There's a universal thrill in being scared - particularly when there's no actual danger involved.
And what better way to indulge your taste for the pants-fillingly frightening than to dim the lights, curl up on the couch and watch a horror film? Thankfully, the days of having to venture out to the video shop or cross your fingers that something suitable is on are over - there's a horrifying wealth of scary movies available at your fingertips on streaming services.
Here, you'll find the Stuff team's pick of Amazon Prime's horror movie selection. There's sure to be something in here that'll put the willies up you.
You can sign up here for a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime video: so, go fill your boots on scary films.
This 2017 Brit chiller stars Rafe Spall as one of four old friends enjoying a Scandinavian hiking trip that goes terribly, terribly wrong when the group decides to take a shortcut through a creepy pine forest. The Ritual succeeds in balancing the requisite jump scares and creepiness with a level of self-awareness that’s become all too rare in today’s humour-free, self-important horror flicks.
Horror films for kids do exist – and The Witches is proof positive. Based on Roald Dahl’s beloved book, this tale of wickedness hidden in plain sight hits the perfect level of scariness for an eight- or nine-year old, and it’s so well-made that their parents won’t mind watching along too.
When a young boy and his grandmother visit the seaside for a holiday, he uncovers evidence that the annual meeting of the RSPCC, apparently taking place in their grand hotel, is actually a cover for something far, far more sinister.
The Exorcist (1973)
Often called the best horror film of all time (and according to critic Mark Kermode, the best film of all time full stop), The Exorcist’s lurid depiction of a young girl’s demonic possession made it an instant cult classic upon its 1974 release. In fact, when it came to UK home video in the 1980s, the BBFC considered it too graphic for even an 18 certificate. It’s a decision that’ll seem bizarre to modern audiences – today its content comes across as tame compared even to 15-rated horror films.
That’s not to say The Exorcist lacks menace – it’s a deliciously creepy movie with a fantastic cast, brilliantly directed by William Friedkin and rich in occult atmosphere. If you’ve yet to experience the events surrounding Regan McNeil’s possession, we suggest you add this to your watchlist post-haste. And save it for a dark, quiet night, of course.
Based on one of the cases investigated by real-life ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren, and directed by James Wan (best known for Saw, Insidious and the forthcoming Aquaman), The Conjuring concerns the 1970s haunting of a New England family by a malevolent spirit – and comes with all the standard jump scares, creepy whispering voices, levitating furniture and screaming that you’d expect from a modern-day horror movie.
Despite taking some liberties with the source material, it’s an entertaining, well-paced ride on the ghost train – and it proved such a box office success that there’s already been one sequel and two spin-offs.
One notable bullet point in Ben Wheatley’s rise to Brit cinema wunderkind, Kill List is an indie film with real flair and punch; a blend of genres that’s drenched with a jarring atmosphere and mood that’ll keep your eyes locked to the screen until the jaw-dropping final reel.
Like your horror films disconcertingly strange? Put Kill List on your watchlist.
A glossy teen horror tale that has spawned god-knows-how-many sequels, Final Destination comes with a killer (no pun intended) premise: if you somehow cheat death and avoid your predestined fate, it’s just a bump in the road – the grim reaper will always get you in the end.
This setup leads to some of the most imaginative death scenes in the teen horror genre. With the killer being the universe itself rather than some cleaver-wielding masked maniac, there are countless interesting ways for these kids to die – and discovering how these fresh-faced ingenues will come to their sticky ends is this film’s real hook.
This blood-splatterd space shocker could easily be titled Dead Space: The Movie – if not for the fact that it came out 10 years before the horror gaming classic. The plot's much the same, with Sam Neill's motley crew of space jockeys investigating an apparently deserted spacecraft on the outer reaches of the solar system and unearthing all manner of hellspawn aboard it.
So, another unoriginal B-movie clinging on to Alien's coat-tails? Not exactly. The things aboard the starship Event Horizon are grotesque enough to lift it above inferior rivals, and make it more of a horror film set in space than a sci-fi with a horror theme. So don't watch it on your own. Or just before boarding a deserted starship.
Train to Busan
A South Korean zombie flick with almost no guns, set almost entirely on a high-speed train? Where do we sign up?
While Train to Busan doesn’t really do anything to break the zombie movie mould, it’s an enjoyably fraught tale of a father and daughter (and a small group of other survivors) trapped in a confined space with a bunch of fast-moving, vicious and utterly relentless infected. If you’re sick of Western horror movies and fancy something a little different, it’s well two hours of your time.
Night of the Living Dead
George Romero’s recent death has reminded the world of the director’s pioneering genius. This man almost single-handedly invented both the zombie movie genre (heck, he essentially invented the pop culture zombie full-stop) and the horror-film-as-allegory, and he did so with this 1968 movie – which was also one of the first films to feature a black actor in the leading role. Without Night of the Living Dead, there’d be no Walking Dead, no World War Z, no Resident Evil… you get the idea.
The film’s plot is deceptively simple: as the dead begin to return to life as mindless, flesh-hungry ghouls, a disparate group of survivors barricade themselves inside a house in an attempt to make it through the night. But, as is often the case with zombie apocalypse tales, it quickly transpires that the biggest danger to their lives may not be the shambling hordes of undead, but human nature itself…
This Austrian indie movie’s chills come more from its relentlessly creepy atmosphere than gore or jump scares, as twin boys in a remote house react to the return of their mother – apparently from some kind of reconstructive surgery. But is it really her under those bandages?
If you prefer your scares served cold, with a side order of existential dread, Goodnight Mommy deserves a spot on your Amazon Watchlist.
I Saw the Devil
Asian cinema revitalised horror in the 1990s and 2000s with a slew of shocking, grotesque and insanely creepy movies such as Ringu, Audition, and Ichi the Killer – and the Far East is still churning out stomach-churning films for those that like having their sensibilities messed with. Korean movie I Saw the Devil is one such picture, the story of a serial killer and a cop and their entrance into a kind of symbiotic cycle of violence. Is the price of revenge against evil worth becoming a monster yourself?