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 like Insidious, plus hidden gems like Creep.
Here are 20 of 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!
20. The Babysitter (2017)
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 this past September, is more of the same — so if you like the first, do a double feature.
Where to watch: The Babysitter is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).
19. Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)
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.)
Where to watch: Velvet Buzzsaw is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).
18. Blood Red Sky (2021)
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.
Where to watch: Blood Red Sky is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).
17. The Ritual (2018)
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!
Where to watch: The Ritual is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).
16. Apostle (2018)
See a whole different side of Michael Sheen in ‘Apostle’. Credit: netflix
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.
Where to watch: Apostle is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).
15. 1BR (2020)
Writer-director David Marmor’s 1BR is like the bratty little sister The Invitation (now streaming on never had — and I mean that as the highest compliment. Nicole Brydon Bloom stars as Sarah, an aspiring costume designer who moves into a seemingly perfect apartment complex only to find herself trapped in an insidious scheme. Better left unspoiled, 1BR is a great time for folks who can handle a little gore, and one especially grim scene involving a cat.
Where to watch: 1BR is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).
14. Cam (2018)
Madeline Brewer delivers the best scream queen performance of the digital age in ‘Cam’. Credit: Netflix
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.
Where to watch: Cam is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).
13. Hush (2016)
Genius writer-director Mike Flanagan tackles the home invasion subgenre with remarkable clarity and creativity in the completely excellent Hush. Kate Siegel stars as an author living in the woods, who must use everything at her disposal to outsmart a killer. If you’re looking for pure, unfettered suspense, then this is the title to cue up right now.
Where to watch: Hush is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).
12. 1922 (2017)
Nothing like a Stephen King romp to spice up your streaming. Credit: netflix
Directed by Zak Halditch 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.)
Where to watch: 1922 is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).
11. Unfriended (2014)
I will defend director Levan Gabriadze’s oft-maligned Unfriended until my dying day. Yes, the title is stupid. Sure, some of the acting could be better. Of course, that isn’t what the average blender would really do to a human hand. (An immersion blender, maybe.) Still, I challenge you to watch this sucker on a laptop and not feel something lurking behind your browser for days to come. It’s got a good story, excellent pacing, and enough solid jokes and gore to make its comedy a high point.
Where to watch: Unfriended is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).
10. Insidious (2010)
The Insidious franchise went out with a whimper on The Last Key (2018), but the original remains an electric horror experience with some of the most memorable scares ever.
Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, and Ty Simpkins star as a family haunted by a demonic presence who won’t go down without a fight. If you’re a fan of director James Wan’s The Conjuring universe who hasn’t gotten fully obsessed with this interdimensional fright fest yet, you’re missing out on its perfectly maintained tension and killer world-building. Here’s hoping Insidious 5 helps bring this narrative back to its satisfying beginnings.
Where to watch: Insidious is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).
9. The Fear Street trilogy (2021)
You gotta see Maya Hawke’s very short, but very good ‘Fear Street’ performance. Credit: netflix
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.
Where to watch: Fear Street is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).
8. The Perfection (2019)
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!
Where to watch: The Perfection is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).
7. His House (2020)
‘His House’ is a hidden gem you just have to make time for. Credit: Aidan Monaghan/NETFLIX
Writer-director Remi Weekes’ His House is easily my favorite scary Netflix release of the year. 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.
Where to watch: His House is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).
6. Vampires vs. the Bronx (2020)
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*
5. Gerald’s Game (2017)
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.
Where to watch: Gerald’s Game is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).
4. Crimson Peak (2015)
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, 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.
Where to watch: Crimson Peak is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).
3. Creep (2015)
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’ performance is intoxicating, and Brice imagines a universe so compelling it absolutely merits its equally great sequel (also on Netflix.)
Where to watch: Creep is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).
2. Incantation (2022)
The film that terrified Tiktok. Credit: Netflix
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*
1. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020)
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. *
Where to watch: I’m Thinking of Ending Things (opens in a new tab)is streaming on Netflix. (opens in a new tab)
UPDATE: Oct. 1, 2022, 11:23 a.m. EDT This list has been updated to reflect Netflix’s current streaming library.