This list of the 30 top horror movies that are playing on Netflix right now takes you from the most popular (in our opinion) right down through a list of mention-ables that will go down in history as the scariest seat-grabbing, jumpity-jitter flicks ever made.
We’ve started with 20-ish of the most popular ever and scary ever, followed by a few honourable mentions that definitely need to go on your horror moving-watching bucket list!
The original Scream, like the sequels was written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Freddy Krueger creator Wes Craven. This movie makes the top of the list because it has all the elements needed for an entertaining and scary story: the sexiest twenty-something actors of their time playing teens – check; a jilted female character who suffered the loss of a parent at the hands of a serial killer when she was a child – check; a mysterious masked character showing themselves throughout the film picking off one main character after another – check; and adult characters who don’t believe the kids when they try to tell them what’s going on – check.
2. The Omen
Richard Donner brought us the Omen back in 1976. To this day, nobody whose watched it can claim to forget the horrors brought upon the Thorn family (Gregory Peck and Lee Remick) by their adopted son Damien (Harvey Stephens). Since the release of the film, the name Damien is forever synonymous with Lucifer himself! Robert Thorne is an ambassador climbing the ladder to the top of U.S. government. He and his wife adopt a young boy after their own son dies during child birth. What they don’t know is that Damien has mysterious origins, and that his adoption to the soon-to-be-powerful Thorne family was no accident!
TV’s Rick Castle (Nathan Fillion) wasn’t always a millionaire author / honorary NYC detective. He was once a small town detective trying to save a childhood crush (Elizabeth Banks) from disgusting alien slugs seeking to expand their race using the inhabitants of the town of Wheelsy, North Carolina as human incubators for their eggs. This film was a critical failure, mostly due to the fact that horror genre purists felt that it copied many alien-goo, slug-infecting, world-dominating movies of the 80’s, and most refused to watch Slither because of this. However, this is a great way to spend a Saturday night in the dark, sans popcorn due the extreme blood and slimey alien goo-fest!
4. The Evil Dead
This was one of acclaimed director Sam Raimi’s first forays into movie making. He wrote and directed this film, along with the 2013 remake. The Evil Dead is a cult favorite and considered by some to be the very best horror film of all time. Ash Williams (played by Bruce Campbell) and friends head to a cabin in the woods to relax during spring break. They find a creepy audiotape full of evil incantations that once played, unleashes hoards of evil upon them, infecting everyone in the cabin but Ash. From then on, nobody is safe and they’re soon forced to kill each other or perish themselves!
If you’ve seen the original from 1960, or any of the sequels that followed in the 80’s, you’re quite likely to be unimpressed by this modern remake starring Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche, Julianne Moore, and Viggo Mortenson. The critical reviews were largely bad due to aged movie critics who felt that there was nothing new to be seen or learned about Norman Bates (based on real life serial killer Eg Gein) or his history in this modern film. Still, this movie is hair-raising, entertaining and each of the high-profile actors featured play their characters to perfection.
6. A Haunting in Connecticut 2
Based on the true story behind The Veil; a biographical ghost story account by Heidi Wyrick, who was terrorized by ghosts throughout her childhood while growing up in a historical house in Georgia – one of the most haunted of all the states in North America. Tom Elkins directed this mind-bending haunted house thriller which features a stellar cast including Chad Michael Murray, Cicely Tyson, Katie Sackhoff, and Abigail Spencer. This chilling story starts with benevolent ghosts warning the family of the chilling past of the home which’s ensteeped in the horrors resulting from the days of the Underground Railroad. Soon, they’re faced with unspeakable horrors at the hands of the home’s most evil ghost, the chilling Station Master!
This now classic horror offering, from then low-budget film director James Wan scared the living bejesus out of theater-goers when it was released back in 2010, and is now regarded as one of the scariest mood-filled, atmospheric, non-slasher haunted house-style films ever released. There’s just something about creepy child ghosts haunting seemingly innocent all-American children and their families that make for a great horror movie concept. Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne play the unassuming roles of clueless parents to a tee, and the lead up to the finale between the supernatural versus the Lambert family contains one seat-clenching moment after another!
8. Don’t be Afraid of the Dark
This horror film brings us a surprising pairing of main characters. The parents in the Hurst family are played by now reformed Scientologist Katie Holmes, and mega-talented actor Guy Peirce. They move into a century-old Rhode Island mansion with their shy daughter (played by Bailee Madison), who soon finds her way down to the basement where a sealed up ash pit soon starts ejecting angry spirits into the home. There’s a lot going on in this story including a flash-back style opening from years before the Hurst’s came along, and a normally laid-back Holmes playing a mother who seems like she might be suffering from Munchausen Syndrome!
9. Paranormal Activity
A young couple move into an old house, inhabited by a demonic spirit and their lives are never the same. The original Paranormal Activity was a winner at the box office. Director Henry Joost had a budget of $15,000 to make this movie, hiring unknown actors and really having no room for any fancy special effects at all. Still, the movie made $108-million and is still regarded as one of the freakiest hair raising thrillers ever made. The camera work and great horror genre acting from the unknown stars will have you on the edge of your seat for the entire 83 minutes!
10. My Bloody Valentine
This is one of the few entirely Canadian made slasher films that will go down in history with the likes of the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Streets of the world. Five miners get stuck in a shaft because their supervisors are out partying instead of watching out for their best interests. Only one survives by subsisting on the flesh of his coworkers. As you can imagine, such an experience will change you forever and after twenty years of mental torture, the survivor comes back for revenge and things get very bloody! Forget about the 2009 remake and watch the original instead. This movie has all the early 80’s ambiance needed for a truly creepy, low-budget movie that’ll make you sleep with the lights on after you watch it.
11. Scream 2
Williamson and Craven once again bring their talents to the forefront of movie making history to capitalize on the unbelievable success of the first film. Sexy “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” star, Sarah Michelle Gellar, along with Jada Pinkett Smith, Jamie Kennedy and Omar Epps, all join the original cast. Unlike the critical disappointment that was to become of the third and fourth sequels, Scream 2 was considered by many to be even better written than the first. This features the first edition of the movie within a movie in the franchise (called “Stab”). And of course someone from Sidney’s past has adorned themselves with the freaky white mask and black cape, intent on making her pay for her sins against them.
12. Scream 3
The third installment, also directed by slasher film extraordinaire Craven. We find Sidney hiding from the world, jilted and fearful after all the experiences that took place in the first two installments. This one features the third movie within a movie, Stab 3 (# 2 is never brought up). Surprise, surprise, Ghostface starts killing people again upon the movie’s release and Sydney must come out of seclusion to face whoever it is from her past whose donned the mask. This movie makes the list purely because once you’ve started watching a franchise, you have to see it through to the end. Scream 4 is surely soon to be release on Neflix any day now.
Director Mike Flannagan used $70,000 in KickStarter bucks to film this dark claustrophobia-inducing movie. Set in a small town using unknown actors, this film is perfect for people who want a scare but don’t like watching people get their heads cut off or seeing victim’s intestines spill out all over the pavement. The film uses the theme of strange unexplained disappearances, eerie flashback scenes, chilling revelations, and a creepy tunnel to scare the heck out of anyone who dares to watch it. Absentia is all about high-level filmography on a shoe-string budget.
This is actually a silent era film from way back in 1922, starring Max Schreck and a bunch of other actors from the time whose names you aren’t likely to recognize. You might thing the lack of dialogue would make this film feel cheap and cheesy, not at all scary. However, the lack of audio leaves much to the imagination. This is the first film interpretation of Bram Stoker’s book “Dracula” and the makeup used to create the silent monster is pretty convincing for the time period it was made. Give this one a shot, everybody should watch Nosferatu at least once!
Manic is a film by relative unknown Franck Khalfoun. Headlining is Elijah Wood, in a role as an odd mannequin store owner with a strange fetish for killing women, cutting off their scalps and adorning his mannequins with victim’s hair. The interesting thing about this remake of an 80’s film by the same name is that Khalfoun made this serial killer epic in a POV style, where you see what the killer sees instead of looking on as an outside observer. The score is creepy as hell, camera angles are expertly shot, and Wood is just plain odd. Not someone you want to live next door to!
16. Black Death
This three year old horror flick hails from the land where there’s always gray clouds in the sky and a 90% chance of rain. British director Christopher Smith made Black Death after a series of groundbreaking horror releases like the slasher film Severance, the epic monster horror Creep, and the very bizarre boat movie horror Triangle. Black Death finds us riding on horseback with Sean Bean and Eddie Redmayne in medieval England during the beginning of the bubonic plague. Speculations have led to the suspicion that a certain village leader has made a pact with evil witches to bring back those stricken to death by the plague. As you can imagine, anyone suspected of witchery must burn at the stake. This is a story about the horrors that mankind inflicted on himself during this period. Excellent British film making!
17. Rosemary’s Baby
This bone-chilling tale from shamed director Roman Polansky is a classic horror film. The tension builds throughout, with pixie-cut queen and ex-wife of director Woody Allen (Mia Farrow) playing awkwardly shy and pregnant Rosemary. Most of the movie happens within her and her husband’s apartment complex, where a strange elderly couple exerts their dastardly will on the husband and begin to take over Rosemary’s life, in a bid to steal her baby, who may or may not have ties with Lucifer himself! If you’re numb to the modern slasher films and over-edited, hundred-million-dollar flops Hollywood’s putting out these days, this film will be a scary change of pace!
Cannabalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers are creatures formed in the sewer as a result of radioactive waste. This 80’s film features early appearances by Rosanne’s John Goodman and comedian Jay Thomas. It also has an all star cast for the times with Daniel Stern, Kim Griest, John Heard, George Martin and several others. Underground-dwelling homeless people are the preferred dinner fare for the C.H.U.D.’s but declining homeless rates force them to go above ground to find food. Horror film rating website bloody-disgusting.com rates this one at a “Bloody Disgusting” rating of 4.5/5!
19. Hostel III
For those who’ve seen any of the movies listed so far, you’ll note that we’re moving into a realm of horror movie watching that the faint of heart simply can’t handle! The entire Hostel movie franchise is a series of the most disturbing, gore-mongering, fear-inspiring, eye-clenching movies ever to hit the screen; replete with most loathsome bad guys you’ve ever had the displeasure of viewing. Eli Roth continues to torcher us with stories lifted from the bowels of hell, recounting tales of the Elite Hunting Club; wealthy members of society who buy abandoned buildings with the sole purpose of murdering innocents who’re mercilessly killed using tools of destruction most of us could never imagine in our worst nightmares!
This is another horror flick that pits humans against undead humans that’re hell bent on infecting every last living person on Earth! It stars television’s most renowned serial-killer’s-sister, Jennifer Carpenter (of Dexter fame) as a reporter who soon discovers a rabies-like disease is ripping through the city. Soon after, she and her crew are tasked with saving humanity and all hell (literally) breaks loose. This is film uses no opening credits, shaky cam shots, and a briskly-moving plot line to take you on a visceral 89 minute journey into something only nightmares are made of.
21. The Devil Inside
This is a docu-horror film, taking you inside the life of Isabella, a woman who lost her mother to an asylum twenty years previously after a botched exorcism. Isabella is now filming a documentary about exorcisms, following two priests as they attempt to rid the possessed of evil. Soon, one of the priests are inhabited by a demon and Isabella learns that a much more sinister force may have contributed to her mother’s downfall!
22. The ABC’s of Death
You won’t recognize a single actor in this film, but it’s really good! 26 individual directors were put in charge of coming up with a unique method of death for 26 people who’re killed throughout the film. Each of them dies according to a corresponding letter in the alphabet. We’ll leave this one to your imagination. Watch it if you dare!
How could any top 30 horror movies list be complete without witches and warlocks. Netflix offers us this flick, featuring early performances by Julian Sands and Lori Singer. Sands plays a 1600’s Warlock slated for death at the hands of a witch hunter, only to be saved by Satan and sent to modern day LA to continue his evil work assembling the “Grand Grimoire” that will allow Satan’s accension above ground, unaware that the witch hunter followed him forward in time. Watch it to find out the rest!
V/H/S is a frame narrative, found footage horror that brings us 6 short stories, filled with murder, rape, torture, serial killers, the paranormal, and unspeakable terror at the hands of aliens! This is a low-budget stunner, filled with many of the clichéed horror plots we’ve seen before, done in with a clever twist in each story.
25. Stake Land
This post-apocalypse movie stars scream queen Danielle Harris and a bunch of anti-Twilight style zombie-like vampires ravaging victims left and right. The vampires don’t resemble anything sexy or alluring, as you’ll find with the characters in True Blood or The Vampire Diaries; they’re sole mission is to obliterate all life on Earth (though one would wonder what they’d eat after doing so). Low budget, but lots of screaming, blood, gore, and cheesy special effects.
26. The Road
Viggo Mortenson has never played such a dark role as this one. This post-apocolyptic film doubles as a heart-wrenching drama and the turmoil is really hard to watch. Mortenson’s nameless character is constantly confronted with peril; he rarely meets anyone on the road that has any redeeming human qualities. The viewer is often left wondering if his character is even worth saving. Death, destruction and gore are featured on a bi-minute basis in this film.
27. You’re Next
This home-invasion horror that begins with a happy family celebrating a reunion. Three masked characters hell bent on murder and mayhem show up, adorned with freaky animal masks and proceed to kill the family off one by one. Nobody in the Davison family is safe, and few will survive when this movie is all said and done!
This Clive Barker film is the stuff of legends in B-movie land. Made back in the 80’s, this low-budget horror flick led to many a sleepless night for who watched it back in the day. Now that makeup in movies has become more realistic, it’s impossible to put Hellraiser high on the list, as this gore-fest with inter-dimensional monsters and their defleshed victims can come across as rather cheesy by today’s standards. Still, if you can look past the bad special effects, this British-made horror is one “hell” of a scary ride!
Leave the remake on the shelves where it belongs. This is the original, made back in 1986. Stephen King rose to prominence with the release of the book of the same name and the first Carrie movie is considered by many to be the best book-to-movie horror adaptations ever made. Sissy Spacek plays a shy telekinetic teen – abused by her schoolmates and living in under the thumb of a very odd mother. Soon, everyone in town will pay for how they treated her, that’s for sure!
This is another B-movie legend, written and directed by Clive Barker. Everyone’s heard the legend: say “Candyman” three times in the mirror and he’s sure to appear and separate you from the land of the living! Despite this widely-known knowledge, there’s always someone in horror-movie-land who’ll gladly ignore the advice given to them and summon the bee-filled, hook-handed Candyman, played by Tony Todd.
These are just some of our favourite horror movies showing on Netflix..What are yours?
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