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 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016, 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!
Here’s a list of the most recent films covered in this article:
- American Psycho
- Panic Room
- Green Room
- Cult of Chucky
- The Autopsy of Jane Doe
- Pan’s Labyrinth
- The Witch
Or follow these links for the best of other genres:
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
Years before he became Batman, Christian Bale played one of the most unnerving villains in cinematic history. American Psycho is both a clever satire of the shallow consumer culture of the ’80s and a troubling psychological horror movie about a Wall Street investment banker who acts out his darkest impulses by night. Bale brings just the right blend of slimy charm and creep factor to the role of Patrick Bateman. It’s little wonder he became such a huge star in the years that followed.
Many of the best horror movies manage to make the most of a simple premise and confined surroundings. That’s definitely the case with Panic Room, which largely unfolds within a single house as a mother (Jodie Foster) and daughter (Kristen Stewart) barricade themselves against home invaders. With director David Fincher at the helm, it should come as no surprise that the result is a tense, tightly paced thriller that many critics have compared to the work of Alfred Hitchcock.
Like Gerald’s Game, 1922 strongly suggests that Netflix may be the best home for Stephen King adaptations. King veteran Thomas Jane stars as a tortured farmer confessing to an unspeakable crime. He convinced his own son to murder his soon-to-be ex-wife in order to save the family farm. James delivers a career-best performance in a film that’s less about overt scares than it is wallowing in pure human misery.
It may not be the follow-up to The Raid 2 fans were expecting, but Apostle proves that Gareth Evans has a flair for more than just martial arts movies. This period drama carries strong echoes of The Wicker Man (the good version), casting Dan Stevens as a man posing as a new recruit to a dangerous cult in the hope of rescuing his captive sister. Needless to say, the film goes to some pretty strange and terrible places by the time that journey wraps up.
We’re used to Patrick Stewart playing some of the noblest heroes in pop culture, including Professor X and Captain Picard. That makes his unexpected turn as a Neo-Nazi gang leader here all the more memorable. Green Room is basically a survival horror movie, with the members of a travelling punk band finding themselves fighting for freedom after witnessing a bit too much at their latest gig. As director Jeremy Saulnier’s followup to Blue Ruin, it’s a very different but no less compelling indie horror film.
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.
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.”
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.
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.