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Photograph: A24

The 21 best horror movies streaming on Netflix UK

From cult classics to scary slashers, these are the best horror movies streaming on Netflix UK now

Phil de Semlyen
Written by
Phil de Semlyen
Written by
Andy Kryza
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For horror fans, October is the magical time of year when we can finally get revenge for a year full of cutesy cartoons and sugary rom-coms by unleashing some cinematic terror into the queue. Come Halloween, Netflix is packed with horrific tricks and ghastly treats. Among the best horror films currently streaming in the UK, you'll find paranormal fights and nervous giggles, relentless slashers and flesh-gnashing ghouls. Get ready to sleep with one eye open, and for the love of god don't answer the phone.

Recommended: The best horror films of all time.

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Ethan Hawke stars in this chilling horror about a true crime writer who moves to a new home with his family only to discover a box of Super 8 home movies in the attic that depict the grisly murders of the family who lived there previously. Deciding that these murders should be the topic of his next book, Hawke’s character, Ellison Oswalt, soon begins to realise that there’s something far more sinister and possibly supernatural at play, something that ultimately threatens the lives of his own family.

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  • Horror

Given this was his debut feature film, writer and director Ari Aster really knocked people’s heads off with this horror-cum-tragedy about a grief-stricken family haunted by a mysterious presence. Toni Collette gives a career-best performance as matriarch Annie Graham, dragging audiences with her as her character spirals into madness, while the world Aster weaves around his cast is so fully realised that you’ll be left gasping by the film’s hair-raising final act. 

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  • Film
  • Horror

Director Remi Weekes’ searing feature debut concerns a Sudanese refugee family’s relocation to a socially hostile English town, but it turns out the racist townsfolk are the least of their worries. The social commentary is broad and unsettling here, but His House is equally interested in more sinister legacies, and Weekes balances the messaging with a truly horrifying haunted-house nerve-shredder that stands tall alongside Poltergeist and the Hammer classics.

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You’ll think twice about booking a holiday in the middle of nowhere after watching Bryan Bertino’s home invasion horror. Now something of a cult classic, The Strangers is tense and nerve-shredding, its grim realism subverting any usual slasher tropes to suggest that there’s not always a reason why human beings commit acts of senseless violence on each other.

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  • Film

Based on the novel by Susan Hill and starring a post-Potter Daniel Radcliffe, this traditional but chilling ghost story might not have all the jump scares and gore that modern horror fans have come to expect. But the film is soaked in an eerie, clammy dread, aided by a murky visual palette, and provides enough creaky, old-fashioned scares that it’s still likely to keep you up at night.

Halloween (1978)
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  • Horror

It all started here: With Haddonfield’s resident maniac and Jamie Lee Curtis’s final girl Laurie Strode locked in a life-and-death struggle. John Carpenter’s horror classic remains electrifying. Unlike the most recent reboot sequel, it’s an exercise in pared-down storytelling and raw menace, and the perfect blank canvas on which to project your fears. Michael Myers is here to shape up your Halloween. 

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  • Film
  • Horror

This lithe but tight horror about a group of film students who venture into some haunted woods in order to make a documentary about a local legend known as the Blair Witch is essentially responsible for the proliferation of the found-footage genre. While that technique might be played out now, the scares it produces in this low budget effort are still extremely effective. It’s a reminder that sometimes the most terrifying things are the ones you don’t see on screen.

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It’s not just the alarmingly enduring social commentary that makes Bernard Rose’s baroque Clive Barker adaptation such a dare-to-watch horror mainstay. Nor is it that haunting Philip Glass piano score, or the bee-swarmed urban legend at its dark heart. It’s the fact that Candyman is simply scary as hell, with Tony Todd putting in an all-time great performance as the seductive, hook-handed apparition who only appears when you say his name five times in a mirror. Candyman put an ‘elevated’ A24-style sheen on its grimy lore long before the arrival of Ari Aster and Robert Eggers. It just took us 30 years to figure that out. 

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  • Film
  • Horror

A key film in the new wave of smash-hit mainstream horror (see also Sinister, The Conjuring), Insidious is the one with the creepy kid, the astral plane and the demon hiding behind the Big Red Door. Watch it alone, and completely scare your own pants off.

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Neil Marshall spends the first half of The Descent plunging viewers into perhaps the most claustrophobic series of events ever put to film: A group of adrenaline-junkie women find themselves caved in deep in Appalachia with nary a ray of light to be found. But never one for under-doing things, the Dog Soldiers and Doomsday director one-ups his own dreadfulness by unleashing a horde of cannibalistic humanoids on the hikers, turning a dire survivalist story into one of the bleakest, most violent horror films of the 21th century. 

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  • Film
  • Science fiction

In a rare example of Hollywood sci-fi-horror thoughtfulness, Annihilation has grand concepts in mind, ideas about self-destruction and rebirth. The film follows cellular biologist Lena (Portman) as she ventures to The Shimmer, an anomalous electromagnetic field, to discover the truth about what happened to her husband Kane (Isaac), who visited The Shimmer and returned in poor health and his memory missing. Spooky stuff. 

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  • Horror

After ambitious loan officer Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) chooses to refuse an extension on an elderly woman’s mortgage in order to prove that she can make tough decisions to her boss, she begins to be attacked by a supernatural entity. As it turns out, the elderly woman, Ganush, has placed a curse on Christine, who is now at risk of being dragged to the depths of hell by a demon. This is pure, campy fun from Evil Dead creator Sam Raimi.

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  • Film
  • Horror

Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga star as real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, who are brought in by the Perron family in 1971 to help them investigate malignant supernatural activity at their Rhode Island farmhouse. As the investigation ensues, events become more disturbing until the Warrens are forced to confront the spirits before they tear the Perron family apart for ever.

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  • Horror

Iran’s answer to The Babadook, this chilling, provocative horror film brings the terrors of war home – quite literally. A Tehran woman and her daughter find themselves trapped inside with something malevolent during the height of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. As the missiles rain down, it’s hard to know if it’s more dangerous to be inside or out. It’s directed by Iranian-born, British-based writer-director Babak Anvari, who has a canny knack both for social commentary (Iran’s repressive, sexist regime is a second villain here) and scaring you shitless. 

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  • Film
  • Comedy

Has any film ever blended comedy, romance and a zombie apocalypse as brilliantly as Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead? Of course, there’s also the brilliant dynamic between Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, whose on-screen chemistry is rivaled only by Ant and Dec, the excellent soundtrack, heaps of cameos and the message that sanctuary can always be found down the pub.

From Oscar winners to cult classics

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