Looking to spike your cortisol levels? Then we've got the Netflix streaming guide for you.
From old frights to new fears, we've scoured Netflix's horror catalog to find the best cinematic nightmares for darkening your device. Of course, not all terrifying titles are born of the same fire and brimstone — so we've included a variety of ethereal ghost stories, stark home invasion horrors, gentrifying vampires, psychological thrillers, classic creeps, satirical scares, and more. Yes, Netflix originals like the Fear Street trilogy and I'm Thinking of Ending Things are on here. But we've also got genre staples and hidden gems.
Here are the best scary movies currently streaming on Netflix — all of them packed with eerie entertainment value because you don't need to sleep ever again. Happy haunting!
22. El Conde
Chilean General Augusto Pinochet was one of history's most notorious dictators and a voracious embezzler, to boot. What if he were “bloodthirsty” in a more literal sense?
From Spencer director Pablo Larraín, this pitch-black satire reimagines Pinochet (played here by Jaime Vadell) as a 250-year-old vampire, living in exile with a family whose ready to tear him (and each other?) apart over his vast fortune. Think of it as “Blood Succession,” but with a math-whiz nun at the center of it (Paula Luchsinger, who nearly steals the film).
Filmed in lush black and white, El Conde is a dark, clever, and often gruesome gothic alternative history. It pulls off the feat of offering supernatural chills while never losing sight of the monstrous historical evils which it draws upon. — Rufus Hickok, Contributing Writer
How to watch: El Conde is now streaming on Netflix.
21. Under the Shadow
Times are tense in 1980s Tehran for mother Shideh (Narges Rashidi) and her daughter Dorsa (Avin Manshadi). The former medical student is worried about running afoul of Iran's repressive post-revolutionary government, and the country is mired in a seemingly endless war with Iraq. Her husband Iraj (Bobby Naderi) is called to serve as a doctor on the frontlines, and their apartment building is being shelled daily.
Things only get worse after a bomb hits their apartment building and lodges, unexploded, in the roof; as their neighbors flee to safer locations, the building becomes downright uncanny. Did the bomb let something — or someone — in? Precious objects are disappearing from their apartment or being thrown out entirely, which the feverish little girl blames on malevolent djinn. It's up to Shideh to save not only her daughter's life from all these external threats but her very soul from malevolent, seemingly mystical intruders.
In his first feature-length film, Iranian-born director Babak Anvari proves adept at slowly ratcheting up the paranoid atmosphere and jittery details, before finally letting it all explode in the last act. — R.F.
How to watch: Under the Shadow is now streaming on Netflix.
20. Run Rabbit Run
Succession star Sarah Snook has more to worry about than the Roy family in this Aussie chiller. She plays Sarah, a divorced mother and fertility doctor suddenly in charge of her late father's estate — which includes her estranged mother, Joan (Greta Scacchi), who is in the beginning stages of dementia and is in an adult care home. If that weren't enough, Sarah's young daughter, Mia (Lily LaTorre), has begun acting strange. First, it's the stray rabbit she's brought home and started dressing like. Then, it's some creepy crayon drawings and insistent demands to visit Joan, whom Mia has never met. Finally, it's the girl's conviction that she's not Mia at all but Alice, Sarah's sister who went missing when they were children at the same age Mia is now. Is Alice back for some sisterly spooks? Director Daina Reid makes deft use of unnerving sound design, creepy visuals, and a pervasive sense of dread and danger to strongly suggest the answer is yes. — R.F.
How to watch: Run Rabbit Run is now streaming on Netflix.
We need to talk about ‘Run Rabbit Run's twisted ending
19. Get Out
Comedian Jordan Peele broke into horror in a major way in 2017 with his directorial debut Get Out, which follows a young Black man (Daniel Kaluuya) on an ill-fated trip to meet the parents (Catherine Keener and Bradley Whitford) of his white girlfriend (Allison Williams).
This frightening feature offers a commentary on anti-Black racism, illustrating how the white ruling caste exerts control over Black bodies. But Peele wrapped this body-snatching metaphor into an intriguing mystery anchored by Kaluuya's Academy Award-nominated performance. All told, Get Out is a fierce and fresh take on the possession film, placing its true monsters in plain sight. Plus, the already iconic “sunken place” scene will haunt your nightmares. — R.F.
How to watch: Get Out is now streaming on Netflix.
For the follow-up to his universally heralded debut Get Out, Jordan Peele dreamed up a nightmarish doppelgänger story with Us. Here, a bourgeois Black family on vacation (Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, Evan Alex, and Shahadi Wright Joseph), finds themselves stalked by disturbing doubles of themselves, who are violent and very intent on becoming “untethered.”
Peele ups the thrills and bloodshed for this sophomore effort, while using his surreal horror story to examine class and assimilation in America. This one is essentially about the dark shadow selves we'd all rather not face. Oh, and he also manages to scare the living daylights out of… well, us. — R.F.
How to watch: Us is now streaming on Netflix.
17. The Babysitter
Y'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 in 2020, is more of the same — so if you like the first, do a double feature. —Alison Foreman, Entertainment Reporter
How to watch: The Babysitter is now streaming on Netflix.
16. Velvet Buzzsaw
This is some killer art. Literally.
Credit: Claudette Barius/Netflix
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 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.) — A.F.
How to watch: Velvet Buzzsaw is now streaming on Netflix.
15. Blood Red Sky
Netflix's Blood Red Sky is one of those horror movies made so much better by knowing as little as possible going into it that I'm going to try to say as little as possible to get you to watch it. Directed by Peter Thorwarth, who co-wrote the script with Stefan Holtz, this action horror adventure combines the best parts of Flight Plan with tinges of A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night. Star Peri Baumeister is completely breathtaking as a woman attempting to protect her son from hijackers aboard a transatlantic voyage. — A.F.
How to watch: Blood Red Sky is now streaming on Netflix.
14. The Ritual
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 hate 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! — A.F.
How to watch: The Ritual is now streaming on Netflix.
See a whole different side of Michael Sheen in “Apostle.”
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. — A.F.
How to watch: Apostle is now streaming on Netflix.
Madeline Brewer delivers the best scream queen performance of the digital age in “Cam.”
One of the most underrated titles in Netflix's original horror catalog, 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. — A.F.
How to watch: Cam is now streaming on Netflix.
Nothing like a Stephen King romp to spice up your streaming.
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.) — A.F.
How to watch: 1922 is now streaming on Netflix.
10. Ouija: Origin of Evil
The biggest surprise in Ouija: Origin of Evil, the 2016 prequel to the mediocre 2014 film Ouija, was when it turned out to actually be a good movie. It makes sense now, since Origin of Evil‘s director Mike Flanagan has gone on to mesmerize us with The Haunting of Hill House, Midnight Mass, and The Fall of the House of Usher. But in 2016 this movie hit as a shock — the best kind.
Set in the late 1960s, this is an old-fashioned tale of two sisters, one of whom asks the board to connect with their dead father and the other one who gets possessed by an evil spirit in the process. Flanagan manages to suss out big wallops of the oogie-boogies from the little wooden board and its recognizable planchette, which has haunted every sleepover for the past 130 years. (Ouija boards as we know them date all the way back to 1890, if you can believe it!)* — Jason Adams, Freelance Contributor
How to watch: Ouija: Origin of Evil is streaming on Netflix.
9. The Fear Street trilogy
You gotta see Maya Hawke's very short, but very good “Fear Street” performance.
Director Leigh Janiak pulls off a small movie miracle in her Fear Street trilogy, delivering consistently fun and fright-filled sequels that just keep getting better. Start your journey off with Fear Street Part One: 1994, in which we meet the cursed teens of a town named Shadyside. For years, the suburban haven has been terrorized by mass murderers — all of them normal townspeople who seemingly “snapped” over nothing.
Across Fear Street Part Two: 1978 and Fear Street Part Three: 1666, get to the bottom of the mystery behind these killings and their connection to the legendary Shadyside Witch. Based on the Fear Street books by R.L. Stine, this is a punchy slasher with enough gore and goofs to fuel a straight-through binge. — A.F.
How to watch: Fear Street is now streaming on Netflix.
8. The Perfection
From cellos and foreplay to hallucinations and hiking, The Perfection does absolutely whatever it wants. Featuring Allison Williams in her best role since Get Out and Dear White People‘s Logan Browning in her best part ever, this vibrant genre blend will get a reaction out of you. Not necessarily a good reaction, but a reaction nonetheless. It's body horror meets psychological thriller meets occult drama meets classical music. With bugs. And vomit. I, for one, loved it! — A.F.
How to watch: The Perfection is now streaming on Netflix.
7. His House
“His House” is a hidden gem you just have to make time for.
Credit: Aidan Monaghan/Netflix
Writer-director Remi Weekes's His House is easily my favorite scary Netflix release from 2020. 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. — A.F.
How to watch: His House is now streaming on Netflix.
6. Vampires vs. the Bronx
Want a movie that's got excitement, comedy, a scorching message about the evils of gentrification, and is a kid-friendly romp? Then take a bite out of Vampires vs. the Bronx. Oz Perkins's PG-13 horror-comedy centers on Afro-Latino teens, who recognize that a flurry of missing person posters and influx of rich white folks with tote bags means bad news for the neighborhood. Together, they team up Monster Squad-style to take down the bloodsuckers and save their community. With a sharp wit, a warm heart, a rich sense of atmosphere, and an equal appreciation for the Blade movies and '80s Amblin, Vampires vs. the Bronx is an easy watch full of rewards.* — Kristy Puchko, Film Editor
How to watch: Vampires vs. the Bronx is now streaming on Netflix.
5. Gerald's Game
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. — A.F.
How to watch: Gerald's Game is now streaming on Netflix.
4. Crimson Peak
Directed by creature connoisseur Guillermo del Toro, Crimson Peak is a dark gothic fantasy you'll want to fall into head-first. Mia Wasikowska leads as a 19th-century American heiress who's whisked away to England by her handsome new husband, played by Tom Hiddleston. Once the young bride arrives at her groom's family mansion, however, visions of ghosts begin to plague her. That her sister-in-law, played by Jessica Chastain, treats her with mysterious disdain isn't helping.
An epic mystery with more exquisite scenes than you can count, this spectacular ghost story gives longtime del Toro fans the horror flick they've always wanted from the iconic director. — A.F.
How to watch: Crimson Peak is now streaming on Netflix.
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). — A.F.
How to watch: Creep is now streaming on Netflix.
The film that terrified Tiktok.
Kevin Ko's Taiwanese horror freaked people out so much that it even started a TikTok challenge and managed to become the all-time highest-grossing horror film in Taiwan. “When one imagines horror movies, it's almost impossible to not associate them with jump scares, monsters, or slashers,” wrote Rizwana Zafer for Mashable. “Incantation does not rely on any of those typical horror movie factors, so it's not really ‘scary' in the traditional sense. Instead, Ko manages to terrify us using suspense and dread, built on the intimacy and psychological terror of the heroine. He plays on our deepest fears to scare us, incorporating elements of gore, trypophobia, and the eeriness of the unknown, that something evil is always lurking in the background.”* — Shannon Connellan, UK Editor
How to watch: Incantation is now streaming on Netflix.
1. I'm Thinking of Ending Things
Emotional demolitions expert/filmmaker Charlie Kaufman destroys audiences once more in the mind-boggling I'm Thinking of Ending Things. Adapted from Iain Reid's novel of the same name, this cryptically titled psychological thriller follows a woman, played by Jessie Buckley, and her boyfriend, played by Jesse Plemons, on a disturbing visit to his parents' remote farmhouse. What follows? Well, that depends on who you ask.
A transfixing meditation on art, existence, value, authorship, isolation, and more, I'm Thinking of Ending Things is a truly one-of-a-kind experience as profound as it is disquieting. You may not have a great time in this house of abstract horrors (especially when Toni Collette is onscreen doing those classically terrifying Toni Collette things), but it will be a lasting one.* — A.F.
How to watch: I'm Thinking of Ending Things is streaming on Netflix.
* denotes that this blurb appeared in a previous Mashable list.
UPDATE: Apr. 6, 2022, 11:23 a.m. EDT This list has been updated to reflect Netflix's current streaming library.