Are you looking to curl up on the couch, switch off the lights, and scare yourself with some of the best horror movies ever made? With our help you won’t even have to think about what to watch. Just open Netflix and pick any of the films on this list.
Note: These movies are available on Netflix US. You can watch them using a VPN with Netflix if you’re not based in the United States.
1. The Shining
The Shining is one of the best movies based on Stephen King’s books. Legendary director Stanley Kubrick tells the story of the Torrance family (father, mother, and son) heading to an isolated hotel for a winter break. The hotel is, of course, haunted and starts affecting all of them.
Jack Nicholson gives a stand-out performance, while Shelley Duvall is perfect as the one person trying to keep things together. The Shining is a landmark horror film, and its set designs, scenes, plots, and catchphrases have been referenced in umpteen other films and TV series.
Aliens, native American symbolism, and a dull and bleak American winter set the background for Dreamcatcher. Four buddies embark upon their annual winter trip into the woods, but get caught in a fierce storm. And they aren’t alone out there.
While Dreamcatcher is another movie based on a Stephen King book, it’s not as good as The Shining. Director Lawrence Kasdan does an OK job of translating King’s vision into cinema, but the end result is a brilliant B-movie for horror fans.
The Conjuring is one of the best horror movies released in this decade, as director James Wan hits all the right notes in this classic plot. It’s about a family that buys a remote house disconnected from their neighbors, and strange things start happening in it. The family asks for help from two paranormal detectives (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga).
Together, they must all somehow survive the vengeance of the family who lived there before them, and especially the little girl who still holds a strong grudge. The Conjuring is a perfect execution of mood-building, day-time horror. It’s also one of those movies full of jump scares.
4. Cabin Fever
Cabin Fever starts with a trip to a cabin in the middle of nowhere. But when these five friends meet a dangerous man with a weird disease, they end up killing him and dumping him in the town’s water reservoir. Anyone who drinks the water is now infected. And things get really bad when one of the five has a glass of tap water.
Director Eli Roth has a unique style in his horror films that make them compelling to watch, even when they are campy and silly. If you can buy into the premise and suspend logic for a couple of hours, you’ll have a frightfully good time.
5. The Ritual
You don’t expect much with the done-to-death plot of The Ritual. It’s about four estranged friends who reunite for a hiking trip, and are forced to go off the trail for a shortcut when one of them is injured. As you’d expect, there’s something evil in the woods.
But the place makes a difference here. Director David Bruckner sets the movie in Sweden, whose dreary skies and chilling winters add a lot of atmosphere. And it also lets Bruckner explore a new type of evil: Scandinavian mythology.
At this point, you’ve probably watched The Sixth Sense, or at least heard about its big plot twist at the end. So should you still watch it? The answer is a resounding Yes. Director M. Night Shyamalan’s story about a boy who can talk to ghosts, and the therapist trying to help him, is a classic.
The film still has plenty of scenes designed to give you the heebie-jeebies, and there are jump scares and chills in equal measure. Haley Joel Osment gives the performance of a lifetime as the boy who sees dead people, and The Sixth Sense is worth watching over and over.
7. The Witch
The Witch, stylized on the posters as “The VVitch” to add intrigue, is a slow-builder but definitely worth the wait. The Witch is a period horror film set in 1630s New England. Debutant writer-director Robert Eggers is one to watch out for.
A family is banished by their village to live near the spooky woods, and strange things start happening. One of the daughters goes missing, and the family thinks the teenage daughter Thomasin is a witch who is responsible for everything. Without resorting to too many jump scares, the slow-building horror and creepy atmosphere will make you turn on the lights before the end.
8. The Gift
You don’t always need something supernatural to make a good horror film. Humans are scary enough, as you will find out with The Gift, a psychological thriller with plenty of truly creepy moments. The strong star-cast of Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, and Joel Edgerton deliver performances that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat.
It’s difficult to describe The Gift without spoiling it. Bateman and Hall are married, and Edgerton is an old acquaintance of Bateman who shows up unannounced. Strange gifts are given, secrets are revealed, and no one’s lives will be the same ever again.
Clive Barker is a legend in the world of horror films. His greatest creation can be streamed on Netflix right now. With nine films in the franchise, it’s high time you dived into Hellraiser.
The movie introduces monsters called cenobites, that would be used by Barker in several other films and novels. They take on the corpses of mutilated humans, with the most famous of them being their leader, Pinhead. The plot is about the resurrection of a man named Frank and how a girl called Kristy tries to help him. But really, the frights are all about the cenobites and Pinhead.
Based on Stephen King’s short story of the same name, Children of the Corn is one of the creepiest films you’ll ever watch. Let’s be clear, it’s not a particularly good film, nor is it that horrifying. But the “creepiness” is dialed up to 11.
In a small rural town, a boy convinces all of the other children to murder each and every adult. After they finish the massacre, they follow the boy’s every word. And he, in turn, follows the word of a supernatural force, known only as “He Who Walks Behind The Rows”. When a young adult couple ride into town looking for help, they’ll need to do everything in their power to stay alive.
More Scary Stuff to Watch on Netflix
You can use this list any way you want. Pick one based on the IMDb rating or the Rotten Tomatoes rating, watch them in order of release date, or just pick one at random. And if you’ve seen all of these movies already, Netflix has plenty of other fare for horror buffs, like these scary movies that are full of frights.
It’s also a good idea to look beyond horror movies. We’re in the age of binge-watching TV series, so why restrict yourself to films alone? Whether you use Netflix or other streaming services, go frighten yourself with the scariest TV shows to watch over Halloween.