Like it or not, it’s spooky season and Netflix horror movies are the perfect way to get into the Halloween mood either alone or with buddies.
Netflix offers a wide variety of scary movies from traditional blockbusters to more indie experimental films. I tried to settle somewhere in the middle.
The films I chose are from my personal viewing experience and, after all, I’m not an expert. None of these films truly qualify as blockbuster movies so there’s hopefully something here for everyone to enjoy.
So, in no particular order, I offer 10 horror movies to watch on Netflix.
1. The Terrifier (2016)
Expanded from Art the Clown’s first appearance in All Hallow’s Eve, Art the Clown (David Howard Thornton) terrifies (ha, get it?) people in and around a local apartment building.
This Halloween slasher provides a relaxed watch devoid of complex plots and hidden meanings while still managing to be thoroughly enjoyable. You know what to expect from The Terrifier within the first couple of minutes and it delivers.
There’s something oddly satisfying about watching a chainsaw-wielding clown cut a hanging, upside-down girl in half.
The Terrifier runs at about 80 minutes and provides an oddly befitting background noise while studying for midterms.
2. The Witch (2015)
The Witch centers around a New England family banished from their settlement in the 1600s and forced to live away from civilization and deal with the demonic consequences.
Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy) is a relatable and compelling character who struggles with her family just like any other teenager does… well with a bit more of the Devil mixed in. The story gives little away, even up to the ending, and keeps you watching.
While this film isn’t inherently scary, the atmosphere and intense themes boost the creepy factor just in time for October.
Possession, demons, witches, sacrifice… what else could you need?
After Spanish teenager Veronica (Sandra Escacena) uses an Ouija board to connect with her deceased father, a demonic spirit attaches to her and begins to threaten her entire family.
While the premise isn’t original by any means, it’s still an excellent movie in terms of storyline, acting, and scares.
The most haunting aspect of this movie is the all-too-familiar “based on a true story” tagline. Veronica is based on the experiences of Estefanía Gutiérrez Lázaro and her family in 1991. The police report alone describes the horrifying experience of a police officer who allegedly witnessed Estefania’s photo catching fire without burning the frame or breaking the glass.
I first came into contact with this film after people on Facebook deemed it too scary to finish. As a horror fan, my family and I took on the challenge with mixed results. I was horrified from beginning to end and definitely wouldn’t have finished it on my own. On the other hand, my dad and sister fell asleep during it. You be the judge.
4. Little Evil (2017)
Well, Little Evil isn’t technically a traditional horror movie, it’s still listed under the “horror” tag on Netflix so it passed my test.
Gary (Adam Scott) who some may recognize as Ben Wyatt from Parks and Recreation, marries a woman whose son just might be the Antichrist.
The characters balance each other perfectly. The acting is incredible. The comedic timing is impeccable. The plot is original and the ending is heartwarming. I don’t think I could write a bad word about this movie if I tried.
Little Evil is the perfect movie for your friends who want to celebrate Halloween but are easily frightened. They might even get a laugh or two out of it.
Plus, who doesn’t want to see a clown get set on fire at a children’s birthday party?
5. Hush (2016)
This movie was pretty popular when it debuted on Netflix in 2016. While now we have the trifecta horror of with A Quiet Place, Hush, Don’t Breathe, and Lights Out, all of which eliminate one of the five senses, Hush was the first to premiere and is an exciting watch.
Hush follows a deaf writer who has retreated to the woods to find inspiration only to be targeted by a masked maniac with a knife.
The action in this movie goes right up to the end. Kate Siegal (Oujia: Origin of Evil, The Haunting of Hill House) stars in this film directed by her husband Mike Flanagan (Oujia: Origin of Evil, Gerald’s Game). This power couple has created some of my favorite horror products so naturally Hush had to be included.
6. Apostle (2018)
When a man attempts a daring rescue of his sister, he entangles with a religious cult determined to maintain their way of life.
Apostle is mainly a horror movie in themes, the suspense and chilling visuals enhance the creep factor. For that reason, this film probably shouldn’t be your first foray into horror movies in October. This one is definitely made for veteran horror viewers in terms of suspense and action.
7. The Haunting on Fraternity Row (2018)
A fraternity accidentally releases a demonic entity on the night of their biggest party of the year.
Alright. Hear me out.
This film is surprisingly good. Not good in the sense of CGI, spooks, or plot, but somehow it still comes out on top. I don’t know whether the film is supposed to be intentionally funny, but there are plenty of moments that made me giggle while still having moments that made me jump.
It moves between comedy and horror throughout the movie. I wouldn’t argue that it isn’t a good comedy film or a good horror film, but it succeeds when it’s all combined together in a fairly non-traditional way.
Former Glee star Jacob Artist and many other familiar faces round out the cast. All the actors become their characters for the hour-and-49-minute runtime.
The title probably turns away a lot of potential viewers, but they’re truly missing out.
8. 1922 (2017)
This Stephen King adaptation largely examines guilt and grief surrounding a traditional early 20th-century family: an unsatisfied wife itching for a life in the big city, a stubborn husband scared of change and a lovesick son yearning for more.
One of the more forgotten Steven King adaptations on Netflix, 1922 offers a lot for everyone. It’s a great film for a mixed audience of horror fans and more traditional viewers. While the film relies on visuals, there’s a variety of other scare tactics from gore to ghosts.
9. The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
Father and son coroners experience chilling, paranormal events as they examine the body of a mysterious ‘Jane Doe’.
It took me quite a while to watch this film because the title card frightened me so much, but I finally did it. This paranormal thriller offers a lot in its 86 minute runtime. The Autopsy of Jane Doe opens as any traditional horror movie would. Director Andre Ovredal, in his first English language film, excellently depicts all the familiar tropes before slightly twisting this traditional narrative.
10. As Above, So Below (2014)
This film follows a team of amateur explores the infamous Paris Catacombs on their search for the Philosopher’s Stone, a mystical object that can grant eternal life. Naturally, wandering underneath the streets of Paris surrounded by six million skeletons leads to some paranormal consequences.
As the only film to ever be granted to film in the catacombs by the French government, As Above, So Below has a lot to deliver and it largely does. The storyline is engaging and the actors live up to expectations. Each character has a backstory that slowly gets revealed one-by-one in the catacombs.
There’s something here for everyone. For new viewers, it offers enough spooks and scares while it has plenty of hidden meanings and themes for more advanced watchers to pull apart.