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The 10 best horror movies on Netflix

Here are the scariest films available on Netflix, from haunted-hotel classics to cutting-edge indies

By Joshua Rothkopf and Time Out contributors |
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The Conjuring
The Conjuring

As much as we love a high-toned costume drama like Phantom Thread—not to mention summer’s big ‘n’ dumb blockbusters—there’s nothing like a horror film to get the juices flowing. And there’s no need to wait to October to watch the best Halloween movies. Netflix offers plentiful options year-round for stay-at-home horror freaks. We’ve browsed every subcategory and found these 10 best horror movies on Netflix, sure to draw you closer to whomever is shivering next to you on the couch.

RECOMMENDED: See all of the best movies on Netflix

Best horror movies on Netflix

1
The 100 best horror films, horror movies, jaws
Movies

Jaws (1975)

Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss

Or, as we like to call it, Three Men and a Shark. Yes, it’s the film that created the template for the contemporary Hollywood blockbuster. Pity that most of its successors suck so hard.

Watch if you liked: Jurassic Park

2
The Babadook
Movies, Horror

The Babadook (2014)

Director: Jennifer Kent

Cast: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall

Aussie Jennifer Kent’s supremely confident feature 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 staked out a shadowy domestic terrain last dominated by Roman Polanski.

Watch if you liked: Rosemary’s Baby

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3
The 100 best horror films, horror movies, the sixth sense
Movies, Horror

The Sixth Sense (1999)

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Cast: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette

Let’s stretch back to a time when the name M. Night Shyamalan didn’t trigger groans, cackles or dull-eyed stares. Leaping to prominence with this expertly scripted ghost story, the director seemed to have it all: a talent for pacing and atmosphere, a Rod Serling-esque gift for a clever twist ending (only one of them at this point in his career), and an easy way with actors, especially this film’s Haley Joel Osment, a rare horror Oscar nominee.

Watch if you liked: The Others

4
The Conjuring
Movies, Horror

The Conjuring (2013)

Director: James Wan

Cast: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Lili Taylor

The elements are familiar—a rural house, a vulnerable family, some pissed-off demonic spirits—but filmmaker James Wan (the first Saw) knows how to use them. In both its setting and rock-solid craft, this blockbuster is a throwback to horror’s early-’70s heyday, a model that ain’t broke and don’t need fixing.

Watch if you liked: The Amityville Horror

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5
Movies, Horror

The Eyes of My Mother (2016)

Director: Nicolas Pesce

Cast: Kika Magalhães, Will Brill, Olivia Bond

The best horror film of 2016 was, like The Babadook and The Witch before it, a director's bold debut—which bodes well for a genre always in need of fresh blood. Filmmaker Nicolas Pesce milks nausea from his rural setup, a place where bad things happen and the concept of maternal devotion is, shall we say, fluid.

Watch if you liked: The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

6
778.779.fi.x491.piranha.jpg
Movies

Piranha 3-D (2010)

Director: Alexandre Aja

Cast: Elisabeth Shue, Jerry O'Connell, Richard Dreyfuss

Schlockmeister Roger Corman could only dream of producing a movie this stupefyingly gory and loaded with exposed flesh, making the updated Piranha that most unlikely of remakes—an improvement. Director Alexandre Aja knows what he's tasked with, and that’s supplying maximum trash: A spring-break lake is crammed with bikini-clad drunkettes, a naked underwater ballet and an outrageously inflamed Christopher Lloyd (the 3-D elements are an afterthought).

Watch if you liked: Sharknado

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7
Halloween movie screenings in London, it follows
Movies, Horror

It Follows (2014)

Director: David Robert Mitchell

Cast: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi

We open in the heart of Michael Myers country, a suburb populated by long-limbed teenage girls and their scruffy, oversexed male admirers. When Jay (Maika Monroe) makes the mistake of sleeping with one of the aforementioned boys, she finds herself followed by a mysterious, slow-moving presence (the camera itself) that can assume any human form. The film possesses the folklorish simplicity of an urban legend, with the added spice of a smartly deployed STD metaphor.

Watch if you liked: Halloween

8
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House

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

Director: Oz Perkins

Cast: Ruth Wilson, Paula Prentiss, Lucy Boynton

A newish horror film that’s exclusively on Netflix, Perkins’s labor of love runs heavily against today's trends: It's defiantly ungory 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 immensely worth your time, especially during one quiet afternoon, when you can hear the creaks in the floor. Think the literature of Shirley Jackson, poetic and ominous.

Watch if you liked: The Shining

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9
The 100 best horror films, horror movies, hellraiser
Movies, Horror

Hellraiser (1987)

Director: Clive Barker

Cast: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence

Horror author Barker made an auspicious debut as a director with this bloody shocker about a violent con artist who cheats death in gruesome fashion. One of the peripheral characters, a nameless “cenobite” with a fondness for pins, would be resurrected as the antiheroic star in several sequels.

Watch if you liked: Underworld

10
The ABCs of Death
Movies, Horror

The ABCs of Death (2012)

Directors: Various

Cast: Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Iván González, Kyra Zagorsky

Tripping down the letters of the alphabet, more than two dozen international directors do their best to shock in five-minute segments. Blessedly, you’re never that far from a palate cleanse. Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, directors of 2009’s stylish Amer, offer up “O Is for Orgasm,” a surging montage of colors and moans that make the whole film worth a rental.

Watch if you liked: V/H/S

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