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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
A desolate forest, creepy twins, missing babies, failed harvests and an aggressive goat called Black Phillip – The Witch really ticks off the classic horror movie tropes as it tells the story of a farming family’s brush with the paranormal in colonial America.
Ye olde worlde 17th century dialogue might put some viewers off, but it also fuels the feeling of authenticity and adds to the unshakeable sense of otherworldliness. If you’re looking for jump scares go elsewhere, but if you see a creepier, more atmospheric film this year we’d like to know about it.
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.
Stranger Things / Stranger Things 2
The first season of Stranger Things was so perfectly constructed that a follow-up felt risky. Both a nail-biting sci-fi horror and effortlessly stylish love letter to the 1980s, it was difficult to see how creators the Duffer Brothers could top it.
We needn’t have worried though, because if anything season two is more irresistibly binge-worthy than its predecessor. We’re back in the fictional midwestern town of Hawkins, a year after the events that saw Will Byers abducted by a sinister monster and taken to an alternate dimension.
But the D&D-loving preteen protagonists are afforded little downtime before they’re back on their BMX’s and facing a supernatural foe that makes the Demogorgon look small time.
It might adhere to one of the main horror movie rules outlined in Scream – having sex more often than not ends in your grisly demise – but the stylishly shot It Follows is anything but formulaic.
The killer curse here stalks victims slowly but incessantly - disguised as a normal passerby, family member or friend, which is perhaps the creepiest part - and there's apparently only one (horrible) way to lift it. That gives this indie chiller a sense of helpless dread that doesn’t let up until the credits roll.
The Neon Demon
If Drive is Nicolas Winding Refn’s cult classic turned mainstream megahit, The Neon Demon is his “don’t worry, I’m still weird” shout out to fans who want to walk away from a movie not quite sure what it was they just watched, but knowing it was something.
An all-out assault on the senses (and possibly your sensibilities), beautifully shot, and at once restrained and shockingly over-the-top, this parable of the LA fashion scene as a (literally) cutthroat world feels more like a Lynchian or Kubrickian horror yarn than a drama. Strong stuff for strong stomachs.
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.