Horror movies on Netflix are all the rage as of this writing. Just in 2018, we’ve seen huge hits of Halloween revitalized by a deep dose of nostalgia, Hereditary receiving a lot of buzz for Toni Collette’s fantastic performance, and Mandy being a stylish showcase for the insanity that is Nicolas Cage. Netflix, ever the content-thirsty streaming service, is doing its best to meet the demands for horror movies when the need for the genre is hot. They’ve already been pushing for more horror based series that have been making waves, which includes the likes of The Haunting of Hill House and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. But they’re not sleeping on keeping their content loaded up with horror films, both original movies and films you may have missed at the theater. Or even the video store when those were still a big thing. Here are 30 horror movies you should have on your Netflix watchlist.
Last updated: 18 August, 2019.
Deadly Detention (2017) – IMDB Score 3.6/10
This ain’t no Breakfast Club. Deady Detention finds five teenage students attending Saturday detention but there’s no time for connecting and learning more about each other. Not when the principal has been murdered. With a madman running about the school, it’s up to the five students to stop this murderer before they end up with the worst fate: dead in school on a Saturday.
Don’t Knock Twice (2016) – IMDB Score 5.1/10
Jess is an artist that desperately wants to reconnect with her estranged daughter, Chloe. In doing so, however, she ends up attracting the attention of an evil witch when they knock on the wrong door in the wrong part of town. And what follows is a series of strange and creepy events as the witch’s curse takes effect. Starring Katee Sackhoff and Lucy Boynton.
The Super (2017) – IMDB Score 6/10
A former cop thinks he can take it a little easier with the less dangerous job of managing an apartment building. But he’ll soon find himself in a tougher situation when his tenants start disappearing. To find out what’s going on, he’ll need to solve a series of riddles in order to crack the case, lest he finds himself managing a mostly empty and bloody building of a killer’s playground.
Await Further Instructions (2018) – IMDB Score 4.8/10
Christmas Day is usually a joyous occasion to awake to but not for this family. Their Christmas finds them in their house with a strange black essence surrounding them. On their television, they receive a broadcast that tells them to stay indoors and await further instructions. But they may not have much time to wait as they soon find themselves trapped inside as technology quickly becomes a deadly enemy.
Zodiac (2007) – IMDB Score 7.7/10
Though David Fincher’s take on the Zodiac killer is primarily more of a detective film for its long and grueling approach to the investigation, when the killer strikes, it’s terrifying and bloody. And that terror builds all the more fearful when the investigation becomes maddening for those trying to find the culprit over decades. Features fantastic performances by the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Anthony Edwards, and Brian Cox.
Poltergeist (1982) – IMDB Score 7.4/10
Though possibly more quaint than most horror pictures, the haunted house scenario of Poltergeist is sure to still make a few skins crawl. How could anyone forget the scenes of a mirror where you tear your face off, a clown toy turned killer and a frightening tree that attacks amid a storm? And, of course, you can’t forget that creepy line of the little girl speaking to the ghosts through the television: “They’re heeeere.”
Velvet Buzzsaw (2019) – IMDB Score 5.7/10
Dan Gilroy’s slasher picture takes place in the world of art. Not so much of artists but the people who wheel and deal when it comes to getting paintings and pieces from easels to galleries. It’s a scummy and despicable world where lifestyle clouds morality. But when a slew of paintings discovered from a mysterious painter who died in his apartment start coming to life and killing the buyers, the people who deal in the art will soon find themselves defending themselves from it in this surreal and horrific take on the art world.
The Monster (2016) – IMDB Score 5.4/10
A mother and daughter find their troubled relationship put to the test after a car accident leaves them stranded. But when stuck on deserted country roads, the mother-daughter soon find themselves under attack by a mysterious monster that lurks just outside their car doors. It’s a terrifying trip through the woods which may or may not bring these family members together.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016) – IMDB Score 6.8/10
An unidentified woman is found dead in the investigation of a homicide. But something seems off about this case as the father and son coroners assigned to examine the body find some very strange clues about what led to the woman’s death. A slow-burn of a horror that wonderfully weaves paranormal and Biblical elements into the job of identifying bodies.
May the Devil Take You (2018) – IMDB Score 6/10
When a woman finds that her father is infected with a mysterious illness, she ventures on a quest for answers at an old villa. But she’s not prepared for the horrors she unearths when she makes a terrifying discovery of the past. Directed by Timo Tjahjanto, this Indonesian horror makes great use of its practical effects to evoke the biggest frights on the smallest of budgets.
Apostle (2018) – IMDB Score 6.3/10
Thomas Richardson returns to London to find that his sister has been kidnapped by a religious cult and they’re holding her for ransom. To find her, he’ll have to travel to the cult’s secret island where he probes into the community’s corruption. But he’s definitely not prepared for what evil he uncovers on the island and within the cult.
Malevolent (2018) – IMDB Score 4.8/10
Paranormal publicity seems to be all the rage that a brother-sister duo makes a profit off of staging encounters with spirits. But they’re in for a surprise when their latest job turns out to not be a hoax but a real encounter with the paranormal. A darkly satisfying film for anyone who wanted to see those numerous paranormal programs that flood television get a real dose of the spooky.
The Witch (2015) – IMDB Score 6.8/10
1630 New England is the setting for a farmer’s family being terrified by a mysterious witch that dwells in the woods. But this is no mere bloom-flyer or conjurer of toad-transformation spells. She slowly works her way into terrorizing this family by abducting and possessing their children, leading to some shocking and chilling scenes of brilliant acting. Easily one of the best horror films of 2016.
The Maus (2017) – IMDB Score 6.8/10
Set during the Bosnian war of the 1990s, a couple of Bosnian Muslim and a German find themselves stranded in the woods. But a journey through the forest soon takes a dark turn when they’re attacked by locals and a mysterious amulet unleashes an evil force. Though tough to watch at times with its depictions violence and rape with real-world relation, it’s an engrossing horror for those that appreciate a little historical politics with their frightening films of blood and guts.
Mohawk (2017) – IMDB 4.5/10
Taking place in 1814, the female Mohawk warrior Okwaho finds herself getting involved with the war against the invaders of her homeland. Soon she finds herself teaming up with a British ally to stop the military renegades seeking revenge on her. Using anything they can find in the forest, they wage a bloody battle for survival. What starts as a historical drama quickly escalates into a brutal horror.
Would You Rather? (2012) – IMDB 5.7/10
If the absence of the Saw franchise has you longing for some more horrific games of torture, here is a film just for that dark little desire. Seven unlucky souls find themselves trapped inside a mansion run by a deranged Jeffrey Combs. He forces them into a night of playing games with deciding which activity more gruesome they’d rather complete, deciding who will be harmed among the group.
Cargo (2017) – IMDB Score 6.3/10
The zombie apocalypse has got to be extra scary for new parents. Martin Freeman plays a dad of an infant daughter, trying to keep them both alive when a zombie outbreak has overtaken the world. But if he becomes infected, the bigger question of arises of what to do with his child in a world of bloodthirsty zombies and untrustworthy living.
Tale of Tales (2015) – IMDB Score 6.3/10
The story of three kingdoms comes off as a fantasy but weaves in horrific elements of lust and devils. The stories include elements of sexual libertines, odd animals, and a desire for a child. Filled with throat-slitting and bloodthirsty beasts, it’s exceedingly engaging for dabbling in medieval fantasy with a bitter helping of the horrific.
Murder Party (2007) – IMDB 5.9/10
Halloween parties can certainly be awkward and scary but it’s exceptionally terrifying for the lonely Christopher. He happens upon an invitation and arrives to discover that the party is going to be a group murder for a collective of art students. What follows is a ridiculously violent spree of blood and guts with a punk rock vibe and crazy gore.
Delirium (2018) – IMDB Score 5.7/10
Tom Walker seems to be a lucky guy as he inherits a mansion from his rich father, a surprising gift after Tom has just recently been released from a mental institution. But he may also have bad luck when he starts to discover that the mansion is haunted. Or is it just Tom’s crazy mind playing tricks on him again? The psychological horror ala The Shining stars Topher Grace as Tom.
Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil (2007) – IMDB Score 6.4/10
Demons usually go on the offensive in horror movies, but Errementari turns the tables on that scenario when a blacksmith manages to capture one. Angered by his woes, the blacksmith tortures the demon to let off some steam. But the tables are turned once more when a little orphan girl accidentally unleashes the demon. A very clever tale of devils with some fantastic designs and great playfulness with mythology.
Kuntilanak (2018) – IMDB 4.7/10
There’s always been a fascination with mirrors in the realm of the scary. Kuntilanak continues this trend in a story of five orphan kids who discover their orphanage mirror is actually a portal for a ghost. And he’s no Casper as the ghost kidnaps children and keeps them in a prison of glass. Another fascinating horror film from Indonesia.
Sabrina (2018) – IMDb Score 4.3/10
Not to be confused with Netflix’s horror series, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, this film doesn’t follow a witch but a toy manufacturer and his wife. As the third film in the Doll movie series, the toy man is terrorized by a demon that comes forth when his orphaned niece tries to summon the spirit of her late mother. If you dig horror films with lots of creepy dolls, Sabrina has you more than covered.
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) – IMDB Score 7.2/10
From Dusk Till Dawn is a nasty little trick of a horror film you can play on your friends. Start it up by saying its an undiscovered Tarantino-written thriller of bad guys holding a family hostage for money. They’ll be incredibly shocked when they discover halfway through the story shifts into the story of a strip club run by vampires that rip apart the patrons in a gory bloodbath.
Shaun of the Dead (2004) – IMDB Score 7.9/10
A highlight of director Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg plays the dreary-eyed slacker Shaun who soon finds himself and his friends in the middle of a zombie apocalypse in England. Teaming up with his family and friends, they fight their way through the hordes of the undead to head for the pub, have a pint, and wait out the zombies. A hilarious and gory comedy that would help launch Wright as one of the best directors of the 21st century.
The Strangers (2008) – IMDB Score 6.2/10
Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman play a couple terrorized on vacation by mysterious and masked killers. The couple fight for survivals as the intruders of their family vacation home torture them with gruesome results. Unlike a lot of modern slashers, The Strangers doesn’t try to load up its story with a plethora of reasoning for the kills. It’s just a good old-fashioned slasher of victims running and killers killing.
American Psycho (2000) – IMDB Score 7.6/10
The film that made us all pay attention to the talent that is Christian Bale, and apparently his favourite role ever, this film is based on the 1991 novel by Bret Eaton Ellis. Bale plays Patrick Bateman, a wealthy New York banker who evolves into a serial killer. If you aren’t already terrified of rats, you will be after watching this film. It is mean and violent, but still manages to carry just enough humour to make it palatable.
The Others (2001) – IMDB Score 7.6/10
Starring the always highly-watchable Nicole Kidman, this Alejandro Amenabar film is set in a remote country house on the Channel Islands in 1945, as the second world war draws to an end. Our protagonist Grace lives with her two young children who suffer from a disease that makes them sensitive to sunlight, and some interesting household help. They soon start to fear that they are not alone in the house. This was the first ever English language film to win a Goya Award (Spain’s national film awards), so well worth adding to your list.
Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986) – IMDB Score 5.7/10
A sequel to the original 1982 film (also on this list), this follow up returns to the original family who must again face the spirit that is trying to harm their daughter. The movie will appeal to anyone who likes to learn more of the backstory and the why, as the film tries to provide context to what happened in the first film, alongside further chills.
23:59 (2011) – IMDB Score 4.8/10
In this Singapore horror, an army group finds themselves shaken that the spirit of a crazy lady may be haunting them. They believe her time of death, one to midnight, might have something to do with how she strikes and kills the soldiers in their company. Of course, the higher-ranked officers don’t believe it but the abundances of bodies are proving otherwise.