Comedies are always good for laughter, and nothing comes close to the nail-biting intensity of a good thriller. However, if you’re looking for the ultimate in human sensation, then it is hard to look past the exulting extremities of being scared, and what better way to keep you trembling than by watching some of Netflix’s scariest series?
Netflix’s love for horror was recently proven by the streamer’s attempt at the first-ever bot-made horror film that left the audience in splits amidst a profound and poignant premise. While a great horror movie can leave you scared for weeks on end, we thought there was one step further to take as we picked out the episodic series that left our blood cold.
The world of horror is extremely addictive, and once you enter, there is no coming back. Carpenter’s quote is spot-on; watching horror flicks or series, the jumpscares and spine-chilling scenes cause an unbelievable amount of adrenaline rush, which is quite a pleasurable experience for certain people. It serves as an escape from their normal lives, where people finally get to live their dream sequence of being pursued by a crazy slasher, fuelling their ‘fight or flight’ reaction.
Before your favourite director releases a new episodic series based on the living hell of our pandemic years, now is a good time to rewatch some of the creepiest series to scare yourself to the point of insomnia. If you are ready to stay up all night to replay the various disturbing outcomes in your head over and over again, here are our picks for the scariest series on Netflix.
The scariest series on Netflix right now:
The Haunting of Hill House
Mike Flanagan’s 2018 Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House, based on Shirley Jackson’s novel of the same name, is spectacular in every sense. Time transcends linearity; the past seeps into the present, which in turn blends with the future. The magnificent Hill House and the spirits trapped in it exists as an abject; jump scares and ghostly apparitions add to the psychological terror that manifests as a result of the supernatural disturbances, occult experiences and omnipresent tension the characters are exposed to inside the House.
Brilliant visuals, fitting music coupled with an effortless transition into the past, and elaborating on the development of each character makes Hill House one of the finest horror shows ever made. It is a masterpiece that will induce fear, sorrow and longing and leave the audience mesmerized by the frailty and relatability of each character.
The show reaches the zenith of fear when a terrifying twist pushes a lead character into insanity. The series compel the viewers to wonder if the real terror lies within themselves if they themselves are what they should fear the most. Extraordinarily deep and finely knit, The Haunting of Hill House is a series that needs to be experienced for its rich story-telling, beautiful execution and deft exploration of guilt and trauma—“a work of genius”, as said by the master of horror, Stephen King.
Watch The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix now.
The Haunting of Bly Manor
Contrary to the audience’s anticipation, The Haunting of Bly Manor is not a sequel to The Haunting of Hill House. Mike Flanagan’s 2020 Netflix series, however, manages to touch a chord with the audience yet again. Incredible cinematography and intricate storytelling, along with stellar performances, make the series compelling. Hill House ended on a bittersweet note; Bly Manor is absolutely heartbreaking. Cleverly crafted, the horror exists on three different levels as a story being narrated and as a story within a story. Seamless and refined, the characters manage to enthral us with their heart-rending backstories.
The child actors, especially Benjamin Amesworth, who portrays Miles, are brilliant and terrifying. Oliver Jackson-Cohen, as the malevolent and manipulative Peter Quint, basks in his own brilliance. If watched carefully, the audience can well identify the clever allusions to its predecessor; unlike Hill House, Bly Manor gives an insight into the past events that led to the manor being haunted. It tackles the subject of love and grief deftly while pushing forward a mind-boggling theory that every love story is a ghost story.
A political commentary on the issues plaguing Indian society, this film portrays the same under the guise of a horror story. In a dystopian future, the fascist Indian government persecutes Muslims and burns books. Nida Rahim, a dedicated and loyal military official, is tasked with the interrogation of a vicious terrorist. However, things take a dark and sinister turn when Nida is under the impression that the terrorist is possessed by some otherworldly presence.
Derived heavily from Arabian folklore, this three-episode miniseries is inspired by the events in Nazi Germany as well as other dystopian fiction. The general air of claustrophobia deftly conveys the underlying message. The overall unnerving interrogation and background score are buoyed by incredible performances, notably from Radhika Apte in the lead, whose untamed and wild nature sets the mood for the show.
OK, so it’s a bit rich to have three entries from Mike Flanagan in our list, but could you imagine not including John Carpenter in a list of the best horror films ever made? Exactly. Flanagan has proved himself to be just as valuable to Netflix’s growing scare scene as Carpenter is to mainstream cinema.
Dubbed by Flanagan himself to be his “favourite project so far”, the show is a perfect blend of myth, darkness and psychological horror that emanate from both supernatural elements and evils of “human nature”. Obsession with death and addiction reign supreme while the creator dexterously incorporates biblical allusions, symbolism, imagery and beliefs while questioning faith, morality, madness, chaos, darkness and evil, which are the ambitious and overarching themes in the series.
Starring Zach Gilford, Kate Siegel, Hamish Linklater, Henry Thomas, Rahul Kohli and more as well as a surprise cameo from Flanagan himself and Carla Gugino’s voiceover, the series sees a disgraced young man returning to his hometown in Crockett Island, tormented by his act of having run over and killed a woman.
Watch Midnight Mass on Netflix now.
Set in the Joseon Dynasty in Korea right after the Imjin War, the series focuses on a mysterious plague that causes the dead to be resurrected, and zombies soon overrun the empire amidst rising political tension, brewing malice and a lot of conspiracies.
The show portrays how power corrupts everyone, with a perfect blend of various genres, including horror, historical period drama, and political thriller. Amidst injustice, greed, envy and inequity, the series exactly reflects what Eun-hee said it would: “Politics and the living dead are not separate but rather come together as one”.