The 13 Best Horror Movies on Netflix Right Now
The psychology behind our love of horror films is pretty simple: We love the adrenaline rush, and we feel comparatively safe knowing that a hatchet-wielding clown isn’t lurking outside our window. (Probably. Feel free to go investigate.)
If you’re ever in the mood for those particular thrills without leaving the comfort of your couch, there’s an easy solution: Kill the lights and check out any one of the best scary movies on Netflix right now.
1. Scream (1996)
Screenwriter Kevin Williamson and director Wes Craven ushered in the era of the meta horror film with this slasher entry about the "Ghostface Killer" targeting a group of self-aware teens who try to survive using what they know about horror movie tropes. The movie spawned several sequels, but the original remains the most effective.
2. The Witch (2015)
This tale of a 1630s outcast Puritan family troubled by paranormal activity tends to be divisive. You'll either enjoy the methodically slow burn, or you won't. Give in to the movie's deliberate pacing and you'll likely find that it excels in delivering an unbearable sense of dread. And you'll never look at goats the same way again.
3. The Sixth Sense (1999)
The pinnacle of M. Night Shyamalan's career is also one of the last times Bruce Willis seemed interested in carrying a movie. As a child psychologist treating a boy (Haley Joel Osment) who claims to see ghosts, Willis offers a compellingly subdued performance. If you haven't seen The Sixth Sense in a while, watching it with the knowledge of the Rod Serling-esque third-act twist is to appreciate Shyamalan's sleight-of-hand.
4. Green Room (2015)
Patrick Stewart sheds his proper image to portray a man prone to excessive profanity and ethnic biases in this gritty horror-thriller. When a punk band plays a gig in the middle of nowhere, they're dismayed to discover that all roads lead to a murdering, marauding group of neo-Nazis led by Stewart.
5. Train to Busan (2016)
A workaholic father and his daughter board a train bound for one of the few territories in South Korea not occupied by zombies. To get there, they’ll have to survive the infected passengers, who totally ignore their seat assignments and sanctioned dinner options.
6. Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
It took well over a decade of development for two of horror's biggest icons to meet up, with nightmare inhabitant Freddy Krueger trading fists with silent killer Jason Voorhees. It's not particularly scary, but the showdown is enjoyable enough and feels right at home in today's climate of shared-universe films.
7. The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
An effective B-movie with a clever conceit: A small-town coroner and his son perform what they believe is a routine autopsy on an unidentified female body. Once the exam begins, the corpse begins to reveal an increasingly disturbing series of secrets.
8. Poltergeist (1982)
Rumors abound that producer Steven Spielberg directed large portions of this film, ostensibly headed up by Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre). If so, it's one of the most unsettling movies Spielberg has ever churned out—a spooky haunted house saga about a family who winds up fighting for their lives against a malevolent force in their home. If you weren't scared of clown iconography or trees before, you will be now.
9. The Conjuring (2013)
While the real-life exploits of paranormal ghost hunters the Warrens (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) may be in some question, there's no doubting this retelling of one of their famous haunted house cases is a chilling roller coaster ride.
10. Emelie (2015)
A couple celebrates their wedding anniversary by inviting a babysitter named Anna to look after their three kids while they go out to dinner. Unfortunately for all parties involved, Anna isn't really Anna, and her motivations go far beyond picking up a few dollars. Emelie commits to one of the largest taboos in the horror genre: It's not afraid to pick on little kids.
11. Gerald's Game (2017)
A romantic weekend retreat with her husband turns into a claustrophobic struggle for survival for Carla Gugino after he drops dead and she's left handcuffed to their bed. This adaptation of Stephen King's novel is one of the rare films to do right by the author, preserving his psychological (and visceral) scares.
12. The Invitation (2015)
Fans of the slow burn should enjoy this potboiler about a man (Logan Marshall-Green) invited to his ex’s dinner party, which takes a turn for the weird. The last scene is a killer.
13. Final Destination (2000)
Can you really cheat death? That's the high concept of this ensemble film about a group of teenagers who survive a plane crash, only to find that fate doesn't like being stood up. If you take any morbid pleasure in the ensuing mortality rate, Netflix also offers 2003's Final Destination 2 and 2006's Final Destination 3, though you're on your own for parts four (2009) and five (2011).
Reminder: Netflix rotates their library of titles often, so our selection of the best scary movies on Netflix is subject to change.