Dark fantasy, as a genre, is hard to pin down, but the films on this list should give you a good idea of what happens when these horror-tinged stories are done correctly.
Steeped in dark, brooding tones, featuring moody antiheroes, and set in strange, mystical worlds with supernatural villains that force protagonists to confront their own shortcomings — a well-executed dark fantasy film has all of these elements, plus a deeper theme that couples our deepest fears with the greatest heights of human imagination. They’re eerie and disturbing, thought-provoking and logic-defying — they’re the best cinema has to offer. Here are some of the most worthwhile dark fantasy films you can stream right now.
Not only does Ron Perlman easily sell a devil-may-care attitude while he’s hammering bad guys in the face, battling Russian sorcerers, killing Nazis, and tangling with tentacled behemoths in this dark fantasy film, but Guillermo del Toro directs this thing, which means the visuals are just as spellbinding as the action, and the hero wrestles with moral dilemmas that feel every bit as perilous as the villains he fights.
Paul Bettany and Dennis Quaid star in this dark fantasy epic that clings to some of the genre’s most-essential tropes. Bettany plays the archangel Michael, who’s disobeyed God’s order to protect humanity and an unborn child who might be the planet’s only hope of survival. A battle between good and evil steeped in religious themes are classic markers of a good fantasy flick, and the hordes of possessed, zombie-like creatures descending to wreak havoc on a group of heroes fulfill the dark requirement well enough.