The Scariest Horror Movies on Netflix



There’s nothing quite like a good scare, and the best horror movies deliver thrills, chills and spills in equal measure. It can be daunting trying to figure out the right horror movie to watch on your favorite streaming service, but that’s where we come in. We’ve curated a list of some of the best and scariest horror movies on Netflix right now. Films that will rattle you to your bone, give you goosebumps and some that merely excel at giving off extreme spooky vibes. Whatever your pick, you won’t be disappointed.

Here are the best horror movies on Netflix right now.



An underrated original horror selection on Netflix, “Apostle” sends Dan Stevens to a remote island where he sets out to rescue his sister from a religious cult and discovers, of course, horrors beyond imagination. It’s folk horror homage in the tradition of “The Wicker Man” that veers from act to act into more extreme, unknown and viscera-slinging territory with each new reveal. I’m not sure why “Apostle” flies so far under the radar – perhaps it was too much of a detour from what film fans wanted to see next from “The Raid” director Gareth Evans, but if you’re a fan of creepy, culty folk horror, give this one a try. – Haleigh Foutch

“Crimson Peak”

Crimson Peak

Guillermo del toro’s “Crimson Peak” is a gorgeous ghost story that packs the filmmaker’s signature emotional punch. Set in 1901, Mia Wasikowska plays a budding author who is wooed by an English baronet who marries her and brings her to his old, decrepit mansion to live with him and his mysterious sister (played by Jessica Chastain). This is one of del Toro’s most ornately designed films, with an enormous and impeccably designed house and some spooky, unique-looking ghosts. It’s a bit light on actual jump scares, but it sure is pretty to look at. – Adam Chitwood

“The Ritual”


The less you know about “The Ritual” going in the better. Directed by David Bruckner (“The Night House”), the film begins with four friends who embark on a hiking trip in Sweden to honor their recently deceased friend. They take a shortcut and stumble upon an abandoned cabin full of cult-like objects. And then… well it’s better if you just experience it yourself, but this movie takes a number of twists and turns that are at turns shocking and horrifying. Plus it’s got Rafe Spall (“The English”), who is a joy. – Adam Chitwood

“Fear Street” Trilogy


When the “Fear Street” trilogy was released on Netflix in 2021, it blurred the line between television and movies. What was meant to be a series of films, each released a month apart, became, thanks to corporate mergers and the ongoing pandemic, a three-week streaming event, with a new movie released each week. Inspired by the R.L. Stine book series of the same name and directed by Leigh Janiak, “Fear Street Part One: 1994” was a supernaturally tinged ‘90’s slasher, and could have been released alongside “Scream” or “I Know What You Did Last Summer” seamlessly. “Part Two: 1978” was a phantasmagoric. fun-as-hell campfire tale, set at a summer camp (think “Sleepaway Camp” and “Friday the 13th”); and “Part Three: 1666” was a full-on historical witch story, which uncovers the curse we were introduced in the first film (with many of the same actors playing different characters). It’s an overwhelming amount of fun, elegantly directed by Janiak and brightly performed by a host of super talented young actors. Quite frankly we should have had a new “Fear Street” movie – or three – each year since. – Drew Taylor

“Lights Out”

Warner Bros. Pictures

If you’re looking for a scary movie that’s quick-moving, straight-to-the-scares and all about those clever, edge-of-your-seat set-pieces, you can’t go wrong with “Lights Out.” Directed by “Shazam!” filmmaker David F. Sandberg and written by Eric Heisserer (“Arrival,” “Bird Box”), “Lights Out” stars Teresa Palmer as Rebbeca, a woman who was plagued by dark as a child and now finds her younger brother facing the same fears all thanks to the demonic presence, Diana, that has attached herself to their mother. It’s got good characters with compelling motivations and Palmer is a pleasure of a horror lead, but most of all, “Lights Out” has a masterful gimmick – Diana can only be seen in the dark – and Sandberg directs the hell out of it, setting up one pulse-pounding sequence after the next. It’s easy to see why the project caught the eye of modern set-piece maestro James Wan, who produced. – Haleigh Foutch

“Gerald’s Game”

Carla Gugino in “Gerald’s Game” (Netflix)

By now, horror fans know what to expect from Mike Flanagan – rich, emotional stories of trauma and survival, fused at the root with tales of terror; a first-rate cast and rotating company of familiar faces (and excellent Carla Gugino performances, on that note); tall, skinny, creepy-ass, ghoul-faced men. “Gerald’s Game” has it all, along with the best of what Stephen King is known for, while we’re at it. Long considered one of King’s “unadaptable” works, “Gerald’s Game” follows Jessie (Gugino); a woman left handcuffed to a bed in a remote cabin, with no help on the way, after her husband dies of a heart attack during a disturbing sexual encounter. Stuck with no food or water and only herself to rely on, Jessie has to find her way out and work through some deeply buried childhood grief in the process. Doesn’t that sound scary? This film is responsible for the loudest screams I’ve ever heard from the famously steel-stomached Fantastic Fest crowd. – Haleigh Foutch

“The Pope’s Exorcist”

The Pope's Exorcist
“The Pope’s Exorcist” (Sony)

Just to be clear: the title of this movie refers to the priest the pope depends on to perform tricky exorcisms. The pope doesn’t need an exorcism. Although that would certainly be a pickle. “The Pope’s Exorcist” is, actually, one of the most entertaining and underrated movies of the year, a down-and-dirty, 1980’s-set exorcism movie with a wonderful central Russell Crowe performance that is at once extremely over-the-top and also deeply sincere. Crowe’s Father Gabriele Amorth (who was a real dude and a very prolific exorcist, William Friedkin made a very crummy documentary about him a few years ago) is summoned to a creepy residence in Spain, where a young mother is dealing with the potential exorcism of her son (her daughter on the other hand is content to pout and listen to post-punk music on her Walkman). The movie is genuinely scary and Crowe’s sometimes winking performance never undercuts the horror, especially when the movie takes on the loose contours of an ‘80s buddy movie, with Amorth showing a younger priest (played gamely by Daniel Zovatto) the ropes. A modest hit in the theaters, “The Pope’s Exorcist” will undoubtedly find a second life as a cult classic on home video. It’s scary good. – Drew Taylor

“Day Shift”

Day Shift
Parrish Lewis/Netflix

In “Day Shift” Jamie Foxx plays a blue-collar vampire slayer hunting for undead ghouls in the San Fernando Valley. Of course, he’s been locked out of the vampire hunter guild (he’s desperate to get back in for the benefits) and is saddled with a dweeby auditor (Dave Franco) who accompanies him on his pursuit. And wouldn’t you know it, he stumbles upon a vast vampire conspiracy? “Day Shift” is a high octane, very R-rated action/horror/comedy hybrid, directed by stuntman and second unit director J.J. Perry and co-written by Shay Hatten, Shane Black’s protégé and a veteran of Zack Snyder’s “Army of the Dead” and the last two “John Wick” chapters. With a winning supporting cast (that includes “Ahsoka” standout Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Snoop Dogg, Meagan Goode and Peter Stormare) and elaborate, inventively staged action set pieces, “Day Shift” offers some much needed fun, harkening back to whatever your favorite 1980’s horror movie was. (You can feel the influence of everything from “Dead Heat” to “The Lost Boys.”) And who doesn’t want to watch Jamie Foxx kill vampires in the San Fernando Valley? – Drew Taylor

“The Perfection”


Just be warned: this movie is insane. Also, the more you know about the movie, the less fun it is to watch. With all of that in mind, “The Perfection” is one of the best Netflix original horror movies (Netflix actually picked it up from Miramax after it premiered at Austin’s genre film festival Fantastic Fest). Here’s what you should know: Allison Williams and Logan Browning are music students and cellists whose rivalry reaches a truly dangerous tenor. And Steven Weber is their tough-as-nails headmaster. “The Perfection” was directed by Richard Shepard, who made “The Matador” and helmed episodes of “Girls.” And the music is from Paul Haslinger, a member of Tangerine Dream. That’s all you need to know. Now go. Watch “The Perfection.” And have the time of your life. You can come back here and thank us afterwards. – Drew Taylor

“Hold the Dark”


“Hold the Dark” might not explicitly be a horror movie but it’s plenty horrific. And it’ll have you on the edge of your seat, no matter where you’re sitting. Riley Keough plays a woman whose child was taken by wolves. She calls on a wolf expert (Jeffrey Wright) to track down the wolves. But in doing so she embroils him in an extremely unnerving mystery. With a supporting cast that also includes James Badge Dale, Alexander Skarsgård and Macon Blair (who also wrote the screenplay), this is a pitch black ride into the heart of darkness. Director Jeremy Saulnier, whose previous film was the similarly sort-of horror movie “Green Room,” knows how to expertly push the tension to an almost unbearable degree and is unafraid to shatter taboos along the way. This feels like the kind of movie that would, if it had been released traditionally, be a certifiable cult classic by now. But since it debuted on Netflix it has been lost in the fog of the algorithm. But it’s never to late to discover the violent, unapologetically bleak “Hold the Dark.” It’s howlingly great. – Drew Taylor

“In the Shadow of the Moon”


“In the Shadow of the Moon” combines many genres into one intoxicating stew. But horror is the genre that is most apparent, at least initially. Again: the more you know about this odd, engaging movie from Jim Mickle, one of the most exciting genre filmmakers working today day, the less effective the magic trick becomes. But it’s safe to say that the movie begins in 1988, with detectives (Boyd Holbrook and Bokeem Woodbine) investigating a series of puzzling deaths. Nine years later they encounter a series of similar murders that seem to be the work of the same serial killer from before. And from there things get really strange. Mickle’s mastery of tone and pacing makes “In the Shadow of the Moon” fly by, with even its most audacious leaps seeming perfectly logical, even necessary. And thanks to the committed cast (which also includes Michael C. Hall, Cleopatra Coleman and Rachel Keller), even the movie’s strangest elements are grounded in a solid emotional bedrock. There’s really nothing else on Netflix like “In the Shadow of the Moon.” There might not be anything like it anywhere, really. – Drew Taylor



A weird, physically unsettling movie that digs deep under the skin, “Vivarium” is a film that chafes upon first watch, but lingers long after like an intrusive thought you just can’t kick. Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg star as a young couple looking for a home to start a life together, but while touring a sickly green estate, they find themselves unable to leave, suddenly stuck in a suburban nightmare they weren’t quite ready to sign up for. It gets more twisted and surreal from there, and while at first, the first seems to be playing at a rather rote rallying cry against the “Little Boxes” lifestyle, it becomes a much more unnerving look at the natural food chain, imagining otherworldly predators that just might lurk in unexpected places. — Haleigh Foutch

“Ouija: Origin of Evil”


Once upon a time, “The Haunting of Hill House” and “Doctor Sleep” filmmaker Mike Flanagan made a prequel to the “Ouija” movie that was actually kind of great. The 2016 release “Ouija: Origin of Evil” takes place in 1967 Los Angeles and follows a young widow (Elizabeth Reaser) who works with her daughters as a medium out of her suburban home. When a Ouija board is introduced to the family, the youngest daughter becomes possessed. The film is chock full of great scares but also has Flanagan’s knack for emotion built into it, resulting in something far scarier, better and more compelling than Blumhouse’s original “Ouija” movie (which you definitely do not have to have watched to enjoy this one). – Adam Chitwood