As the saying goes; horror's for life, not just for Halloween.
What? That isn't a saying? Well it certainly should be, which is why we've trawled Netflix to find the scariest, goriest, most tense and unpleasant movies currently in the catalogue.
Now every night can be fright night. You're welcome!
'If it's in a word, or it's in a look, you can't get rid of the Babadook.' Honestly, this Australian horror flick is going to stick with you for some time. In addition to all the thrills and chills you'd expect from a standard monster movie, The Babadook has something extra hidden in its basement under the stairs: smarts.
Yes, this film will fray your nerves like wool on a barbed wire fence, but it's also a powerful meditation on loss and trauma. Can single-mother Amelia finally lay the repressed memory of her dead husband to rest and save her son Samuel in the process? You simply have to watch this modern classic to find out.
In Scream, Nightmare on Elm Street director Wes Craven riffs on the horror movie tropes that he himself helped define: the masked killer here sticks slavishly to the rules set by older scary films.
What could easily have turned out as a schlocky parody actually works as both a tension-packed slasher movie and an amusing meta-comment on the genre, helped in part by a strong cast (the most famous member of which is bumped off in the first ten minutes) and a solid script.
Everyone loves a good monster movie, and Cloverfield is one of the best in recent years.
Produced by JJ Abrams and directed by his long-time cohort Matt Reeves, the film actually owes more to The Blair Witch Project than to the classic '50s creature features: it's presented entirely as found footage from a shakycam that is about as shaky as they come and you don't really see very much of the monster at all.
Then again, you don't need to. The plot follows a group of New Yorkers attempting to rescue a friend across town, and there's no shortage of peril provided by the sight of the Big Apple crumbling around them. Further on they encounter other hazards, which we shan't say any more about for risk of revealing too much. The important thing is that while it may be a monster movie with very little monster in it, it's still a thrilling ride from start to finish.
From Dusk Till Dawn
Robert Rodriguez’s movie starts out not as a horror but a typically stylish, snappily-scripted 90s action drama. You could call it Tarantino-esque, in fact, all the more so because Quentin himself (in rare actor mode) is one of its main stars, alongside Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis and a pre-superstardom George Clooney.
In spite of its grounded-in-reality beginnings, there’s a point – and it’d be shameful if we spoiled precisely when that point is – where things take an unexpected turn for the supernatural. It’s then that a film that was merely wildly entertaining becomes almost transcendentally fun – not to mention fraught and compelling. A bloody blend of action, horror and comedy that never goes too heavy on any of those elements.
Shot in an engaging cinema vérité style, Trollhunter follows three students filming a documentary on an unusual subject. Yes, you’ve guessed it – we’re talking about trolls, and not the kind you’ll attract on Twitter if you suggest that Avengers: Age of Ultron is actually a bit crap. We’re talking the beasts of Scandinavian myth, huge creatures who are believed by some to roam the frozen north and are turned to stone by sunlight.
When the trio attempt to doorstep an eccentric suspected poacher and accuse him of illegally hunting bears, he tells them his quarry is far more deadly – and suggests they come along with their camera and see for themselves. Think a Scandinavian Blair Witch Project, but with far more charm.
Let Me In
Hollywood movie remakes are often about as welcome as a set of razor-sharp teeth to the neck, and while we wouldn’t say Let Me In comes close to matching the frost-bitten brilliance of Swedish horror flick Let the Right One In, it’s one of the few remakes that does stand up in its own right.
Kodi Smit-McPhee plays a boy tormented by bullies, who befriends a female vampire in 1980s New Mexico. While it lacks the same level of childlike innocence found in the original, it makes up for it with plenty of tension. If you really can’t handle subtitles (or you’re just a horror completist), Let Me In is well worth sinking your teeth into.
This 2010 remake of a 1973 George A Romero original is pretty much every zombie trope rolled into one movie – and all the better for it.
Let’s tick them off one by one: Beautiful small town in the American midwest? Yep, it’s “the friendliest place on Earth”, don’tcha know… Impossibly handsome and rugged sheriff with a heart of gold and a will of steel? Yep, he’s played by Timothy Olyphant and he’s everything you want in a sheriff. Mysterious zombie outbreak caused by shadowy government a-doings? Oh yes. Bumbling mayor? You got it. Peril, peril and more peril? But of course…
So no, The Crazies is not the most original film you’ll ever see, even within a genre not known for pushing boundaries. But assuming you don’t care about that, it’s well worth watching. The direction is taut, the plot compelling, the acting generally good (within the confines of the setting - come on, it’s a zombie movie) and you get plenty of scares. All the things you want in a zombie movie, then.
Somewhat counterintuitively for a zombie film, this slacker comedy hits the ground running – in a brilliant, self-aware opening credits sequence that lays out the ground rules for survival in a post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested world.
Jesse Eisenberg's Columbus is a coward who survives by following those rules to the letter; his companion, Woody Harrelson's Tallahassee, is a zombie-killing machine on a quest for the last surviving Twinkie. Sharp, witty and blessed with one of the best cameo appearances ever, this is a zombie movie with brains.
It’s “found footage” time once more in this micro-budgeted indie flick concerning a videographer hired by a mysterious man for a job - one that initially seems simple but turns out to be anything but.
With a lean cast (it’s basically a two-hander starring writer/director Patrick Brice and co-writer Mark Duplass - yes, he of mumblecore movie fame) and a lean 77-minute running time, Creep relies more on mood and tone than special effects or gore – and it’s well worth sticking around until the conclusion.
American Horror Story
A horror series from the creator of Glee might not sound like the most congruous of concepts, but American Horror Story has quickly cemented itself as a scare-packed stalwart in the US. It's what's known as an "anthology series", with each season (there are four on Netflix) featuring a different time period, location and (with some notable exceptions) cast. So there are in fact lots of stories being told, rather than just one - and each of them is compelling and gruesome in its own unique way.
Watching American Horror Story is much like riding a ghost train or visiting The London Dungeon - you move from fright to fright, spanning a spectrum of horrible things from serial killers to vampires to witches to aliens. Lovely stuff.