Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Last Updated: April 18th
There’s nothing better than bingeing some good scary movies on Netflix on a dark, stormy night. From ghosts to vampires and zombies just about every morbid fantasy that your demented mind can conjure has representation. We’ve watched the best horror movies on Netflix streaming right now, and here they are, ranked from beastly to blood-curdling. It’s perfect for that late night movie binge to keep you wide awake all the way through 2019.
1. Jaws (1975)
Run Time: 124 min | IMDb: 8.0/10
With just a few bars on the piano and an oversized mechanical shark, Steven Spielberg terrorized generations of moviegoers with Jaws. The film follows a local sheriff, a marine biologist, and an old seafarer who team up to hunt a great white shark who has a worrisome bloodlust and seems to be targeting a small beach town during the busiest time of the year. Spielberg’s camera work – the lingering, under water shots, the quick cuts of flesh being torn from bone and rows of teeth flashing to the surface – make this exercise in inciting aquaphobia even more chilling. You’ll never look at a carefree day at the beach the same way again.
2. The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
Run Time: 107 min | IMDb: 8.6/10
Hannibal Lecter is one of horror’s most iconic characters, but it’s a testament to the creepiness of Anthony Hopkins in a leather muzzle that, no matter how many times the film gets quoted, hearing him tell Clarice Starling he’s having an old friend for dinner still sends chills up our spines. Jodie Foster plays the FBI agent tasked with catching another serial killer with Lecter’s same M.O., and she does it by striking up unnerving conversations with the guy, but Hopkins is the real star here, playing Lecter with a restrained insanity that makes his small talk of enjoying human liver with fava beans so much more nightmarish.
Buena Vista Pictures
3. The Sixth Sense (1999)
Run Time: 107 min | IMDb: 8.1/10
Hijinks-y teen movies and all, 1999 was an impressive year for movies. Magnolia, Fight Club, The Green Mile, Being John Malkovich, The Matrix… The list goes on and on. Among those entries is M. Night Shyamalan’s first big release, and one of his best (behind Unbreakable, of course). This was a simpler time, before seeing his name in trailers garnered skepticism. Centered on a boy who can’t separate the dead from the living and his child psychologist with issues of his own, The Sixth Sense remains one of four horror movies to ever be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. It’s endlessly tense, driven by strong performances from the two leads over jump scares. It’s held up well, even if it’s established a tough hurdle for the director’s future efforts to clear.
4. The Conjuring (2014)
Run Time: 112 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
The Conjuring marks the first installment in a horror series that sees Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga playing a married pair of paranormal investigators who seek to understand the phenomenon of hauntings. When the duo is called to assist a family living in a ghostly farmhouse in Rhode Island, they encounter more than they can handle when it comes to the undead. Again, these stories were based on true events, so watch at your own risk.
5. Green Room (2015)
Run Time: 95 min | IMDb: 7/10
When a punk rock group accidentally witnesses the aftermath of a murder, they are forced to fight for their lives by the owner of a Nazi bar (Patrick Stewart) and his team. It’s an extremely brutal and violent story, much like the first two features from director Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin and Murder Party), but this one is made even tenser by its claustrophobic cat-and-cornered-mouse nature. Once the impending danger kicks in, it doesn’t let up until the very end, driven heavily by Stewart playing against type as a harsh, unforgiving, violent character.
20th Century Fox Korea
6. The Wailing (2016)
Run Time: 156 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
Is there ever a time where a mysterious stranger shows up in a small town, and everyone is better off from it? Well, The Wailing is no exception to the familiar inciting incident, as it focuses on a village in South Korea that sees the spread of a terrifying illness once a shady character moves into its surrounding forest. As people start dying, a police officer starts investigating and is sucked into a brutal puzzle. While it’s about 30 minutes too long and the tone isn’t always consistent, The Wailing keeps its audience guessing as much as its protagonist. Its unique religious realism turns this dream-like story into a memorable nightmare.
7. The Witch (2016)
Run Time: 92 min | IMDb: 6.8/10
Robert Eggers’ Sundance hit attracted some of the oddest complaints directed at any film in recent years when some disgruntled audience members suggested it wasn’t scary enough. Maybe they were watching a different movie? Set in colonial New England, the austere film follows a family outcast from their strict religious community and trying to make it on their own at the edge of some deep, dark woods. It essentially takes the witch-fearing folklore of the era at face value, watching the family disintegrate under the insidious influence of a nearby witch. It’s a slow-burn horror movie, light on shocks, heavy on unease, and thematically rich in ways that only become apparent later.
8. Poltergeist (1982)
Run Time: 114 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg collaborate on this supernatural thriller about a family haunted by ghosts. The film marks the most successful in the Poltergeist series, focusing on a young girl named Carol-Anne, who is abducted by malevolent spirits through a portal in her bedroom closet. It turns out, the family’s house was built on a burial site, meaning the ghosts can’t find peace in the afterlife, so the only thing left for them to do is haunt the squatters on their land. The film sports some iconic scenes, most notably Carol-Anne sitting in front of a static television and whispering the ominous warning, “They’re here.” It’s old-school horror at its finest.
9. I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
Run Time: 101 min | IMDb: 5.7/10
Another horror gift from the ’90s, this teen slasher flick stars Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and a host of other ’90s icons trying to escape a hook-wielding psycho terrorizing their small town. Hewitt plays Julie, a young woman trapped in a murder cover-up along with a handful of her best friends. The group, believing they ran over and killed someone on their way home from a party, dump the body, take a vow of silence, and go their separate ways. A year later, Julie returns home from college where she’s caught in a game of cat-and-mouse with someone claiming to know what the group did the previous summer and promising revenge. It’s a straight-forward plot, one that’s helped along by its young, game cast. If you liked Scream, you’ll like this one.
GMM Grammy/Phenomena Motion Pictures
10. Shutter (2004)
Run Time: 97 min | IMDb: 7.1/10
This Thai horror film follows a young man named Tun and his girlfriend, Jane, who accidentally run over a young woman after a party and are haunted by her spirit. Hauntings and horror go hand-in-hand, but this film digs deeper into the supernatural trope by revealing a surprising, gruesome connection between the woman’s ghost and the film’s protagonist. We won’t spoil anything here, but let’s just say there’s a reason this death follows this guy wherever he goes.
11. As Above So Below (2014)
Run Time: 93 min | IMDb: 6.2/10
Before Ben Feldman played a lovable know-it-all on Superstore, the guy was surviving a terror-filled jaunt through the catacombs of Paris in this horror movie. Feldman plays George, a reluctant sidekick to Scarlett (Perdita Weeks), a young alchemy scholar and his former girlfriend. Scarlett convinces George a few others to venture into the famous Paris underground in order to find the fabled philosopher’s stone (Harry Potter kids should know all about this thing, we’re not explaining it here). What they find instead is basically Dante’s Inferno come to life as they face down cults, demons, ghosts, and all manner of horrific beings. Let this be a warning, children: Nothing good happens this far below street level. Nothing.
12. Hush (2016)
Run Time: 81 min | IMDb: 6.6/10
Mike Flanagan, who directed Oculus and Ouija: Origin of Evil, expertly directs this simple tale of a deaf woman being menaced by a masked (and later unmasked) killer in her remote home. This is nothing you haven’t seen before, but Flanagan brings real panache and visual energy to a film that could have easily felt redundant in the hands of a lesser filmmaker.
13. The Nightmare (2015)
Run Time: 91 min | IMDb: 5.8/10
One of the scariest movies on this list also happens to be a documentary, albeit one that aims to frighten audiences in the way of a typical narrative horror film. Director Rodney Ascher’s (Room 237) rumination on the terrifying phenomenon known as sleep paralysis plays like a more artful and particularly unnerving episode of Unsolved Mysteries, but what makes it even scarier is that everything described by the film’s subjects happened in their own tortured minds.
14. The Ritual (2017)
Run Time: 94 min | IMDb: 6.3/10
This Netflix nightmare follows a group of friends who venture into the Scandinavian wilderness in order to honor their recently-murdered brother. The guys, Luke (Rafe Spall), Phil (Arsher Ali), Hutch (Robert James-Collier), and Dom (Sam Troughton) are forced to take a different path from the one planned, a mistake that leads them to cults and sacrificial offerings and an ancient being who prefers to stake its prey. The scenery is gorgeous, the chemistry of the cast is spot on, and the premise — how these men confront their fears and failures thanks to a supernatural being — starts out promising, though it could’ve delivered a better ending.
15. Gerald’s Game (2017)
Run Time: 103 min | IMDb: 6.7/10
Stephen King’s 1992 novel transpires mostly in one isolated lake house’s bedroom where its protagonist, Jessie, lies bound to a bed after her husband dies in the midst of a sex game. That makes it a tough story to film, which may explain why it took 25 years to get turned into a movie. But the wait was worth it: director Mike Flanagan delivers a resourceful, disturbing adaptation anchored by a great Carla Gugino performance (with some fine supporting work from Bruce Greenwood). Forced to find a way out of her situation, while confronting her own past, Gugino’s Jessie is made to go to extremes, which leads to, among other things, one of the squirmiest scenes in recent memory.
16. Under the Shadow (2016)
Run Time: 84 min | IMDb: 6.9/10
This Iranian horror flick manages to tie in relevant world events with a darker story of demonic possession. The film follows Shideh, a former medical student and mother trapped in her home during the bombings of Tehran with her daughter, Dorsa. The pair are soon haunted by a djinn, a malevolent spirit who can possess a human by taking what’s most important to them. For Dorsa, it’s her doll, for Shideh, it’s a medical textbook her dead mother gave her. The two fight to survive the bombs and this evil spirit, and you’ll be fighting to get to sleep after the nightmares from this one begin
17. Veronica (2017)
Run Time: 105 min | IMDb: 6.2/10
After losing her father, young Veronica (Sandra Escacena) and two classmates attempt to contact the other side with a Ouija board during a solar eclipse. Something more sinister breaks through, though, as Veronica is haunted by a dark presence everywhere she goes. Even though it has just been released in 2018, it’s already been called one of the scariest movies ever made. While that is certainly open for debate, what Veronica does do is excel phenomenally in the cliche horror bits every viewer has seen a thousand times over, such as mishandled Ouija use, frightening entities that only the protagonist is privy to, and twisted dreams. Based on a true story, the film relies on the strong performance of newcomer Escacena, highlighted by her haunting expressions of terror and anguish.
18. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Run Time: 108 min | IMDb: 7.3/10
George Clooney and Juliette Lewis star in this campy horror flick from Robert Rodriguez and written by Quentin Tarantino. Clooney and Tarantino star as a pair of bank-robbing brothers who take a family hostage at a motel and have them smuggle them across the Mexican border in their RV. They make a pit-stop at a bar run by vampires and are forced to fight for their survival until daylight breaks. Because this is a Tarantino/Rodriguez production, there’s plenty of gore, humor, and ridiculousness going on, but you’ll come away terrified all the same.
19. Creep (2014)
Run Time: 82 min | IMDb: 6.3/10
One of the better found-footage movies to come down the pike in Paranormal Activity‘s wake is this creepy gem about a videographer (director Patrick Brice) who answers a strange Craigslist ad from a man (Mark Duplass) who requests to be followed around with a camera for 24 hours. There are a few points late in the narrative where suspension of disbelief becomes an issue (a not-atypical problem for the genre), but if you can look past that, you’ll be treated to a very scary turn by Duplass and a supremely-unnerving epilogue.
20. Creep 2 (2017)
Run Time: 80 min | IMDb: 6.4/10
(Spoilers for Creep🙂 What could have very well been a stand-alone character exploration in 2014’s Creep is heightened in Creep 2, which sees Mark Duplass’ chameleon-like killer seeking a different kind of self-portrait. Burned out on his string of murders, Aaron reaches out to a woman who’s looking for her own kind of story by meeting and filming the lonely people she meets online. Instead of a wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing path the killer normally follows, he tells the woman what he is off-the-bat and what he wants: An ending to his journey. With all his cards (seemingly) on the table — and her hiding some of her own — it’s an even more fascinating tale than the original.
Cannes Film Festival
21. Train To Busan (2016)
Run Time: 118 min | IMDb: 7.5/10
Zombie movies have been done to death, brought back to life, and repeated a few more times. But that doesn’t mean there still aren’t entertaining stories to be found in the genre. Train To Busan doesn’t bring anything exceptionally original to the walking undead, but it’s no less of a thrilling ride. An overworked dad is riding the rails with his neglected daughter when a Z-word outbreak strikes, causing savagery from corpse and living alike. Its fast-moving, contorted foes are genuinely freaky in the movie’s cramped setting, making the story feel like a zombified Snowpiercer. It’s a fun action flick with a slightly heavy-handed but solid emotional core that’s unsurprisingly getting an English remake.
22. The Invitation (2016)
Run Time: 100 min | IMDb: 6.7/10
After back-to-back big studio bombs, Karyn Kusama returned to her scrappy indie roots with this contained, brilliantly suspenseful study of the darkness that can arise when people don’t allow themselves to feel. The Invitation isn’t a perfect film, but Kusama does a lot with the scant resources she had to play with here, and you have to appreciate her willingness to tackle grief so directly in a genre that tends to have little time for genuine human emotion.
A Pokeepsie Films/Nadie es Perfecto/Atresmedia Cine
23. The Bar (2017)
Run Time: 102 min | IMDb: 6.4/10
A varied group of people is stuck in a bar after a man is gunned down outside. As the paranoia spreads and they turn on one another, they discover a mysterious sickness could be the culprit. It’s a bottle-type plot that has been done before — locking a bunch of frenzied folks in a cage and let instincts take their course — but this Spanish horror comedy injects its own dark humor and keeps the answers to a minimum, making an entertaining story that unfortunately favors the “dark” over the “comedy” in its final act.
24. Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)
Run Time: 113 min | IMDb: 5.7/10
Jake Gyllenhaal plays a vapid L.A. art critic named Morf Vandewalt in Dan Gilroy’s supernatural thriller about a collection of high-end paintings that begin tormenting their owners. Gyllenhaal gives a deliciously weird, over-the-top performance as Morf, a guy who investigates the horrible deaths of people who recently bought paintings from an unknown artist who may have imbibed them with some kind of evil spirit via his own blood. Those spirits take hold of anyone who stares too long at the portraits. It’s a sick, twisted commentary on greed and capitalism in America that’s bonkers enough to convince you to avoid art galleries for the rest of your life.
25. Apostle (2018)
Run Time: 130 min | IMDb: 6.4/10
A man (Legion‘s Dan Stevens) travels to an island to infiltrate a brutal cult in the hopes of saving his kidnapped sister. As the group’s leaders close in on discovering his identity, the dark secrets of the island start to present themselves. Written and directed by The Raid: Redemption director Gareth Evans, Apostle is a tense, beautifully shot thriller that doesn’t even seem like a horror film from the get-go. Stevens provides another icy, powerful performance alongside Michael Sheen’s turn as the leader of the harsh cult. It’s certainly a highlight among the Netflix original films.
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