The 25 Best, Scariest Horror Movies on Netflix Right Now

·12 min read
'It'<p>Warner Bros.</p>
'It'

Warner Bros.

Looking for terrifying entertainment from the couch for Halloween 2022? Look no further. Here's some good news: Netflix is currently hosting a virtual library of great horror films, bona fide (old and new) classics of the genre guaranteed to freak you out as the Halloween season approaches.

What's the scariest thing on Netflix? Here are highly recommended, extremely scary horror movies from all over the world you can stream right now on Netflix. This list includes traditional horror pics, horror comedies and thrillers with elements of horror. We've included Netflix originals as well as imports. We've included some frightening honorable mentions, too!

This list is updated regularly, as titles come and go from the streaming service.

Best, scariest horror movies on Netflix right now

Narges Rashidi in UNDER THE SHADOW
Narges Rashidi in UNDER THE SHADOW

1. Under the Shadow (2016)

An exquisitely crafted and thoroughly unnerving chiller, writer/director Babak Anvari's feature debut blurs the line between supernatural terror and the horrors of the real world like few films you'll ever see. Set in 1980's Tehran during The War of the Cities--the backdrop of Anvari's own fear-ridden childhood--Narges Rashidi stars as medical student Shideh who is barred from her studies because of her involvement in revolutionary politics. When her husband departs for the front, Shideh is tasked with protecting their young daughter Dorsa (Avin Manshadi) as the fighting and bombings escalate around them. It doesn't look like things can get any bleaker, and that's when Shideh and Dorsa are haunted by an evil genie.

Related: Abandoned Places Near Me

The performances are powerful, and the filmmaking here is impeccable, evoking a war-torn Iran that is almost suffocating to watch. Anvari grew up in a culture where VCR's and VHS tapes were illegal, and his debut is made with the kind of passion for film that you can't put a price tag on. The supernatural scares work, but they're never quite as frightening as Shideh's reality, which seems to be Anvari's point. Esteemed British film critic Mark Kermode named this small-scale powerhouse the best film of 2016, and it is not to be missed.

Related: 151 Best Horror Movies of All Time, Ranked 

<p>Netflix</p>

Netflix

2. Apostle (2018)

The Raid director Gareth Evans' horror/action freakout rewards a deliberate buildup with some stomach-turning violence and gore in the final act. The turn-of-the-20th-century period piece stars Dan Stevens as an Englishman who infiltrates a remote cult to rescue his sister.

Related: The Best Horror Movies on HBO Max

<p>Aidan Monaghan/NETFLIX</p>

Aidan Monaghan/NETFLIX

3. His House (2020)

Remi Weekes’ acclaimed supernatural horror debut follows South Sudanese refugees adjusting to a perilous life in small-town Europe. Like The Babadook or Under the Shadow, this is horror as dramatic art rather than a series of things that jump out and go boo. The real-world subject matter is twisted and devastating, all strikingly performed by leads Wunmi Mosaku and Sope Dirisu.

Review: Mandy Is Nicolas Cage at His Very Best 

<p>CBS Films</p>

CBS Films

4. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

If you grew up in the 1980s and ’90s—or perhaps anytime since—it’s likely you remember being scared out of your wits by Alvin Schwartz‘s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series. With seriously frightening, atmospheric illustrations and stories like “The Big Toe,” “The Thing” and “The Haunted House,” the first of three anthologies was published in 1981. In 2019, from producer and co-writer Guillermo del Toro, Oscar-winning director of The Shape of Water, the series hit the screen.

Related: The Best Slasher Movies of All Time

5. It Follows (2015) 

A cold-blooded nightmare that could inspire an adult to sleep with a nightlight, David Robert Mitchell‘s supernatural thriller about a shapeshifting killer passed around like a curse exudes a blistering, downright oppressive atmosphere of menace. Mitchell throws you off balance from the very beginning in ways you might not even notice: this film is set in no discernible time period, or even a particular season, and certain details in the production design and in character’s actions just don’t make any sense. This is not unlike the method Stanley Kubrick used to make us uneasy throughout The Shining.

There is a quietness, a stillness in It Follows that you won’t find anywhere in contemporary horror hits like Annabelle or It, which rely heavily on loud banging noises and jump scares to shake an audience. As artful as it is frightening, It Follows is patient, rewarding perceptive viewers with a uniquely, richly disturbing experience.

Right now, we are living in a golden age of horror. It Follows is an essential part of that discussion.

Related: The 10 Scariest Movies on Disney Plus Right Now

HUSH<p>Netflix</p>
HUSH

Netflix

6. Hush (2016)

A Netflix original film, Hush is a suspenseful and effective slasher about a deaf author (Kate Siegel) who is terrorized by a masked home intruder (John GallagherJr.).  Hush owes a great deal to John Carpenter's Halloween [so many of the best horror films these days do] and maybe even more to the 1967 Audrey Hepburn-starrer Wait Until Dark, but Mike Flanagan's taut direction and knack for suspense are enough to make Hush stand on its own. It's a nail-biting thriller that really delivers what you're hoping for in a movie like this.

Following well-received mirror-themed horror flick Oculus and the way-better-than-anyone-expected Ouija: Origin of Evil, Flanagan gained attention as a force in popular horror. He also directed the skin-crawlingly creepy and gripping Gerald's Game, followed by the acclaimed Netflix adaptation of Shirley Jackson's novel The Haunting of Hill House, and the wildly underrated The Shining sequel Doctor Sleep.

Related: Why John Carpenter's Halloween is One of the Most Beloved Horror Movies Ever 

7-8. Creep (2014) Creep 2 (2017)

One of the best found footage films that followed in the wake of Paranormal Activity's enormous success, Patrick Brice's psychological thriller follows a videographer assigned to record an eccentric, probably insane client (Mark Duplass). Following a hit premiere at South by Southwest and a theatrical run, Creep found success on streaming. A sequel arrived in 2017, and a third installment is in the works.

9. The Green Inferno (2013) 

Eli Roth's bold, stomach-turning homage to Cannibal Holocaust and other grindhouse fare is undeniably effective, with some of the most memorable (gulp) gore effects you're likely ever to see. Don't watch on a full tummy.

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10. Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013) 

Three years before The Conjuring earned critical raves and made all of the money, director James Wan had a relatively more low-key success with Insidious, a ghost story about a young married couple who venture into an astral dimension to rescue their son. The Insidious series is a textbook example of how uniquely profitable horror movies can be. The four films in the franchise (InsidiousInsidious: Chapter 2Insidious: Chapter 3 and Insidious: The Last Key) have grossed a total of $539 million worldwide on a combined budget of $26.5 million.

Related: The Best Thrillers on Netflix Right Now 

11. Resident Evil (2002)

The Matrix was released three years before Paul Thomas Anderson's original Resident Evil, and its influence is more apparent than that of Capcom's games. This is a hard pivot into action—with some horror—in an era when virtually everything was referencing The Matrix's futuristic stamp. The influence would carry through later Resident Evil films, too. The idea of a high-tech sci-fi zombie thriller was fresh at the time (this is a year before 28 Days Later's shot in the arm to the sub-genre), and though it never aims to be more than a B-movie, it succeeds at that.

Bruce Greenwood and Carla Gugino in 'Gerald's Game'
Bruce Greenwood and Carla Gugino in 'Gerald's Game'

12. Gerald's Game (2017)

A career-high performance from the always-good Carla Gugino is front-and-center in Mike Flanagan’s Netflix original, a Stephen King adaptation about a woman who ends up handcuffed to a bed in the middle of nowhere when her husband drops dead. This is pure, high-concept psychological terror, not spooky, but gripping-- and the ick factor is high.

13. Unfriended (2014)

Universal's trashy, undeniably frightening and ingenious found-footage thriller—centered on teens haunted by a vengeful spirit as they chat over Skype—was hugely profitable, grossing $64 million against a $1 million budget. The screen-based form of found-footage storytelling, also used in Open Windows, has been polished in years since, with Searching and Host receiving critical acclaim. In 2018, Unfriended was followed by a darker, arguably superior sequel Unfriended: Dark Web.

<p>Warner Bros.</p>

Warner Bros.

14. Contagion (2011)

In 2011, Warner Bros. released Steven Soderbergh‘s ensemble thriller Contagion to solid reviews and a healthy $135 million worldwide gross. Not much has been said about it since—until it surged in popularity in early 2020. That’s because Contagion has proven eerily prophetic, and much of what happened in the film happened in the midst of the international coronavirus health crisis.

15. The Conjuring 2 (2016)

Before Annabelle and The Nun, there was James Wan’s hair-raising, superbly acted thriller about a witch who terrorizes a Rhode Island family in 1971. By summer 2013, horror had earned a bad rap. The torture films like Saw had dominated for a decade, and if there ever even was a point to those it had long fizzled out. The Conjuring was marketed as “based on the true case files of” Ed and Lorraine Warren, prominent paranormal investigators, played here by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. This box office behemoth brought back the classy, high-production-values terror of thrillers like The Exorcist and Poltergeist. Its success spawned the first highly successful cinematic universe outside of the MCU. The immediate sequel saw nearly the same level of critical and commercial success. A second sequel followed in summer 2021.

Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise in 'It'
Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise in 'It'

16. It (2017)  

Well paced, elegant, and indeed scary, Andy Muschietti's 2017 event film received positive reviews and became the highest-grossing [unadjusted] horror movie of all time. So much of the film's appeal and success is owed to the gifted young cast playing believable, likable, foul-mouthed kids. And though some fans prefer the more grounded, darkly humorous turn by Tim Curry in the miniseries, we're all in pretty unanimous agreement that Bill Skarsgård was aces in filling Pennywise's clown shoes. 2019's Chapter Two was messier, just as well-acted, mostly a satisfying wrap-up.

17-19. Fear Street Trilogy (2021)

A Netflix original event based on the more gruesome, not family-friendly work of R.L. Stine, Fear Street Part 1 1994 aims to reinvent and subvert the slasher genre á la Scream. It's now streaming on Netflix. The trilogy continues with superior Part 2 1978, and Part 3 1666.

20. Crimson Peak (2015)

Gorgeous Gothic visuals, strong performances and retro-inspired chills run throughout an underrated Guillermo del Toro romantic ghost story set in Victorian-era England, starring Mia WasikowskaTom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain.

21. Raw (2017) 

Julia Ducournau‘s cannibal drama and is so graphic and intense it made grown men faint at the TIFF, requiring an ambulance. Horror can always be read as metaphor, and this wickedly clever allegory uses bloody violence and shocking imagery to punctuate a story about a young veterinary student (Garance Marillier) becoming her own person, denying the patriarchy and giving in to her innermost desires. You will likely either love or hate Raw; it’s virtually impossible to have a mixed reaction to a film this confrontational. Ducournau exhibits a mastery over her craft– running a mere 98 minutes, Raw is at once punchy and lean, robust and muscular.  Though it may not be to everyone’s taste (pun intended), Raw is the work of a visionary, one of 2017’s most unshakeable and singular cinematic efforts.

Elizabeth Reaser and Lulu Wilson star in 'Ouija: The Origin of Evil.'
Elizabeth Reaser and Lulu Wilson star in 'Ouija: The Origin of Evil.'

22. Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

An box-office hit and sign of good things to come from Mike Flanagan, Origin of Evil is about a million times better than predecessor Ouija, and about ten times better than you'd expect a movie called Ouija: Origin of Evil to be. The supernatural thriller is about a widow, her family's fake seance business, and a malevolent spirit that attaches itself to her daughter.

23. Let Me In (2010)

Nobody asked for a remake of the Swedish masterwork about a lonely boy who befriends a vampire—many fans and critics were even highly opposed to the idea—and then Matt Reeves‘s American spin turned out to be brilliant in its own right: exciting, well-acted and touching. Reeves’s most recent project? The Batman starring Robert Pattinson. Perhaps you’ve heard of it.

24.  Piranha 3D (2010)

Alexandre Aja's box-office hit with a title that's pretty damn self-explanatory gets a balance of humor, scares, gore and skin on-point. The sequel, Piranha 3DD (har har) took things too far into self-parody.

Related: Halloween Series Ranked Best to Worst 

<p>Netflix</p>

Netflix

25. Bird Box (2018)

Sandra Bullock stars in Bird Box as expectant mother Malorie, who’s forced to become a survivalist when supernatural forces decimate the world’s population. One look at these creatures—who we never see—causes your eyes to glaze over and moisten, then you go insane and commit suicide, by whatever means is handy. After surviving a chaotic early set piece of carnage and destruction on a massive scale, Malorie and her unborn child make it to a house where several strangers who’ve also evaded the outbreak have found shelter. Bird Box broke Netflix records and remains one of the streaming giant's biggest hits ever.

Scary honorable mentions on Netflix right now: Netflix originals Perfection and The Ritual.

Want more? Try the most suspenseful movies on Netflix right now.