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Home / Features / The 17 scariest films to watch on Shudder

The 17 scariest films to watch on Shudder

In the mood for a frightful evening? Here’s what to watch on the world’s premiere horror streaming service

Ringu on Shudder

If it’s horror you’re after, you should probably consider a Shudder subscription. This streaming service is dedicated to macabre movies, spine-chilling shows and everything adjacent, and at £4.99 per month is fairly cheap compared to most of its peers. You also get a free 7-day trial to put it through its paces.

With over 550 films, documentaries, TV series and one-off shows to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start as a new Shudder subscriber, but fear not, dear reader: Stuff is here to help. We’ve been through the entire library to pick out our favourite scary movies. The crème de la scrème, if you will. So if you’re in the mood for a sleepless night, read on.

There are two versions of Shudder available to UK viewers. There’s a standalone service, and then there’s the Shudder channel which can be added as an optional extra for your Amazon Prime Video account. Despite both being called Shudder, theses have slightly different content libraries, so we’ve included links to both services where appropriate. If you don’t see a link to something, that means it’s not available on that version of Shudder.

Want to know the best scary movies on other streaming platforms? We’ve got you covered:

Night of the Living Dead

With this 1968 movie, George Romero almost single-handedly invented both the zombie movie genre (and essentially created our standard pop culture zombie full-stop) and the horror-film-as-allegory. It 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.

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…

Watch Night of the Living Dead on Shudder

Watch Night of the Living Dead on Shudder (Prime Video channel)


Scanners might be best known for that famous shocking scene early on (if you’ve seen it, you’ll know the one), but David Cronenberg’s psychological thriller is a great piece of early 80s cinema – all bad haircuts and doom-laden synths.

A shady corporation seeks to turn “scanners”, their term for the growing number of powerful psychics, into living weapons, but somebody appears to be murdering them just as fast as they can be found. When one particularly powerful scanner goes on a killing spree, the corporation sends its latest recruit to hunt him down – but things don’t go to plan.

Watch Scanners on Shudder

Watch Scanners on Shudder (Prime Video channel)

What We Do in the Shadows

Outstanding horror-comedies are few and far between – for every American Werewolf in London, you get five Scary Movies – but this low-budget Kiwi mockumentary (directed by and starring Taika Waititi) about a household of dysfunctional vampires very much hits the spot.

With plenty of laughs mined from the awkwardness of being a neurotic immortal living in the modern world, it leans more towards the comedy side on the spectrum, but it’s not without some moments of creepiness. If you’re as much a fan of This Is Spinal Tap as you are of Salem’s Lot, this is one to get your teeth into.

Watch What We Do in the Shadows on Shudder

Watch What We Do in the Shadows on Shudder (Prime Video channel)

Evil Dead (2013)

Evil Dead has already been (kind of) remade once by original writer-director Sam Raimi (Evil Dead 2 being a reworking of his ultra-low budget debut). This slick revamp from Fede Alvarez is an altogether different beast – albeit one born from the same DNA; it’s a bit less campy than Raimi’s movies, but almost as fun. A group of friends decamps to a remote forest cabin with a mission to rid one of them of a drug addiction, but instead awaken an ancient evil force. Next stop: demonic possession, gallons of gore and a life-and-death battle against evil itself.

Watch Evil Dead on Shudder (Prime Video channel)

The Terror (S1)

Not a film but an entire series, The Terror tells the remarkable (and partly, at least, true) story of two 19th-century Royal Navy ships and their crews. Tasked by the crown to find the fabled Northwest Passage that would enable shipping to travel across the top of the American continent, the Terror and the Erebus became trapped in Arctic sea ice and were never seen again (at least until the very recent discovery of both wrecks).

Based on the novel by Dan Simmons, this drama imagines what may have become of the vessels and the hundreds of men aboard. Spoiler: it’s not pretty and it’s not entirely of this world. A gripping tale of treachery, toughness and, yes, terror.

Watch The Terror on Shudder (Prime Video channel)

The Ritual

Starring Rafe Spall as one of four lads enjoying a Scandinavian hiking trip that goes terribly, terribly wrong when the group decides to take a shortcut through a forest, Brit flick 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. It’s not an all-out comedy, to be clear, but it’s an enjoyably creepy chiller with some welcome moments of levity among the screaming and running.

Watch The Ritual on Shudder

Watch The Ritual on Shudder (Prime Video channel)

Troll Hunter

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 documentary about a local crank: a gruff outdoorsman who claims he hunts trolls for the government. At first the students follow along out of bemused curiosity, but they soon realise that these creatures of Scandinavian myth are indeed real – and very dangerous.

Watch Troll Hunter on Shudder (Prime Video channel)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

One of the all-time horror greats, this low-budget, lo-fi bombshell clips along at a brisk pace without ever feeling rushed. Directed by Tobe Hooper, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre follows a bunch of road-tripping teenagers who get side-tracked on a rural Texas highway after picking up an odd hitchhiker.

To reveal more would risk ruining the mouth-watering shocks to come, but it’s probably not spoiling anything to say that, yes, some tree-felling equipment does get used in a non-traditional way. Ghoulishly great stuff, with an unforgettable final shot.

Watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on Shudder (Prime Video channel)


There’s an urban myth about a cursed videotape doing the rounds. Pop the tape in your VCR, watch it…and you’ll receive a creepy phone call shortly thereafter. A scratchy voice is on the line, uttering only the words “seven days.” You’ll be dead precisely one week later, your corpse horrifically contorted. After a group of teenagers reportedly fall victim to the curse, a sceptical journalist vows to uncover the truth. But some stories may be better left untold.

The movie that kickstarted the late 1990s/early 2000s Japanese horror craze, Hideo Nakata’s Ringu is wonderfully eerie and atmospheric. It’s a masterpiece of brooding tension, and also features one of the most downright disturbing reveals in movie history. Those who’ve seen it will know exactly the scene we’re talking about. A must-watch for any horror fan.

Watch Ringu on Shudder

Watch Ringu on Shudder (Prime Video channel)

An American Werewolf in London

After a young American tourist is set upon by a strange beast on a Yorkshire moor, he discovers that something inside him has changed. And realises that something terrible is going to happen come the next full moon.

Perhaps best known for its ground-breaking transformation scene (courtesy of special effects legend Rick Baker), John Landis’ movie remains one of the most enjoyable horror-comedies ever made, largely because it succeeds in being both extremely scary and drily amusing without either trait spoiling the other.

Watch An American Werewolf in London on Shudder (Prime Video channel)

[REC] (2007)

Later given a Hollywood remake under the new title of Quarantine, this low budget, lo-fi Spanish movie offers a novel spin on the well-worn found footage approach: it’s presented in real-time.

A Barcelona TV news team finds itself trapped in an apartment building in the midst of an unspecified emergency, which swiftly reveals itself to be a deadly viral outbreak. While the subject matter doesn’t break any new ground, the real-time, first-person approach draws the viewer right into the action: you’re experiencing the terror right along with the characters. It’s good, simple and strong stuff that never gives you a chance to relax, and the climactic scene is terrifically tense.

Watch [REC] on Shudder (Prime Video channel)

Hellraiser (1987)

The standout stars of Clive Barker’s cult classic are the Cenobites, a quartet of pale-skinned, leather-clad, body-pierced demons summoned to the material plane after a strange puzzle box is opened. Sadistic, masochistic and craving ever more extreme sensations, these beings arrived to unleash hell on the solver of the box – in this case, a selfish and amoral man named Frank.

Taking a markedly different tack to the stalk-and-slash flicks that dominated 1980s horror, Hellraiser got its inspiration from decadent S&M clubs and fetish culture rather than real-life serial killers. The result is a memorably disturbing movie that stands apart from its contemporaries.

Watch Hellraiser on Shudder

Watch Hellraiser on Shudder (Prime Video channel)


Made and released during the COVID-19 lockdown, this Shudder original movie offers a brilliantly inventive and timely twist on the found footage trope. It’s all filmed and presented as a video group chat, with the director Rob Savage having the cast operate their own cameras, light their own scenes and even fire off some of their special effects – all in the name of following social distancing rules.

The story sees a group of friends hire a medium to perform a séance via Zoom, more as an opportunity for a boozy virtual hangout than a genuine attempt to make contact with anything supernatural. But when things start to go bump in the night, they realise that their lockdown time may have been better spent making sourdough bread and learning to knit.

Watch Host on Shudder

Watch Host on Shudder (Prime Video channel)

The House of the Devil

Ti West’s slow-burn chiller was released in 2009, but you’d barely know it: technically and thematically, it feels like it was made 30 years before, in a moviemaking era when scary films weren’t afraid to take their time to establish characters and deliberately crank up the tension.

Shot on grainy 16mm film and taking place in the pre-mobile phone 1980s, it stars Jocelin Donahue as cash-strapped college student Samantha, who takes on an unusual babysitting job in an isolated house in an effort to raise some rent money.

Despite its aesthetics and setting, The House of the Devil isn’t merely an exercise in nostalgia, though. This is a lovingly crafted film that builds to an unforgettable final reel. We won’t spoil a thing…

Watch The House of the Devil on Shudder (Prime Video channel)

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

When an undead outbreak unravels society from within, four survivors decamp to a abandoned shopping mall in a bid for safety. They immediately discover that the shambling zombie hordes have also found themselves drawn to this stronghold of consumerism, instinctively lurching through the fashion aisles and past the colour TVs like dazed customers.

Dawn of the Dead is without a doubt one of the greatest and most influential horror films ever made. You’d have to be braindead (no pun intended) to miss director George A. Romero’s satire, but there’s so much more to this movie than a simple commentary on mindless spending. The practical effects and prog synth score give it an eerie atmosphere you rarely get with modern horror flicks.

Watch Dawn of the Dead on Shudder

Watch Dawn of the Dead on Shudder (Prime Video channel)

Battle Royale

In a dystopian future Japan, teenagers have become so badly behaved that the government has dreamt up a drastic solution. Once a year, a randomly selected high school class is dropped off on a deserted island, given an arsenal of weaponry and forced to fight until only one student is left alive. Whatever happened to ‘hug a hoodie’?

If being forcibly inducted into an orgy of violence sounds like a pretty harsh punishment for chatting during double maths, it’s best not to overthink things. Just sit back and enjoy the carnage as petty grudges turn bloody, school bullies get their comeuppance and former best pals become deadly foes. Having provided inspiration for everything from The Hunger Games to Fortnite, Battle Royale is an iconic piece of exploitation cinema, and a must-see for any fan of edgy cult films.

Watch Battle Royale on Shudder

Watch Battle Royale on Shudder (Prime Video channel)


Six horror shorts in one, V/H/S is a found footage anthology whose formula has proved somewhat enduring. At the time of writing, it has spawned no fewer than five sequels (four of which are also streaming on Shudder), two spin-offs and a miniseries for, of all places, Snapchat.

Anyway, this first movie consists of five short horror films ‘wrapped’ in an additional sixth meta-film, with each story helmed by a different director. Some are more effective and inventive than others, but their brevity ensures you’re never far from a fright.

Watch V/H/S on Shudder

Watch V/H/S on Shudder (Prime Video channel)

Profile image of Sam Kieldsen Sam Kieldsen Contributor


Tech journalism's answer to The Littlest Hobo, I've written for a host of titles and lived in three different countries in my 15 years-plus as a freelancer. But I've always come back home to Stuff eventually, where I specialise in writing about cameras, streaming services and being tragically addicted to Destiny.

Areas of expertise

Cameras, drones, video games, film and TV

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