Some folks enjoy crochet, others like hiking, and some people prefer to hide behind cushions while shrieking “NO, DON’T GO IN THERE, RUN YOU FOOL!” at the TV. The best Netflix horror movies are the perfect seasonal treat for those in the latter group. Congratulations horror hounds, you’ve come to the right place! Start checking off some of the best horror movies ever with this superbly curated bunch of chillers, thrillers, and gorefests available to stream right now.
Seriously, it IS October, so why not jitter yourself silly with our picks of the best Netflix horror movies? Sure, you’re going to get scared, and sure, you might be dreading bedtime like you did when you were five-years-old, but… actually, yeah, just prepare yourself for some sleepless nights. They’ll be totally worth it, honest. And once you’re through, and are eager to schedule another evening of creepy entertainment, you’ll want to read all about the most anticipated upcoming horror movies hitting cinemas soon.
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25. Hush (2015)
Region: UK, US
The movie: A secluded house in the middle of nowhere. A family terrorised by an outsider trying to drive them slowly mad before off-ing 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.
Why it's worth a watch: 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 more so just adds to the whole bloody affair.
24. The Ritual (2017)
Region: UK, US
The movie: Hiking trips never seem to end well in films, and for the four friends in The Ritual that tradition unfortunately continues. Following the death of another pal, the quartet decide that a hike into the Scandinavian woods is the best way to honour his memory. As we know, long treks into dark, scary forests rarely make for fun times, unless you quite like encountering centuries-old evil.
Why it’s worth a watch: We’ve had twenty years of Blair Witch knock-offs, but the old ‘lost in the woods’ trope gets a much-needed shake up here. This is genuinely scary, thanks to a solid score and spooky atmosphere.
23. Teeth (2007)
The movie: 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 then, 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 lady garden gnashers. The girl's got vagina dentata, a fabled happening wherein women grow actual teeth in their genitals.
Why it's worth a watch: A nutty premise that unfolds as an exploration of budding sexuality. A black-as-night horror comedy that tackles a few weighty topics along the way to delivering its biting - ahem - reveal.
22. The Devil's Candy (2015)
The movie: The second offering from Australian filmmaker Sean Byrne is not quite as brutal as his debut, yet is far more slow-burn with a much more powerful pay-off. Things start, as oft they do in horror movies, with a normal family moving to a house in the country as it's the only home they can afford. Jesse Hellman (a metalhead Ethan Embry), a struggling artist, and his wife Astrid (Shiri Appleby) relocate to a roomy abode, unaware that its previous tenant Ray murdered his mother after hearing voices. Soon thereafter, Jesse starts to experience those same mutterings in his ear, which lead him to dousing his canvas with some utterly horrific images. That's about the time Ray starts to come a knockin'.
Why it's worth a watch: On the surface it seems like your standard 'fish out of water' horror. Really it's a classy, slick scarefest that gets under your skin without you realising it. Embry is unrecognisable. Yep, Mark from Empire Records has grown up and... well, he still loves Gwar, to be honest.
21. Little Evil (2017)
Region: UK, US
The movie: Part-satire, part-horror, Little Evil stars Adam Scott as everyman Gary. Having met and married the woman of his dreams, Samantha (Evangeline Lilly), he is faced with the prospect of being a stepdad... to the antichrist. This is a great riff on the aforementioned supernatural kiddy horrors, that mixes up the typical "devil incarnate" trope with some fresh ideas.
Why it’s worth a watch: Films like The Omen and Orphan have taught us that having a kid in a horror movie typically doesn't end well. This latest offering from Eli Craig however, who gave us the superb Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil, relishes the idea of a hellish parenthood.
20. Cult of Chucky (2017)
The movie: Chucky has been around the block. The pint-sized doll with a heart of pure evil is no stranger to the sequel or reboot. Following his debut, the sequels continued to get dark, then underwent a soft reboot with Bride of Chucky (my favourite), then returned to the darker strains of the original with Curse of Chucky in 2013. Picking up after that is the Cult of Chucky, yet another worthy entry in the franchise that only gets better with age. After the bloody slayings of Curse that find Nica (Fiona Dourif) sectioned to a mental asylum, Chucky takes the opportunity to settle some scores.
Why it’s worth a watch: It’s Chucky 8 and it’s still good. Heck, it’s one of the best Netflix horror movies! How many horror franchises retain any of their zest, originality, and stamina eight installments later? With creator Don Mancini at the helm, it’s hard to see this series going stale any time soon.
19. Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
The movie: Teased for well over a decade before it actually entered development, this is one crossover that was worth the wait. Picking up years after the events of Freddy's Dead and Jason Goes to Hell, Freddy conjures Jason forth to make the teenagers of Springwood fear him once again. A bunch of teenagers, a bucketful of gore and uhhh... one third of Destiny's Child, might make this seem like bargain bin fodder, but trust me: it's worth it just to see two horror heavyweights beating the crap out of each other.
Why it’s worth a watch: Why Freddy vs. Jason didn't score a sequel is a mystery. Taking inspiration from countless crossover comics, this early naughts horror mashup is pure fan service from start to finish. Of course it is, I mean, this is Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees we're talking about. With Ronny Yu - the man responsible for reviving the Child’s Play franchise with Bride of Chucky - at the helm, this is an absolute riot.
18. Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil (2010)
Region: UK, US
The movie: 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, as Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine play the lovable, hapless oafs who wouldn't say boo to a goose and are just as afraid of the kids as they are of them.
Why it’s worth a watch: Horror comedy done right should aspire to two things: be horrific and 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.
17. Oculus (2013)
The movie: Oculus is Mike Flanagan's second feature, and it's unlike any other chiller with a piece of furniture at its blackened heart. The movie revolves around a haunted mirror that's tortured and torn apart one family across decades. While any normal person would be happy rid of it, Karen Gillan's eager lass hunts it down on purpose after witnessing its evil murder her parents. Her goal? Destroy it.
Why it’s worth a watch: 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 an altogether different breed of horror in its narrative ambition, that works toward cementing a sucker-punch finale.
16. Creep (2014)
Region: UK, US
The movie: Mark Duplass normally plays nice guys. If the title didn't give it away, his turn in Creep isn't remotely nice. Both he, and the hideous wolf mask he dons, are the new face of horror. Duplass co-stars opposite writer-director Patrick Brice, for the latest in a long line of mumblegore movies. Except the story of a freelance videographer who accepts work from Duplass' loon, isn't really a bloody affair, but an intense study in how little privacy we're afforded in the modern, digital age.
Why it’s worth a watch: Everything shuffles along without too much cause for concern until the mid-way point, when you'll be shouting at the screen from behind your cushion. But make sure you don't miss the final encounter between the two. Haunting stuff.