Being a horror fan is genuinely a treat these days. Many streaming services have classics on demand for those who love to get a good scare. Netflix frequently delivers with their own productions or by licensing some of the best classics to add them to their library. It doesn’t matter if you like supernatural scares, psychological mind-benders, or blood-curdling slashers; the streaming giant has something for you!
Master of Horror John Carpenter and the always reliable Alfred Hitchcock have some of their best works on Netflix right now. The platform also houses many international films offering significant doses of horror with incredible twists to fuel your nightmares. It doesn’t matter if you like to enjoy horror alone or if you’d rather have a night of scares with some friends; Netflix has the right pick for you. Now, let’s find you a cinematic experience to die for.
The Thing (1982)
An influential classic by Halloween‘s John Carpenter with a great script by Bill Lancaster, The Thing is the absolute king of body-horror films, with a dark atmosphere that hasn’t been replicated by anyone to date. It’s a story about a group of researchers in Antarctica who find a shape-shifting alien creature able to assimilate and imitate any living being. Kurt Russell plays the lead, along with working actors such as Wilford Brimley and Keith David. This groundbreaking movie is still lauded today for its amazing practical effects and score, intense plot, jittery suspense, and deep exploration of paranoia and isolation.
The Ring (2002)
The Ring is a remake of a Japanese film named Ringu; while both stories play by the same beats, The Ring looks much better thanks to its larger budget and cold icy locations. Directed by Gore Verbinski and written by Ehren Kruger, the film is notorious for making everyone scared of mislabeled VHS tapes.
The story follows Naomi Watts as a curious journalist investigating the contents of a cursed videotape that brings death to anyone who watches it. As the plot unfolds, the reporter faces a vengeful spirit unwilling to stop until it gets revenge on the world.
A masterpiece directed by Alfred Hitchcock and written by Joseph Stefano. Psycho is a timeless horror classic that redefined the genre for future generations and spawned three more sequels. The film was notorious for killing superstar Janet Leigh in the first act of the film.
The stellar acting of Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates gave the film an eerie feeling as the audience slowly realizes something is not quite right with him. Psycho is a shocking psychological film that delivers horror with subtle nuances instead of gory displays.
It Follows (2014)
Nothing is worse than the fear of the unknown, especially when we don’t even know what drives our fears. It Follows is a little gem written and directed by David Robert Mitchell. We follow the story of a young woman continually haunted by a supernatural entity capable of taking on multiple forms to make her life a living hell, with the only solution being to pass this curse on to someone close to her.
The dense atmosphere created by It Follows can give audiences a sense of entrapment. With its supernatural STDs, the film explores guilt from a unique perspective and features a solid cast of working faces like Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, and Olivia Luccardi.
Day Shift (2022)
Imagine being a vampire hunter for a living. It sounds pretty cool until you realize the job is managed by an organization resembling a union, and you get to work on day shifts when most vampires are sleeping. That’s the premise of Day Shift, a great flick written by Tyler Tice and directed by J.J. Perry.
The solid casting of Jamie Foxx wraps the package, as this intense movie is packed with humor and a splattering vampire-killing bonanza. Day Shift is a great film exploring the value of men as providers while indulging in a line of work that’s not ideal but pays the bills; plus, it has Snoop Dogg in it! What else could you want in this fantastic offering?
The Mist (2007)
Stephen King is the master of modern literary horrors, and probably the author of most works adapted into feature films to date. The Mist is one such movie, written and directed by Frank Darabont (who also brought us The Shawshank Redemptioni). This thrilling horror film explores the fear of the unknown and the helplessness we can experience when we fail to understand our surroundings.
A group of people (including a haunting Marcia Gay Harden) is trapped in a small town supermarket as a mysterious mist engulfs the location, with multiple deadly creatures invading the area. The group must do everything possible to survive, but their best efforts might not be enough.
Some of the most twisted elements of horror are born in the human mind, and filmmakers capable of exploring the lengths of human evil usually do a better job of scaring audiences. Creep may seem like a run-of-the-mill found-footage horror film, but it’s so much more than that.
Written and directed by Patrick Brice, the very scary Creep follows a struggling videographer who gets a request from a client to tape a diary for his unborn son, as he’s dying from a brain tumor and wishes to leave something for him. The client’s unsettling behavior and unusual request follow a series of disgusting revelations. This film has unique twists and turns, and the ending won’t sit well with those with some sense of justice.
The Birds (1963)
Another Hitchcock masterpiece, The Birds is a classic that made many people wary of feathered menaces. The screenplay by Evan Hunter is about a small coastal town that suddenly finds itself under attack by hostile flocks of birds. As the attacks escalate, a socialite and a lawyer do their best to survive the avian onslaught.
While the premise may sound goofy, Hitchcock’s masterful direction makes this a compelling piece and a vehicle to discuss scenarios when nature turns against humanity. It reflects irrationality affecting everyday life, and it’s glorious.
The Wretched (2020)
Witches and possession have caused their fair share of scares in the story of Western society, and it’s still a great source to tell remarkable horror stories. The Wretched is written and directed by the duo of Brett Pierce and Drew T. Pierce.
In the film, a teenage boy discovers an evil witch who is possessing people in his small town, even the members of his own family. It’s up to this brave fellow to save his loved ones and uncover the witch’s dark secret. It’s a basic but effective setup with a great atmosphere, suspense, and creepy visuals.
Horror and comedy are a great match, especially when pairing these genres accomplishes films like Zombieland. This all-time classic is written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick and directed by Ruben Fleischer. It’s a story about an unlikely team of survivors allying to survive a zombie apocalypse while trying to stay alive, fend off as many zombies as possible, get to a safe place, and find some Twinkies. The fast-paced script blends action, humor, and more double-crosses than a season of Game of Thrones, which is great for laughs and surprises.
Who said that horror can’t look beautiful? Underworld was such a hit that it spawned four more sequels. It’s also the franchise that made Kate Beckinsale a superstar. Directed by Len Wiseman, with a script by Danny McBride (not that Danny McBride), the first film in the saga is a stylish and action-packed story chronicling the story of a long-fought war between lycans and vampires.
Underworld is a dark, gritty story exploring the intrigue and machinations behind the players striving in the ongoing conflict and the rise of a new species that could end lycans and vampires or unite them.
Resident Evil (2002)
After a string of flops that would become cult classics, Paul W.S. Anderson desperately needed a hit, which came in the form of Resident Evil. The beloved video game property was turned into a pulse-pounding horror story following the adventures of Alice, portrayed by Milla Jovovich, as she awakens in a secret underground facility overrun by zombies manufactured by the Umbrella Corporation.
The adrenaline-fueled action, intense zombie fights, and unique story made Resident Evil a multimillion-dollar franchise that spawned five sequels with Anderson at the helm in almost all of them.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Dawn of the Dead was a breakout hit for Zack Snyder and James Gunn, who directed and scripted this remake of the classic by George Romero. A group of survivors, including familiar faces such as Sarah Polley and Ving Rhames, fend off a zombie horde in a shopping mall as the world is ravaged.
While this film lacks Romero’s usual social commentary, it makes for an enticing view, as the fast-paced action delivers plenty of zombie-killing and unabashed gore visuals. It’s also a great entry point to understand the quirks of both Snyder and Gunn as storytellers.
Any new found-footage horror film has to punch hard if it wants to get noticed. Director Levan Gabriadze made the intelligent choice of mixing the prevalent trend for social media clout with these narrative elements to give us Unfriended.
The script by Nelson Greaves is a smart story that takes place entirely on a computer screen with friends chatting online while being haunted by a vengeful spirit. The young cast of Shelley Hennig, Moses Storm, and Renee Olstead manages to convey all the nuances required to offer a compelling narrative and make us feel technology can be pretty scary if it’s not used properly.
Paranormal Activity (2007)
If you haven’t watched this film yet, you should. It’s the ultimate American dream realization and the best proof you don’t need millions to craft a compelling horror story. Written and directed by Oren Peli, Paranormal Activity is a found footage film that scares the bejesus out of you by giving you a sense of danger without showing the source of the scares.
Paranormal Activity was made on a budget of $230.000 and scored a box office gross of $194.2 million, spawning six more sequels in the process. To this day, the film is still celebrated for its slow-building suspense, realistic depiction of supernatural phenomena, and its subtlety in instilling fear by making audiences use their imagination.
The Ritual (2017)
The Ritual is a gripping story that takes hold of your senses by sparking fear out of the left field. You don’t expect this film to get scary until it does. It’s a film exploring guilt, grief, and ancient pagan rituals. Directed by David Bruckner with a script by Joe Barton, we follow a group of friends who hike in the Swedish wilderness to honor a fallen comrade who lost his life in a mugging.
Things turn for the worse when the group suddenly finds themselves adrift, hurt and lost in the woods. Each party member begins to hallucinate while a malevolent presence stalks them and takes them out individually.
Red Dragon (2002)
Hannibal Lecter is the most memorable role ever played by Sir Anthony Hopkins, and his most underrated performance in the franchise comes with Red Dragon, a remake of the classic Manhunter, showcasing how the deranged doctor got caught by FBI agent Will Graham, played by Edward Norton.
Directed by Brett Ratner, this psychological horror is a prequel to The Silence of the Lambs. We follow Graham as he tries to crack the case of the Tooth Fairy, a serial killer played by Ralph Fiennes who has an unusual modus operandi, making it quite difficult to catch him. It’s a dark, intense story full of memorable moments that will resonate with fans of the franchise and newcomers alike.
The Babysitter (2017)
After falling out of Hollywood royalty, director McG focused on character-driven stories, and The Babysitter is one of his best offerings. This horror-comedy mix is full of blood-splattering gore and incredible visuals. The story follows Cole, a young boy who discovers his seemingly perfect babysitter is part of a satanic cult. Cole and a colorful cast of characters will have to fight for his survival. It’s a silly, over-the-top film full of clever humor, with an outstanding balance of horror and comedy.
Andrzej Bartkowiak made a name for himself with video game adaptations, and Doom was the first he added to his resume. It’s not a classically ‘good’ movie, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun. This action-packed horror flick is based on the popular video game series. The screenplay by David Callaham follows a group of marines, led by Dwayne Johnson.
The Marines are sent to investigate what happened in a research facility on Mars after a violent outbreak caused a series of genetically mutated creatures to overtake the compound. The film also includes future superstars Karl Urban and Rosamund Pike in supporting roles. It’s a great film, capturing many aspects of the original game mixed in with good action sequences.
I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)
I Know What You Did Last Summer is a slasher defined by the new wave of horror set by Scream. With a script by Kevin Williamson (the Scream scribe) and the direction of Jim Gillespie, this film used similar tropes set by the new reinvention of the genre created by Wes Craven. A group of friends accidentally hit a man with their car and proceeded to dispose of his body and swear secrecy.
One year later, each one of them is hunted down and killed by a mysterious hooded figure. The all-star cast includes future heavy hitters such as Jennifer Love Hewitt, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Ryan Phillippe. It’s a great film to explore the consequences of past actions with a great mix of suspense and intrigue.
In conclusion, this film has captivated audiences with its mesmerizing storytelling, compelling performances, and stunning visuals. It has transported us to worlds both familiar and unknown, evoking a range of emotions that have left a lasting impact. The director’s artistic vision and the collaborative efforts of the cast and crew have brought this story to life in a truly extraordinary way. From the gripping plot twists to the heartfelt moments of connection, this film has reminded us of the power of cinema to inspire, entertain, and provoke thought.
Whether you’re a fan of the genre or simply a lover of great storytelling , this film is not to be missed. It’s a testament to the magic of filmmaking and serves as a reminder of the profound impact that movies can have on our lives. So grab your popcorn, sit back, and immerse yourself in this cinematic masterpiece.