The 20 best horror films on Netflix

Looking for something creepy to watch? You'll find plenty of scare-tertainment right here. Updated for October 2018

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 the box are over - there's a horrifying wealth 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:

The best horror films on Amazon Prime Video

The best horror films on Now TV and Sky

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

A brilliantly comic twist on classic horror tropes, particularly the one about bloodthirsty backwoods hillbillies preying on horny teenaged campers.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil stars Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine as two kind, well-meaning good ol’ boys who make an unfortunate first impression on a group of kids vacationing in the West Virginia woods. Cue hapless horror as, one by one, Tucker and Dale’s good intentions lead to the teens’ untimely and gory demises. It’s clever, entertaining stuff – an American answer to Shaun of the Dead.

Watch Tucker and Dale vs. Evil on Netflix

Malevolent

A Brit-made Netflix original film, Malevolent stars future superstar Florence Pugh as American student Angela who, along with her feckless older brother, scams bereaved families by pretending to be a psychic medium, putting their deceased relatives at peace for a fee.

The pair’s lucrative grift goes awry when they’re called to a remote Scottish house with a dark history and Angela discovers that her hitherto fake talent for clairvoyance turns out to be very real. It’s far from a classic, devolving into a rather ho-hum gore-fest after a promising first act – but it still makes for an unsettling watch on a dark night.

Watch Malevolent on Netflix

The Invitation

A lesson in tension-building, you might spend most of The Invitation wondering if it’s actually a horror movie, or simply wants you to believe it’s one. If it keeps its cards close to its chest, that’s because this drama, which concerns a group of old friends reunited for an unusual and uncomfortable dinner party in the canyons of Hollywood, relies on far more than sudden jumps and gore for its chills – it’s far more interested in keeping you on edge, and it does so masterfully until all is revealed in the final reel.

Watch The Invitation on Netflix

Paranormal Activity 3

There are seemingly dozens of Paranormal Activity movies out there and, given the hype (and, let’s face it, money) generated by the tiny-budgeted first movie, it’s not hard to see why. Most of them are, it has to be said, pretty forgettable, suggesting that the pressure to do more and go further than the first instalment proved too much for the filmmakers, even with more money and fancier CGI effects to play with, but Paranormal Activity 3 is actually the most enjoyably creepy of the later entries in the series.

Made by the team behind the viral “documentary” (and later MTV reality series spin-off) Catfish, it rewinds back to 1988 for a found footage bonanza concerning the childhood of the sisters who starred in the first two movies. You know the drill by now – malevolent entities, possessions and creepy obsessions with abducting babies abound – but on a quiet night, it can still deliver plenty of jumps.

Watch Paranormal Activity 3 on Netflix

Don’t Breathe

A lot of the most memorable horror movies are memorable precisely because there’s some kind of killer (literally) gimmick in place, and that’s very much the case with Don’t Breathe. When a trio of teen tearaways decide to burgle the house of an old blind man, they don’t count of him being a ruthless ex-soldier with excellent hearing, a vicious guard dog and a burning desire to keep the contents of his basement a secret. Cue 90 minutes of frantic cat and mouse tension.

Watch Don’t Breathe on Netflix

Lake Placid

Channelling the spirit of Jaws and sprinkling in more than a little bit of comedy, Lake Placid is a creature feature with charm aplenty – something we don’t seem to get much of with today’s po-faced chillers.

Set in a small Maine town and on the titular body of water nearby, it features a quirky cast of flawed characters (played with knowing wit by Bridget Fonda, Bill Pullman, Brendan Gleeson and Oliver Platt) being stalked by a giant crocodile. Its success has spawned a bunch of inferior sequels, spin-offs and a video game, but we’d advise you to stick with the loveable original.

Watch Lake Placid on Netflix

Mama

When two feral children are discovered in a woodland cabin, after apparently living alone and fending for themselves for five years, their uncle and aunt take them in – but the girls may not have been entirely alone that whole time…

It might be of those movies where the trailer hints at a scarier thrill-ride than you actually get, but Mama is still a riveting, creepy and suspenseful ghost story with, in Jessica Chastain, a far better lead actor than most movies of its type.

Watch Mama on Netflix

Cargo

This Netflix-made, Australia-set zombie horror stars Martin Freeman as a new father whose outback holiday goes horrifically awry courtesy of a massive viral outbreak. Get bitten by a carrier and you’ve got 48 hours before you become a shambling, mindless, meat-seeking husk yourself – and the wide open landscape means there are few places to hide from either the zombies or the live folks mercilessly hunting down anyone infected.

So far, so familiar, right? Well, Cargo subverts expectations by focussing on the characters rather than on finding different ways to make you jump, and the viral menace is used as a device to drive the narrative rather than define it. It’s more thought-provoking drama than many gore-hounds would like, no doubt, but we’d rather watch it than yet another Dawn of the Dead rip-off.

Watch Cargo on Netflix

Misery

If you prefer your horror movies grounded in reality, this adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name fits the bill as snugly a knife in a sheath.

When James Caan’s romance novelist crashes his car in the frozen American wilds, he’s lucky enough to be pulled out of the wreck by a trained nurse – one who happens to be a huge admirer of his books, no less. But the line between fandom and outright obsession can be a fine one, and as the nurse – masterfully played by an Oscar-winning Kathy Bates – helps him recover from his injuries, her increasingly disturbing behaviour suggests he may have been better off carking it in the crash.

Watch Misery on Netflix

Bram Stoker's Dracula

At some points campy to the point of absurdity (Keanu Reeves’ English accent being a prime contender), at others bursting into life with gloriously gothic imagery and tone, Francis Ford Coppola’s faithful big budget adaptation of the best-known of all Victorian horror novels is quite the trip.

With a star-packed ensemble cast (Gary Oldman! Anthony Hopkins! Winona Ryder! Tom Waits!), lavishly beautiful sets and some of the nattiest haircuts you’ll find in 1990s cinema, this version of Dracula feels like something of an unmissable, creepy curiosity rather than an out-and-out horror film. It captures the doomed romanticism of Stoker’s book better than any other adaptation we can think of, and presents the thirsty Transylvanian himself as a complex tragic figure rather than a moustache-twirling villain.

Watch Bram Stoker’s Dracula on Netflix

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