If you say you're a fan of horror movies, that could mean a lot of things — that you love heart-racing thrillers like Green Room, gory slashers like the original Candyman, suspenseful cat-and-mouse games like Hush, inventive ghost stories like The Ring, or one of the many other blood-curdling and spine-chilling subgenres to choose from. Or heck, it could mean you love them all! The are so many different things to love about horror movies and different stories these films can tell, which means there's pretty much always a horror film to watch that perfectly fits your current mood, whatever that may be.
There are a ton of great horror movies streaming, so to help you cut through the clutter, TV Guide combed through Netflix's extensive library of horror titles to find the absolute best scary movies available to watch on the service right now. So whether you're looking for classic B-movie fare, something grim and gory, an over-the-top slasher flick, or some of the genre's most seminal films, we're betting there's a streaming option for you in the list below. And once you've made it through all the following films, don't forget to check out all the best horror TV shows on Netflix too!
The first film in this classic slasher franchise, Candyman is an interesting twist on an urban legend. The movie tells the story of Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) a graduate student who writes her thesis on how the residents of Cabrini-Green use the lore of the Candyman (Tony Todd) — a black businessman who was said to have been murdered by a lynch mob after fathering a child with a white woman — to cope with their own struggles. But the Candyman isn't just an urban legend, and after being summoned early in the film he begins a killing spree in order to perpetuate the public's belief in him, thus ensuring his continued existence. A slasher that speaks to pressing racial and societal issues, Candyman remains both timely and timeless to this day. It's no wonder that Jordan Peele and Nia DaCosta are reviving the franchise with the 2020 sequel film.
You'd expect going to a dinner part hosted by your ex-wife to be awkward, but you probably wouldn't expect it to be this bad. The Invitation stars Logan Marshall-Green as Will, a grieving divorcé who brings his new girlfriend, Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi), to a dinner party hosted by his ex, Eden (Tammy Blanchard). As the night unfolds, Will begins to suspect that Eden and her new husband, David (Michiel Huisman), have ulterior motives for reuniting this group of old friends. This suspenseful thriller slowly builds up tension before delivering an absolutely devastating ending we're still thinking about years later.
It's easy for a horror sequel to fall flat, but Scream 2 doesn't disappoint. Taking place two years after the events of Scream, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) now must face off against a Ghostface copycat killer terrorizing her college campus. Self-aware without ever verging on parody, Scream 2 is a perfect takedown of bad horror sequels while still delivering scares, splatter, and suspicion of everyone, as the reveal of who the killer (or killers) evades prediction until the very end.
Mike Flanagan's clever take on a Stephen King story, Gerarld's Game stars Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood as a married couple aiming to reignite their passions during an isolated holiday. But when Gerald (Greenwood) suffers a fatal heart attack, Jessie (Gugino) is left handcuffed to the bed without a key and must figure out a way to survive. Gugino gives a mesmerizing performance as Jessie must confront her darkest fears. But be warned: While Gerlad's Game is largely a psychological thriller, it also includes one of the must distressfully gory scenes in recent cinema.
Under the Shadow
Even just watching the trailer for Under the Shadow is enough to set a viewer on edge. Set in 1988 Tehran, the movie follows a mother trying to protect her child both from the Iraqi bombs raining down upon the city and from an ominous unseen figure within their own house. Much like The Babadook, Under the Sun uses this disturbing domestic premise to examine issues of maternal anxiety, claustrophobia, and resentment, including how they intersect (and often clash with) with the real-world conflict playing out in the background. It's a taut, unnerving thriller filled with shocking and eerie visuals sure to please horror fans.
Co-written by and starring Mark Duplass, Creep is a clever addition to the found-footage genre that is so successful it spawned a film franchise, with a third movie already on the way. The minimalist film follows a young man Aaron — played by co-writer and director Patrick Brice — who answers an ad posted by Josef (Duplass) asking for help filming videos for his unborn child. But as Aaron's work with Josef goes on, Aaron is disturbed by Josef's increasingly unsettling behavior. But by the time he fully accepts Josef's true intentions, Aaron realizes it may be too late for him to escape.
Child's Play (1988)
If you're scared of dolls, you probably have Child's Play to blame. The film follows a widowed mother who gives her son a doll, called "Chucky," for his birthday — only it turns out the doll is possessed by the spirit of a serial killer. While the film definitely leans into some of the more darkly comedic elements that come with a killer doll, it can still deliver genuine scares and it's easy to see how Chucky became such a pop culture mainstay.
This techno-thriller is a true star vehicle for Madeline Brewer, who plays a cam girl, Alice, who gets locked out of her account under bizarre and threatening circumstances. After resorting to simulating violence on camera in exchange for popularity, Alice finds that an exact replica of herself has taken over her cam show. As Alice investigates the strange occurrence, she must also fight to regain the control over her life from the mysterious replica who stole it. A tightly-wound movie, Cam taps directly into current fears about the identity and voyeurism, but it's Brewer's performance that elevates the film and immerses you in Alice's fear.
Train to Busan
This harrowing South Korean film follows a group of passengers on a train fighting to survive during a zombie apocalypse. While they first only have one zombie onboard to deal with, the infection soon spreads throughout the railway cars. With the cities already largely overrun by the undead, the frightened passengers have no choice but to stay on the train and try to stay alive long enough for the train to make it to a quarantine zone. Train to Busan is an adrenaline-fueled film that makes great use of the claustrophobic setting and still manages to insert smart social commentary in between the perfectly orchestrated action scenes.
It Comes at Night
It Comes at Night is a post-apocalyptic film that follows a family — played by Joel Edgerton, Carmen Ejogo, and Kelvin Harrison, Jr. — who has isolated themselves in the woods in order to survive a highly contagious and deadly outbreak that has ravaged the world. But when they take in another family of survivors — played by Christopher Abbott, Riley Keough, and Griffin Robert Faulkner — the mutual distrust and paranoia between the families creates just as much danger inside the home as the contagion does outside. Director Trey Edward Shults does a masterful job of building tension in this bleak film about how far one will go to survive, and what one might lose in the process.
A modern classic, The Ring has an unforgettable premise: A journalist, Rachel (Naomi Watts), investigates a cursed videotape that leads to the death of anyone who watches it seven days later. While watching The Ring on Netflix isn't nearly as chilling as watching it on an actual VHS tape, the film's haunting visuals and grim shocks have a way of burrowing under your skin and taking root. Trust us, we first saw The Ring 18 years ago and still shudder when we think about that horse scene...
The Autopsy of Jane Doe
This supernatural horror movie stars Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch as father-and-son coroners who get trapped by a storm in the morgue with the body unidentified woman. As they move forward with the autopsy, the pair discover spooky and inexplicable wounds, such as scarring on her internal organs or burns inside her lungs but nowhere on her skin. This tightly-paced scarefest effectively uses the claustrophobia of the underground morgue to ramp up the tension as the duo are subjected to a series of menacing supernatural phenomena that will leave your heart racing.
Dan Stevens stars as Thomas, a young man who must infiltrate a 1900s religious cult led by a charismatic prophet (Michael Sheen) in order to free his sister. But once Thomas is living among the cult members on their secluded island, he uncovers a dreadful secret that completely changes the trajectory of the film. A provocative take on organized religion, the patriarchy, and corruption, Apostle is a mysterious and compelling slow-build made all the more enjoyable by Stevens' captivating performance.
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
This horror-comedy takes what could have been a lazy premise — a group of college kids mistake two helpful hillbillies for murderers and try to take them down — and subverts every cliché you'd expect in a film like this. Surprisingly heartfelt without toning down the gore, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is slapstick splatter done right. So if you can't decide between watching a slasher or a buddy comedy, this film proves you don't have to choose at all.
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Although Rosemary's Baby was released over 50 years ago, its influence can still be felt today in movies such as Hereditary, Get Out, and A Quiet Place. The film follows Rosemary (Mia Farrow), a young wife who becomes paranoid that her husband (John Cassavetes) and neighbors are using her and her unborn child as part of a Satanic plot. It's an ominous occult masterpiece that evokes true terror without depicting any explicit violence.
After their gig at a backwoods club in Oregon, a punk band witnesses a murder in the venue's green room and are held hostage by a group of neo-Nazis who run the joint. Not willing to go down without a fight, the band faces off with the skinheads in a blood-pumping thriller. But what really makes Green Room a standout is the calibre of its cast, which includes Patrick Stewart, Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, and Alia Shawkat, all of whom bring a humanity to their roles even amidst the gnarly gore.
This gripping survival film stars Kiersey Clemons as Jennifer, who becomes stranded alone on a deserted island after a storm capsized the boat she'd been traveling on. As if the elements weren't enough to deal with, Jennifer must also face off against a horrific sea monster that stalks at night. This sharp and suspenseful indie film is built around Clemon's commanding performance of a woman adapting to her new environment and proving she has what it takes to survive, but lovers of creature features will also be thrilled by director J.D. Dillard's approach to the memorable monster that is sure to spark dread.
Home invasion horror is particularly terrifying because it's unsettlingly plausible, and Mike Flanagan's 2016 film is up there with The Strangers and Funny Games when it comes to exploiting the concept's frightening potential. Kate Siegel stars in this hair-raising film as Maddie, a deaf woman who must try to fight off a masked killer at her isolated home in the woods. Hush is a sharp, suspenseful tale that never slows down and will leave you not wanting to be home alone for quite some time.
The Evil Dead (1981)
From Sam Raimi and starring Bruce Campbell, The Evil Dead is a delightful cult classic. The low-budget supernatural horror film follows a group of college friends whose vacation turns deadly after they accidentally summon demonic spirits after reading from The Book of the Dead. Between Raimi's creative direction, Campbell's star-making performance as Ash Williams, the film's audacious black humor, and some seriously grisly gore, The Evil Dead has everything you could look for in a horror film. And if you don't trust us, listen to Stephen King, who has said it's one of his favorites in the genre.
Anya Taylor-Joy stars in this unsettling film about a 1630s New England family that unravels as they encounter black magic, witchcraft, and evil spirits. This visually-striking tale meticulously builds suspense as the family members' fears of one another grow and their religious faith is tested or in some cases, broken entirely. The Witch is a creative and captivating tale that will leave your soul shaking.
Martin Freeman stars in this zombie thriller as Andy, a father who is fighting to do whatever it takes to save his infant child's life in rural Australia. But after Andy gets infected by his wife (Susie Porter), he only has 48 hours to find a new home for his daughter before he turns into a zombie. Cargo is much more of a character-driven zombie film than one intent on delivering gut-churning gore or sensational shocks, but it's a harrowing journey that injects the genre with an atypical amount of heart.
Directed, produced by, and starring Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, The Endless follows two brothers who return to the UFO death cult they had escaped years prior in the hope of finding closure. As their stay at the camp goes on, the brothers bear witness to bizarre phenomena that can't be explained, thus threatening their sense of reality and their bond. This low-budget Lovecraftian horror film is an inventive look at the destructive cycles one can get trapped in, and maybe never escape from, in life. And even as the brothers' concepts of time and space are pushed beyond the established boundaries, the film remains firmly grounded by the interpersonal drama and relationships at its core.
This film follows a young couple, Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat), who begin to be haunted by a disturbing presence after moving into a new house. Told through the footage from a camera Micah sets up in their bedroom to record the nightly presence, Paranormal Activity chronicles three weeks of their battle with a demonic force, which gains strength all the while Kate spirals in her fear. While the concept of Paranormal Activity is nothing special, the execution is what makes this low-budget, haunted house story a must-see for anyone looking for relentless tension and terrifying jump scares.
The Eyes of My Mother
This nightmarish coming-of-age story is not for anyone with a weak stomach. The film follows a young girl, Francisca (Kika Magalhães), whose bucolic childhood is shattered after a stranger's visit to their farm leads to horrific acts of violence. After witnessing this cataclysmic trauma, the impressionable Francisca's clinical fascination with the human body morphs into a grotesque ritual as she grows into adulthood. This black-and-white film seems designed to actively destabilize the viewer, as it's left up to audiences to put together the pieces of Francisca's warped perspective and obscured motivations. But while the film's ambiguity and cinematic style may alienate some it's the type of singular tale that is destined to develop a strong cult following.
The Wicker Man (1973)
If you've only seen the 2006 Nic Cage remake, immediately add this British classic to the top of your Netflix queue. The film follows a policeman, Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward), as he goes to a remote Scottish island to investigate a missing child. There, Howie's puritan beliefs come up against the locals' pagan practices, which lead him to suspect that the community is involved in a disturbing conspiracy that he's only scratched the surface of. The Wicker Man isn't an edge-of-your-seat thriller, but rather a (fairly weird) slow-build that culminates in a perfectly devastating ending.
Possession horror is nothing new, but Veronica is one of the best recent additions to the genre. The Spanish film follows a teenage girl, Veronica (Sandra Escancena), who begins being subjected to paranormal experiences after having a seance with a group of friends during a solar eclipse. As the occurrences increase in violence and intensity, a desperate Veronica attempts to find a way to cut her ties with whatever demonic presence has attached itself to her. The movie is filled with visceral scares and memorable imagery that's hard to shake even after the credits roll.
Based on the Stephen King novella of the same name, 1922 stars Thomas Jane as a man, Wilf, whose life falls apart after murdering his wife (Molly Parker). After the crime is committed, Wilf is convinced he's being terrorized by rats and haunted by the ghost of his wife, who refuses to let him forget what he did. 1922 isn't the type of horror film to be built around shocks or splatter, but rather its horror is in the slow decay of Wilf's mental state, as his own guilt threatens to destroy him before the law catches up.
The Blackcoat's Daughter
Emma Roberts, Kiernan Shipka, and Lucy Boynton star in this moody thriller about two girls who are left alone at their Catholic high school over winter break and begin to experience unexplained phenomena. Told across three timelines, each focused on one of the leading actresses, The Blackcoat's Daughter builds in dread as the truth of what's behind the menacing occurrences is slowly uncovered.
Shutter follows a photographer, Tun (Ananda Everingham), and his girlfriend, Jane (Natthaweeranuch Thongmee), who kill a young woman in a hit-and-run. After the fatal accident, Tun is haunted by the victim's menacing spirit, whose particularly vengeful motivations toward him are explained in well-orchestrated, emotionally resonant reveals. The film was a massive hit in Thailand when it premiered, leading to the barely watchable 2008 American remake. But if the Joshua Jackson film turned you off Shutter's premise entirely, you'd be doing yourself a disservice missing out on this genuinely scary, twist-filled film.
Under the Skin
This sci-fi horror film might have been a box office flop when it was released in 2014, but was called by many critics one of the best films of that year. This is in large part due to Scarlett Johansson's haunting performance as the unnamed woman at the center of the story. Under the Skin follows Johansson's mysterious character as she lures men to their deaths and explores what it really means to be human. It's admittedly a bizarre film, but it's hypnotically so, and Johansson's leading performance, Mica Levi's spine-chilling score, and Jonathan Grazer's innovative direction combine to make a wonderfully disquieting cinematic experience.