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The 20 best horror movies on Netflix

Netflix and chiller: Here are the scariest films available on the streaming service, for when you're feeling spooky

Rosemary's Baby

There's a time and place for animation, Oscar heavyweights and big ‘n’ dumb blockbusters. But sometimes—not only in October—all you want are plentiful horror options, sure to scare you silly. Fortunately, Netflix is happy to oblige. We’ve browsed every subcategory and found the 20 best horror movies on Netflix, sure to draw you closer to whoever is shivering next to you on the couch.

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Best horror movies on Netflix

1

American Psycho (2000)

Flattering Bret Easton Ellis’s novel with a devilish Christian Bale performance and scalpel-sharp period detail, Mary Harron’s thriller is close to peerless as a picture of ’80s-era vapidity and entitlement. This is the Manhattan of impossible restaurant reservations, Phantom of the Opera visual jokes and viciousness.

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2

The Babadook (2014)

Aussie Jennifer Kent's supremely confident debut already feels like a horror classic, restoring the genre to its psychological prestige while turning the monstrous-mommy gimmick on its head. Inventive, recognizably real and scary as fuck, the film stakes out a shadowy domestic terrain last dominated by Roman Polanski.

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3

Day of the Dead (1985)

Zombie maestro George Romero’s original trilogy of the dead (or rather, undead) runs out of steam a bit in this final installment, which juxtaposes a talky study of gender relations with the usual munch-’n’-lurch antics. Still, while it’s nowhere near as good as its two classic predecessors—or the director’s return to the subgenre, 2005’s Land of the Dead—the movie will still get you good and spooked.

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4

The Fog (1980)

Residents of a coastal town find that their shady past has come back to haunt them in the form of some nasty split-pea vapor and phantom pirates out for blood. It’s one of John Carpenter’s sillier ghost stories, but it’s still a helluva lot of fun. Fans of the director’s best films (The Thing, Halloween, etc.) will find much to admire in his muscular widescreen compositions and ominous synth score.

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5

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)

With Twilight in the rearview mirror, vampires had a rebound in 2014, thanks to Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive and this pulse-quickening debut by Ana Lily Amirpour. She’s an L.A. director who infuses her nighttime tale with weird Lynchian lulls, spaghetti-Western-sounding deep cuts and prickly gender politics.

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6

The Guest (2014)

Starring model-handsome Dan Stevens as a mysterious war veteran and ultraviolent badass, Adam Wingard’s thriller is midnight chocolate cake, probably not for Downton Abbey fans unless they also love ’80s-era John Carpenter. In which case: welcome. Modeled on primo cheese, it plays like a lost action thriller rescued from a dusty VHS shelf.

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7

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986)

We still get chills (and a little nauseous) thinking about this minimalist slasher film. Like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, John McNaughton’s brutally realistic tale of a man whose life consists of doling out random murders feels like a nightmare you can’t wake up from. It hasn’t aged a day, and star Michael Rooker continues to be cast as a heavy (because he’s so damn good at it).

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8

Let the Right One In (2008)

My, what a curious thing: a horror film that doesn’t rely on loud noises or excessive gore to creep the creep out of you. The film is almost Bergmanesque in its formal restraint. Indeed, it’s made by a Swede, Tomas Alfredson. But it also happens to be about vampires.

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9

The Omen (1976)

You know how your kid acts up, and you think, Did I give birth to the spawn of Satan? That notion occurs to Gregory Peck and Lee Remick, whose child seems to cause untold mayhem wherever he goes. Except the answer to their question is, Yes, you did give birth to a devil child. Also, kudos to the movie for a creative decapitation via a plate-glass window sliding out of a truck.

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10

The Others (2001)

Right as the horror genre was about to descend into an abattoir of gore, this elegant haunted-house picture—written and directed by Spain’s Alejandro Amenábar—felt like the last gasp of something more restrained. Nicole Kidman plays a religious mother of two; she begins to suspect that they’re not alone in their rural country home.

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