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His House
Photograph: Netflix

The 15 best horror movies on Netflix in the US

Cozy up for a killer night in

Written by
Andy Kryza
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There’s something oddly comforting about settling down on a dark and blustery night and scaring the bejeezus out of yourself by watching a horror movie: No matter how horrifying the news cycle gets, your personal woes are nothing compared to the final girls fleeing slashers or survivalists fighting hordes of the undead.  Whether you’re into gorefests, the paranormal or confounding psychological horrors that leave you checking the locks for the umpteenth time just in case a mask-wearing psycho is outside the door, there’s nothing like a good scary movie to get the juices flowing. With that in mind, we’ve picked the best horror movies on Netflix for your next personal fright-fest.

RECOMMENDED: See all of the best movies on Netflix

Best horror movies on Netflix

Raw (2016)
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  • Horror

With Julia Ducournau’s Titane dominating the discourse, there’s no better time to revisit the director’s gruelling, gutsy debut. The less you know about Raw going in the better, but suffice to say that this tale of a vegetarian veterinarian gone extremely carnivorous gained notoriety for causing viewers to faint at screenings – a badge of honor that Alfred Hitchcock and William Castle would be proud of. But Raw is so much more than a gross-out feast: It’s a gorgeously unfiltered piece of coming-of-age cinema that finds empathy in the ickiest possible places. 

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  • Horror

Director Remi Weekes’s searing feature debut concerns a Sudanese refugee family’s relocation to a hostile community near London, 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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Veronica (2017)
Photograph: Apache Films

3. 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 film is apparently based on a true story and follows 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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  • 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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Shutter (2004)
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  • Horror

One of the most hauntingly effective films of the noughties, Thai import Shutter does incredible things with background imagery in telling the tale of a young photographer who begins seeing apparitions in her work following a tragic accident. A ghostly mystery that updates gothic tropes for modern audiences, the film’s central twist is obvious from the get-go, but Shutter is so effective in its eerie imagery that you won’t care: You’ll be too busy scanning the margins for the next skin-crawling image. Just be sure to avoid the American remake. 

The Fear Street trilogy (2021)
Photograph: Netflix

6. The Fear Street trilogy (2021)

It shouldn’t have worked: Not only are RL Stine’s kid-lit horror yarns of the PG variety, but they’re also corny as hell. So what a joy when the three-part, hard-R Fear Street trilogy hit most of its marks with gleeful aplomb, from the Scream-homaging 1994 to the summercamp slasher joys of 1977 and even the overwrought religious terror of 1666. Make no mistake, the trilogy doesn’t exactly reinvent the genre – The Witch for teens this is not – but the three films pack a dense mythology with likable characters, loving homage and some truly gnarly kills to serve as must-watch material for emerging horror fans and vets alike. 

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Creep (2014)
Photograph: Blumhouse Productions

7. Creep (2014)

Patrick Brice directs and stars in this found-footage two-hander about Aaron, a videographer who is hired to record a video diary for the eccentric and supposedly terminally ill Josef. When the pair meet, though, Aaron is distrubed by his subject’s increasingly bizarre behaviour, which in the end could rival Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. Unsettling yet oddly humorous, this is one that’ll stay with you after the credits roll. And don’t skip the sequel, which replays similar beats for laughs in positing the villain as a killer going through a midlife crisis.

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The most chilling aspect of The Strangers isn’t the outcome, which hangs over the film as an inevitability more so than a threat. It’s the utter nihilism set forth by director Bryan Bertino as his masked assailants lurk menacingly in the shadows of a seemingly safe space. This is essentially an American take on Funny Games (more so than the actual American take on Funny Games). That it manages to outdo Michael Haneke in terms of utter despair without the Austrian director’s signature finger-wagging is some sort of genre miracle. 

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I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016)
Photograph: Netflix

9. I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016)

Director Oz Perkins’s film is a labour of love runs heavily against today‘s trends: It‘s defiantly un-gory and the kind of quiet movie that you need to lean into to appreciate. But this ghost story about an old house and its spooked caretaker is well worth your time, especially during a quiet afternoon, when you can hear the creaks in the floor. Think of the literature of Shirley Jackson: poetic and ominous.

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The final part of Guillermo del Toro's loose Spanish-language trilogy, this wondrous magical realist fable feels like a canny retooling of Alice in Wonderland for Civil War-era Spain. Its fantastical world-crafting realises all the promise of Chronos and The Devil’s Backbone as ten-year-old Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) disappears down a rabbit hole to encounter one of cinema’s most striking monsters – hello, Doug Jones’s Pale Man – and plenty more besides.

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Hush (2016)
Photograph: Netflix

11. Hush (2016)

Before he became Netflix’s reigning king of gothic melodrama with The Haunting of Hill House and Midnight Mass, Mike Flanagan hit the streamer with this lean, vicious home-invasion thriller. Essentially a chamber piece set in an isolated forest home, the film pits a masked slasher against a deaf author who proves extremely resilient. The sound design and sense of space are top notch throughout, and the film ratchets up suspense with brutal efficiency. And as a bonus, centring on a character that doesn’t speak drastically cuts down on the director’s penchant for overlong monologues. 

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  • Horror

James Wan’s haunted-house horror feels like a throwback to the glory days of Poltergeist, but make no mistake: Wan’s unique funhouse scares are his own creation, finely calibrated for maximum tension and ready to spring jump scares like a demented jack-in-the-box. The original Conjuring remains the best due to its embrace of horror convention, its mastery of space and the extremely straight-faced lead performances by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as real-life paranormal hucksters Ed and Lorraine Warren. Sit back, enjoy the ride and try not to spill your drink every five minutes. 

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Jaws (1975)
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Just because it’s Halloween doesn’t mean it can’t be Shark Week too. You know Jaws. You love Jaws. And that’s because no matter how many times you see it, it still possesses the uncanny ability to terrify you, not because of what’s shown on screen, but because of what’s unseen below the water. 

Cam (2018)
Photograph: Netflix

14. Cam (2018)

Doppelganger horror shatters the notion of identity at the collision of Davids Lynch and Cronenberg in this tale of a sex worker whose online persona begins to take on a life of its own. Cam isn’t exactly interested in mining the same slasher tropes as Stephen King’s thematically similar The Dark Half, instead offering a psychologically jarring, eerie look at the dangers of doxxing and what happens when our digital selves begin to overtake reality. 

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Unfriended (2015)
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  • Horror

Taking place entirely on a split-screen video chat, Unfriended was a novelty upon its release. But six years and 18 months of Zoom calls later, the tale of teens plagued by a malevolent spirit harboring ugly secrets from their past has taken on a shocking relevancy. What was once a gimmick film about the online generation is now an eerily realistic ghost story where our neverending screen life becomes something much more sinister.

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