The best horror movies on Netflix

a frightened man in water

Thanks to streaming services like Netflix, getting a good cinematic scare has never been easier, but let’s be frank, finding the best horror movies in a huge online library of films can be a terrifying nightmare. Netflix has a giant variety of movies for any kind of horror lover to enjoy. From chilling independent films, to goosebumps-inducing blockbusters, there is so much to pick from that it can be overwhelming to find the scariest movies all by yourself.

If you’re stuck wondering what Netflix horror movie will thoroughly destroy your sleeping pattern the best, don’t worry because we’ve got you covered. To help cut down all the Netflix browsing time, we’ve made a list of the scariest movies for all your Netflix and thrill convenience.

So, have some holy water at the ready, grab some popcorn, and get ready for the most terrifying flicks the streaming service has to offer. From age-old classics to the latest modern spooky hits, we’ve left no murderous stone unturned, so sit back and let the nightmare fuel take hold. Here are the best horror movies on Netflix right now.

What are the best horror movies on Netflix?

  • Hereditary
  • The Blair Witch Project
  • Candyman
  • The Conjuring
  • Orphan
  • His House
  • Shaun of The Dead
  • Us
  • Creep
  • Freddy vs Jason
  • Run
  • #Alive

Hereditary (2018)

a family at the dinner table

When it was first released in 2018, Hereditary was often referred to as the year’s scariest film. It shocked critics and hardcore horror fans alike, and helped usher deep psychological horror back into the mainstream. The film has tense suspense elements, supernatural thrills, and is just an incredibly unnerving viewing experience overall.

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Hereditary tells the story of a family who, after a tragic accident, has to deal with grief, and overcome their collective trauma. However, coping with loss is never simple, especially when you throw a supernatural force into the mix. No matter what kind of horror ticks your scare box, Hereditary has a little bit of everything to make sure you’re left feeling spooked. It is also a film that is so gloriously horrific that it made it onto our best horror movies list, so you know we had to include it here too.

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

close up on a crying eye

The film that revived the ‘found footage’ format in horror, The Blair Witch Project is a timeless classic packed with suspense and paranoia. The supernatural film centres around three student filmmakers who go out into the Black Hills Forest to record a documentary about The Blair Witch, a spooky American urban legend.

However, looking for an otherworldly power out in the wilderness where no one can hear you scream, surprisingly, turns out to be a bad idea. The students end up missing, gone without a trace, and all their filming equipment with a collection of disturbing footage only found a year later after their disappearance. Few other films can terrify you with just its environment like Blair Witch can. The forest is shown to be a dark, intimidating thing, and even the tiny sounds of twigs snapping under the characters’ feet can make you jump.

Candyman (1992)

man with bees in his mouth

What better way to prepare for Jordan Peele’s remake than by watching the original horror on your Netflix account? Based on Clive Barker’s novel, The Forbidden, Candyman is packed full of pointed social commentary, supernatural mind trips, and lots and lots of bees.

Helen Lyle is a Chicago based student writing a thesis on folklore and legends. Her work leads her to Candyman, a ghost of a murdered slave from the 19th century who has become an efficient killer with a hook for a hand. After summoning him by chanting his name to a bathroom mirror (à la Bloody Mary mirror style), Candyman infiltrates her head, making her question what is a dream and what is reality, while also leaving a bloody mess of bodies in his wake.

Paired with being one of the best-acted films in the genre, and full of iconic striking gore and graffiti laced imagery, the film also makes points about systemic racism, and gentrification – themes that still strike a chord, and feel incredibly relevant today.

The Conjuring (2013)

From the director of Insidious, James Wan, The Conjuring stands as one of his scariest pieces of work to date. It is the first film in The Conjuring Universe, the popular series of movies inspired by the real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. The film is your classic supernatural horror, filled with jump scares, and a handful of haunting related mishaps that, while maybe not every horror lover’s cup of spooky tea, are just plain fun.

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The set-up is simple. A family moves into a rundown creepy looking farmhouse that turns out to be haunted as heck. Paranormal happenings start occurring nightly, and a sinister spirit begins to torment the home’s new residents. The story follows the typical haunting horror formula, but despite not being the most original film on our list, The Conjuring is still full of tension, and will make your heart race.

Orphan (2009)

girl crying with smudged makeup running down her face

Orphan is a psychological horror with some of the best child acting you’ll ever see. It has a bleak aesthetic, striking imagery, and a shocking twist ending. The movie is about a couple, who after experiencing a miscarriage, decide to adopt. However, instead of finding another family member, they fall victim to a mysterious ‘child’ called Ester (Isabelle Fuhrman).

The film knows how to fill you with an excess amount of anxiety, showing violence and dark character reveals at just the right moments. Its script also has a firm understanding of the human mind, perfecting gaslighting and prime manipulation through its dialogue. But perhaps the best thing about Orphan is Fuhrman’s performance. Few other actors can deliver such a bone-chilling and mature rendition of a horror antagonist. Despite a somewhat shaky Russian accent, she truly makes this horror a must-watch for any fans with a Netflix account.

His House (2020)

If you’re looking for genuinely frightening imagery and a film that knows how to shoot its ghosts, this is the Netflix pick for you. A couple manages to escape from war-torn South Sudan, but as they try to adjust to their new life as refugees in England, a dark supernatural force haunts them.

After being among the few survivors to make it across the English channel, Bol (Sope Dirisu) and his wife Rial (Wunmi Mosaku) move into a government-appointed, rundown house. The two try to start a new chapter in their lives, but their past, and an evil force lurking in their home refuses to let go. Like we said before, the imagery in His House is pure nightmare fuel, the cinematography is outstanding, and it will chill your bones. The movie also shows the oppression, trapped and desperate feelings of the refugee experience through a horror lens, making it timely as well as terrifying.

Shaun of The Dead (2004)

Horror comedy is a tricky subgenre, but few other genres can beat it when it is done right. Shaun of the Dead to this day still holds the crown for the best Zombie comedy (sorry Zombieland fans). It is a film that has aged incredibly well, and finds the perfect balance of laughter while homaging cult classics, like George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead.

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The film also brings us two versions of a zombie (yay). We get the cannibal monster variety, and a heightened version of the everyday 9-5 worker stuck in a mindless routine. Shaun (Simon Pegg) soon finds his uneventful life interrupted by the walking dead. He is forced to become a hero, setting off to save his friends and ex from the hordes of re-animated corpses. The movie is full of witty humour that lovingly pokes at undead tropes, and has plenty of action to complement its zombie apocalypse narrative – but before you watch it, just remember, dogs can look up.

Us (2019)

woman in a red jumpsuit standing in a classroom

A modern horror that holds a mirror up to America, Us is a movie that plays around with the concept of human duality, and has striking themes around home invasions and violence. Written and directed by Jordan Peele, the film follows a close-knit family whose holiday plans get disrupted by their murderous doppelgangers.

The plot is reminiscent of the 21st episode of the Twilight Zone (1959), Mirror Image, where a woman’s reflection tries to replace her at a bus stop. However, Peele’s movie proves to be even more unsettling than the famed TV show as we watch the family graphically fighting versions of themselves in a bid for survival. Us is also a character-driven story, sadistically allowing us to form strong attachments to everyone on screen before hitting us hard in the chest with all its tension and bloody violence. Truly a horror standout in the genre, it’s a scary Netflix must.

Creep (2014)

man in a wolf mask

Creep is a found footage horror that lives up to its namesake. The film creates fear through uncomfortableness, unsettling you with cringe-inducing intimacy that makes you want to log out of your Netflix account, chuck your TV out the window, and then lock your doors. Aaron, a filmmaker, travels to a remote cabin in the woods after accepting a job to film Josef – a terminally ill man who wants to leave a video diary for his unborn child before he passes away.

The film relies on its character interactions, and focuses on Josef’s pushing of personal boundaries, and his increasing aura of hostility as the plot moves forward. Creep is a short watch, being only 77 minutes long, but that’s why it works. It never overstays its welcome or pretends to be a grand in-depth narrative. We know what is going to happen from the get-go, but it’s seeing the journey to that expected violent climax which is morbidly fascinating, and what makes Creep a frighteningly memorable title.

Freddy vs Jason (2003)

a man with knives for fingers looking at another man wearing a ski mask

While it may not be a critical masterpiece, Freddy vs Jason is just plain, stupid slasher fun, and one of the most entertaining spooky flicks to grace cinematic history. The crossover of two iconic franchises, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th, it is a film that (if the title didn’t give it away already) shows the ultimate showdown between two of horror’s most iconic characters – Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees.

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After being forgotten and rendered powerless as a result, Freddy Krueger summons another killer, Jason, and tries to control him by taking on the form of his mother. Under Freddy’s manipulation, Jason starts doing what he does best, giving us bloody gore and piles of murdered teenagers. That is until he realises he’s being used and turns on Freddy as a result. Classic horror fans will love this film. It is violent, confirms that Jason and Freddy share a cinematic universe, and focuses on being a fun slasher through and through.

Run (2020)

a woman pushing a teenage girl in a wheelchair down a hospital corridor

If you can’t trust your mother, who can you trust? Run is part thriller, part psychological suspense, and all parts twisted. Directed by Aneesh Chaganty, and co-written by Sev Ohanian, there is a beautiful simplicity to this horror. The film has a straightforward plot, focusing on a mother and daughter relationship turned hostage scenario, and as the movie moves forward, a truly messed up story is revealed (and who doesn’t love those?).

Chloe starts to notice strange behaviours from her mother and some weird anomalies about the new medication she is taking. It turns out that her caring mother has a few skeletons in her closet. Trapped emotionally and physically, we get to see Chloe try and get out of her situation, gripping the edge of our seats while we do so. The film looks great, the acting is top-notch, and overall, Run is a film that is definitely worthy of your Netflix time.

#Alive (2020)

a horde of zombies in a corridor

Zombie movies always manage to hit that terror sweet spot but are especially effective when they stick to simple and contained storylines. #Alive is a South Korean horror that presents the standard zombie survival narrative in its purest form. It is a film that focuses on the adrenaline-inducing feeling of being trapped, completely isolated, and terrified that an undead horde may just be around the corner.

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Telling the story of Joon-woo, the film centres around his time alone in his family’s apartment during a mysterious infectious outbreak that causes those afflicted to crave fresh human flesh. There are some moments of the writing being predictable and character choices feeling forced. But despite this, #Alive is still wildly entertaining. It manages to focus on the basic instinct and emotions of human fear, and weirdly, as it shows loneliness, and the frantic hoarding of basic supplies, it feels somewhat relatable after the events of Covid-19.

Midsommar (2019)

The year following Hereditary, Ari Aster put out Midsommar, a piece of folk horror about a nightmarish holiday break-up. Left reeling from a family tragedy, Dani Ardor (Florence Pugh) accompanies her emotionally distant boyfriend, Christian (Jack Reynor), and his friends to a midsummer retreat that occurs every 90 years in Sweden.

Needless to say, their research trip yields fascinating results, for us and them. Written and directed by Aster, age-old ritual and psychedelic substances blur the lines of reality. Eventually, Dani realises she could do better than Christian, which spells bad news. Or good, depending on where you stand. One that yields good conversation either way.

And there you have it guys and ghouls, the best horror movies that Netflix has to offer. However, we all know that Netflix likes to keep us on our toes with fresh new releases. Be sure to keep up to date with our guide for any spooky streaming updates.

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Emma-Jane Betts

Staff Writer

Updated: Jul 19, 2021

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