It’s still 90 degrees where I live, but my mind turned to fall on September 1st. Time for getting ready for the most fun holiday of the year–Halloween! I’m a recent convert to scary movies. I didn’t have the stomach for anything frightening before The Walking Dead started. I suppose I’m desensitized to gore now, because I’ve watched most of the movies on this list. In an effort to marry my love of fine film and the horror genre, here are the best-rated horror movies on Netflix.
Here’s a quick list of the best scary movies on Netflix. Scroll down for links, ratings, and a brief synopsis of each movie.
- The Sixth Sense
- Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
- Interview with a Vampire
- Train to Busan
- The Conjuring
- The Wailing
- The Lost Boys
- Under the Shadow
- It Follows
- The Babadook
- The Invitation
- The Ritual
The Best-Rated Horror Movies on Netflix
Brad Pitt and Morgan freeman track a serial killer who bases his crimes on the Seven Deadly Sins. Still gory and shocking twenty-plus years later. Brad Pitt’s best movie. Fight me!
The Sixth Sense (1999)
A young boy with some problems works out his issues with a psychologist who’s having some marriage problems since one of his previous patients came to his house to commit suicide. Amazing performances from leads Haley Joel Osment, Bruce Willis, and Toni Collette.
Director M. Night Shyamalan’s blockbusting first feature film. I felt lucky to see in in the theater the weekend it opened when I didn’t know anything about it. Along with Unbreakable and Split, it’s Shyamalan’s best work.
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (2010)
Criminally unappreciated, this movie about two rednecks out in the woods flip a lot of cabin-in-the-woods and psycho-hillbillies tropes on their head. Very charming lead performances from Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk. Fun and funny, but still plenty of gore.
Interview with a Vampire (1994)
Based on a much better book. The accents and the contact lenses are laughable. I saw it in the theater and still want that five dollars back. Lots of other people like it, I guess?
Look for a baby Kirsten Dunst, and a young Thandie Newton.
Train to Busan (2016)
One of my favorite scary movies this year. Train to Busan is a Korean zombie movie that makes a tired genre slightly fresher. Overworked businessman takes his little daughter on a birthday trip to see her mother. Things go wrong.
More than just Zombies on a Train, this move has heart (and guts and braaaaains.) Some of the characters represent issues specific to Korean culture, but it’s not so esoteric that Americans can’t enjoy it.
The Conjuring (2013)
Based on real-life paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren, The Conjuring is part of a series that includes two direct sequels, two spin-off movies about the haunted doll Annabelle, and a new movie about one of the scary creatures, The Nun.
The original movie stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as the Warrens. Set in the early seventies, the Warrens try to help a family in an allegedly haunted house, a la The Amityville Horror.
The Wailing (2016)
Another Korean horror film, the 156-minute opus follows a policeman in a small town solving the mystery behind some very strange deaths. Plenty of jump scares, so don’t spill the popcorn.
IMDB rating: 7.4 Rated TV-MA. Watch the movie The Wailing on Netflix or find it on Amazon.
The Lost Boys (1987)
Super campy, and still fun. Remember when Kiefer Sutherland was a movie star? He’s so good here as the leader of a pack of glam rock vampires in a coastal California town.
Fun story–Julia Roberts jilted Kiefer before their wedding to run off with the movie’s other lead, Jason Patric.
Jami Gertz is miscast as the love interest, the Coreys–Haim and Feldman–are comic relief, and Edward Hermann from The Gilmore Girls is the mom’s new love interest. Sometimes I like to pretend The Gilmore Girls is a The Lost Boys spin-off.
Enjoy the awesome 80s soundtrack and Alex Winter, Mr. Bill S. Preston, Esq. in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, as vampire Marco.
IMDB rating: 7.3 Rated R. Watch the movie The Lost Boys on Netflix or find it on Amazon.
IMDB rating 7.1 Rated TV-MA. Watch the movie Shutter on Netflix or find it on Amazon.
Hellraiser is the first movie in the Hellraiser franchise of TEN films. One of the horror movies we used to rent on VHS at Blockbusters back in the day.
Super creepy, based on the work of writer Clive Barker from his novella, The Hellbound Heart. There’s a cursed puzzlebox and a guy with pins in his face. Don’t make me think about it anymore.
Watch the sequel, Hellbound: Hellraiser II, on Netflix, too!
IMDB rating: 7.0 Rated R. Watch the movie Hellraiser on Netflix or find it on Amazon.
Raw is a French horror movie about a young woman from a family of of vegan veterinarians starts veterinary school that her older sister already attends.
I don’t want to say too much about Raw, except that it is trying to say something bigger with its gore than most gross-out movies. This one was almost too much for me, and I skimmed through plenty. I felt queasy more than once.
IMDB rating: 7.0 Rated R. Watch the movie Raw on Netflix or find it on Amazon.
Under the Shadow (2016)
During the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, a young mother in Tehran thinks djinns are possessing her daughter. Some of the same themes as Rosemary’s Baby (vulnerable mother) and The Babadook and The Sixth Sense (stressed mother struggling to deal with her child).
IMDB rating: 6.9 Rated PG-13. Watch the movie Under the Shadow on Netflix or find it on Amazon.
It Follows (2014)
After a one-night stand, a young woman finds out she’s been given a sexually-transmitted curse. The only way not to be followed, tracked down, and killed by a spectral entity that can look like your dead grandma is to pass it on to someone else through sex.
Relentless in tension, It Follows mostly delivers on a WTF central conceit.
You’ll recognize star Maika Monroe from the replacement daughter the the president in the Independence Day sequel, or from the dreadful Netflix original movie, Tau. She’s really good in It Follows.
IMDB rating: 6.8 Rated R. Watch the movie It Follows on Netflix or find it on Amazon.
The Babadook (2014)
The Babadook is an Australian horror movie about a grieving mother dealing with her young son’s fear of a character from one of his picture books. Of course, the Babadook isn’t real–or is it? An examination of grief that’s surprisingly touching while still making me sleep with the lights on.
The Babadook isn’t based on a book, rather Babadook is an anagram of “A Bad Book”, and from the director’s previous original short film.
IMDB rating: 6.8 Rated TV-MA. Watch the movie The Babadook on Netflix or find it on Amazon.
The Invitation (2016)
Dinner parties always seem like they’d be really fun. You dress up a little, drink the good wine, invite your friends over. What could go wrong? The tension slowly creeps up in this one when a grieving father is invited to a dinner party thrown by his ex-wife and her new husband in the house where they lost their son. Their old friends mix with her new friends.
Not pulpy, the movie The Invitation is about how people deal with loss and what they’ll believe to stop feeling guilty or lonely.
Starring Logan Marshall-Green from this year’s fun little B movie, Upgrade; Michiel Huisman from Game of Thrones; and Tammy Blanchard, who will always look like a young Judy Garland to me. Also stars one of my favorite character actors, John Carroll Lynch.
IMDB rating: 6.7 Not rated. Watch the movie The Invitation on Netflix or find it on Amazon.
A fun little thriller, the movie Hush reminds me a little of Audrey Hepburn’s Wait Until Dark, except this heroine is deaf and mute instead of blind. Alone in her home in the woods, a deaf-and-mute writer has to use every available option to outsmart the masked killer outside her house.
The antagonist is John Gallagher, Jr., who’s normally a sweet doofus. He’s a good leading man in movies like 10 Cloverfield Lane and The Belko Experiment and really plays against type here. The lead actress, Kate Siegel, wrote the script for Hush with her husband, who also directed.
IMDB rating 6.6 Rated R. Watch the movie Hush on Netflix or find it on Amazon.
The Ritual (2017)
The Ritual‘s examination of grief and survivor’s guilt really got me. I watched twice in a few days. College friends still go on an annual lads’ trip well into their thirties. After the random death of one, the rest decide to go on the camping trip of his dreams in Sweden. Big mistake.
Reasonably dumb errors happen and horror ensues. The scenery is gorgeous and terrifying and reminds me why my idea of camping is a Holiday Inn Express where the flippy waffle maker is broken.
Rafe Spall is brilliant as the lead character, that guy who hasn’t moved on from his irresponsible college days while the rest of his friends have families and demanding jobs.
The Ritual is one of the few horror movies where the ending reveal in any way lives up to the promise of what you glimpse before between trees and out of the corner of your eye.
IMDB rating: 6.3 Watch the movie on Netflix or find it on Amazon.