It’s as wild and as varied as a film genre gets — from indie stories of terror to digital features of killing to high-brow masterpieces about evil — and whatever the brand of horror you’re in the mood for, there’s something on the service for you. So let’s take a look at the best scary new releases in horror to stream on Netflix right now, including many of the top recent horror films from 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015, as well as many of the best, all-time greatest classics. We’ve picked splatter thrillers, terror-inducing nightmare fests, schlocky tales, blood-curdling flicks, and more. It’s horror for fans of all kinds to watch, whether it’s Halloween or not!
Oh, and when you’re done here, be sure to also check out our list of the 100 Best Horror Movies Ever and what’s new to Netflix this month.
Or follow these links for the best of other genres:
The best sci fi movies on Netflix
The best comedy movies on Netflix
The best drama movies on Netflix
The best action movies on Netflix
The best horror TV shows on Netflix
The best anime series on Netflix
Not a Netflix subscriber or prefer Amazon? We went ahead and added some links for those, if that’s your thing.
Please note: This list pertains to U.S. Netflix subscribers. Some titles may not currently be available on international platforms.
Best Horror Movies on Netflix Right Now
Gremlins is the sort of horror movie they just don’t make anymore. It’s geared toward a slightly younger audience but features all the gore and frights you’d expect from an R-rated feature. It’s basically the reason the MPAA created the PG-13 rating in the first place. It’s also a movie that still maintains its charm even three decades later. It’s funny. It’s gross. It’s dark. It’s Gremlins.
Wes Craven already staked a claim as one of the all-time great horror directors thanks to A Nightmare on Elm Street. It seems almost unfair that he got to reinvent the slasher genre all over again with Scream. This horror movie works on two levels. It’s a genuinely frightening look at a group of teens being hounded by a mysterious, masked killer. But it’s also a sly, self-aware parody of the genre that pokes fun at Craven’s own resume and other classics like Halloween and Friday the 13th.
This 2003 slasher movie finally gave fans the pop culture mashup they had been waiting for ever since a Freddy Krueger/Jason Voorhees crossover was teased in 1993’s Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. The result isn’t high art, but since when has anyone expected that from these two franchises? All that matters is that Freddy vs. Jason is a lot of fun. Its goofy, self-aware sense of humor pairs well with the copious amounts of gore. It also serves as a sort of last hurrah for both franchises before their eventual reboots. Frankly, nothing beats the originals.
Jonathan Demme’s Oscar-winning film wasn’t the first time Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter made it to the big screen, but it was surely the best. The 1991 picture landed Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Anthony Hopkins), Best Actress (Jodie Foster), and Best Screenplay (Ted Tally), while also launching a franchise about the oh-so-suave cannibalistic genius. Of course, if you somehow haven’t seen The Silence of the Lambs yet, you must do that immediately on Netflix… with some fava beans and a nice chianti.
There’s a bit of Child’s Play/Chucky renaissance going on right now, with a reboot (featuring the voice of Mark Hamill as Chucky!) in the works, a TV series from franchise creator Don Mancini, and then the ongoing series of sequels to the original 1988 film about the killer doll. As we said in our Cult of Chucky review, “Too many horror sequels feel like cheap and soulless cash ins. Cult of Chucky has big ideas, strong performances and some moments that rank among the best in the series. The other classic slasher franchises may be failing, but lately, Chucky is making entertaining horror sequels look like child’s play.”
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street may just be the darkest collaboration between director Tim Burton and star Johnny Depp to date, and that’s saying something. This adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim/Hugh Wheeler musical casts Depp as a Victorian-era barber returned to London with revenge in mind. Even if you’re not keen on the prospect of horror characters breaking into song, the gore, moody visuals and black sense of humor make this a musical well worth watching.
One of the best modern horror franchises has three great installments on Netflix, all of them about people who narrowly avoid horrifying tragedies, only to be chased down by death itself because they were supposed to die. All of the Final Destination movies are breathtakingly elaborate murder machines, as “death” manipulates the world around these characters, trying to kill them by creating nearly impossible freak accidents. Ingenuity is the name of the game, and the first three Final Destination movies play it brilliantly!
Eli Roth’s best thriller, Hostel, is a vicious and mean-spirited trip to eastern Europe, where boorish and immature American tourists are kidnapped and used as fodder in the torture trade. These are the type of heroes you’d normally want to die in a low-budget horror movie, but Roth’s brutal violence and his lingering looks at their torment pushes Hostel beyond those familiar, mindless thrills and into the realm of the tragic and horrifying.
One of the creepiest and most original horror movies in years, The Autopsy of Jane Doe stars Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch as a father-son team of morticians who are tasked with performing an autopsy on a mysterious corpse that turned up at an inexplicable crime scene. As they dissect the body they discover one impossible medical mystery after another, until they find – too late – that the horrors haven’t stopped now that “Jane Doe” is dead. it’s suspenseful, fascinating, and scary as heck.
Guillermo del Toro’s Oscar-winning dark fairy tale tells the story of a young girl in early Francoist Spain, as she retreats into a world of horrifying magic to escape her fascist, violent new stepfather. Her world is so grim that even her imagination is tainted, and her childhood fantasy life more closely resembles a waking nightmare, filled with gruesome monsters and cruel temptations. Pan’s Labyrinth is haunting, earnest, and beautifully eerie.
For whatever reason there just aren’t a lot of great slasher movies on Netflix, but at least we’ve got Patrick Lussier’s splashy remake of My Bloody Valentine. Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) takes the lead here, as a serial killer in a mining uniform starts rampaging though a small town on Valentine’s Day. Lussier fills his film with bizarre sequences and fun characters, and although it’s probably not one of the best slasher movies ever made, it definitely scratches the itch to watch gory kills in the safety of your own home.
A family that’s too Puritan for 1630s colonial America, which was spectacularly Puritan, is forced to live on their own, on the outskirts of the world. Grief, deception, hypocrisy and religious paranoia take hold, and the family starts tearing each other apart. Robert Eggers’ instant, modern classic The Witch is a masterpiece of mood, and captures the historical era with immersive specificity. You’ll feel like you’re trapped on this farm with these people, and going mad right alongside them.
This unexpected, creepy hit from 2016 stars Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead) as a babysitter hired by eccentric millionaires to take care of their… doll? At first she thinks it’s the easiest gig in the world, but she gradually begins to suspect that the doll is more alive than it appears. Spooky atmosphere and some very unexpected developments make The Boy a standout creepfest.
The Sixth Sense is the film that made M. Night Shyamalan a household name is just as creepy and effective as it’s ever been. Bruce Willis stars as a child psychologist whose latest patient is a young boy, played by Haley Joel Osment, who thinks he can see and talk to the dead. The scares are subtle and mysterious, but the real draw here is Willis and Osment, playing perfectly off of each other as huge realizations dawn on them, filling their respective lives with fear. And the ending is still a classic.
A bumbling cop investigates a series of mysterious deaths in his small town, and discovers that the real horror may be closer to home than he realizes. The Wailing sprints from genuine dread to broad horror comedy and back again, keeping you on your toes the whole time. You’ll never know where exactly this movie is going, but you’ll be glad it went there.
Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson play supernatural investigators who take on a job protecting a large family from a malevolent presence. James Wan directs the hell out of The Conjuring, crafting memorable characters and scary set pieces that will make you jump right out of your seat, shrieking like nobody’s business. It’s as frightening as it is classy.
Carla Gugino travels to an isolated cabin with her husband to spice up their marriage, but he dies while she’s handcuffed to the bed, and now she’s trapped, starving, and staring down a feral dog that’s found its way into the house. Mike Flanagan’s impeccably constructed adaptation of the Stephen King novel Gerald’s Game is a suspenseful film, but also a bravura showcase for Gugino’s incredible acting talents.
Logan Marshall-Green is invited to his ex-wife’s house for a dinner party, but there’s something… off. He can’t quite put his finger on it but there are suspicious little details everywhere, and director Karyn Kusama skillfully keeps us on a knife edge the whole movie, wondering what the heck is really going on. The Invitation is a subtle horror thriller, but if you like a movie with a slow burn, and impressive psychological insight, it’s a must see.
A single Iranian mother is trapped in her apartment with her frustrating young child and, after a missile strikes her building, a demonic djinn which starts manipulating them. Babak Anvari’s eerie and emotionally charged horror movie takes on a greater significance when placed against the political backdrop of Iran in the 1980s, but whether you’re picking up on all the subtext or only watching Under the Shadow as a straight-up supernatural thriller, you’re going to be impressed.
The zombie apocalypse has been unleashed in South Korea, and a group of total strangers are stuck on a speeding train when the outbreak starts. Sang-ho Yeon’s breathless horror-thriller figures out every possible way to make “zombies on a train” seem new and exciting, and builds a whole cast of characters you won’t want to watch get eaten, even though you know most of them will. Train to Busan is one of the most pulse-pounding zombie movies ever.
A group of friends are backpacking through the woods, but after spending the night in an abandoned cabin with a bizarre religious icon inside, they start to experience inexplicable phenomena. There are some familiar elements in David Bruckner’s The Ritual, but the film’s got a great cast and eventually leads to unusual, horrifying conclusions.
So there you have it: what to watch on Netflix right now in the world of horror movies. Check back here each month for new titles as Netflix adds them!
Note: This article is frequently amended to remove films no longer on Netflix, and to include more horror films that are now available on the service.