Last Updated: October 22nd
To appreciate fully what the world of film has to offer, it’s best to watch a wide variety of what’s out there rather than just focus on one genre. That said, there are times when nothing but a great horror film will do. Like, say, during Halloween season. The horror selection on Amazon Prime runs deep, but a few pages in it starts to be dominated by low-budget obscurities. There’s a lot of cream near the top, however, which offers a generous sampling of what horror has to offer. So here are the 15 best horror movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
The Midnight Meat Train (2008)
Run Time: 102 min | IMDb: 6.1/10
Bradley Cooper stars in this grisly thriller about a subway killer committing massacres and the photographer in charge of catching him. Cooper plays Leon, a photographer hoping for his big break who discovers a man has been killing subway riders of the midnight train. As Leon tries to stop the murderer, he pulls his friend, girlfriend, and the police into the hunt. There’s a ton of violence, gore, and a bizarre ending but Cooper sells the hell out of this thing.
Run Time: 97 min | IMDb: 5.7/10
Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg star in this horror thriller that breaks up its bleak plot with bright moments of dark comedy. Poots plays Gemma, Eisenberg her boyfriend, Tom, as the couple prep to take the next step in their relationship: house hunting. But their search for the perfect starter home ends with them trapped in some sort of hell where they must raise a strange child before they can earn their freedom. It’s a total millennial nightmare.
Run Time: 147 min | IMDb: 7.2/10
Nauseating. Disturbing. A total mindf*ck. Those are all fitting descriptions of Ari Aster’s Hereditary follow-up, a sophomore outing that gleefully embraces the very worst of humanity and shines an unforgiving light on those universal flaws. It’s a horror story, sure, but it’s a relationship drama at its core, flavored with pagan rituals, brutal killings, unsettling imagery, and all-consuming grief. Florence Pugh gives a career-defining performance as Dani, a young woman reeling from a terrible familial tragedy who accompanies her distant, disinterested boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor) and his college bros to a small Swedish village to celebrate the summer solstice.
The Wailing (2016)
Run Time: 156 min | IMDb: 7.4/10
Is there ever a time where a mysterious stranger shows up in a small town, and everyone is better off from it? Well, The Wailing is no exception to the familiar inciting incident, as it focuses on a village in South Korea that sees the spread of a terrifying illness once a shady character moves into its surrounding forest. As people start dying, a police officer starts investigating and is sucked into a brutal puzzle. While it’s about 30 minutes too long and the tone isn’t always consistent, The Wailing keeps its audience guessing as much as its protagonist. Its unique religious realism turns this dream-like story into a memorable nightmare.
The Village (2004)
Run Time: 108 min | IMDb: 6.5/10
This thriller from M. Night Shyamalan got some hate when it first premiered, mostly because fans of the Signs creator expected more nightmare fuel than what the film ultimately delivers. That’s not to say this thing isn’t scary. It revolves around an isolated community trapped deep in the woods by mysterious creatures who kill indiscriminately. When one village member (Joaquin Phoenix) falls ill, it’s up to the woman who loves him (Bryce Dallas Howard) to brave the monster’s territory in search for help. What really sets up the jumps here is that Howard plays a blind woman, and Shyamalan leans hard into that disability to elicit even more thrills.
The Lighthouse (2019)
Run Time: 109 min | IMDb: 7.6/10
Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe star in this truly bonkers period drama from Robert Eggers. It’s a beautifully shot portrait of two men slowly driven to the brink of insanity by their choice in career — they’re stuck alone on a slab of rock, looking after a crumbling lighthouse. It’s not your typical “horror” flick — Pattinson masturbates to visions of mermaids, and Dafoe gets drunk and does a jig — but it hails from Eggers who also gave us The Witch, so there are some ominous moments littered throughout. To say anything more would be spoiling the fun.
Run Time: 127 min | IMDb: 7.3/10
Toni Collette stars in this terrifying nightmare by first-time director Ari Aster. The film charts the grief and shared trauma of the Graham family. Annie (Collette) is mourning the loss of her secretive mother, worrying over her inherited mental health issues and her children. When her son Peter accidentally kills his sister, hauntings begin happenings. Malevolent spirits, possessions, a seance gone wrong — this is pure nightmare fuel, people.
Cabin in the Woods (2011)
Run Time: 95 min | IMDb: 7/10
Chris Hemsworth stars in this Whedon creation directed by Drew Goddard that’ll make you wary of ever going on a mountain retreat again. Hemsworth plays one of a group of five friends who head to the woods for some R&R. The remote cabin they stay at quickly becomes a hellish prison they struggle to escape from.
The Lazarus Effect (2015)
Run Time: 83 min | IMDb: 5.2/10
Mark Duplass and Olivia Wilde star in this truly chilling sci-fi thriller about a group of medical pioneers looking for ways to bring people back from the dead. Spoiler: They succeed, but quickly wish they hadn’t. Their first test subject is a dog who returns demonic, a clear indicator they should just give this whole thing up. But when Wilde’s character is fatally electrocuted, the team decides to test out their miracle serum on a human being, and what returns from the grave is clearly not the same person they knew. The film didn’t get enough attention when it launched, and though it’s pretty predictable, the cast, including Donald Glover, Evan Peters, and Sarah Bolger, do a superb job of acting completely terrified for nearly two hours.
Night Of The Living Dead (1968)
Run Time: 96 min | IMDb: 7.9/10
The unlikely origin of the modern horror film: a farmhouse in the rural area surrounding Pittsburgh where director George Romero shot most of Night of the Living Dead. Working on a tiny budget, he not only created the modern movie zombie but made horror safe for grimy, uncomfortable visions taken from everyday life, helping to pull the genre out of gothic castles and away from theatrical monsters. Night of the Living Dead remains essential viewing, and not just because of its place in history. It’s still incredibly scary, in large part because Romero had such humble resources. It doesn’t play like a nightmare from long ago and far away. It has the immediacy of a news bulletin.
Run Time: 81 min | IMDb: 8/10
A cornerstone of the horror genre and German Expressionism — and film history as a whole — F.W. Murnau’s unauthorized 1922 adaptation of Dracula helped establish the basic vocabulary of the horror movie, using long shadows and unnerving photographic effects to create a disturbing atmosphere. It also features one of the ugliest monsters ever put to film, Count Orlock, as played by Max Schreck under heavy makeup. The years have done nothing to reduce its power to disturb.
The Neon Demon (2016)
Run Time: 118 min | IMDb: 6.8/10
It’s not entirely accurate to call The Neon Demon a horror movie, even if necrophilia and cannibalism both factor in pretty heavily. Nicholas Winding Refn’s dark show business fairy tale doesn’t fit easily into any genre, following a just-off-the-bus aspiring model named Jesse (Elle Fanning) as she tries to make it in a Los Angeles where danger awaits around every corner. Beautifully filmed, even when focusing on ugly images, and set to a pulsing synth score, it’s an unsubtle, blackly comic look at the underside of show business with little regard for the divide between good taste and bad.
Resident Evil (2002)
Run Time: 100 min | IMDb: 6.7/10
This zombie dystopia from Paul W.S. Anderson has spawned a multi-million dollar franchise but you really can’t enjoy any of the dozen or so sequels and spin-offs without catching the original entry. Mila Jovovich kicks serious ass as Alice, a woman with amnesia tasked with figuring out how a deadly virus that turns its victims into flesh-eating animals was unleashed on the population in an underground experimental facility known as The Hive. While Alice tries to piece together her memories and figure out who to trust within her group of commandos, the facility’s A.I. begins targeting the group, killing them off one by one.
Run Time: 152 min | IMDb: 6.8/10
Luca Guadagnino’s buzzed-about horror remake is a mind-bending exercise in the cinematic. Dakota Johnson plays Susie, a young dancer who arrives at a prestigious academy where disturbing happenings begin to take place. After one dancer goes missing, another dies, and a third is severely injured, the students begin investigating their instructors to discover they belong to a coven of witches with troubling rituals that rest upon the dancers playing their parts.
The Addams Family (1991)
Run Time: 99 min | IMDb: 6.9/10
More spooky than downright terrifying, this Halloween favorite has a theme-song that always slaps and a cast of colorful characters that people almost always borrow costume ideas from come October. The first installment in the franchise introduces us to Morticia (Anjelica Huston) and Gomez (Raul Julia) Adams, a feverishly-in-love couple who live in a gothic mansion with their two children, Wednesday (Christina Ricci) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman), and a handful of other bizarre family members. When Gomez’s long-lost brother shows up, it’s up to Morticia and the children to uncover whether he’s really blood, or just a con-artist hoping to swindle them out of their fortune.