The 10 Best Scary Movies on Netflix Right Now
The psychology behind our love of horror films is pretty simple. We love the adrenaline rush, and we feel comparatively safe knowing that a hatchet-wielding clown isn’t lurking outside our window. (Probably. Feel free to go investigate.)
If you’re ever in the mood for those particular thrills without leaving the comfort of your couch, there’s an easy solution: Kill the lights and check out 10 of the best scary movies on Netflix right now.
1. JAWS (1975)
The movie that shouldn't have worked—shooting on water was a logistical nightmare, as was the malfunctioning shark—became one of the biggest thrillers of all time. Steven Spielberg's story of a natural predator stalking the tourists of Amity Island has become no less potent with age, and a reminder that no fictional movie monster can ever be as unsettling as a Great White following its instincts.
2. HELLRAISER (1987)
Horror icon Clive Barker made his feature directorial debut with this adaptation of his short story, “The Hellbound Heart,” and it is weirdness personified: An undead, skin-stripped man begs his onetime mistress for refuge while he tries to avoid the torturing hands of Pinhead, a Cenobite from the depths of hell who is summoned by a puzzle box. The skin-splitting practical effects are spectacularly disgusting.
3. OCULUS (2013)
The haunted object sub-genre of horror is a dependable source of scares. Oculus—about a mirror that threatens to undo the sanity of those who peer into it—is one of the better entries. Karen Gillan (Doctor Who) stars as Kaylie, a young woman looking to prove the mirror's paranormal abilities via a surveillance room. If things went as planned, we wouldn't be recommending the movie.
4. CURSE OF CHUCKY (2013)
If the camp tone of the latter Child’s Play sequels wasn’t for you, it might be time to revisit murderous carrot-topped doll Chucky with this lower-budgeted sequel. As Nica (Fiona Dourif, daughter of actor Brad Dourif, the voice of the Chuckster) copes with her mother’s death, she’s forced to confront the consequences of a special package left at her door.
5. IT FOLLOWS (2014)
Don’t look for costumed maniacs in writer/director David Robert Mitchell’s low-budget cult hit. The terror is an unseen entity that trails teenagers like a post-coital disease. The STI metaphor might seem a little on the nose, but the creeping dread is unsettling to the core.
6. STARRY EYES (2014)
Aspiring actress Sarah (Alex Essoe) finds herself navigating petulant, petty rivals and influential deal-makers with ulterior motives in this slow burn about Hollywood's darker side.
7. THE BABADOOK (2014)
“Haunted story book” is the high concept, but there’s a lot more to unpack in this story of a single mother (Essie Davis) who’s coping with the death of her husband and the struggle of raising their child while things go bump in the night.
8. THE NIGHTMARE (2015)
A documentary about sleep disorders doesn't sound all that unsettling, particularly when Freddy Krueger has the market cornered on the horrors of insomnia. But this examination of sleep paralysis (where sufferers are awake but can't move their bodies) chills thanks to dramatizations of the people, creatures, and things they sometimes see when immobilized.
9. THE INVITATION (2015)
Fans of the slow burn should enjoy this potboiler about a man (Logan Marshall-Green) invited to his ex’s dinner party, which takes a turn for the weird. The last scene is a killer.
10. TRAIN TO BUSAN (2016)
A workaholic father and his daughter board a train bound for one of the few territories in South Korea not occupied by zombies. To get there, they’ll have to survive the infected passengers, who totally ignore their seat assignments and assigned dinner options.
Reminder: Netflix rotates their library of titles often, so our selection of the best scary movies on Netflix is subject to change.