The 25 best Netflix horror movies to watch right now

Fear Street Part 1: 1994
(Image credit: Netflix)

Scary films are really having a moment right now, so it's hardly surprising that narrowing down the best Netflix horror movies is a challenge – there are so many to choose from on the platform.

Whether you're after a gory, comedy-leaning affair or a spine-chilling ghost story, there's something for everyone on the streamer, which can make picking movie night lineups a long-winded affair. 

Fortunately for you, we've narrowed down 25 of Netflix's must-watch horrors so you don't have to waste time scrolling through its catalog. Most of our picks are Netflix Originals, too, which means they should be available in the UK and US. Below, we highlight flicks from directors including Mike Flanagan and Zack Snyder, which feature all manner of frights – from killer babysitters to zombies and everything in between. So continue on to check out our complete guide to the best Netflix horror movies – you'll be sleeping with the lights on tonight...

The best Netflix horror movies out now

Fear Street Trilogy

Fear Street on Netflix

(Image credit: Netflix)

Year released: 2021
Director: Leigh Janiak

We're cheating a bit here. The Fear Street trilogy is, well, a trilogy of horror movies, so we're cramming three into this one entry, but they work as a singular whole piece incredibly well. There's almost no chance of you finishing the first entry and stopping there, such is this gripping neon-colored slasher. 

Taking more than a pinch of inspiration from Scream, Fear Street: Part One introduces us to Kiana Madeira's Deena, a teenager from Shadyside whose lover, Olivia Scott Welch's Samantha Fraser, has moved to the neighboring Sunnyside. However, the pair get mixed up in a curse that's haunted Shadyside for hundreds of years, and now they must work with friends and family to rid the town of the horror once and for all. The first movie takes place in the '90s, while the sequels go back to the '70s and 1660s, revealing more and more about the curse of Shadyside. This is one trilogy not to be missed, and is absolutely one of the best horrors on Netflix.


Sarah Paulson in Run

(Image credit: Netflix)

Year released: 2020
Director: Aneesh Chaganty

Starring American Horror Story star and certified scream queen Sarah Paulson, Run follows Chloe, a homeschooled, disabled teenager who starts to suspect that her overbearing mother is keeping secrets from her. 

It's suspenseful and twisty, but is also self-aware enough to not keep its cards too close to its chest for too long. Surprisingly, perhaps, it lays everything out on the table just 30 minutes in and dares its audience to come along for the thrill ride that unfolds after that. Given that she almost always plays the good guy when she's in scarier fare, it's a real treat to see Paulson dig into something darker here.

Blood Red Sky

Blood Red Sky

(Image credit: Netflix)

Year released: 2021
Director: Peter Thorwarth

Not one for fearful flyers, Blood Red Sky sees a plane hijacked while a mother suffering from a strange illness and her son are onboard. But, the twist (or bite?) comes when it turns out there's a vampire on the plane – and it's the hijackers who should fear for their lives. 

Peri Baumeister stars as Nadja, the afflicted mother, while Carl Anton Koch plays her son. Expect a surprisingly emotional film with some high-altitude scares, pulse-pounding thrills – and, of course, lots of blood...


Krysten Ritter in Nightbooks

(Image credit: Netflix)

Year released: 2021 
Director: David Yarovesky

Starring Krysten Ritter as a witch named Natacha, Nightbooks follows a young boy named Alex (Winslow Fegley) who has a talent for writing spooky stories. When his apartment block's elevator takes him to a mysterious floor, Natacha traps him, and demands a new scary story each night. With his new friend Yasmin (Lidya Jewett), Alex must try to survive the ordeal – and eventually escape from the witch's clutches. 

Based on J.A. White's novel of the same name, Nightbooks is scary but in a kid-friendly way – more implications than showing gore. How did the director achieve that balance? Well, you can find out, in our interview with David Yarovesky.

Army of the Dead

Best horror movies on Netflix - Army of the Dead

(Image credit: Netflix)

Year released: 2021
Director: Zack Snyder

Zack Snyder returns to the zombie genre with Army of the Dead. While Dawn of the Dead gave us ultra-fast undead sprinters, Army of the Dead introduces super smart and strong Alpha zombies, who rule over a decimated Las Vegas. A group of mercenaries heads into the city to try and crack a near-impenetrable safe before a nuke wipes Vegas off the map, but, as you might expect from a zombie movie, things go south pretty fast. 

Prepare for all the classic hallmarks of the genre, like shambling hordes that just want to eat, as well as some intriguing twists – like a potential extra-terrestrial connection, and a zombie tiger. The undead tiger alone has to qualify it for the best horror movies on Netflix list.

The cast includes Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Ana de la Reguera, Omari Hardwick, Tig Notaro, and Hiroyuki Sanada. 

The Babysitter

Best horror movies on Netflix - The Babysitter

(Image credit: Netflix)

Year released: 2017
Director: McG

Babysitters in horror tend to get the short shrift. Whether they're being stalked, stabbed, or taunted over the phone, it's seldom what you'd dub a "fun gig" for them. McG's The Babysitter twists this expectation, in perhaps its sole subversion that we shan't spoil here, to elevate this Netflix Original from what could easily have been a so-so slasher. From the neon-drenched palette of its marketing, it’s clear that this isn’t your typical blood-soaked trip to suburbia.

Nope, this horror works at being hip. That's in part to the breezy cool exuded by Ready or Not's Samara Weaving. In the lead as the world's best babysitter, it's her turn that cements the pic as a playful riff on horrors past; whether she's debating the merits of horror icons with tween scamp Cole or figuring out how to achieve the life she truly desires. While its overly-stylized screen pop-ups might appear needy, they're not enough to detract from the popcorn frivolousness. 

Little Evil

Best horror movies on Netflix - Little Evil

(Image credit: Netflix)

Year released: 2017
Director: Eli Craig

Films like The Omen and Orphan have taught us that having a kid in a horror movie typically doesn't end well. The nightmarish concept of raising a hell-spawn receives a much-needed shakeup in Eli Craig’s horror-comedy Little Evil. Parenthood gets utterly skewered as Adam Scott’s everyman Gary meets and marries the woman of his dreams, Samantha (Evangeline Lilly), only to discover he’s stepdad to the antichrist. 

It makes it onto the best horror movies on Netflix list because it's a great riff on the exhausted supernatural child subgenre, that mixes up the typical "devil incarnate" trope with some fresher, less tired ideas (queer representation that’s not derivative). With a slew of recognisable horror moments nabbed and skewered (Dr. Farrow being a brazen nod to Rosemary’s Baby for one) on the meta altar, there’s plenty of genre winks to score Little Evil points with fans. Need further convincing? Craig also directed the stellar slasher comedy Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil.

The Perfection

Best horror movies on Netflix - The Perfection

(Image credit: Netflix)

Year released: 2018
Director: Richard Shepard

Good at guessing twists? The Perfection acknowledges your arrogance and ceremoniously barfs all over it. This body horror supreme rages and twists, a schlock-filled delight that barely lets up until you've regurgitated your lunch, that is. There's a reason everyone couldn't stop talking about this campy Netflix Original at time of release: it's a dizzying trip into the terrifying world of…  classical musicianship.

Get Out's Allison Williams channels that same energy to play cellist Charlotte whose rivalry with Logan Browning's similarly-talented string plucker Lizzie spirals out of control. While that might sound like a '90s thriller, this is pure modern horror. It admittedly ventures into some rather over-the-top scenarios, but that's where most of its deliciously deranged entertainment lies. This is a bizarre yarn of revenge that unspools through a number of interesting themes.


Incantation movie

(Image credit: Netflix)

Year released: 2022
Kevin Ko

Found footage flick Incantation simply had to make it onto our list. It follows Li Ronan (Tsai Hsuan-yen) as she tries to protect her daughter Dodo (Huang Sin-ting) from the ancient curse she unleashed by breaking a religious taboo. Dripping with dread and chock-full of jumpscares, it's best enjoyed if you don't question the characters' head-scratching choices too much... Switch off your logic for a second and it's sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. 

A lot of genre nuts have claimed that it's the first film in a way that genuinely frightened them, so it's safe to say this one isn't for the faint of heart. Taiwanese terror at its finest.


Best horror movies on Netflix - Apostle

(Image credit: Netflix)

Year released: 2018
Director: Gareth Evans

Gareth Evans might seem an unusual choice to lens a slow-burn period horror, but somehow? Apostle works. Fans of The Witch will get a kick out of this Netflix Original horror that stars Dan Stevens as Thomas Richardson, a man who returns home to learn his sister has fallen afoul of a cult. Desperate to rescue her, he ventures to the secluded isle, willingly embracing cult leader (Michael Sheen) and his flock under the guise of a recent convert in order to locate his missing sibling.

Evans puts a pause to kinetic flourishes brought to life in his signature efforts, The Raid and The Raid 2. Here, he opts for a slower pace to the hidden horrors of the hazy, misty Welsh town. A slew of subplots steer Stevens' wanderer all over the map in his dogged pursuit, showcasing Evans' eye for making the bleak beautiful, and the horrific truly mesmerizing. 


Best horror movies on Netflix - 1922

(Image credit: Netflix)

Year released: 2017
Director: Zak Hilditch

Is there such a thing as the perfect murder? While 1922 doesn't strictly dabble with that query, it does dive into the next best thing: what guilt does to a man after committing one. Another King adaptation, this Netflix Original hails from director Zak Hilditch, who opts for the long, steady-paced tale. Things open on farmer Wilf James (Thomas Jane) as he struggles to deal with his wife Arlette's (Molly Parker) aspirations. After inheriting a large plot of land, her plan is to sell it so they can move to the city with their son. 

Wilf, a rancher at heart, is reviled by her plans, so opts for the only remaining choice: he plots to kill her. Unlike other King adaptations, that boast flashy villains and shocking twists, this is old-school horror. If you like your scares with a hint of the gothic to them and are more intrigued by the darkness that lingers inside of people rather than the boogeyman, this is for you. 

The Silence

Stanley Tucci and Kiernan Shipka in The Silence

(Image credit: Netflix)

Year released: 2019
Director: John R. Leonetti

Listen, it's got bad reviews, we get it, but we're here to tell you that The Silence is actually a pretty fun horror flick – and not just the cheap knock-off of a certain John Krasinski movie it's been made out to be. 

Directed by Annabelle's John R. Leonetti, and featuring the likes of Miranda Otto, Stanley Tucci, and Kiernan Shipka, it centers on a family's fight for survival after the world comes under attack by creatures with crazy-good hearing. The latter's character is deaf, just like Millicent Simmonds' in A Quiet Place, yes, but it also boasts a dark, interesting late-stage twist that sets itself apart from said similar movie. This one is best-watched in a group with a bucket-load of snacks.


Best horror movies on Netflix - Calibre

(Image credit: Netflix)

Year released: 2018
Director: Matt Palmer

Picture the scene: You're having a great time with an old friend, and then all of a sudden, you're struck by that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when the absolute worst thing imaginable happens. The moodscape of Calibre preys on that very sensation for its entire runtime, venturing down some decidedly murky ethical holes to tell the tale of two lifelong friends who journey to the Scottish highlands for a hunting weekend. While Vaughn and Marcus' getaway is a boozy fun time at the start, the real thrills kick in when they hit the outdoors to bag themselves a deer. 

Well, we say watch, but you'll likely experience most of the film from behind a cushion while you clutch the armrest, sweat pouring down your back. Writer-director Matt Palmer's debut doesn't adhere to traditional horror tropes per se, more an experience in sheer pulse-pounding what-the-fuckery. While most of its punchiest moments are snagged from elsewhere, that doesn't matter: you'll be holding your breath the whole time.

Ravenous (Les Affamés)

Best horror movies on Netflix - Ravenous

(Image credit: Netflix)

Year released: 2017
Director: Robin Aubert

Both funny and scary, this low-key French horror taps into an area of the zombie genre previously unexplored. The rural, foreign area, that is. Ravenous plays out in the surrounding areas of Quebec, as residents slowly succumb to a zombie-like illness, leaving their loved ones to fend them off and seek shelter.

Bored of the usual undead flesh-eaters cluttering up your screen? Not only does this effective little horror boast a unique element in that it's not performed in the English language, it also packs in some neat amendments to zombie lore. Similar to more recent zombie fare like Maggie, Ravenous pares things down and keeps it simple. You're gonna get no flashy CGI, big-budgeted action here, folks. But what it does offer, rather bleakly, is a sense of real, confounding sadness at the loss of life, that's typically overlooked in favor of blood and guts.

The Platform

Best horror movies on Netflix - The Platform

(Image credit: Netflix)

Year released: 2019
Director: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia

The notion that horror isn't political is a poor argument, with each era in the genre's history ripe with titles seeking to dismantle particular rhetorics. The Platform is one of Netflix's first world language original horrors, and wields its opinion boldly from the offset. The premise interrogates the concept of communism through a brutal futuristic prison system, which is where we first meet our protagonist Goreng, who awakens one day on Floor 48 of a Virtual Self-Management Center. Essentially, an installation where a mouthwatering feast is placed on a platform and lowered down through the tower, stopping for a moment at each floor so the inmates may eat.

The point made rather explicitly involves the equal distribution of wealth. But when you've suffered as a result of others' greed, what do you do when gluttony presents itself? The movie chronicles Goreng's experiences as he's switched every 30 days to a new floor, with the lowest levels demonstrating the savagery humans resort to when their fellow man won't even throw 'em a bone.


Annihilation's Lena (Natalie Portman) stares into something bright and terrible.

(Image credit: Netflix)

Year released: 2018
Director: Alex Garland

Based on the novel by the same name written by author Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation centers on Lena (Natalie Portman), a biologist and former soldier, who agrees to lead a team of female scientists into Area X, a mysterious and sinister phenomenon that is spreading across the US coastline, and in which the laws of nature don't seem to apply. Her reasons for signing up to the mission turn out to be personal, involving her husband (Oscar Isaac), though we won't go into that here. 

It's trippy, weird, and existential, and while it disappointingly doesn't delve into the infecting tensions between the women as the book does, it's fronted by the magnetic quartet of Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, and Tessa Thompson. 


Best horror movies on Netflix - Cargo

(Image credit: Netflix)

Year released: 2017
Director: Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke

In a similar fashion to Ravenous, Cargo upends the racy, blistering zombie traditions of recent years to tell a quieter, character-driven story. Opening on an infectious pandemic well underway, Martin Freeman leads the pic as Andy, a man keen to figure his way through the apocalypse with his wife and baby girl by his side. Almost immediately Andy's circumstance spirals out of control, forcing him to confront his worst nightmares while ensuring his family’s ultimate survival. 

This isn't your typical undead yarn, however. First off, it's situated not in a bustling cityscape but instead, the Australian outback, lovingly photographed as both a sight to behold and fear. Elsewhere, the movie pilfers new themes from the end of days predicament, such as the scramble over rations as commentary on the wasteful nature of modern-day living. It examines a parent's love for their child, and how that takes precedence when time winds down. Freeman's dedicated performance is what sells the core message;  the deep reserve of unconditional love we each possess is the only true tool we need for survival. 

The Chalk Line

The Chalk Line

(Image credit: Netflix)

Year released: 2022
Director: Ignacio Tatay

If you're comfortable reading subtitles, then you could do a lot worse than watching Spanish-language flick The Chalk Line, also known as Jaula, during your next movie night. Starring Eva Tennear, Pablo Molinero, and Wonder Woman's Elena Anaya, it has all that you need from a chiller, which is loosely based on a true story; a paranoid mother, a doubting dad, and a super creepy kid, as a couple adopt a seemingly troubled youngster who they found wandering alone in the woods. 

The littlun is convinced that if she ever steps out of the parameters of a chalk square she's drawn on the floor that she'll be haunted by a monster. Intrigued (and spooked) by the child's strange behavior, Paula (Anaya) delves into the former's past and discovers some dark truths.


Best horror movies on Netflix - Creep

(Image credit: The Orchard)

Year released: 2014
Director: Patrick Brice

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 faces of horror. Duplass co-stars opposite writer-director Patrick Brice, for the latest in a long line of mumblegore movies that’s inventive, bold and unnerving as hell. Albeit, scant on actual guts.

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. Everything shuffles along without too much cause for concern until the midway 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 that leads nicely into the sequel, which is definitely worth checking out too.

Before I Wake

Best horror movies on Netflix - Before I Wake

(Image credit: Netflix)

Year released: 2016
Director: Mike Flanagan

Stuck in distribution hell for years after completion, Mike Flanagan's atmospheric horror is nevertheless worth seeking out. On the surface, and judging by its premise, it appears to be your standard creepy kid pic. But this is Flanagan we're talking about. The mastery in which he muddles the line between good and evil, to rebrand both as something entirely essential to the human experience is outstanding. That's the core tenet of Before I Wake, which follows the story of young orphan Cody (Jacob Tremblay, several years before Flanagan tore him apart in Doctor Sleep) who secures a new adoptive home with grieving parents Jessie (Kate Bosworth) and Mark (Thomas Jane).

Their situation is equally as complex as Cody's, and their tragic backstories become entwined. Scares abound as Cody's unique skills come to the fore with some genuinely unnerving resultant visuals serving as nightmare fodder. Those familiar with Flanagan's work will recognize his trademark flourishes, but it's unlikely you'll guess the film's final suckerpunch tear-jerk that doesn't undermine the earlier scares, instead drilling that creeping sorrow deeper into your bones.

Velvet Buzzsaw

Best horror movies on Netflix - Velvet Buzzsaw

(Image credit: Netflix)

Year released: 2019
Director: Dan Gilroy

Sadly, the velvet buzzsaw of the title isn't a dastardly device wielded by a maniac hellbent on mowing down teens. Alas, this Netflix Original is no slasher but a flat-out bonkers satirical horror. Jake Gyllenhaal reunites with his Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy for an art world expose. Velvet Buzzsaw carries none of the precision or bite as that earlier pic, instead preferring to tell a more frivolous story about the art vs. commerce debate. 

Bitter, icy, and replete with backstabbing – and that's just Gyllenhaal's gonzo critic Mort Vandewalf – the movie oozes camp from the start. Mort's friend Josephina discovers a repository of phenomenal art in the apartment of her deceased neighbour. The pieces take the Miami art world by storm, only increasing in value when a series of murders become bizarrely connected to them. Come for the wacky premise and stay for the terrific ensemble cast (Rene Russo, Toni Collette, Daveed Diggs, and John Malkovich) who appear to be having a bloody good time.  


Best horror movies on Netflix - CAM

(Image credit: Netflix)

Year released: 2018
Director: Daniel Goldhaber

The horror of having your digital presence stolen strikes at the heart of this truly creepy 2018 pic. Orange is the New Black's Madeline Brewer stars as Lola, a camgirl who works as a webcam model on a popular kink website. She earns tokens and likes from her followers in the hopes of leaping up to the site's top ten where true stardom awaits. That dream falls apart when Lola awakes one morning to discover her profile has been taken over... by an exact copy of herself. 

What's most unsettling, guaranteed to send shivers up your spine, is the uncanny valley conundrum at the center of CAM. Having your identity hijacked is one thing, sure. But being confronted by a sinister simulacrum, a dangerous doppelganger, a cunning cop- alright, that's enough, you get the point; that concept is most chilling. Penned by a former real-life cam girl, the story dives into the dark past of the website, revealing the true horror of Lola's predicament.


Best horror movies on Netflix - Alive

(Image credit: Netflix)

Year released: 2020
Director: Il Cho

Directed by Il Cho, #Alive is a Netflix movie from South Korea that follows a live-streamer as he attempts to survive a zombie apocalypse. Oddly enough, a guy who spends most of his time playing video games is actually fairly suited to live in a zombie apocalypse... Yoo Ah-in plays the gamer, Oh Joon-woo, and is joined by Park Shin-hye, who plays the mysterious Kim. The pair make a great central duo in this intense, bloody undead flick.

Under the Shadow

Best horror movies on Netflix - Under The Shadow

(Image credit: Vertigo)

Non-Netflix original available in UK and US

Year released: 2016
Director: Babak Anvari

A film with a PG rating can't be really scary... can it? Under the Shadow, dubbed Iran's version of The Babadook, aims to dismantle that theory in the most terrifying way possible. Taking place during the Iran-Iraq war, tensions are already high for the residents of Tehran, and especially for one unlucky family. Married couple Iraj and Shideh, find themselves split up over the course of an evening, when Iraj is called away, leaving his wife and their daughter Dorsa to wait out the night in their apartment. Thing is, there might be something worse than a missile attack awaiting them...

A genuinely scary horror, with a ripe, tense atmosphere that's largely absent of violence and gore, Under the Shadow channels some deep-rooted fears about Iran's cultural climate, twisting them into a living, breathing terror. Shideh is also a much welcome addition to the horror canon, refusing to idly sit by while evil is at work, and instead taking action to protect her child. 

Gerald's Game

Best horror movies on Netflix - Gerald's Game

(Image credit: Netflix)

Year released: 2017
Director: Mike Flanagan

Stephen King's hot streak brings with it an adaptation many said was unfilmable. This recent stab, another Mike Flanagan film, proves those naysayers wrong. This is perhaps the most loyal King adaptation, bringing a tome shuddering to life that consists mostly of a woman chained to a bed, alone, in the middle of nowhere. That woman is Jesse (Carla Gugino), whose husband, Gerald (Bruce Greenwood), drives her to a peaceful retreat for a weekend of nookie and $200 steak. 

His ticker gives up and she's left handcuffed to the bedposts with a strange dog for company... oh, and a creeping demon with red eyes that lurks in the shadows when night falls. Carla Gugino's stunning performance piles on the layers of horror from throughout Jesse's past, until the sting in the tail you won't see coming.

If scares aren't your bag, check out our list of best Netflix thrillers or best Netflix comedies for some viewing inspiration.

Gem Seddon

Gem Seddon is GamesRadar+'s west coast Entertainment News Reporter, working to keep all of you updated on all of the latest and greatest movies and shows on streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Outside of entertainment journalism, Gem can frequently be found writing about the alternative health and wellness industry, and obsessing over all things Aliens and Terminator on Twitter. 

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