-than-hell turn in Midsommar, she’s quickly turning into one of the genre’s best players. Catch Pugh in Malevolent, which follows a group of scam artists who stage hauntings just so they can get paid to exorcise the fake ghosts. Then, they encounter the real deal.
The Evil Dead
You have to be a little twisted yourself (in a good way, of course!) to become a fan of the odd, but storied horror-comedy genre. Regardless, if you’re looking to be alternatingly terrified and amused for two hours, there’s one definitive film you have to start with. It’s Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead, which introduced us to Bruce Campbell’s Ash, who has to figure out how to un-possess his closest friends during a cabin getaway.
As Above, So Below
If you can stand to watch a found-footage horror movie in 2020, you could do a lot worse than As Above, So Below. It follows an archaeologist digging around for an artifact in the creepy Catacombs of Paris. And she… finds a little more than what she was looking for.
In the Tall Grass
In The Tall Grass, the latest in the mill of Stephen King’s book-to-screen adaptations, is basically everyone’s pumpkin patch nightmare come to life—two siblings dive into the titular grass to find a lost boy, where shady business ensues.
Would You Rather
As if the tween-party staple wasn’t horrifying enough, Would You Rather takes the game to an adult dinner party—with, yeah, life-or-death stakes.
The Blackcoat’s Daughter
The Blackcoat’s Daughter is a horror jam that slipped through the cracks amidst the prestige, Get Out and It Follows wave, but really should be up there with those movies. Produced by A24, it stars Emma Roberts as a student who finds herself in a Catholic schoolkid’s second-worst worst nightmare (demonic possession, second only to getting screamed at for an untucked shirt).
This horror satire from Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy is a mix of The Square and Eyes of Laura Mars, with Jake Gyllenhaal starring as an art critic who discovers that the mysterious paintings by an unknown artist have supernatural abilities—and take their revenge on anyone attempting to profit off of them.
Zoe Kazan stars in this claustrophobic thriller about a young mother whose complicated relationship with her 10-year-old daughter is more complicated after a mysterious car accident leaves them stranded on the road—and stalked by a mysterious monster that plans to do them both in.
Sandra Bullock, Sarah Paulson, Trevante Rhodes, and John Malkovich star in this dystopian thriller (and Netflix original film) about a woman who must travel blindfolded along with her children to safety as an unseen force stalks them on their journey.
Madeline Brewer plays an enterprising camgirl who discovers that she’s somehow been replicated in various videos that have been uploaded to her own website in this Internet-inspired horror thriller and Netflix original.
Aaron, a videographer (played by director Patrick Brice), answers an ad to work for a mysterious guy named Josef (Mark Duplass), whose awkward and uncomfortable behavior immediately makes Aaron uneasy. But his erratic behavior only becomes more and more bizarre in this indie psychological thriller.
One of Stephen King’s underrated novels thanks to its lack of supernatural fights, Gerald’s Game still packs a heavy psychological punch. A sexy tryst goes wrong when Gerald handcuffs his wife Jessie to a bed, only to immediately have a heart attack—leaving her imprisoned in both a remote cabin and her own delusional mind.
This creepy slasher flick follows a deaf writer (Kate Siegel) who lives a solitary life in the woods. But her peaceful retreat is changed forever when a masked killer appears, and she must fight—in silence—for her life.
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House
Director Osgood Perkins (son of Psycho star Anthony Perkins) helms this mystery about a live-in nurse, Lily (Ruth Wilson), who moves into the remote New England mansion owned by her patient, an elderly horror novelist who suffers from dementia. Soon Lily starts to question if the unsettling things that are taking place in this house came straight from one of her patient’s books.
A gathering of friends at a swank Hollywood Hills mansion turns deadly in Karyn Kusama’s chilling and unsettling thriller, which sees a seemingly innocuous dinner party devolve into a cult-inspired killing spree.
Under the Shadow
Set in the post-revolution era of 1980s Tehran, a mother must protect her daughter from a demonic possession in their home—all while a war rages on outside, leaving them fighting for safety from both manmade and supernatural evils.
Inspired by a true story (just like the best horror movies always are), this acclaimed Spanish film follows the 15-year-old Veronica who conducts a séance with a Ouija board—already a tricky situation, one that’s heightened by the fact that she does it during a solar eclipse. Things, naturally, do not go well for her afterward.
The Perfection is the age old tale of two world class cellists who go absolutely insane over their art. By the end, there are six lost limbs, hallucinations, three pant suits, and one of the wildest horror rides that Netflix originals has developed in its history.
Who among us doesn’t love a flesh eating virus? The 2002 film follows a group of college graduates who rent a cabin in the woods and the end game is absolutely grotesque and completely horrifying. Objective: complete.
Never go in the woods. Ever. There’s just not a reason for it. In The Ritual, four friends head into the woods to honor their late friend, but the Norse legends within the forest aren’t as welcoming as they’d hoped. Essentially, nothing wrong with just… you know, getting a cake and honoring your friend that way.
Justin Kirkland is a writer for Esquire, where he focuses on entertainment, television, and pop culture.
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