The 25 best Netflix horror movies (March 2019)

15. Ravenous (2017)

Region: UK, US

The movie: 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.

Read more: Disenchantment review: “Merely decent, an easy 30 minute-per-episode binge”

Why it’s worth a watch: Bored of the usual undead flesh-eaters cluttering up your screen? Not only does this effective little horror boast a unique element in that its not performed in the English language, it also packs in some neat amendments to zombie lore. Similarly 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 favour of blood and guts.

14. Train to Busan (2016)

Region: US

The movie: Zombie films reached saturation point in the last ten years, yet if this South Korean horror is anything to go by, there's many miles left for those shambling, flesh-hungry corpses. Well, except the undead figures in Train to Busan move at a fair clip. Imagine Snowpiercer crossed with 28 Days Later and you're somewhere close to what's on offer, as a bunch of strangers unite to fend off a gaggle of zombies invading their train.

Why it’s worth a watch: As is often the case with confined spaces and the imminent threat of death, the group soon begins to turn on each other, as the stakes are raised and more people succumb to the zombies. Oodles of great set pieces and the fast-pace of the story will have you gripped from start to finish.

Read more: The 25 best zombie movies that will turn you veggie

13. Beyond the Gates (2016)

Region: US

The movie: Shortly after their father's strange disappearance, two brothers discover an interactive VHS board game in the inventory of the family's video store. When they realise it was the last thing their dad watched, they load the cassette into the VCR and quickly find out that this is no normal game, oh no. It's a portal to another dimension. 

Why it’s worth a watch: Beyond the Gates is a terrific '80s throwback for fans of the video store era. It's got a synth-heavy soundtrack and a feel of straight-to-video B-flick silliness, along with interestingly, a bit of an adventurous edge. Paying homage to cheeseballs horrors of yesterday, it might not be a genre-changer but it's a lot of fun.

12. The Invitation (2015)

Region: UK, US

The movie: Everybody loves an awkward dinner party, don't they? For poor Will (Logan Marshall-Green, not Tom Hardy) that evening begins on a sour note and proceeds to get worse. Will, his new girlfriend and a group of old pals spend the night at his former abode with his ex-wife, her new partner (Game of Thrones' Michiel Huisman), and a side order of WTF? This dinner party movie edges into weirdness early on, and continues to make you feel like something fucked up is happening... you're just not entirely sure what.

Why it’s worth a watch: From Jennifer's Body director Karyn Kusama, The Invitation is unlike any other horror of recent years. It's a slow-burning, beautifully-shot affair and one I strongly recommend going into knowing very little.

11. The Wailing (2016)

Region: UK, US

The movie: The story revolves around a cop investigating a string of unexplained murders in a small town. He soon discovers the killings are linked with the arrival of a mysterious stranger, and that it all may have something to do with a bizarre illness. When his own daughter falls ill, the officer decides to call in a Shaman.

Why it’s worth a watch: On the surface The Wailing might look like any old Asian horror: something spooky's going on and there's a kid with long hair, a blank stare and evil intentions behind it all. Luckily this South Korean slow-burner steps into new territory. Currently rocking a 99% Fresh rating over at Rotten Tomatoes, The Wailing proves there's still plenty of ways the horror genre can surprise you…

10. 1922 (2017)

Region: UK, US

The movie: 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 can do to a man after committing one. Another King adaptation, this Netflix Original hails from director Zak Hilditch, who opts for the long, slow-burn tale, as we open on farmer Wilf James (Thomas Jane) 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 plots to kill her.

Why it’s worth a watch: 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. 

Read more: The 20 best Stephen King movies you need to see (but can't unsee)

9. The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

Region: UK

The movie: Andre Ovredal, who gave us the glorious Troll Hunter, drops the found footage method for his follow-up that takes place over the course of one night. Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch play father and son coroners who take in a Jane Doe one stormy evening, after the town Sheriff finds an unmarked body at the scene of a horrific double murder. The two get to work - yes, it's rather gruesome in places - and slowly realise that there is something unusual about this particular corpse.

Why it’s worth a watch: Alright, the title may sound like another straight-to-video dud, but it's an absolute cracker. Ovredal's an expert at constructing tension, as you feel like you're watching a slightly creepy episode of CSI, and then all of a sudden, it descends into genuinely terrifying scenarios that will have you covering your eyes and wondering what the hell is going on. One of the best Netflix horror movies available right now, it is destined to make you both scared and beguiled at the same time. 

8. The Conjuring (2013)

Region: US

The movie: You know in movies when a family moves to an isolated farmhouse and discovers that they're sharing their new abode with an attic full of pissed-off ghosts? That's the basis of James Wan's chilling horror. This throwback to old school haunted house flicks is based on another case investigated by the real-life couple who investigated the Amityville haunting, Ed and Lorraine Warren. Before that iconic incident, the pair are summoned to help the Perron family in Rhode Island. Strange occurrences start as soon as they move in; clocks go off at 3am, the youngest daughter sees an evil spirit in her room, another kid gets err... locked in the basement. Yes, it's not good, and that's not including the terrifying hide and clap game.

Why it’s worth a watch: Wan is a maestro at constructing an atmosphere that will have you leaping out of your skin. The tiniest of moments - typically at night, in a dark bedroom - stretch out into long, slow mediations of terror. You've seen a lot of bad haunted house horror, but trust me, after you seen this they will be the stuff of mere memory. This is the real deal. Bring a spare pair.

7. Gerald's Game (2017)

Region: UK, US

The movie: This is perhaps the most loyal Stephen King adaptation, bringing a tome shuddering to life that consists mostly of a woman chained to a bed, alone, in the middle of nowhere. The woman is Jesse, whose husband, Gerald, 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 that lurks in the shadows when night falls.

Why it’s worth a watch: King's hot streak brings with it an adaptation many said was unfilmable. This recent stab proves those naysayers wrong. 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.

6. Hellraiser (1987)

Region: US

The movie: With a modest budget the movie explores a realm where pleasure and pain are indistinguishable. Well, by a group of ghastly beings known as Cenobites, who reside within a puzzle box waiting for someone to solve it and release them. Frank Cotton does, and is torn to pieces, slowly resurrected after a drop of his brother's blood splashes his remains. His revival spurs a whole story of bizarre sexual realisations and gore-soaked chaos.

Why it’s worth a watch: Clive Barker chose to write and direct the feature based on his novella The Hellbound Heart, after the poor treatment of his earlier work Rawhead Rex by another filmmaker. While there's a case that authors should remain distanced from their adaptations, some can craft solid recreations of their source material - and Barker's an example of how that can be achieved. The result is Hellraiser. 

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