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From old frights to new fears, we’ve scoured Netflix’s horror catalog to find the best cinematic nightmares for darkening your device. Yes, we’ll admit the recent departures of Train to Busan, The Witch, and Green Room were blows to the service’s offerings. Still, we’ve got tons of solid terrors to choose from. No Bird Box or Cult of Chucky on this list. Just the really good stuff.
Here are 20 of the best scary movies currently streaming on Netflix — because you don’t need to sleep again. Happy haunting!
(Note: To avoid dominating this list with too much of the same kind of horror, we’ve disqualified sequels from consideration. Our sincere apologies to Creep 2.)
20. The Babysitter (2017)
I know, I’m not sure The Babysitter really works as a movie, it’s more the idea of a movie loosely strung together by one-liners and style. Still, it’s a fun way to kill a few hours. Samara Weaving stars as the titular childcare professional, a popular teen with a passion for human sacrifice and one-liners. Judah Lewis stars as the kid being babysat, with supporting performances by Hana Mae Lee, Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, and Andrew Bachelor. The sequel released this past September is more of the same — so if you like the first, do a double feature.
Where to watch: The Babysitter is now streaming on Netflix.
19. Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)
From the dude behind the brilliant 2014 psychological thriller, Nightcrawler comes a hilarious — and horrifying — send-up of the Los Angeles art scene. In writer-director Dan Gilroy’s epic Velvet Buzzsaw, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Toni Collette, and half a dozen other performers you probably love to act their hearts out as fine art appreciators hunted down and killed by their priceless pieces. (Seriously, Billy Magnussen gets strangled by a painting of monkeys. It’s awesome.)
18. Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)
Like so many aspiring genre buffs, I only found my way to Killer Klowns from Outer Space at the haunted maze at Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights — but I couldn’t be happier I did. Director Stephen Chiodo delivers a one-of-a-kind fever dream in this cult classic: a story of clown-like aliens descending upon the town of Crescent Cove for a night of evil. It’s funny, it’s scary, it’s stupid. If you like venturing off the beaten path (what horror fan doesn’t?), this sideshow is for you.
Where to watch: Killer Klowns from Outer Space is now streaming on Netflix.
17. The Ritual (2018)
In director David Bruckner’s scenic tour of a hellscape, four pals hike through northern Sweden to honor a departed friend. Of course, their trip soon morphs into a torturous and never-ending nightmare — with a killer lead performance by Rafe Spall. Slippery and divisive, this movie begs to be picked apart. More likely than not, you’ll love the world it creates but hates the way it ends. Or, like me, you’ll love the world it creates and how it ends. Have fun with it! And pack bug spray!
16. Apostle (2018)
Before Michael Sheen became the Angel Aziraphale in Amazon’s Good Omens, he celebrated religion in a, uh… “different” way. Apostle is a completely bonkers period horror film that features Sheen at his most terrifying, playing a cult leader with an affinity for bloodletting and other “creative” religious sacraments. Lead Dan Stevens keeps the slow-paced narrative moving, with stunning supporting performances by The Politician‘s Lucy Boynton and Welsh stage actor Mark Lewis Jones.
Where to watch: Apostle is now streaming on Netflix.
15. 1BR (2020)
Writer-director David Marmor’s 1BR is like the bratty little sister The Invitation (#5 on this list!) never had — and I mean that as the highest compliment. Nicole Brydon Bloom stars as Sarah, an aspiring costume designer who moves into a seemingly perfect apartment complex only to find herself trapped in an insidious scheme. Better left unspoiled, 1BR is a great time for folks who can handle a little gore, and on an especially grim scene involving a cat.
Where to watch: 1BR is now streaming on Netflix.
14. Poltergeist (1982)
Ah, yes. It’s the Steven Spielberg-written horror classic that hasn’t be scary for a while but never fails to entertain. Directed by Tobe Hooper, the story of the Freelings is a timelessly solid one: a suburban California family enjoys a relatively quiet life until their adorable daughter Carole Anne, played by the late Heather O’Rourke, starts talking to “TV people.” Come for the promise of nostalgia, stay for all the goofy continuity errors and saying “They’re here” over and over again.
Where to watch: Poltergeist is now streaming on Netflix.
13. Cam (2018)
One of the most underrated titles in Netflix original horror, Isa Mazzei and Daniel Goldhaber’s Cam combines the tumultuous world of professional webcam modeling with the insidious terrors of a body-snatching whodunnit. The Handmaid’s Tale‘s Madeline Brewer stars as Alice Ackerman, an ambitious performer eager to climb up the digital ranks who finds herself confronted with a doppelgänger gunning to take her spot, her fans, and maybe, her life.
Where to watch: Cam is now streaming on Netflix.
12. 1922 (2017)
Directed by Zak Hilditch and based on Stephen King’s novella of the same name, 1922 tackles classic themes of guilt, envy, and evil through the grim lens of the American Dust Bowl. Thomas Jane and Molly Parker square-off to striking effect, painting a portrait of a marriage that is as at once remarkably absurd and nauseatingly plausible. The couple’s son, played by Dylan Schmid, is just as compelling, with a heartbreaking storyline you won’t soon forget. (FYI fans of the book, there are big changes to the adaptation’s ending that didn’t bother me, but could bother you.)
11. The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
Featuring a pre-Succession Brian Cox, this medical-mystery-turned-fright-fest is one truly sickening ordeal. When an unidentified corpse is found at the scene of brutal multiple homicides, the local coroner struggles to assess the victim’s cause of death as inexplicable developments in her case lay out a puzzle ripe for solving. It’s certainly gross and absolutely great.
Where to watch: The Autopsy of Jane Doe is now streaming on Netflix.
10. Hush (2016)
Genius writer-director Mike Flanagan tackles the home invasion subgenre with remarkable clarity and creativity in the completely excellent Hush. Kate Siegel stars as an author living in the woods, who must use everything at her disposal to outsmart a killer. If you’re looking for pure, unfettered suspense, then this is the title to cue up right now.
Where to watch: Hush is now streaming on Netflix.
9. Unfriended (2014)
I will defend director Levan Gabriadze’s oft-maligned Unfriended until my dying day. Yes, the title is stupid. Sure, some of the actings could be better. Of course, that isn’t what the average blender would really do to a human hand. (An immersion blender, maybe.) Still, I challenge you to watch this sucker on a laptop and not feel something lurking behind your browser for days to come. It’s got a good story, excellent pacing, and enough solid jokes and gore to make its comedy a high point.
Where to watch: Unfriended is now streaming on Netflix.
8. The Perfection (2019)
From cellos and foreplay to hallucinations and hiking, The Perfection does absolutely whatever it wants. Featuring Allison Williams in her best role since getting Out and Dear White People‘s Logan Browning in her best party ever, this vibrant genre blend will get a reaction out of you. Not necessarily a good reaction, but a reaction nonetheless. Its body horror meets psychological thriller meets occult drama meets classical music. With bugs. And vomit. I, for one, loved it!
7. His House (2020)
Writer-director Remi Weekes’ His House is easily my favorite scary Netflix release of the year. Wunmi Mosaku and Sope Dirisu star as refugees from South Sudan seeking asylum in Britain who are assigned to live in an eerie neighborhood where they aren’t welcome. Spectacularly frightening and ruthlessly critical of its subject matter, His House delivers everything it must — and then some.
Where to watch: His House is now streaming on Netflix.
6. It Comes at Night (2017)
As far as infectious disease-fueled apocalypses go (how topical!), It Comes at Night is hard to beat. Written and directed by Trey Edward Shults, this poignant 2017 film infuses every minute of its runtime with an increasing sense of panic as regular people grapple with doing whatever it takes to survive. Joel Edgerton leaves it all on film, and Christopher Abbott does his best movie work yet.
Where to watch: It Comes at Night is now streaming on Netflix.
5. Gerald’s Game (2017)
Another romp from Mike Flanagan, based on one of Stephen King’s lesser-known terrors, Gerald’s Game follows a couple on a romantic trip to a remote cabin where things are totally fine and nothing bad happens. Just kidding! It’s so, so, so bad! This survival thriller rooted in psychosexual trauma offers an exquisite performance by Carla Gugino who is devastating nearly every moment she is on screen. Really. It’s Haunting of Hill House times 10. Watch it for her.
Where to watch: Gerald’s Game is now streaming on Netflix.
4. Creep (2015)
Oh, you thought you liked Mark Duplass? Because he was the love interest in all those indie rom-coms, played that doctor in The Mindy Project, and is easily the best character in The Morning Show? Well, think again! In Creep, a found-footage film that foregoes pageantry for a stark sense of panic, Duplass plays a strange loner named Josef that freelance documentarian Aaron, played by writer-director Patrick Brice, can’t quite pin down. Duplass’s performance is intoxicating, and Brice imagines a universe so compelling it absolutely merits its equally great sequel (also on Netflix.)
3. The Invitation (2015)
The less you know about director Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation before watching it, the better off you’ll be. Still, to give you a little something to go on, we’ll say this: This movie is the dinner-party-from-hell trope done right, with a spectacular lead performance by Logan Marshall-Green as a grieving divorcee who must return to the home he once shared with his ex-wife (Tammy Blanchard) and their late son for a mysterious evening. Running just 1 hour and 40 minutes with a finale scene you’ll remember forever, The Invitation delivers a spectacular event well worth your attendance.
Where to watch: The Invitation is now streaming on Netflix.
2. TheEvil Dead (1981)
Sam Raimi’s first Evil Dead film may not gift us all the groovy nonsense we know and love this franchise for (things don’t really go full bananas until the second movie.) And yet, I can’t help but put this sucker on every chance I get. Bruce Campbell’s inaugural outing as Ash Williams remains one of the best performances ever and I just can’t get enough of those sweet, sweet practical effects. It’s Evil Dead. What more can you ask for?
Where to watch: TheEvil Dead is now streaming on Netflix.
1. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Director Jonathan Demme’s exquisite Silence of the Lambs remains the only horror film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture — but it’s at the top of this list for a dozen other reasons.
Based on the novel by Thomas Harris, this suspenseful crime thriller follows FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) as she hunts down serial killer Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine) with the help of other serial killers Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). Is this the greatest psychological horror film of all time? Oh, quite possibly. The performances, scripting, mood, and final act special effects are as good as ever, still landing a scare no matter how many times you’ve seen this staple before. Plus, “Senator, I love your suit”? Iconic.
Where to watch: The Silence of the Lambs is now streaming on Netflix.