Updated for October 2016
*This list is continuously updated and applies to Netflix US. Not every film listed might still be streaming or available in other Netflix regions such as the UK, Canada, and Australia.
Horror and Netflix haven't always gone well together (as far as streaming goes). Any Netflix subscriber is no doubt well aware that the horror section is often full of some pretty bad horror movies, otherwise known as B-movies. Either that, or they're straight to video releases that not many people have heard about. In this list will feature the best horror movies on Netflix.
However, even with the abundance of horror sequels, B-movies, and low level releases, every once in a while there are some true horror gems that make their way onto Netflix. While they're not loved by every horror fan, they managed to rise in popularity and gain some pretty high viewer ratings.
With this list, we will focus on the best scariest horror movies streaming on Netflix. These selections were chosen out of personal preference and Netflix viewer ratings. I'm sure they won't resonate with everyone and some might disagree, but none of these films have a Netflix rating lower than 3 stars. That in itself is pretty impressive, especially for the horror section. Here are our best scary movies on Netflix you much check out right now!
4. Queen of the Damned (2002)
I'm well aware that Queen of the Damned isn't necessarily one of the greatest horror movies out there. Seriously, you don't have to light up the comments to tell me that. However, if you're looking for a "Netflix and Kill" marathon for Halloween this year, it is a worthy addition if you're looking for something with vampires. If nothing else, it has an amazing soundtrack.
3. Contracted (2013)
Contracted is pretty out there, but it's actually pretty enjoyable for what it is. It's basically a zombie concept, but there are some serious twists and turns that not only amplify the germ motivated zombie theory, but it makes you downright uncomfortable. Basically, it's an incredible safe sex lesson because you definitely do not want to catch whatever the main character caught. Safety first, everyone.
2. The Uninvited (2009)
If you're looking for something that's more psychological, I suggest checking out The Uninvited. It's a remake of a 2003 Korean horror film, A Tale of Two Sisters, but unlike most American horror remakes, it wasn't all that terrible. It definitely messes with your mind and might leave you a bit confused at the end.
1. Holidays (2016)
If you haven't watched Holidays yet, you should just stop what you're doing and watch it right now. This holiday-themed horror anthology is not only a lot of fun, but it packs a lot of punch that horror fans have been missing in recent years. The segments are fun, gory, creepy, interesting, and crazy. I thoroughly enjoyed Holidays and hope it's a sign of more anthologies to come. Not to mention the segment directed by Kevin Smith is pretty awesome.
6. Jaws (1975)
Jaws is definitely a horror staple. Although it might not be considered scary by today's standards, this classic shark tale from Steven Spielberg terrified audiences and made people scared to do just about anything dealing with water. Along with the iconic musical score, Jaws is not a movie you should skip when preparing for Halloween season. Not to mention the fact that Netflix has all four Jaws films available to stream.
5. Practical Magic (1998)
Although this movie isn't so much a "scary" movie, you can't go wrong with a witch movie. Practical Magic is more of a lighthearted with movie, but it's still a fun one to watch if you've worn your horror queue a bit thin. Besides, who doesn't love Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman using magic?
4. Extraordinary Tales (2015)
If you're a fan of the dark, macabre Edgar Allan Poe stories, you should sit down and check out Extraordinary Tales. This animated anthology series gives visual treatments to five total Poe stories and features narration from horror icons such as Christopher Lee, Bela Lugosi, and Julian Sands.
3. The Amityville Horror (2005)
I know this remake of The Amityville Horror isn't nearly as good as the 1977 original, but it is still a decent enough to watch. At least as far as Netflix horror is concerned. Not to mention you get to see an abundance of Ryan Reynolds without a shirt on and a very young Chloe Grace Moretz.
2. Would You Rather (2013)
Reviews of Would You Rather are pretty mixed as some have enjoyed it, while others have written it off for being lackluster. For me personally, I enjoyed this movie for what it was and found it to be a rather interesting concept. There are events that definitely make you squirm in your chair and it makes you wonder, which would you rather do to yourself or someone else?
1. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Sweeney Todd wasn't Tim Burton's first stab at the horror genre and he delivered in a way only he knows how. For anyone who hasn't seen it, I would advise you to not let the fact that the movie is a musical dissuade you. It is still plenty full of bloody gore and vengeance. Plus, who can resist Johnny Depp in that awesome wig, or the voice of the late Alan Rickman?
8. Sleepy Hollow (1999)
This re-telling of the classic "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" story by Washington Irving was brought to us by none other than visionary director, Tim Burton. Although it packs just as much comedy as it does horror, Sleepy Hollow is one of those films you shouldn't be skipping over. We love seeing the familiar faces of Johnny Depp, Christina Ricci, and Christopher Walken, but you also wind up loving the quirky, visionary approach that only Burton could bring to a story like this.
7. The Invitation (2015)
Imagine your ex-wife inviting you to a party with her new husband. If you want to experience that awkwardness without actually experiencing it, go ahead and give The Invitation a try. The story this movie tells is unsettling, to say the least, and will make you think twice before re-opening any previous wounds.
6. Cujo (1983)
Dog lovers beware as Cujo is not your typical, lovable pup. This adaptation of Stephen King's 1981 novel follows a ravenous dog that definitely would make you afraid to pet the next pooch you see on the street. It's not necessarily the strongest King adaptation, but it's worth a watch if you've never seen it.
5. Dead Silence (2007)
If you're a fan of Saw co-creator (and The Conjuring mastermind) James Wan, you probably would find watching Dead Silence worth watching. While it's not one of my personal favorites of Wan's filmography, it does amp up the creepy doll factor and pack some suspenseful scenes. Not to mention yet another twist ending from the master himself.
4. Honeymoon (2014)
Relationships can be a scary thing and those fears are tapped into with Honeymoon. This story follows a couple on a retreat at a family lake cabin and things get weird rather quickly. This is definitely in the category of "slow burn" horror films and it really will make you look at your significant other a bit differently for a while. After all, how do you have any way of knowing what's really going on inside their head?
3. The Crow (1994)
The Crow isn't necessarily a textbook horror film, but it definitely has a darker element that shadows the key elements of the genre. After a man is murdered, he returns from the dead to avenge the rape and murder of his fiance. Yeah, this is definitely a dark one and it's great. It also marked the last performance of the late Brandon Lee.
2. Monsters (2010)
Before director Gareth Edwards was giving us films like Godzilla and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, he gave us this horror attempt about an area quarantined between the United States and Mexico after an alien invasion. This low-budget film explored some interesting territory and made the invasion of an unknown species very interesting to watch.
1. We Are What We Are (2013)
I could be argued that one thing that separates humans from any other species on the planet is tradition. Most families have their own traditions passed down from generation to generation and We Are What We Are tells us the story of a particular tradition passed down within a reclusive family. This is technically an American remake of a Mexican horror film of the same name, but it is the film about cannibalism that you might have heard made audiences extremely uncomfortable at Sundance and Cannes in 2013. Just don't snack on anything while watching because it might get a little weird.
10. Hellraiser (1987)
Just in case you never really knew where Pinhead came from, you should check out Hellraiser. Despite being a late '80s horror offering, it does still pack some punch and Pinhead is as creepy as he ever was. It's definitely a classic from Clive Barker and definitely makes you weary of puzzle boxes.
9. Battle Royale (2000)
Battle Royale is rather tough to watch. It's a bit like Hunger Games in the sense of children fighting children to the death, but that doesn't make it any less intense. Originally brought in after 800,000 students walked out of school, the Battle Royale Act selects one class to fight to the death until one student is left standing. Yikes.
8. Curse of Chucky (2013)
We can almost all agree that the Child's Play franchise has turned more into a horror-comedy franchise, but Curse of Chucky turned the tables around back towards horror. It's not flawless, but when you compare it to Bride of Chucky and Seed of Chucky, it definitely comes out on top. It also stars the daughter of Chucky himself, Brad Dourif.
7. Odd Thomas (2013)
If you're looking to remember, or pay tribute to, what a great and fun actor Anton Yelchin was, I would definitely check out Odd Thomas. It's a fun, dark comedy about a young clairvoyant who encounters a dark spirit. It is a great addition to any Yelchin marathon. May he rest in peace.
6. Cape Fear (1991)
Cape Fear isn't a textbook horror movie, but I felt it deserved some recognition on the list. Robert De Niro stars as a released rapist seeking revenge against the defense attorney he feels is responsible for putting him in prison. It's also what the classic "Cape Feare" episode of The Simpsons was directly spoofing.
5. Housebound (2014)
If you're looking for a fun horror film to watch with your friends, you should check out Housebound. Coming out of New Zealand, this horror-comedy follows a girl placed under house arrest who begins to suspect that the house is haunted. It matches the scares with laughs and is just a lot of fun to watch.
4. We Are Still Here (2015)
It's worth warning that We Are Still Here might be a bit slow for some people, but it is a decent offering if you sit through it. The film is set in the late '70s and follows a family that moves into a new home after the death of their son. Little do they know, the house comes complete with some rather ornery spirits.
3. Scream 2 (1997)
If you loved Scream and never stuck around to watch the sequel, you should just drop what you're doing and watch Scream 2. It's a near perfect slasher on its own, but it's a rare gem of a sequel. Don't continue to skip it just because you don't believe horror sequels can be any good.
2. Starry Eyes (2014)
This Kickstarter-funded film gives us a look into a girl's journey to becoming famous. Starry Eyes is another film that might be considered a "slow burn," but it has some scenes that will seriously leave you squirming and wanting to look away. I would recommend at least giving it a try.
1. Hush (2016)
Hush is probably one of the most refreshing horror movies I've seen in recent years. It was a big hit with audiences as it follows a completely different concept that we're used to. By that I mean it shows us a deaf-mute being stalked by a killer. While it's not the best horror movie out there, it definitely gives you a decent ride.
15. Oculus (2013)
For what it was, Oculus was pretty decent. While it's nothing in comparison to the great horror films of the past, it brought enough of a punch to give decent tension to the audience. I enjoyed it.
14. The Host (2006)
This monster movie gives us just about everything. We have horror, sci-fi, and satire in this story of a giant monster attacking Seoul, Korea. If you enjoy The Host and want to see more of what director Bong Joon-ho has to offer, you can watch Snowpiercer which is also streaming on Netflix.
13. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
This movie was definitely a warmup for future films like Planet Terror. The Tarantino written, Robert Rodriquez directed vampire flick is campy, gory, and ridiculous, but you can't help but love it. Any Tarantino buff who has never seen From Dusk Till Dawn should catch it on Netflix before it disappears.
12. Pontypool (2008)
This Canadian horror film will definitely make you think twice before opening your mouth to speak. After a virus begins to spread through language, employees of a radio station rush to find a cure. It's a fairly low-budget film, but it's a different and fun take on zombies.
11. American Mary (2012)
American Mary has been a hit with horror audiences for quite a few years and it's for good reason. The story about how a young medical student gets roped into something that might be best left underground is crazy, creepy, and suspenseful. I was surprised with how much I loved this one.
10. The Nightmare (2015)
This horror-documentary was a surprising hit with audiences and is considered by many to be the most genuinely scary offering on Netflix right now. Part documentary and part thriller, the film explores the subject of sleep paralysis and definitely leaves the viewer with something to think about after it's over. Hope you have a nightlight.
9. Dead Snow (2009)
This horror-comedy from Norway is definitely a fun ride. The portrayal of "Nazi zombies" is full of gore, bone crunching, and leaking intestines. If your horror pleasure is a gore fest, I would check out Dead Snow. You're bound to love it and if you do, Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead is also streaming.
8. The Den (2013)
If you're a fan of found-footage horror, The Den is a good choice for you. Although it can be slow to start, don't give up on this film. The ending alone is worth giving this one a shot. It's bleak, unnerving, and definitely leaves you with something to think about.
7. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)
If you're a fan of the classic, black and white horror aesthetic, look no further. A Girl Walks Home at Night is a nod to classic horror films with its cinematography, story, and portrayal of vampires. You just have to be prepared to read subtitles.
6. Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994)
Many consider New Nightmare to have been Wes Craven's warm up for Scream. It's a fun, gory continuation of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise that brings back Freddy Krueger on a grand scale. If you're a fan of the classic slasher icons, don't skip past this one.
5. The Sacrament (2013)
Director Ti West did it again with this creepy portrayal of a dangerous cult. The Sacrament is yet another found-footage offering, but the way it captures tension and an overall creepy atmosphere is 100% worth it. It reminded me of the Jonestown Massacre where the leader made everyone drink the poisoned Kool-Aid.
4. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010)
This horror-comedy has become somewhat of a cult classic since premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010 and SXSW. The story of two West Virginia rednecks who are suddenly attacked by a group of preppy college kids is funny in all the right ways. If you were a fan of films like Shaun of the Dead, you can't miss this one. It's been featured on many top lists for both horror and comedy.
3. V/H/S (2012)
V/H/S is another found-footage offering that definitely paid off. This anthology series has become a somewhat underground hit among the horror audience, as it definitely packed a punch and delivered some inventive and creepy stories. Although I think the first one is the best, the sequels V/H/S/2 and V/H/S: Viral are also worth a watch — both streaming, too.
2. The Babadook (2014)
The Babadook definitely amps up the creep factor by combining things we all had as children: storybooks and imaginary friends. This Australian film does what a lot of current horror movies aren't doing by setting a real atmosphere and amping up tension. Sometimes the anticipation is scarier than actually seeing something visually on the screen.
1. The Exorcist (1973)
The Exorcist is a classic film for a reason: It didn't rely on what modern horror films exercise to ridiculous length. Examples of this include jump scares and excessive gore. This is easily one of the most raw and terrifying portrayals of demonic possession to date. If you've never been brave enough to watch The Exorcist, I urge you to grab a blanket and give it a shot.
If you're wanting horror but like the genre to be a bit cheesy, funny, full of '90s teen drama, or just plain wacky, check out these offerings:
The Faculty (1998), Stitches (2012), Burying the Ex (2014), Scary Movie (2000), Stage Fright (2014)