There's a universal thrill in being scared - especially 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 cue up a horror movie? 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 Video'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 on: fill your boots on scary flicks.
“If it's in a word, or it's in a look, you can't get rid of the Babadook.” Honestly, this Australian indie flick is going to stick with you for some time. In addition to all the thrills and chills you'd expect from a standard horror movie, The Babadook has something extra hidden in its basement under the stairs: smarts.
Yes, this film will fray your nerves like wool dragged across 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’ll simply have to watch this modern classic to find out.
The Woman in Black
The classic British ghost story, perhaps best known as a long-running stage play, is brought to the screen for the second time in this 2012 chiller starring Daniel Radcliffe. He plays a young widowed lawyer sent to a remote coastal town to settle the affairs of a deceased client – who happened to live in a creepy mansion surrounded by even creepier marshes.
With the locals less than welcoming and the weather inclement, our hero decides to spend some time at the house – and uncovers a tragic tale involving suicide, drowned children and lots of strange noises. To reveal much more would risk spoiling the methodical build-up of this slow-burning shocker, which manages to make an old-fashioned spooky story feel pleasingly modern.
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.
30 Days of Night
Welcome to Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost city in the world, in which the sun disappears for a month once every year. Cue the arrival of a coterie of feral vampires, taking advantage of the extended period of darkness to feast on the snowbound townsfolk uninterrupted.
Violent and disturbing (even with Danny Huston's head vamp bearing an uncanny resemblance to Neil Tennant from the Pet Shop Boys), it's a fine horror film with a memorable final reel.
This spin-off from The Conjuring series explores the origins of the creepy habit-clad presence that stalks ghost hunters Ed and Lorraine Warren in the earlier movies. Whether viewers of those films really wanted or needed to know where this creepy nun came from is another question, we suppose, but this by-the-numbers horror movie, set mostly in the Romanian backwoods, manages to rack up a decent amount of scares while doing so.
A veteran priest and a young nun-in-waiting are sent to investigate an apparent suicide at a remote convent, and in the process uncover an infernal plot to release a hell-spawned demon into the world.
The Blair Witch Project
It may not have been the first horror movie to use the found footage angle, but The Blair Witch Project was the first to break into the mainstream. It was a box office smash, in part thanks to a marketing campaign that hinted at the movie being a true story, cobbled together from tapes discovered after a trio of college film students disappeared in the Maryland woods.
That’s not remotely true, of course, but the lo-fi handheld footage, unknown cast and their convincing sense of mounting panic as they realise they may not be alone in the forest all serve to create an authentic feel. In the years since its release we’ve been deluged with similar films, but this remains one of the best, and creepiest, examples.
When two feral young children are discovered in a woodland cabin, having apparently been fending for themselves for five years, their uncle and aunt take them in. But were the girls really alone that whole time – or was somebody, or something, looking after them?
It might be of those movies where the trailer hints at a scarier thrill-ride than you actually get, but Mama is still a tense, creepy and suspenseful ghost story with, in Jessica Chastain, a far better lead actor than most movies of its type. Director Andy Muschietti went on to write and direct the recent It films, so it’s clear he knows a thing or two about putting the frighteners on his audience.
Eli Roth’s film wallows in its nastiness. Part of an early noughties wave of provocative mainstream horror movies (Saw was another prime example), it’s a grim escalation of the classic horror setup: a bunch of travellers find discover that foreign hospitality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Jay Hernandez and pals are young American backpackers experiencing all Europe has to offer – including a visit to a (we suspect zero star) murder hostel in which patrons part with vast sums to torture and butcher hapless tourists.
Hostel is executive produced by Roth’s buddy Quentin Tarantino, but don’t expect any postmodern twists on the horror genre here: this is a big old slab of bleakness, and all the more effective for it.
The tension ratchets up masterfully in this slow-burning psychological thriller, in which Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman play a young couple whose romantic night in is interrupted by three masked strangers. Simple as it is, the home invasion setup makes for a suspenseful 90 minutes as the pair gradually realise the danger they’re in – then attempt to fight back against their mysterious tormentors. The Strangers uses silence and stillness to its advantage, eschewing standard horror techniques like jump scares and ominous music in favour of building a quietly creeping sense of dread.
Made on a budget that would barely get you a Ford Focus and running with the ‘found footage’ angle that was already long in the tooth by its release in 2009, Paranormal Activity will nonetheless put the willies up all but the hardiest viewer.
The story centres on a young couple, one of whom claims to have been haunted by some kind of presence since her childhood. A psychic cautions the pair against attempting to communicate with said presence, which turns out to be good advice, given that when they don’t take it the entity goes on to torment everyone throughout the remainder of the film. Cue minor creepy occurrences captured on grainy night vision video, gradually ramping up to the point that you’ll be sleeping with the lights on.