We’re in the homestretch heading into the final two weeks before Halloween 2018, and if you’re like us you’re constantly on the lookout for horror movies to watch. (Of course, if you’re really like us that’s also a year-round endeavor.) Physical media is our preferred viewing method, but streaming has become more and more of a resource for film fans. To that end, we wanted to put together a look at the best horror movies the various streaming sites have to offer right now.
The genre is filled with all manner of tones, styles, and content, but sometimes you just want to be creeped out, left unnerved, or simply scared shit-less. Scares, like laughs, are among the most subjective reactions we can have to films, but even with that knowledge I’m confident that the films below offer a terrifically chilling mix of terror, intensity, dread, and anxiety-inducing suspense. They’re often slower in their pacing and more methodical in their delivery, but if you give them your attention the reward is some truly unnerving scenes, set-pieces, and stories.
With that in mind I’ve scoured the four big streaming services to find the creepiest chillers currently available. So keep reading to see what’s new and great to stream for horror fans looking for scares on Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, and Shudder!
Amazon Prime – Bedevilled (2010) is an emotionally painful ride that builds to some intensely cathartic bloodletting. Angst (1983) may seem familiar in synopsis form as a serial killer targets new victims, but the execution does a brilliantly effective job pressing our faces into the madness. Alice Sweet Alice (1976) is a wonderfully atmospheric film that blends sleazy anger and Catholic guilt into an unnerving frenzy. Some might not categorize Green Room (2016) as horror, but the intensity of the violence and the saturation of fear make it an all-timer in my view. Sleep Tight (2012) is an absolute gem of a chiller from Spain about the not-so nice man hiding under your bed. The Strangers (2008) may be slightly lesser riff on the French masterpiece of terror Them (2007, also on Shudder), but both are available here and well worth watching with the lights off and the doors unlocked. The Loved Ones (2012) isn’t scary in the traditional sense, but there’s intense terror in the protagonist’s predicament thanks to the girl who’s utterly and angrily obsessed with him. And Jaws (1975) is just perfection worth watching any day, week, or month of the year.
Hulu – If I’m talking scary, unsettling movies then you can bet I’ll be pimping The Den (2014) which unfolds on a laptop screen with terrifying perfection. The Houses October Built (2014) is a rare found-footage film that delivers legit scares without being saddled by obnoxious characters. Fans of dread-soaked oppression will enjoy the raw horror of Hounds of Love (2017). The Tall Man (2012, also on Shudder) is under-appreciated, but if you can get on its wavelength it manages both scares and heavy emotional commentary.
Netflix – 13 Cameras (2015) takes a simple premise, adds a layer of sweat and sleaze, and brings the creepy goods. The Devil’s Candy (2015) has a tinge of the supernatural, maybe, but its power and intensity come courtesy of a very deranged and very human killer. Cult movies don’t come much better or more unnerving than The Invitation (2015). Found-footage and Mark Duplass’ creepy grin make terrific bedfellows in Creep (2014, also on Shudder). The threat isn’t human in Backcountry (2014), but you’ve never seen a more intense and devastating animal attack sequence then you’ll find here.
Shudder – Black Christmas (1974) is possibly the first true slasher and a clear inspiration on many of the films that followed, and it remains creepy as fuck. People don’t often think of shark attack movies as being scary, but The Reef (2011) delivers a truly harrowing experience.
Amazon Prime – It’s an acknowledged fact that The Exorcist III (1990, also on Shudder) features the most perfectly orchestrated jump-scare of all-time, so isn’t it about time you watch it? We’re excited for the upcoming remake, but Pet Sematary (1989) holds up with some creepy visuals and emotional horrors. Too few of you have seen The Interior (2015), but its back half features some of the scariest forest-set scenes ever. Carnival of Souls (1962) is a stone-cold classic that continues to thrill even after you discover its secret. Taiwan’s The Tag-Along (2015) brings a local legend to frightful life. Paranoia and madness grow on the Black Mountain Side (2016). Fans of grim tales about terrible things with devilish delights may just love The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2016). Dark Water (2002) doesn’t get the love some of its Japanese brethren do, but it’s easily one of the creepiest. We Are Still Here (2015) builds to a bloodbath of a finale, but the journey there is filled with moments of icy terror. The quest for stardom has rarely been been presented as beautifully and terrifyingly as it is with Starry Eyes (2014). The Innkeepers (2012) is a perfect horror comedy with a devastating ending, and you know I’m right.
Netflix – Cults, guilt, and some stellar creature-design make The Ritual (2018) a worthwhile watch. Under the Shadow (2016) introduces a terrifying Iranian legend into your nightmares. The Conjuring (2013) may be too popular to be “cool,” but the damn thing’s still scary.
Hulu – The director of Backcountry trades natural terrors for supernatural ones in Pyewacket (2018). Sure there’s shaky-cam and snot, but The Blair Witch Project (1999) also brings the creepy as hell shenanigans. Yes, [Rec] (2006) and [Rec] 2 (2009) are the pinnacle when it comes to fantastic found-footage horrors. Even knowing the gut-punch twist, The Others (2001) remains an atmospheric ghost story. Paranormal Activity (2009, also on Amazon Prime) lost some of its luster through numerous sequels, but there’s still power in the original’s scares. Excessive nightmares and dream sequences are typically a turn-off for me, but Jacob’s Ladder (1990, also on Amazon Prime) uses them in a remarkable tale about knowing when to let go.
Shudder – Terrified (2018) is an Argentinian chiller that sees some creepy shit unfolding in a neighborhood. Noroi: The Curse (2005) is the most terrifying faux-documentary you’ve yet to watch. A Korean ghost story comes to life with A Tale of Two Sisters (2003). You’ve seen John Carpenter’s classics Halloween (1978) and The Fog (1980), but it’s always a good time to watch them again. Fans of quiet, spooky horror should seek out The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh (2013). Pulse (2001) makes masterful use of shadows to terrify us with its story of sadness. And finally, I haven’t actually seen Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel (2018) yet, but if it’s half as good as the first it will still be well worth watching.
Related Topics: Amazon Prime, Editor's Picks, Horror, Hulu, Netflix, Shudder