Best Horror Movies On Netflix (December 2023)


Summary

  • Netflix offers a wide range of horror movies, including demonic possession films, slashers, and Stephen King adaptations.
  • The best horror movies on Netflix deliver both visceral thrills and thought-provoking narratives.
  • Subscribers can find various approaches to the horror genre on Netflix, from jump-scare-filled popcorn flicks to elevated horror exploring existential dread.


The best Netflix horror movies offer something for all types of horror fans. On the streaming service, Netflix has both curated content from theatrical releases from the past and several of its own critically acclaimed horror releases made directly for streaming. Given the popularity of the genre, Netflix’s commitment to providing scares for spook fans is a big reason to part with the subscription money, especially in the run-up to Halloween.

Among the pick of the platform’s offering are demonic possession movies, slashers, Stephen King adaptations, and both classics and new modern-day horrors. Between the visceral thrills of being scared and the mystifying visual effects, Netflix’s best horror movies will deliver. Whether it’s a jump-scare-filled popcorn flick or an elevated horror where the scares are in the morbid narrative about existential dread, Netflix subscribers can find so many different approaches to the nightmare-inducing genre.

For even more Netflix streaming recommendations, be sure to check out the best TV shows on Netflix, best romance movies on Netflix, and best family movies on Netflix.

Looking for a quick horror movie fix? Here are the picks of the scariest movies on Netflix right now…

Related

15 Best Horror Movies Of All Time, Ranked

What are the best horror movies of all time? Every fan has their opinion, but these movies have stood the test of time to become certifiable icons.


25 Drag Me To Hell (2009)

Sam Raimi’s Wild And Bizarre Return To Horror

Drag Me To Hell

Release Date
May 29, 2009

Director
Sam Raimi

Cast
Dileep Rao, Lorna Raver, Alison Lohman, Justin Long, David Paymer

Runtime
99 minutes

Sam Raimi made a name for himself with the Evil Dead movies before becoming a blockbuster filmmaker with the Spider-Man movies. It was then a thrill to see him return to the horror genre with his distinct style and dark sense of humor still intact. Drag Me To Hell follows a young woman who attempts to impress her bank manager boss by turning down an old woman seeking a loan. However, she soon finds herself cursed as she desperately tries to break it before being subjected to eternal torment. Raimi creates intense and gruesome set pieces that are never undermined by the surprisingly wacky humor in the movie. It all builds to an unforgettable ending that has cemented it as a cult favorite.

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24 The Wailing (2016)

A South Korean Mystery About A Deadly Disease

Three characters looking shocked in The Wailing

The Wailing

Release Date
June 3, 2016

Director
Na Hong-jin

Cast
Jun Kunimura, Hwang Jung-min, Kwak Do-won

Runtime
2h 36m

South Korea has some of the best horror movie output in the world and The Wailing is yet another example of this. The movie is set in a small village where the arrival of a stranger leads to a deadly infection spread through the population. With a mix of real-world horror and supernatural aspects, The Wailing is a gripping experience elevated by its rich characters and brilliant filmmaking. The movie has a near-perfect 99% on Rotten Tomatoes with critics praising its atmospheric dread and effective mystery.

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23 Ma (2019)

Octavia Spenser’s Performance Elevated This Unhinged Thriller

Octavia Spencer abehind a cracked glass in Ma.

Ma

Release Date
May 31, 2019

Director
Tate Taylor

Cast
Kyanna Simone Simpson, Diana Silvers, Octavia Spencer, Victor Turpin, Juliette Lewis, McKaley Miller, Allison Janney, Corey Fogelmanis, Missi Pyle, Luke Evans, Dominic Burgess

Runtime
102 minutes

Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer makes for an unexpected yet effective horror movie villain in Ma. The movie follows a group of teens who meet a lonely woman (Spencer) who allows them to use her home as their secret party spot. However, when they grow uncomfortable with how close she is getting to them, things turn deadly. The movie wisely embraces its cheesy aspects while Spencer delivers a fun performance that further shows her versatility, as her ability to switch from warm and friendly to chilling and violent adds a lot of tension to the story.

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22 Crimson Peak (2015)

Guillermo del Toro’s Gothic Ghost Story

Crimson Peak

Release Date
October 16, 2015

Director
Guillermo del Toro

Cast
Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Charline Hunnam, Tom Hiddleston, Jim Beaver

Runtime
119 minutes

Guillermo del Toro can always be counted on to infuse a sense of beauty into his horror movies and such is the case with the dark gothic tale of Crimson Peak. The movie is set in Edwardian-era England and stars Mia Wasikowska as a young writer who travels to the estate owned by her husband (Tom Hiddleston) and his wife (Jessica Chastain) where she encounters dark spirits in the old home. The stunning visuals and creepy atmosphere are brilliantly realized by del Toro while the stellar cast does great work with their complex character, with Chastain as the standout performer.

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21 Oxygen (2021)

A Single-Setting Horror Survival Story

Oxygen Netflix

Release Date: May 12, 2021 | Director: Alexandre Aja | Runtime: 101 minutes

Cast: Mélanie Laurent, Mathieu Amalric, Malik Zidi

Oxygen is a rare horror movie that doesn’t have any monsters or deranged killers but gets its horror from a simple yet universally relatable threat. The French sci-fi movie is set entirely inside a cryogenic chamber with Mélanie Laurent playing a woman who is trapped inside with her oxygen levels decreasing. Laurent’s performance is key to keeping the audience engaged as she makes for a strong yet human hero in a life-or-death situation. It is an edge-of-the-seat experience with every moment and decision feeling exciting and vital.

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20 The Strangers (2008)

A Home Invasion Thriller With Creepy Masked Killers

The Strangers invade a home.

The Strangers

Release Date
May 30, 2008

Director
Bryan Bertino

Cast
Scott Speedman, Laura Margolis, Gemma Ward, Kip Weeks, Liv Tyler, Glenn Howerton

Runtime
86 minutes

The Strangers follows a couple who are trapped and terrorized by three masked assailants in their remote vacation home. The premise is tried and true, as the same concept was used for Jordan Peele’s Us and the cult classic Michael Haneke horror movie Funny Games. However, when it comes to home invasion movies, The Strangers is by far one of the most terrifying due to the realistic portrayal of fear and relentless tension. The film is a masterclass in suspense and minimalistic horror, but the movie’s greatest aspect is how it taps into the primal fear of being targeted by strangers for no apparent reason.

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19 Get Out (2017)

Jordan Peele’s Oscar-Winning Horror Debut

Get Out

Release Date
February 24, 2017

Director
Jordan Peele

Cast
Lyle Brocato, LaKeith Stanfield, Caleb Landry Jones, Betty Gabriel, Allison Williams, Marcus Henderson, Erika Alexander, Bradley Whitford, Jeronimo Spinx, Catherine Keener, Daniel Kaluuya

Rating
R

Runtime
1 hour, 44 minutes

Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, the Academy Award-winning Get Out, is a masterful blend of social commentary and psychological horror that taps into the anxieties of the African-American experience. The story follows Chris, a black man visiting his white girlfriend’s parents, only to uncover a secret beneath their welcoming facade, which leads to the shocking Get Out ending. What makes Get Out remarkable is its layered narrative; it’s both a gripping thriller and a profound examination of race relations. Peele deftly uses horror tropes and a Twilight Zone-esque story to expose the real-life horrors of racism, creating an atmosphere that’s as unsettling and suspenseful intellectually as it is viscerally.

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18 Us (2019)

Jordan Peele’s Follow-Up About Vengeful Doppelgangers

Lupita Nyong'o as Red by a chalkboard in Us

Us

Release Date
March 22, 2019

Director
Jordan Peele

Cast
Noelle Sheldon, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Lupita Nyong’o, Cali Sheldon, Tim Heidecker, Winston Duke, Evan Alex, Elisabeth Moss, Shahadi Wright Joseph

Rating
R

Runtime
120 minutes

While the 2019 movie is lined with social commentary, Peele followed up the instant classic Get Out with the much more terrifying and thrilling popcorn flick Us. Us is a chilling tale of doppelgängers who surface to confront their above-ground counterparts. The horror delves into themes of identity, class, and privilege while delivering pure adrenaline-pumping terror. Us stands out for its ambitious storytelling and its uncanny ability to unsettle viewers through its use of the familiar. Lupita Nyong’o’s dual performance is a marvel, adding depth and horror in equal measure. Additionally, Us‘ attention to detail, symbolic imagery, and haunting score create an eerie echo of America’s dark underbelly.

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17 Jaws (1975)

The Horror Movie The Launched The Summer Blockbuster Trend

Jaws

Release Date
June 20, 1975

Director
Steven Spielberg

Cast
Roy Scheider, Murray Hamilton, Lorraine Gary, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss

Rating
PG

Runtime
124 minutes

Steven Spielberg’s Jaws redefined the horror genre by proving that the most profound fears can come from the unseen and the unknown and during the daytime. The film follows the harrowing ordeal of a great white shark hunting local residents. Jaws is extraordinary not just for its suspenseful plot but for its pioneering use of the camera to instill dread. The shark is scarcely seen but always felt, an effect that heightens the terror to almost unbearable levels. John Williams’ iconic score adds to the impending sense of doom too. Ultimately, the movie’s greatness lies in its simplicity and its primal tapping into mankind’s inherent fear of predators.

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16 Ouija (2014)

My Best Friends play with a Ouija board in Ouija

Ouija

Release Date
October 24, 2014

Director
Stiles White

Cast
Lin Shaye, Sierra Heuermann, Shelley Hennig, Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
89 minutes

Ouija capitalizes on the eerie and foreboding nature of the spirit board game. The film follows a group of friends who awaken dark forces by playing with a Ouija board, leading to a series of haunting and fatal events. While the movie employs familiar horror movie elements, it’s the atmospheric tension and the sense of inevitable dread that distinguishes it. Oujia explores themes of loss and the unknown, making the supernatural feel uncomfortably close to reality. The young cast’s genuine reactions contribute to a feeling of vulnerability too. The movie resonates with anyone who has ever been both terrified and intrigued by the idea of communicating with the other side.

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15 It Follows (2015)

An Inventive Thriller With Disturbing Allegories

Jay tied to a chair as Hugh stands behind her with a flashlight in It Follows

It Follows

Release Date
March 27, 2015

Director
David Robert Mitchell

Cast
Olivia Luccardi, Jake Weary, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Maika Monroe, Lili Sepe

Rating
R

Runtime
100minutes

It Follows is a hauntingly original horror film that centers on a supernatural entity that relentlessly pursues its victims, passed on through a curse via sexual contact. What sets It Follows apart is its deep-rooted allegories to real-world fears such as sexually transmitted diseases and the loss of innocence. The entity is a slow unyielding force that metaphorically and literally follows the protagonist, creating an omnipresent sense of dread. The movie’s true ingenuity lies in its ability to transform everyday settings into landscapes of terror, making the mundane menacing. It Follows is both a throwback to classic horror and a forward-thinking piece that reshapes the contours of the genre.

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14 Bird Box (2018)

A Monster Movie Where One Look Can Mean Death

Blindfolded Sandra Bullock in a boat in Bird Box

Bird Box

Release Date
December 21, 2018

Director
Susanne Bier

Cast
Machine Gun Kelly, Pruitt Taylor Vince, BD Wong, Danielle Macdonald, Lil Rel Howery, Tom Hollander, Julian Edwards, Sarah Paulson, Rosa Salazar, Parminder Nagra, Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, Vivien Lyra Blair, John Malkovich, Jacki Weaver

Runtime
124 minutes

Bird Box became a phenomenal success when it was first released, as it was a viral sensation thanks to the meme of Sandra Bullock blindfolded. That led to Bird Box becoming the most-streamed Netflix original movie for years until it was dethroned by Red Notice. However, it wasn’t just the memes that made Bird Box so exciting. The movie follows a small town that becomes ridden with unseen entities that drive people to suicide when they’re looked at, making for one of the most suspenseful Netflix originals. A sequel, Bird Box Barcelona, was released in 2023 and sees the same entities terrorize civilians only on a much bigger scale.

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13 I See You (2019)

A Thriller About A Disappearance That Reveals More

Helen Hunt uses a record player in I See You

Release Date: December 6, 2019 | Director: Adam Randell | Runtime: 96 minutes

Cast: Helen Hunt, Jon Tenney, Owen Teague, Judah Lewis

I See You is a mind-bending horror thriller that follows the disappearance of a young boy. However, it isn’t just any run-of-the-mill disappearance, as sinister forces may or may not be involved. While predominantly a horror movie, it’s the thriller elements and the film’s ability to keep audiences guessing until the very end that makes I See You great. The eerie atmosphere and unexpected plot twists create one of the most exciting under-the-skin experiences that has mostly gone overlooked. I See You showcases how paranoia and uncertainty can be used to create spine-tingling horror.

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12 The Platform (2019)

The Platform moves between floors in The Platform

Release Date: November 8, 2019 | Director: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia | Runtime: 94 minutes

Cast: Iván Massagué, Antonia San Juan, Zorion Eguileor, Emillio Buale

The Platform is a surreal horror movie about a vertical high-rise prison. In the center of the prison on the top level is a platform full of food that descends to each floor. As the food runs out quickly, desperation takes over the prisoners, who resort to murder and cannibalism. The Spanish horror movie is an expertly told social commentary that explores the darkest aspects of human nature, such as greed and survival. That’s all wrapped in a claustrophobic and disturbing setting, and The Platform features one of the most harrowing plot twists of any 2010s horror movie.

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11 Lights Out (2016)

Terror Lurks In The Darkness In This Tense Ride

Rebecca appearing scared in Lights Out

Lights Out

Release Date
July 22, 2016

Director
David F. Sandberg

Cast
Billy Burke, Lotta Losten, Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Maria Russell, Alicia Vela-Bailey, Maria Bello, Alexander DiPersia

Runtime
81minutes

Not for audiences who are afraid of the dark, Lights Out follows a family’s encounter with a malevolent entity that only exists in darkness. The movie follows Rebecca and her brother Martin, who are haunted by a ghostly figure that resembles their mother’s unstable childhood friend, Diana. The movie becomes terrifying when the lights go out, and it’s one of the simplest but most effective horror films available to watch on Netflix. Lights Out doesn’t rely on jump scares or gore to scare viewers, but instead, the movie masterfully exploits a universal fear to create an atmosphere of total dread and suspense.

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10 Dracula Untold (2014)

A Horror-Action Origin Story Of The Famed Vampire

Dracula Untold

Release Date
October 10, 2014

Director
Gary Shore

Cast
Sarah Gadon, Dominic Cooper, Samantha Banks, Luke Evans, Art Parkinson, Charles Dance

Runtime
92

Dracula Untold reimagines Dracula’s origin unlike any other story that’s come before. The movie follows Vlad the Impaler’s transformation into the immortal bloodsucker in order to save his family and kingdom. The movie is essentially the beginning of the shortlived Universal Dark Universe, but it’s a fun and scary standalone movie that injects high-octane action into the age-old story. Combining elements of action and horror, the film is an exciting adventure flick, but it also turns Dracula into a more three-dimensional character, as Vlad the Impaler is depicted as a tragic hero as opposed to a monster.

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9 Vivarium (2019)

Darkly Comedic And Unsettling Look At A Surreal Suburban Experience

Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots looking forlorn in Vivarium
Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots in Vivarium

Release Date: March 27, 2020 | Director: Lorcan Finnegan | Runtime: 97 minutes

Cast: Imogen Poots, Jesse Eisenberg, Jonathan Aris, Danielle Ryan

Vivarium is one of the surrealist horror movies of the 2010s, as the movie follows a couple looking to buy a house together, only the houses in the suburban neighborhood they move to are identical. The couple finds themselves trapped there and strange occurrences keep happening, such as a baby appearing at their front door. They end up stuck in a neverending loop of suburban life not knowing if they’ll ever get out, which is more terrifying than any jump scare. Vivarium is a masterclass in psychological horror with its Lynchian elements, and it absolutely achieves its goal of provoking discomfort and existential dread.

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8 The Pope’s Exorcist (2023)

Russell Crowe Battles The Devil

Release Date: April 14, 2023 | Director: Julius Avery | Runtime: 103 minutes

Cast: Russell Crowe, Daniel Zovatto, Alex Essoe, Franco Nero

The Pope’s Exorcist provides straight-up scares. Russell Crowe plays real-life holy man Father Gabriele Amorth as he investigates the case of a possessed child. Based on Amorth’s books, The Pope’s Exorcist sees Crowe playing an atypical character for him, but with the same rebellious streak that is perfect for Crowe’s presence. While critically divisive, The Pope’s Exorcist is best when Crowe is on screen, with a good scare and it all zips along entertainingly in a way that suits the platform. The 2023 film is especially worth watching given that The Pope’s Exorcist 2 is coming.

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7 Apostle (2018)

A Brutal Journey Within A Violent Cult

Dan Stevens as Thomas in the grass in Apostle

Apostle

Release Date
October 12, 2018

Director
Gareth Evans

Cast
Lucy Boynton, Kristine Froseth, Michael Sheen, Dan Stevens, Bill Milner, Mark Lewis Jones

Runtime
2hr 10 min

Apostle is a gothic horror movie starring Legion’s Dan Stevens as Thomas Richardson. Directed by Gareth Evans, the movie has a lot in common with the classic horror movie The Wicker Man, and it struggled somewhat to get over with some critics due to those comparisons. Typically gory for an Evans project, Apostle sees Stevens’ hero Thomas travel to a Welsh island to rescue his sister, who was kidnapped by a cult and held for ransom. However, what he finds there is a pagan ritual and a hungry god that needs sustenance

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6 The Babysitter (2017)

Samara Weaving Shines In This Horror-Comedy

Bella Thorne, Robbie Amell, Samara Weaving, Hana Mae Lee, Andrew Bachelor and Judah Lewis in a basement in The Babysitter

The Babysitter

Release Date
October 13, 2017

Director
McG

Cast
Robbie Amell, Hana Mae Lee, Bella Thorne, Judah Lewis, Samara Weaving, Andrew Bachelor

Runtime
85minutes

Scaring is one thing, but horrors that also manage to pack in laughs are a rare breed. The Babysitter is an under-seen horror comedy that could provide a lot of fun, relatively short, and easy to watch. The movie centers around a young boy who discovers that his babysitter is part of a satanic cult, putting him in the middle of their deadly plans. With broad characters, bloody kills, and a terrific villainous role from Samara Weaving, The Babysitter is hugely entertaining. It was so popular on the streaming platform that it spawned a sequel starring modern final girl Jenna Ortega.

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