Netflix is home to a lot of quality horror content. From genre classics to international thrillers that most fans may not have heard of, it’s a platform made for those who want to dive headfirst into some of the most traumatizing content streaming services have to offer. Without further ado, check out our picks for the scariest Netflix movies you can watch right now. It should go without saying that each is best enjoyed with the lights turned off.
Scariest Netflix Movies – The Babadook
The Babadook harnesses the emotions of being a parent and transforms all of that into the slender, monstrous figure that gives this film its name. It’s psychological horror with a lot of heart, as a mother must learn to love her mentally ill son lest the movie’s titular creature render both characters brain dead. Persistent dim lighting ensures that a solemn mood broods over viewers as they witness every page turn in Mister Babadook’s menacing pop-up book.
Scariest Netflix Movies – The Conjuring
Based on real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, James Wan’s The Conjuring sees the duo try to protect a family from a malevolent spirit residing within a haunted home’s walls. It has all the hallmarks of a classic horror movie, though somehow still feels fresh in its approach. It’s no wonder how the movie managed to spawn such a massive franchise with films such as Annabelle and The Nun. The Conjuring is just that good.
Scariest Netflix Movies – Raw
French-Belgian film Raw is the product of pure, unfiltered chaos. It stars a young college student and lifelong vegan named Justine who’s forced to consume raw meat as part of a hazing ritual. Justine developers an insatiable palette for flesh thereafter, allowing this newfound addiction to consume her. She uncovers a dark secret about her family, leaving audiences forever changed by the unapologetic violence she witnesses and inflicts upon others. This one isn’t for the faint of heart.
Scariest Netflix Movies – Train to Busan
Train to Busan is a Korean zombie movie that stuffs all of its characters into a train with little to protect themselves with aside from their bare hands and one measly baseball bat. It constantly pays homage to the zombie movies of yesteryear with its clever monster freak outs and gratuitous bloodshed, but also manages to lay the foundation for an interesting world filled with extremely relatable (and extremely flawed) characters. Though the film will predominantly make you sit at the edge of your seat, it’ll leave you crying by the time its end credits roll.
Scariest Netflix Movies – It Follows
It Follows manages to take the classic horror concept of an invincible villain and spins the formula on its head, allowing its characters to become the victims of sexually transmitted monsters whose only goal is to kill their hosts when they least expect it. It’s creepy in a good way, prying on every person’s sexual anxieties. The film’s also shot exceptionally well, allowing viewers to scan the background constantly to see if anyone is actually following close behind.
Scariest Netflix Movies – The Shining
For those who haven’t had the pleasure of seeing The Shining yet, this classic horror film is best described as a slow dive into the depths of insanity. Starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall as two people hired to take care of a lonely hotel that’s isolated during the winter season, the emptiness of the haunted building’s main lobby and hallways creeps into the minds of its new employees and drives one person far past the limits of his own sanity. It’s one of Nicholson’s most terrifying performances to date.
Scariest Netflix Movies – Hellraiser
Based on a novella called The Hellbound Heart, Hellraiser is a classic horror film that tells the tale of a lonely housewife who seduces strangers to come up to her attic. Once there, a bloody creature rips its visitors’ flesh from bone, covering the floorboards in heaps of gore. The film is rife with sexual themes, plus introduces one of the most iconic horror icons ever via Pinhead. Hellraiser is definitely a weird one, but worth a watch if you’re into sci-fi, cool costumes, and practical effects.
Scariest Netflix Movies – The Ritual
One can never really shake off the isolated, foreboding feeling that The Ritual instills you with. It follows a group of four friends who journey along Sweden’s Kungsleden trail as a tribute to their late pal, the likes of which recently died in a convenience store. Upon the discovery of Satan-worship in an abandoned house, viewers instantly know that this quartet is in for a bumpy ride. Viewers can feel the cold of the forest infect them throughout the movie’s 90-minute run time. This one’s best seen from underneath a blanket.
Scariest Netflix Movies – Under the Shadow
Under the Shadow operates in the same vein as The Badadook, insinuating that a malevolent presence exists without explicitly showing off this spirit throughout the film. It follows a single Iranian mother and her child as each tries to live a normal life in the midst of Iraq’s airstrikes on Tehran in the late 1980s. When a bomb explodes through their family apartment, the mother becomes convinced that a djinn has arrived alongside it, seeking to separate the parent from her child. Under the Shadow is filled with personal and political subtext, making for one of the most thought-provoking horror stories in recent memory.
Whether appealing to our primal desires for violence or our higher intelligence, the entries on this list are representative of a wide variety of tastes. While classics like The Shining or Hellraiser serve as the backbone of the genre, other entries like The Badadook and Train to Busan are worth a look to see how far the genre has evolved within film. After all, we all like to be scared here, right?