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Films

The 10 best horror movies to watch on Netflix

It’s time. Dim the lights, draw the curtains and get a pumpkin-spiced alcoholic drink; it’s Halloween. If there were ever an annual holiday meant for movies, then October 31st would be it, with the spookiest day of the year prompting memories of the very best horror films. Here, we’ve picked out the best to watch on Netflix.

Perhaps the most sought-after and coveted of all the film genres, horror and its various other sub-genres have found a comfortable home in streaming platforms like Netflix, whose wide array of horror films and series is enough to satiate the regular horror aficionado. 

Horror aficionados often crave an abundance of blood and gore. While some might find it wildly unsettling, these gore fans relish in the scenes that detail medieval torture, bloodshed and bile-inducing violence. Netflix, too, has an eclectic mix of gruesome horror films that are frankly disturbing and unnerving.

Below we have the ten best horror movies on Netflix right now.

The 10 best horror movies to watch on Netflix:

Insidious (James Wan, 2010)

Blending several subgenres of successful horror eras, James Wan’s peculiar film Insidious was a carnivalesque haunted house featuring a theatrical showcase of varied ghouls and barbaric monsters all within the confines of a suburban American home. Creating a new brand of horror that was both terrifying yet also somehow suitable for younger audiences, Wan earned the film a PG-13 rating in America, giving eager teenagers and curious children their first experience of thrilling terror. 

Despite its lavish appearance, Insidious was no bank-breaker either, made for just $1.5 million whilst hauling in just under $100 million at the worldwide box office. 

Sinister (Scott Derrickson, 2012)

Telling the story of a horror writer who moves his unwitting family into a house that was recently a murder scene, Scott Derrickson’s playful piece of horror plays off like a Stephen King story spiked with the grisly punk aesthetic of Clive Barker’s Hellraiser. Exploring his new home, the writer, Ellison (Ethan Hawke), discovers an old Super 8 projector along with a set of tapes that span decades, marked ‘Pool Party (1966)’, ‘BBQ (1979)’ and ‘House Painting (2012)’. 

This leads him to a world of terror where the child-snatching demon Bughuul enters his life and tries to nick his children. It’s creepy stuff. 

Event Horizon (Paul W. S. Anderson, 1997)

Paul W. S. Anderson should never be confused with Paul Thomas Anderson, with the two directors differing greatly in quality and the former being responsible for the likes of Mortal Kombat and Resident Evil. Event Horizon is, no doubt, his greatest film, telling the story of a rescue crew who are sent out to discover what happened to a starship that disappeared many years ago. The carnage they encounter is horrific and most certainly Lovecraftian. 

Questioning the horrors of the wider universe, Paul W. S. Anderson uses violent imagery and ethereal science fiction moments to create a genuine sense of unease in this fan-favourite.

Midsommar (Ari Aster, 2019)

Ari Aster’s second feature film follows the breakout success of Hereditary, and fits into the folk horror sub-genre whilst eliciting subtle nods to the pain and torment of a classic romantic breakup movie. Following a group of friends who head for a Swedish retreat in the countryside, Midsommar spirals into a terrifying, claustrophobic horror that messes with the mind and twists the perception of reality.

Led by a fabulous central performance by Florence Pugh, the film is a rollercoaster of a drama that is spiked with dark moments of visceral terror.

Under the Shadow (Babak Anvari, 2016)

Mixing the genres of war and horror to provide a strong political backbone, Babak Anvari’s directorial debut is a captivating Iranian horror film that is as much a critical analysis of the terror of war on innocent civilians. Focusing on 1980s Tehran, Under the Shadow follows a mother and young daughter who are struggling to cope with the terror of a war-torn city, whilst a separate ancient evil plagues their home. 

A creepy, atmospheric chiller, Anvari’s film provides a genuinely fascinating perspective of war by heightening the horror with the curse of the djinn, supernatural creatures rife throughout Islamic folklore.

Slither (James Gunn, 2006)

Better known for his recent adventures with the Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn was once a more altogether bizarre writer and director, with his debut feature film a loving ode to the gooey body horror of Sam Raimi and David Cronenberg. 

Bringing body horror back to the contemporary fold, Slither is an ode to the ooze and gunk of the Evil Dead trilogy and 1989’s Society, perfectly fusing intense horror and gross-out comedy for a highly enjoyable, stomach-churning watch. Starring James Gunn mainstays, Nathan Fillion and Michael Rooker, Slither remains a self-contained alien romp that takes clichés of old and mutates them into fresh new concepts. 

The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014)

Jennifer Kent’s fairytale gone wrong follows a single mother’s journey into despair whilst taking care of her autistic child when a mysterious, insidious book appears in her house, joined by a malevolent demon.

Terror lingers and builds to insurmountable dread in this terrific debut feature utilising simple monster production design and practical effects. Injecting horror through the context of the torment of depression and grief, The Babadook is more than a generic monster affair, with even horror legend William Friedkin commenting, “I’ve never seen a more terrifying film than The Babadook. It will scare the hell out of you as it did me”.

Raw (Julia Ducournau, 2016) 

Fans of cannibalistic horror, be prepared to be shocked by Ducournau’s debut feature that shocked audiences with the sheer gore. Dark and horrifying, the disturbing film follows an adolescent girl’s descent into madness when she tastes meat and gives in to her cannibalistic desires. 

Filled with nudity, sex, blood and gore, it is one of the most controversial films on Netflix that records the protagonist’s steady descent into carnivorous obsession and affinity for consuming raw flesh while caving into her animalistic tendencies. 

Friday The 13th (Sean S. Cunningham – 1980)

This is the film that started the gigantic franchise of Friday the 13th. Sean S. Cunningham’s 1980 slasher spawned an entire franchise and successfully cashed in on the horror tropes of summer camp insanity. The film was a major commercial success and made $59.8 million worldwide.

Writer Victor Miller said, “The first and most important element for Friday was finding a place where teenagers can’t be helped by the outside world. Even though the kids in Halloween were in a local town, the adults thought it was a prank. The hardest part was selecting a place where adults couldn’t help, and finally, it’s so obvious in retrospect, but I came up with a summer camp, and we were off and running.”

Hush (Mike Flanagan, 2016) 

Starring his long-time collaborator and wife, Kate Siegel, the film focuses on a deaf and mute author who lives in a solitary cabin in the woods when she becomes the victim of a home invasion where a masked killer, thirsty for her blood, attempts to kill her.

The shocking danger heightens the unsettling premise of a home invasion that a deaf and mute author faces. Laced with plenty of jump-scares, the masked killer with the knife is terrifying and goes down as one of Flanagan’s creepiest filmography.