What better way to indulge your taste for the pants-fillingly frightening than to dim the lights, curl up on the sofa and watch a horror film?
There's a terrifying treasure trove of scary movies available on streaming services like Netflix, Now TV and Amazon Prime Video. Here, you'll find the Stuff team's pick of Netflix's selection. Whether you like your horror movies bloody, creepy, arty or with a twist of comedy, there's sure to be something in here that'll put the willies up you.
Searching for scares on a different streaming service? We've got you covered:
For our money the most interesting horror film of 2018, Hereditary starts out like a family drama and ends as… well, that’d risk ruining a ride filled with more twists than a runaway rollercoaster.
When her secretive mother dies, Toni Collette’s Annie tries to parse the ways in which her behaviour shaped and warped her family – not just affecting Annie herself, but her deceased brother, her son Peter and her daughter Charlie, the latter two of which seem particularly troubled. When these troubles lead first to tragedy, then full-on nightmare, it already may be too late for Annie to steer things back on course.
If you’re looking for an intelligent, brilliantly crafted film that retains the power to shock, look no further. Director Ari Aster (who more recently made Midsommar, another smart and scary movie) leaves plenty of clues and cues in to hint at the ending, but you still might not see it coming.
M. Night Shyamalan goes down the found footage route in this creepy (and somewhat comic) horror yarn. A family emergency sees two young siblings sent to stay at their maternal grandparents’ remote farm. Having never met granny and gramps before, they decide to document the visit on video camera – and quickly begin to capture some very weird goings-on amongst the familial bonding.
The Visit is a back-to-basics approach from Shyamalan following a series of big, overblown pieces, but it still manages to work in the director’s trademark twist. Even if you’ve spotted this particular brain-melter a mile off the film’s tone, plot and performances make it a genuinely involving fright fest.
In his infinite wisdom, Stephen King identified the very high creepiness potential of clowns, choosing to propagate this concept via his beloved novel It – here adapted for the screen for a second time by Andy Muschietti in a movie which comes off like a cross between The Goonies and Halloween.
Rich in classic King tropes (childhood trauma, small town America, loss of innocence, friendship, ancient evil) and a loving homage to the 1980s, this is a well-honed slice of crowd-pleasing supernatural horror as seven young misfits are stalked by an entity that takes the form of their worst fears – in some cases, yes, a clown. It doesn’t offer anything particularly new, but thrives within horror’s confines to produce a film that’s as rich in heart and soul as it is in scares.
A Quiet Place
This thriller racks up tension via a simple premise: there are horrible alien monsters roaming the world and thanks to some super-sensitive ears they’ll come and get you if you make so much as the slightest cough.
Real-life couple Emily Blunt and John Krasinski (who also co-writes and directs) are superb as the parents striving to keep their children safe from these sonar-wielding uglies. Despite barely a word being uttered in the film – most of the dialogue is signed with subtitles – audio becomes a major part of cranking up the fear. A good set of surround sound speakers goes a long way toward making the viewing experience even more bum-clenchingly stressful, particularly when Blunt’s character goes into labour…
Gareth Evans is best known for directing the kick-ass Indonesian action flicks The Raid and The Raid 2, but with Apostle, which he also wrote, he immerses himself into the world of dramatic horror. In this period piece, a clearly troubled Dan Stevens joins a mysterious island-based cult (led by Michael Sheen’s demagogue-like prophet) in order to rescue his sister from its clutches. He quickly discovers there’s much more to this bunch of outcasts and misfits than a spot of misguided religious fervour. Cue mangled bodies, bloody carnage and some extremely creepy reveals.
Even if Evans doesn’t quite manage to pull things off with the same flair as we’ve seen in his stellar pair of action movies, Apostle is an atmospheric folk horror with some truly squirm-inducing scenes and a great final shot.
Christian Bale’s breakout role sees him don the Hugo Boss suit and Gucci oxfords of Patrick Bateman: financial trader in 1980s Manhattan; Phil Collins aficionado; handsome; wealthy; and a sadistic, sociopathic murderer. Or is he?
Based on Bret Easton Ellis’ seminal novel, this film is shockingly violent, intensely disquieting – and very, very funny. It is, after all, more a satire than it is a psychological thriller, and as a critique of the emptiness lying at the heart of the capitalist American dream, it hits the mark like an axe to the back of the skull.
David Cronenberg’s directorial career is filled with movies that, while they might not fall neatly into the “horror” genre, are most certainly horrifying. Graphic violence, psychosexual trauma, body horror and more are very much on display in Videodrome, Cronenberg’s 1983 exploration of the power of television.
A box office bomb, this movie is now considered one of Cronenberg’s finest – its depiction of a man beset by hallucinations (or are they) after watching a troubling late-night broadcast sucking the viewer into a grim, cryptic world of corporeal corruption, sadomasochism and murder.
Found footage horror movies have been done to death (no pun intended), but this Norwegian mockumentary manages to keep things fresh and interesting. A group of film students heads into the frozen wilderness to make a film about a local crank: a gruff outdoorsman who claims he hunts trolls for the government. At first the students follow along out of amused curiosity, but they soon realise that these creatures of Scandinavian myth are indeed real – and dangerous.
Released just in time for Halloween 2019, this creepy co-production between Netflix and Annapurna stars Armie Hammer as a New Orleans bartender sucked into a nightmarish sequence of events when he picks up a forgotten iPhone containing some very disturbing photos.
What might have been a totally forgettable and by-the-numbers psychological horror yarn becomes elevated through Hammer’s undeniable star quality, as well as the presence of Dakota Johnson and Zazie Beetz in supporting roles.
The Silence of the Lambs
The only horror film in history to bag Best Picture at the Oscars, The Silence of the Lambs introduced the wider world to Dr Hannibal Lecter, a renowned psychiatrist who also happens to be a cannibalistic murderer. And here’s the thing: Lecter – played here with delicious creepiness by Anthony Hopkins – isn’t even the film’s antagonist, but a young FBI agent’s main chance at stopping another serial killer.
While the horror here is more often psychological than visceral, there are more than enough shocking moments to keep slasher aficionados sated. And even those who normally dismiss horror movies as mere genre pictures will enjoy the craft on show, with fantastic performances from Hopkins and Jodie Foster, and a brilliant script full of memorable lines. You’ll never think of fava beans and a nice Chianti in the same way again.
It’s also worth noting that (at the time of writing) the other two movies in which Hopkins plays Hannibal Lecter, Red Dragon and Hannibal, are also available to stream on Netflix. So why not have a cannibal binge this weekend?