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Photograph: Universal Pictures

The 24 best horror movies streaming on Netflix UK

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

Written by
Phil de Semlyen
Written by
Andy Kryza
&
Matthew Singer
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Horror knows no calendar. Sure, for casual fright fans, October might be considered Spooky Season. But for the genre’s true aficionados, any month, any day – shoot, any hour – is a good time for a scary movie. Be forewarned, though: series like Stranger Things and Midnight Mass notwithstanding, Netflix hasn’t churned out too many of its own upstanding horror flicks. In the UK, however, the platform does have a surprisingly decent amount of terrifying classics, new-school scares and hidden gems that’ll raise both eyebrows and goosebumps. Here are 21 horror movies currently streaming on Netflix right now.

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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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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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As that scene from Zodiac taught us, sometimes scary moments are even more frightening when they take place in broad daylight. New horror master Ari Aster takes that concept to its logical extreme in this disturbing A24 favourite. A group of American tourists parachute into a rural Swedish folk festival that isn’t as quaint as it seems, with the terrors unfolding against a blindingly bright midnight sun.

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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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The Others (2001)
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Nicole Kidman stars in this throwback haunted house chiller from Spanish-Chilean director Alejandro Amenábar. A woman (Kidman) moves into an eerie home on the English coast with her two children while her husband is deployed in World War II – and wouldn’t you know it, but strange things begin happening upon their arrival. It’s a simple set-up executed with nerve-wracking panache.

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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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  • 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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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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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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Easily the most enduring of the winking retro-’50s creature features that popped up in the 1980s, Tremors gets its comic charge from the charismatic pairing of Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward as desert rats pitted against giant, prehistoric sandworms threatening their isolated Nevada town. It’s more fun than frightening, but there are some ingeniously thrilling setpieces – and the design of the monstrous ‘graboids’ is genuinely disgusting.    

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Gerald's Game (2017)
Netflix

13. Gerald's Game (2017)

In this Stephen King adaptation, a struggling couple look to reignite the flames of their flagging marriage with some kinky sex at an isolated lake house. Then he dies of a sudden heart attack while she’s handcuffed to the bed. It’s an anxiety-inducing scenario, and Carla Gugino’s impressive performance keeps you glued to the screen even as she spends much of the runtime lying on her back.

Veronica (2017)
Photograph: Apache Films

14. Veronica (2017)

When this Spanish-language horror first landed on Netflix, people took to Twitter to admit that they found it so frightening that they had to turn it off. From director Paco Plaza, who also helmed the equally horrifying [Rec], the story is apparently based on a true story and follows the horrifying events after a group of friends decide to do a ouija board session together. Is it the ‘scariest film ever’, as many have suggested? Maybe so...

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  • Film
  • Horror

When a group of American college students make their way to a deserted cabin in a forest for a holiday, the last thing they expect is to become embroiled in a scientific experiment that consists of something between The Truman Show and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Cleverly subverting, sending up and celebrating the tropes of the genre, this is one for serious horror heads. 

From Oscar winners to cult classics

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