15 of the Scariest Movies on Netflix

Netflix has a steadily growing collection of horror films. From cults to demonic possessions, there’s a subgenre for every horror fan. With the release of mainstream movies, however, many of these films get lost in the mix. Also, since the horror catalog contains countless films, separating the good ones from others can be challenging. However, some of these films are terrifying enough to haunt people days after the credits roll.

1. The Birds (1963)

The Birds (1963)
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Alfred Hitchcock was known for making movies ahead of their time, and The Birds is no different. No one would’ve been able to guess the direction the movie would go from the opening shot. It begins as what seems like a rom-com, but is taken over by ruthless violence. It raises the question of who would survive a war between man and nature. Birds won’t look the same way anymore after watching this film.

2. Veronica (2017)

Veronica (2017)
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing International.

This movie is based on an actual series of events, which is horrifying all by itself. The story follows the title character as her attempt to summon the spirit of her deceased father goes wrong. Unlike most horror movies, this film delves into the complexity of the characters. It captures the desperation that would have led her to choose to summon him. The audience connects to the family as the evil spirit haunts them.

3. His House (2020)

His House (2020)
Image Credit: BBC Films.

His House appears to be a classic horror story with jump scares and supernatural beings. However, the reality it’s set in adds a unique, terrifying layer to the film. A couple is able to take refuge in an apartment after they flee a war-torn Sudan. When strange things occur inside the apartment, however, they question their determination to make a new home. Instead of figuring out if they’re being haunted, the couple tries to figure out the why.

4. Incantation (2022)

Incantation (2022)
Image Credit: Netflix.

Incantation uses the found-footage style and does it well. This makes the film more authentic to the viewers. This Taiwanese film revolves around a mother struggling to protect her child. The film merges the fear of losing a child with the supernatural, making it more grounded in reality and natural. Despite the story’s slow pace, the well-written dialogue keeps the audience engaged.

5. Under The Shadow (2016)

Under The Shadow (2016)
Image Credit: Vertical Entertainment.

Even without any demons, the story’s setting is frightening. The family struggles against Djinns in war-torn Tehran. This presents the perfect blend of the religious Jinn beings and the horrific elements of war. The story reinterprets the movie The Babadook (2014) within a Persian context. Instead of relying on jumpscares, it scars the audience psychologically. The insecurity of war and hallucinations make it the perfect horror movie.

6. It Follows (2014)

It Follows (2014)
Image Credit: RADiUS-TWC.

When a girl notices something following her, she and her friends try to get rid of it. However, not knowing what the “it” is keeps people on edge. The audience is left guessing what will happen next with each creepy scene. Rather than being a traditional horror film, It Follows delivers severe paranoia. Viewers will find themselves looking over their shoulders after finishing the film.

7. The Ritual (2017)

The Ritual (2017)
Image Credit: The Imaginarium.

The perfect blend of all things horror, The Ritual is a fan favorite on Netflix. The striking visuals conceal just enough to leave the viewers wanting more. It allows the audience’s imagination to run wild. Throughout the story, viewers can witness character development alongside the haunting. But it’s the design of the monster that gives this film its unique identity. There aren’t many thrillers based on Norse beliefs, but this film sets the standard high.

8. Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

Ouija_ Origin of Evil (2016)
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Fans of period horror films will love this possession story set in 1967. Everything starts going south when a fortune-telling scam business introduces a Ouija board. The ominous, eerie atmosphere is engrossing. It’s the perfect choice for those who prefer slow-paced horror films. The acting, directing, and pacing are well done and perfectly timed. The cliffhanger at the end will leave everyone thinking about the film long after it has finished.

9. Cam (2018)

Cam (2018)
Image Credit: Blumhouse Productions.

This psychological horror movie is drawn from the writer’s experience working as a streamer. It reflects many of the harsh, terrifying realities of the industry. The protagonist realizes she is being cloned by a bot and used online. The horror is not the story but the realization that this could happen to anyone. Neon colors build the atmosphere and scenery of the film. The protagonist has depth and doesn’t fall into the familiar tropes. The audience connects with her since they see her as a sister and daughter.

10. Malignant (2021)

Malignant (2021)
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Malignant‘s unique camera angles elevate its status among horror fans. The special effects are incredibly detailed and reminiscent of classic horror movies. The plot is refreshing and original, while the score creates a haunting environment with orchestral instruments and crescendoes that leave the audience feeling tense.

11. Crimson Peak (2015)

Crimson Peak (2015)
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Director Guillermo del Toro is known for his dramatic flair and unsettling storylines. He creates sets with incredible detail that shine on the big screen. It’s no wonder that Crimson Peak is a visual feast. Viewers are so immersed in the movie that it starts to feel real. The gothic story leaves people in awe with its ghosts and romance. The spirits act as a metaphor for the past. The cast and acting are the cherry on top.

12. Apostle (2018)

Apostle
Image Credit: Netflix.

Apostle follows the story of a priest as he becomes involved in a religious cult’s kidnapping scheme. Viewers are taken into the dreadful minds of religious fanatics. The slow pace allows the tensions to build over time. It doesn’t shy away from brutality or gore. Instead, it gives them perfect opportunities to heighten the fear and horror of a cult.

13. Fear Street (2021)

Fear Street (2021)
Image Credit: 20th Century Studios.

While they can be watched without context, the Fear Street films are part of a trilogy. Each one of the films shows serial killers infesting a town over the years. The casting is incredibly diverse for each film. With each one of the movies, the audience can travel to a different period with nostalgia. Each twist is well executed and timed. The films do great justice to the R.L. Stine books on which they are based.

14. Vivarium (2019)

Vivarium (2019)
Image Credit: Vertigo Releasing.

Vivarium is a multi-layered film. Each layer has its own symbolism and more profound meaning against the backdrop of everyday life. The audience observes how each generation becomes more detached from humanity over time. A young couple struggles to leave their home, but they’re stuck in a loop. They take the audience with them further down the rabbit hole. This sci-fi horror film explores the vicious cycle of daily life.

15. The Old Ways (2020)

The Old Ways (2020)
Image Credit: Soapbox Films.

This indigenous-themed film follows a journalist as she finds herself trapped in a cave in Mexico. She wakes up to see the locals ready to sacrifice her since they believe she’s possessed. Throughout the film, viewers question who’s telling the truth. Is she really possessed, or are the locals holding onto tradition? It forces the audience to shift their perspective. The animal teeth and bones increase the level of creepiness in the film.

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