25 Best Horror Movies Streaming on Netflix [March 2021]
Whether you enjoy the visceral thrill of watching your nightmares come to life, or you prefer to hide behind the couch with your eyes closed and your hands covering your ears to block out the sound, watching a horror film can lead to some incredible experiences, especially if you’re brave enough to confront the things you fear the most. Horror films are some of the most popular movies in the industry today, both in terms of how many get made and the audience size. But for every great horror movie, you’re likely to find twenty that simply don’t hold up with the best the genre has to offer.
Netflix is home to a wide library of horror films, but it can be tough to determine the gems from the rest of the pack. Finding a good horror movie is tough—the film has to be scary enough to terrify you, original enough to keep you hooked, and feature performances from its actors that don’t bore you or cause you to remember that horror films are just movies. Classic horror movies are lucky to come out once a year, and looking through the library of films on Netflix will likely persuade you to search any farther.
If you’re wondering which films on Netflix are the worthy candidates for your scare-fests, you’re in luck. We’ve looked through the entire collection of horror films that Netflix has to offer, and found the best of the bunch—25 films that are sure to scare you to your core. We’ve done our best to rank these movies in an order ranging from “fun frights” to “true, white-knuckle horror,” though as with anyone, what we find scary may leave you yawning by the television.
Check out our list below and look back every month for brand-new updates on the best horror movies on Netflix today—plus, let us know in the comments below what you found to be your favorite horror flicks on Netflix!
Laika is one of the most innovative and creative production companies working in animation today, and one of the only companies capable of producing theatrical stop-motion animation. While we’ve been big fans of most of their output, it’s tough to beat the company’s masterpiece, Paranorman. The film follows Norman Babcock, a young kid with the ability to speak with the dead. When Norman learns that a witch placed a curse on the entire town, he’s left on his own to stop it. Invading zombies, bullies, and his controlling parents are just a few of the threats he’ll face in this spooky animated flick that’s fun for the whole family.
Get ready for a spooky good time with the Sandman! Adam Sandler returns to Netflix hot off his critical praise from Uncut Gems with a film that may be far more in the wheelhouse of his most adoring fans. Hubie Halloween follows Hubie DuBois (Adam Sandler) on his favorite night of the year: October 31st! Born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts, Halloween is the biggest holiday of the year, and Hubie—a kind, good-natured man—elects himself as the champion of the town’s Halloween celebration. Unfortunately, he finds himself the target of most of his fellow citizen’s Halloween pranks. All that changes, however, when a real murderer breaks out from his asylum outside town, and starts reeking havoc on unsuspecting folk.
Produced in 2006 by ImageMovers, the same company behind such animated hits as The Polar Express and Beowulf, Monster House is an animated film brought to life by director Gil Kenan, working from a script co-written, notably, by Dan Harmon (Community, Rick and Morty). The film follows three kids, who believe that their neighbor’s house is a living creature trying to eat kids alive. When DJ Walters’ parents are away for the weekend, they accidentally send their neighbor to the hospital after he has a heart attack. When his house continues to eat people who approach the residence, DJ, Chowder, and Jenny Bennett attempt to destroy the house in order to save trick-or-treaters on Halloween.
Although Netflix recently removed one of our favorite horror comedies—Tucker and Dale vs Evil—there’s still plenty of horror fun to be had on the streaming service. Little Evil didn’t make a huge splash when it arrived in 2017, but it deserves a revisiting. The film follows an unassuming man named Gary Bloom (Adam Scott), who recently became a stepdad after marrying Samantha (Evangeline Lilly). Although he’s trying to be a good stepdad to 5-year-old Lucas, Gary finds it difficult to connect with him. When things start getting spooky at school, Gary realizes that Lucas’ origins may be more demonic than a normal child’s, and he sets out to save himself and his new family.
Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett impressed with their 2011 film You’re Next, and when they got to make a follow-up just three years later, they crafted one of the best horror-thriller hybrids of the 2010s. The Guest follows a mysterious US soldier named David, who brings it upon himself to visit the mourning Peterson family. David introduces himself as a friend of their late son Caleb, who died in combat in Afghanistan. Invited into the family home, David slowly improves the lives of each member of the family, but when a series of unexplained deaths occur, daughter Anna (Maika Monroe, It Follows) begins to suspect David is connected.
Another Netflix Original film, I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House is a 2016 American-Canadian horror film directed by Oz Perkins, the son of Psycho star Anthony Perkins. The film follows a live-in nurse named Lily (Ruth Wilson) who arrives to care for an elderly patient that has become reclusive over years of suffering from dementia. The film’s opening narration declares Lily as a 28-year-old who will never turn 29, and explains that a house with a death can never truly be bought or sold, but simply borrowed from its ghosts. As Lily begins to read the old woman’s most famous novel, she realizes that the haunting exposition in the book may not be a work of fiction. This is a slow-paced horror movie, getting off mostly on the atmosphere and the feeling of an unsettling mood. If that sounds like something up your alley, you might just find the film perfect for you.
Guillermo Del Toro has had a hell of a few years, finally winning an Oscar for his most recent drama, The Shape of Water. Prior to that, however, Del Toro received praise for Pan’s Labyrinth, a film that used the same Spanish fairy tale setting as The Shape of Water, while telling a much darker story. Set in Spain during the summer of 1944, the story is intertwined between the real world and a mythical world centered within an overgrown and abandoned labyrinth. Ofelia, the 11-year-old protagonist follows a faun into the forest to escape from her evil stepfather Captain Vidal, and from her increasingly-sick mother. Though the story is fairly simple (as are most fairy tales), the makeup and special effects are to die for.
Based on the novel of the same name and directed by David Bruckner (The Signal, V/H/S), The Ritual is a Netflix Original film that follows five friends from college as they plan a group reunion trip. When Rob suggests hiking through Sweden, the others shoot down his idea, but when Rob is murdered by two robbers in a liquor store, the four remaining friends head out on the trip to honor his memory. Unfortunately, the crew takes a wrong turn along the way, and as they head into the mysterious and dense forests surrounding the hills in Sweden, they’ll have to reckon with an ancient evil spirit. Though the horror here is a bit by the books, it’s the setting and the cinematography that really make this one worth watching.
In this Netflix Original film from director Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler), the acclaimed screenwriter and director reunites with Jake Gyllenhaal for a brand-new film set in the art world of Los Angeles. Velvet Buzzsaw follows art critic Morf Vandewalt, who works for a tough gallery owner named Rhodora Haze, a former member of the rock band the movie is named after. Morf, feeling unfulfilled with his love life and his boyfriend Ed, starts a sexual relationship with Josephina, his friend and agent. When Josephina finds a dead man named Ventril Dease in her apartment block, she’s surprised to learn he’s an artist, his home filled with paintings. However, when those paintings are added to the gallery’s collection, a supernatural force begins to kill those who have allowed greed to get in the way of art.
Set during the aftermath of a global pandemic that ravaged the planet’s population, It Comes at Night is one of indie studio A24’s most acclaimed slow burn horror films. The film follows Paul (Joel Edgerton), along with his wife Sarah and teenage son Travis, who are secluded at their home deep in the woods. After catching a stranger breaking into the house, Paul ties him to a tree, placing a bag over his head to confirm he’s not suffering from the disease, and leaves him out for the night. When the stranger, Will, is proven to be healthy, he explains that he didn’t know the house was occupied, and was looking for water and shelter for his wife and son. When Sarah suggests Paul bring the strangers into their home, the two families will find themselves trapped under an uneasy alliance.
Found footage can be pretty hit or miss, ranging from masterpieces like The Blair Witch Project to disappointments like Apollo 18. Still, As Above So Below manages to find itself in the upper echelon of films, thanks to its unique mixture of Indiana Jones-style archeology and horror. The film follows archaeologist Scarlett Marlowe (Perdita Weeks), who has devoted her whole life to finding Flamel’s Philosopher’s Stone, the legendary artifact that can grant eternal life and wealth. When she learns that the stone is hidden underground in the Catacombs of Paris, she assembles a crew to guide and document her historic mission. As they begin their descent, the team-members have no way of knowing that they are entering their own personal hell.
Speaking of successful found footage, Unfriended is one of the few films to take place entirely on the desktop of a computer while still receiving a wide release from theaters. Unfriended follows a group of teenagers chatting online, only to be joined by a mysterious user nicknamed Billie227. Thinking it’s just a technical glitch, the friends carry on their night—that is, until one of the friends sttarts receiving messages from someone claiming to be Laura Barns, a classmate who killed herself exactly one year prior. As Blaire, the first receiver of messages, tries to expose Billie’s identity, her friends are forced to confront their darkest secrets and lies.
Cargo is a fresh spin on the zombie genre that will leave you on the edge of your seat. Part horror film, part post-apocalyptic thriller, Cargo follows a man named Andy (Martin Freeman, Black Panther, The Hobbit) who finds himself stranded in Australia with his wife and child following an outbreak of a zombie virus, which manages to take over the world in less than 48 hours. Though they originally find hope in a houseboat, Andy’s wife Kay is eventually attacked, leaving Andy alone with his one-year-old infant daughter Rosie. Stranded in rural Australia, Andy must attempt to protect his daughter from the threats surrounding them—a task that manages to grow more difficult as time progresses. Directed by Yolanda Ramke and Ben Howling, the film is based on the short of the same name created by those two filmmakers in 2013, and received positive reviews for its character-driven approach to the genre.
If you’re the kind of person who finds themselves terrified of the dolls in a goodwill shop, you won’t want to watch The Boy. The film follows Greta (Lauren Cohan), a young American who travels to a remote English village and picks up being a nanny for an English couple. She’s surprised to learn the child is a life-size doll, whom the parents care for as if she was human, which helps the couple to cope with the death of their son 20 years earlier. When Greta violates a list of strict rules, a series of disturbing events begin to haunt her, leaving her exposed to the doll as if it were alive. The film was followed by a sequel in 2020.
Mysteries and thrillers are perfect for dark and stormy nights, and The Invitation might be the ideal film to chill you to your core. The film stars Logan Marshall-Green as Will, a divorcee who drive his girlfriend Kira to a dinner party hosted by his ex-wife at his old house in the Hollywood Hills. Will’s ex, Eden, alongside her new husband David, welcomes Will and Kira to the party, though immediately, something feels wrong. As Will continues to deal with the grief of his deceased son (the reason Eden and him split up), he begins to feel like something is wrong with his ex-wife and her husband’s motivations. The tale is dark and grim, and as the night advances, you’ll begin to put the pieces together in this thrilling tale of mystery and murder.
Keanu Reeves might be Hollywood’s favorite actor at the moment, experiencing a resurgence thanks to John Wick and his effortlessly charming public appearances. In 2015, however, Knock Knock saw Reeves take on a decidedly darker role in Eli Roth’s horror film. Serving as a remake of 1977’s Death Game, the film follows Evan Webber, a happily married man and architect who finds himself spending Father’s Day weekend alone with his family out of town. After two stranded women (Ana de Armas, Lorenza Izzo) arrive at his door, Evan has a nice night entertaining the girls as they wait for their driver to arrive. When the women force themselves on Evan, he gives in—only to find that their plans might be far more sinister than anyone could expect.
The latest Netflix Original horror film, The Perfection comes from Richard Shepard (Dom Hemingway), and supplies Netflix viewers with a heavy dose of B-movie horror. The film follows Charlotte (Allison Williams, Get Out), a cellist who was forced to leave her prestigious music school in Boston to care for her ill mother. A decade later, Charlotte travels to Shanghai following the death of her mother, in order to follow Lizzie, the music student who took her place in the school. Not for the faint of heart, the film is a tough watch, filled with violence, gore, and sexual assaults. Anyone who loves vile B-horror will absolutely want to seek it out.
A24 has made a name for themselves in the world of horror, making acclaimed, quieter horror films aimed at film buffs rather than general audiences. Although most probably know the thrills of Hereditary or The VVitch, their efforts in the horror world started when they picked up 2015’s The Blackcoat’s Daughter for a theatrical release. The film, which is split into multiple timelines cutting between the characters, follows two students stranded in an isolated prep school over winter break, as they face a sinister threat from an unseen force.
Mike Flanagan has truly established himself as an emergent voice in the world of horror, and it all started with a small horror film called Hush. Hush was written by Flanagan and his wife Kate Siegel, and stars John Gallagher Jr. (10 Cloverfield Lane), Michael Trucco, and Siegel herself. The film follows Maddie Young, a girl who became deaf as a teenager and now lives her life isolated from others working as an author. When a murderer kills her friend just outside her door, Maddie realizes she is the next target. The sadistic killer thinks an isolated deaf girl will be easy to torment and kill, but it turns out that Maddie is more than willing to fight back.
Less than a month after Netflix released Gerald’s Game came the second 2017 Netflix Original adaptation of a Stephen King novella. 1922 is based on the work of the same name by King, and was directed by Zak Hilditch. Thomas Jane stars as Wilfred James, a man who arrives at a hotel in Omaha, Nebraska to write a confession to a crime he committed on his family farm in 1922. The film flashes back to that year, where James fights with his wife Arlette, who wishes to sell the land Arlette recently inherited. While Arlette wishes to sell the land and move to Omaha to open a dress shop, Wilfred wants to stay on the farm with his wife and son, Henry. When Arlette raises divorce, Wilfred convinces his son to assist in the only plan they have left: murder. The film is a slow-paced, dreadful experience—perfect for horror fans of all types.
Apostle is one of Netflix’s newest originals, a horror-thriller throwback to the cult classics of the 1970s. Set in 1905, the film follows Thomas as he arrives on a remote Welsh island to rescue his sister from a dangerous cult holding her hostage. As Thomas tries to infiltrate the cult, he finds himself haunted by his past, with the island claiming to reject the corruption of mainline society that Thomas happens to represent. Directed by The Raid: Redemption’s Gareth Evans, Apostle is a must-watch for any fans of 70s horror-thrillers. The film is gorgeously shot, filled with haunting imagery, and features Dan Stevens in one of his best roles to date.
Both Creep and Creep 2 are available for streaming on Netflix, but generally, 2017’s Creep 2 is seen as the better of the two films. Both films are found-footage horror movies directed by Patrick Brice and starring Mark Duplass, who also served as a writer on both films. While the first Creep follows a man who wants a stranger’s help in making a film for his unborn child, Creep 2 ups the ante, as Josef (Duplass) hides his identity and undergoes becoming a serial killer with a knack for filming his victims. Both films are worth watching, and new viewers may be lost if they haven’t seen the first Creep, but be warned: you’re in for some seriously messed-up content. A sequel, Creep 3, has been announced.
The best Stephen King adaptation of the past five years also happens to be a Netflix Original film. Gerald’s Game was released in 2017 just weeks after It hit theaters, so you would be excused if you missed out on catching this film. Based on the novel of the same name, Gerald’s Game follows Jessie (Carla Gugino, Spy Kids) and Gerald (Bruce Greenwood, Star Trek), a married couple that seek out an isolated lakehouse in Alabama to work on their failing relationship. While engaging in some light bondage, during which Jessie is handcuffed to the bed, the couple devolves into an argument about their marriage. Gerald, having taken two Viagra, suffers a heart attack, falling dead on the floor of the remote lakehouse and leaving Jessie handcuffed to her bed. The film follows the psychological effects that haunt Jessie as she lays trapped in bed.
Veronica is a Spanish horror film that gained plenty of notoriety for its marketing campaign that claimed to be one of the scariest horror films ever, a movie that viewers kept turning off halfway through. Whether or not that’s true is irrelevant; the good news here is that Veronica is an excellent horror film worthy of your time. From the director of REC (remade in the United States as Quarantine), Veronica is set in 1991 and follows the titular character when she is 15 years old. While the rest of her class is viewing a solar eclipse, Veronica and her friends decide to stay behind and play with a Ouija board. Things quickly go wrong, and Veronica finds herself haunted by paranormal activities, unable to eat and experiencing claw marks all over her body. Partially based on true events where a young woman died after using a Ouija board in 1991, Veronica may not be the groundbreaking film it’s purported to be—but it’s still pretty damn terrifying.
It might seem impossible to believe 20 years later, but The Blair Witch Project remains to this day a revolutionary film. Not only did it manage to create an entire genre of filmmaking—found footage horror—but it also managed to have millions of viewers believe that the film was, in fact, a chilling documentary. These days, it would be hard to fool anyone into thinking that Blair Witch is real, but the film managed to use the early days of the web to its advantage. Even if everyone knows its fake, The Blair Witch Project still works today as one of the best horror films ever made. Following three film students who travel to a small town to collect documentary footage, The Blair Witch Project only grows more terrifying when the crew gets lost in the woods.