The 25 best horror movies on Netflix

Need something to terrify you tonight?

What sends shivers up your spine? Is it a monster, peering at you from that gap between the closet doors? A masked maniac on the loose, shredding teens with an iconic implement? The undead, perhaps? Or heck, maybe it's good old fashioned clowns that give you the heebie jeebies. Whatever your chosen mode of pant-browning, there's a movie that preys on that fear.

If you enjoy the company of terror, and are tired of the endless scrolling through the streaming choices available, then look no farther: here's our top 25 picks for the best horror movies on Netflix.

25. Hush (2015)

Region: UK, US 

A secluded house in the middle of nowhere. A family terrorised by an outsider trying to drive them slowly mad before offing them one-by-one. You've probably seen this premise unravel a thousand times before, but you probably haven't seen it delivered through such a unique twist. 

 For Mike Flanagan's follow-up to the superb Oculus, he and his wife Kate Siegel (who also stars) decided to pen a screenplay using the bare bones of that idea with a deaf woman as the lone character singled out by a masked madman. Without access to that one sense which most horror films rely on to convey fear, things have to get inventive. Watching events unfold via her point-of-view, a soundless space, somehow makes the film more terrifying. And even though the killer has multiple opportunities to finish her off, the fact that he chooses to draw things out even moreso just adds to the whole bloody affair. 

24. Pontypool (2008)

Region: US

If you missed this Canadian gem upon release then now's your chance to catch up with an absolutely stonkin' little scarefest. The zombie craze that's saturated the movie and TV landscape of recent years has largely stuck to exploiting one element of the idea: flesh-eaters should be avoided. True, yes, but that's where Bruce McDonald's indie stands apart; this virus, due to its simplistic mode of infection, is far easier to contract. The only safe measure would make you go stir crazy.

What's the major selling point is how that premise - which I'm loathe to spoil - simmers due to the location of the movie, a radio station. That's where the whole outbreak is chronicled, through DJ Grant Mazzy's broadcasts, talks with outside reporters, and discussions with his station manager and technical advisor. A cerebral claustro-horror that's guaranteed to incite multiple viewings.

23. Teeth (2007)

Region: UK, US

A black-as-night horror comedy that tackles a few weighty topics along the way to delivering its biting - ahem - reveal. Jess Weixler stars as a teenager under the spell of a Christian abstinence group, choosing to voice its mantra of "no nookie" to better the cause.

Doesn't exactly sound horrific, does it?

Wait for the movie's wincing left-turn, as Weixler's teen finds herself charmed by a Christian lad in her class. While her tummy's all a-flutter, his feelings are less admirable, as he tries to force himself on the girl. So she fights back - with her ladygarden gnashers. The girl's got vagina dentata, a fabled happening wherein women grow actual teeth in their genitals. A nutty premise that unfolds as an exploration of budding sexuality.

22. Honeymoon (2014)

Region: US

You might recognise Honeymoon's leading lady Rose Leslie from her role as Jon Snow's paramour in Game of Thrones. In Leigh Janiak's directorial debut, a strange and creepy rumination on the bonds of marriage, her performance as Bea hails from a previously-untapped place. Somewhere dark, and foreboding. As it should, because Janiak's film doesn't pander to what we already know. It feasts on the unknown chasms between people who choose to spend their lives together.

Things begin with a pair of newlyweds - Leslie and Penny Dreadful's Harry Treadaway - heading out to an isolated cabin to celebrate their nuptials. It all starts to go south when mysterious lights appear in the sky, locals start acting weird and Bea sleepwalks into the night, returning as someone - or something - different.

21. The House of the Devil (2009)

Region: UK

Part of a new generation of hard-hitting horror filmmakers, Ti West delivers his slant on the 'house of horrors'. Channeling the slashers of old, with plenty of nods to the likes of Rosemary's Baby and Psycho, settle in for a modernised take on the domestic horror.

Jocelin Donahue stars as a babysitter who has more than unruly kids to contend with. No, her plan to squirrel away cash so she can escape her rank dorm room turns into a hellish night of survival. That's what happens when you accept work from devil-worshipping strangers.

West's keen sense of the genre's highpoints pushes this from flat-out rip-off into careful, considered homage. It knows what it's riffing and wants to do exactly the same as its predecessors: scare the bejeezus out of you.

20. Curse of Chucky (2013)

Region: US

Chucky's had plenty of facelifts. Yes, literally. But also in terms of the franchise itself. What started out as a dark, sinister tale of an evil toy doll turned into a comedic tour-de-force in 1998's soft reboot Bride of Chucky. Things went downhill after that with Seed of Chucky which opted for broad silliness over a careful balance of scares and laughs, and the franchise was headed for Nightmare on Elm Street territory. 

Until Curse of Chucky. 

In a return to the original's straight-up "holy shit, there's a creepy doll that's a serial killer" vibe, Curse is truly scary. That's down to Don Mancini, the writer and director of the original film who plots out a new chapter in the pint-sized killer's story which begins with Chucky arriving at the house of a young paraplegic woman. Deaths ensue until the movie manages to circle back to the events prior to Charles Lee Ray's death, slotting it into the timeline and throwing out a nice link to Bride of Chucky as well.  

19. Oculus (2013)

Region: US

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, will I make it through the next five minutes without being butchered?

Reflective surfaces, and mirrors in particular, have housed some true horror greats. Candyman quite liked popping out of them, and evil doppelganger things in Mirrors also got their rocks off in a similar fashion. Oculus is Mike Flanagan's second feature, and it's unlike any other chiller with a piece of furniture at its blackened heart.

It revolves around a haunted mirror that tortures its owners. While any normal person would be happy to be rid of it, Karen Gillan's eager lass hunts it down on purpose after witnessing its evil murder her parents. Her goal? Destroy it. It's an altogether different breed of horror in its narrative ambition, that works toward cementing a sucker-punch finale.

18. Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil (2010)

Region: UK, US

Horror comedy done right should aspire to two things: be horrific and be comedic. It's hard to achieve, with one often overpowering the other. Tucker and Dale however, manages to land splat between the two with laughs galore and a great sense of tension.

Like Cabin In The Woods and more recently The Final Girls, it puts a spin on the established state of horror. Whenever kids encounter shotgun-totin' locals, that's usually a sign that they're not going to make it to college. In this case Tucker and Dale are those locals, whose actions are misunderstood by a group of teenagers who believe them to be the real-life inspiration for Wrong Turn.

The whole thing plays out brilliantly. Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine are lovable, hapless oafs who wouldn't say boo to a goose, and watching their fear toward the kids is a nice touch by director Eli Craig.

17. We Are What We Are (2013)

Region: US

Watching Jim Mickle's third feature, a skilfully presented remake of the 2010 Mexican movie, it's hard to believe this up-and-coming horror auteur is only four movies into his career.

Gore and cheap scares aren't his forte. If you've seen his superior vampire horror-drama Stake Land you'll already know Mickle crafts strong, complex characters and lets their personal journeys guide the descent into horror. And this story is guided by its central group of characters who eat people.

There's much more at stake here than flesh-eating theatrics. The tale of two young girls desperate to break free from a lifestyle of cannibalism forced upon them by their father is a heart-wrenching. Still, papa's not going to be happy about it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gem is GR+'s west coast entertainment news reporter. She’s a bit obsessed with all things Aliens and Terminator.
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