Having a rough week? why not cheer yourself up by watching a chilling terror? critic travis johnson has reviewed the netflix archive to choose the 25 best horror movies.
Australian director Zak Hilditch adapts Stephen King’s dour novella about a farmer (Thomas Jane) whose decision to murder his wife (Molly Parker) causes him to lose his son, his farm, his sanity and his life. a sustained exercise in tone, this is a relentlessly bearish cold spell.
A group of women led by the steely scientist played by Natalie Portman embark on a mission into a mysterious wilderness where the usual laws of nature no longer apply, only to face unspeakable physical horrors and the complete dissolution of the self.
Loosely adapted by director Alex Garland from Jeff Vandermeer’s novel, the result is a smart and visceral update on Andrei Tarkovsky’s stalker more than anything else.
Action stuntman Gareth Evans (The Raid) turns his hand to horror in this bone-chilling Wicker Man-inspired. In the early 20th century, a man (Dan Stevens) infiltrates a strange religious cult on a remote Welsh island to free his sister, only to discover events far stranger than the usual fire and brimstone. Michael Sheen comes across as a charismatic preacher, and Evans proves that his gory tastes in action aesthetics translate quite well to the horror genre.
the babadook (2014)
The strange arrival of the titular picture book heightens tension between a harassed single mother (essie davis) and her troubled son (noah wiseman), but who is really the danger here? In her debut film, Jennifer Kent turns the “creepy kid” genre on its head, using the form to examine a sadly common dysfunctional family dynamic. a classic of the modern Australian genre.
the nanny (2017)
Twelve-year-old Cole (Judah Lewis) discovers that his fiery nanny bee (Samara Weaving) is the head of a satanic high school cult and plans to sacrifice him in an occult ritual. The talented director Officer McG delivers an energetic and brutal comedy horror, in which our plucky hero has to fend off the devil worshipers of Bee’s brat pack (Bella Thorne, Hana Mae Lee and Robbie Amell). plenty of bloody murders are balanced by a witty script that never takes itself too seriously – a nearly perfect Friday night beer and pizza movie.
blood red sky (2021)
Terrorists hijacking a flight from Germany to the United States when their plans are interrupted not by Wesley Snipes but by Nadja (Peri Baumeister), a widowed single mother who is headed to New York not for cancer treatment, but to find a cure for his vampirism. Carnage ensues in this high-concept German horror, which takes the “die hard on an x” model and throws a nosferatu into the mix.
bone tomahawk (2015)
Grey-haired Sheriff Kurt Russell leads farmer Patrick Wilson, gunslinger Matthew Fox and old jerk Richard Jenkins embark on a mission to rescue a kidnapped woman, only to encounter a lost tribe of Native American “troglodytes”; that’s cannibals for you and me. yes Craig Zahler casts The Hills Have Eyes on the Old West to excellent if often terrifying effect. this is a brutally efficient survival horror that’s not for the faint of heart.
In the midst of a zombie apocalypse, a man (martin freeman) desperately searches for a safe haven for his young daughter before her infected bite renders him undead. Australian filmmakers Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke cleverly expand their award-winning short and find fresh ground in the well-plowed fields of Zombiedom.
the cell (2000)
master visual stylist tarsem singh takes us into the mind of vincent d’onofrio’s comatose serial killer with jennifer lopez, a psychologist who uses experimental virtual reality technology to try to interrogate the killer about the whereabouts of his latest victim . The science doesn’t quite add up, but the smugness allows Singh Top to present a stunning series of surrealist and impressionist paintings as Lopez navigates D’Onofrio’s broken mind. Easily one of the most visually beautiful horror films ever made, the jail cell’s ambitious aesthetic triumphs even when the drama turns predictable.
coming home in the dark (2021)
This dark New Zealand thriller sees a family on holiday: professor (erik thomson), wife (miriama mcdowell) and children (billy and frankie parateen), terrorized by criminals (daniel gillies and matthias luafutu). However, what starts out as a random robbery quickly escalates when it turns out that Dad has a connection to the marauding couple. A sly and chilling debut from actor-turned-director James Ashcroft, this adaptation of Owen Marshall’s short story doesn’t mince words.
crimson beak (2015)
guillermo del toro’s gothic ghost story sees mia wasikowska’s american heiress marry tom hiddleston’s impoverished british nobleman and hide out in the family seat of allerdale hall, a decrepit mansion nicknamed crimson peak because it’s sinking in the red clay mine on which it sits. There she must confront the jealous and possibly incestuous sister of her husband (Jessica Chastain), as well as the ghosts that haunt the house. del toro blends notes from edgar allen poe, shirley jackson and henry james to create a classic, literary horror film that eschews cheap surprises in favor of more cerebral and unsettling thrills.
day of the dead (1985)
in the third of george a. rosemary’s ‘dead’ series, zombies have destroyed civilization. At perhaps humanity’s last remaining outpost, tensions run high between the scientists trying to study the undead and the soldiers assigned to protect them. eventually, the floodgates of zombies open and prepare for the ravenous hordes. gloomy, nihilistic, and ugly, but features some cool gore effects from tom savini and fan favorite bub the smart zombie.
An immunocompromised boy (Charlie Shotwell) begins experiencing supernatural phenomena at the remote medical center where he is treated by a secretive female doctor (Lili Taylor). but what starts out as a typical “bad place” haunted house movie takes a few unexpected turns on its way to a surprising climax. the less you know how to enter, the more fun you’ll have.
the exorcist (1973)
william friedkin’s superb adaptation of william peter blatty’s novel sees ellen burstyn’s modern mother slowly realizing that her daughter (linda blair) is possessed by the devil, setting the stage for a battle between the priests max von sydow and jason miller, and satan himself. A meditation on the nature of faith and the possibility of true evil, this is simply one of the best horror films ever made.
After the death of her eccentric mother, Toni Collette’s high-strung artist thinks her life will be a little less stressful, but the old woman’s strange control over the family extends beyond the grave. Director Ari Aster’s feature debut feels like a response to the Satanic subgenre of the ’60s and ’70s, particularly Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist, but the tightly controlled direction and deft misdirection make it defiantly its own.
I’m the pretty thing that lives in the house (2016)
A nurse (Ruth Wilson) caring for a senile writer (Paula Prentiss) begins to suspect that the writer’s house is haunted and discovers a murder that took place in the early 19th century. director oz ‘son of anthony’ perkins has quickly shown that he is a master of the modern gothic tale, and this sits alongside his other films such as daughter in the black coat and gretel & amp; hansel as an excellent example of the subgenre.
the ritual (2017)
Following the death of their friend, four men set out on a hiking trip through the woods of northern Sweden to rebuild their ties, but end up confronting an occult pagan cult and the…thing…they worship. . this atmospheric chiller draws its influences from a wide variety of sources, but scores extra points by not skimping on the final creature reveal, giving us one of the most unique horror creatures in recent history.
cello prodigy allison williams travels to shanghai to study under steven weber’s revered music teacher, only to be seduced and mutilated by his star student (logan browning). But a newly amputated hand is really the least of his worries, as he discovers that the Weber Academy of Music is covering up a horrible secret. An intentionally wicked and transgressive work of psychological and body horror, Perfection revels in pushing the audience’s buttons, delivering a seemingly endless smorgasbord of torture and terror as it builds to a wonderfully deranged climax.
the visit (2015)
the sixth sense director m. Night Shyamalan returns to form after a rocky few years with this understated yet effective offering that follows siblings Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould on a visit with their grandparents, whom they never met. however, what is initially dismissed as eccentric behavior on the part of the elderly couple becomes increasingly disturbing as the film progresses, and it soon becomes clear that something is seriously wrong with lullaby and pop pop. shyamalan seems to be immersed in horrors or aging lately (see also: 2021’s old), and the visit benefits from our shared discomfort with the notion of mental and physical deterioration.
wyrmwood: road of the dead (2014)
After a meteor shower raises hordes of the undead, bushmechanic Jay Gallagher must rescue his sister (Bianca Bradey) from an evil military scientist. the twist is that the meteorites also prevented flammable liquids from being able to burn, but the zombies’ blood and breath are still combustible, giving us an apocalyptic scenario where an armored truck is powered by zombie juice. It’s Mad Max meets Dawn of the Dead, with all that it implies.
will (armie hammer), a bartender in new orleans, starts receiving disturbing images on a cell phone left at the dive where he pours alcohol, and things get worse from there. It’s not so much the plot of Iranian director Babak Anvari’s English-language debut that’s disturbing, but the tone. Wounds is an exercise in decadence, with every setting, gunshot, gory gag, and even character reeking of physical and moral rot. wounds is a film that gets under the skin and rots.
may the devil take you (2018)
when he’s not making confrontational actors like a shot to the head and the night is upon us, indonesian author timo tjahjanto is effectively dishing out horror projects like this one, in which a young woman (ray sahetapy) fights against demonic forces after learning that her estranged father was sold. her soul to the devil. if you can imagine evil dead 2 but indo, you are on the right track.
This guide is updated regularly to reflect changes in the Netflix catalog. For a list of capsule reviews that have been removed from this page because they are no longer available on the platform, please visit here.