Back in January, we gave you a list of the 25 best horror films on Netflix streaming. Many of those films are still on the service, but since then, there’s been globs of other gory titles added to help get your fix of ferociously scary flicks. With the releases of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit, as well as Goodnight, Mommy (which, according to reviews, may very well be on its way to becoming a modern horror classic), what better way to prime those pupils than by catching up on some frightening fare?
Being that we’ve already hit 25 of the best films on the streaming service earlier this year, we’ll refrain from entering any of those on this list. So, without further ado, here are 10 more good horror movies on Netflix you can add to your queue before checking out the new scares on the big screen.
Claustrophobic horror is a genre that includes entries like Bug and 1408, but you can also add Pontypool to that list. This Canadian horror film traps several denizens of a radio station inside as their nighttime broadcast shifts from entertaining the residents of an Ontario town to trying to save them along with themselves. As a virus begins to spread, forcing the townspeople to commit horrific acts, the radio show rushes to find an answer to the viral riddle before they’re consumed by it.
Pontypool works as both a clever little, low-budget film, as well as a take on the zombie genre, but it also serves as a nice allegory on the power of language, proper communication, and modern radio. Those who expect their horror to come hard and fast might not appreciate the first act, but once you get past the set-up, the final two acts will be revving your revolting engines.
Housebound is a horror-comedy from New Zealand that made its debut at last year’s SXSW festival to strong acclaim. The film is a variety of tropes — haunted house, murder mystery, sight gags — that all gel well together, woven through with threads of humor and, at many times, levity. It follows a young woman, who, after a criminal attempt at an ATM, gets sentenced to house arrest back at her family’s place. From there, we encounter a possible ghost infestation, some rumors surrounding a murderous past, and then even slasher film elements. It’s a lighter film in terms of intense horror, but an enjoyable ride nonetheless.
8) The House at the End of Time
If a film becomes the highest-grossing thriller ever in a country, then it probably deserves a watch, right? This Venezuelan take on the haunted house genre broke box office records in that market in 2013, but now you can catch it on Netflix. Alejandro Hidalgo’s wicked spook fest slams us in the ’80s and in the present, where, in both cases, a woman is dealing with staving off a supernatural force. In her former attempt to do so, she fails, and is imprisoned for decades for a horrific crime. Upon her return, she is remanded to serve the rest of her sentence in the home where the crimes occurred, and once again, she has to confront the demons of her past.
7) The House of the Devil
Writer-director Ti West’s films feel like the remnants of horror cinema’s past injected with a steroid shot. The House of the Devil sees college student Sam take a babysitting job at a curious home that — gasp! — turns out to be something more devious. The point of the film isn’t the premise, though, it’s the execution. The first two-thirds of West’s film takes us down a darkly lit rabbit hole that feels like a refurbished specimen from the bottom rack of the first VHS rental store you ever attended. West knocked the dust off this copy, and in the last act, he smashes you against the bottom of said hole with enough force to leave you barely breathing.
In the vein of Sam Raimi’s early work, as well as David Cronenberg’s body horror elements, comes this H.P. Lovecraft tale about a man determined to bring the dead back to life. What Re-Animator lacks in sheer terror, it more than makes up for in terms of humor and campy fun. There’s blood aplenty in this 1985 gore fest, but it’s really its indomitably gross spirit that sets it apart from other films that have tried to merge horror and comedy (Peter Jackson’s early stuff also comes to mind).
5) The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
There had to be at least one study in the preceding years of scary cinema on this list, and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is it. Much like Nosferatu, the creepiness of Caligari now much remains in the dreamlike narrative and atmosphere surrounding this meditation on murder and madness. It’s likely not for everyone looking for a good, immediate scare — it was made in 1920 — but to know where you’re going, you should know where you’ve been. (Also, the poster for this film is hanging in my bathroom, so that’s something, I guess.)
4) The Babadook
Seems like the haunted house genre is pulling all the strings on this list, but there might be a reason for that: It works. The Babadook is a new take on spooky domiciles, as a mother and son struggle to get past the death of the woman’s husband. Enter a creepy book about The Babadook, a shaded monstrosity that seems to begin haunting the home, mother, and child. Where this Australian film excels at is taking the elements of a used-up genre, and reinvigorating them with a more psychological tone that invokes an “is-it-really-there?” response. Great uses of the interior of the home result in a film that might have you turning on the lights before going back up the stairs.
3) A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
If you want a horror film that feels wholly original in its aesthetic, then look no further. Part vampire film, part love story, part western, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is a revelation. The only reason it’s not higher on this list is because of the cultural significance of the next two films, but it’s easily one of the best streaming movies on Netflix. Shot in black-and-white, and spoken in Persian, the film details a female vampire prowling the streets of Bad City, where she encounters strange characters and possible prey. It’s fresh, engrossing, captivating, and will make you relish all the things you love about cinema.
2) A Nightmare on Elm Street
The late Wes Craven cut his teeth on shock horror in the ’70s, but when the ’80s rolled around, he introduced Freddy Krueger, and the slasher genre would never be the same. A Nightmare on Elm Street was a truly terrifying film that did for going to bed what Jaws did for going in the water. Later installments of the series would see the Freddy character turn to humor and one-liners, but the original film is an exercise in brutal antagonistic play. Also, it introduced us to Johnny Depp, which was a good thing until he decided he couldn’t stop making pirate movies. As a bonus, check out Craven’s other contribution to the series on Netflix, A New Nightmare.
1) The Exorcist
It’s the film that everyone wants to remake, but can’t really get it right (well, The Conjuring might have gotten the closest, at least). Demonic possession has never been more frightening than in William Friedkin’s masterfully macabre brushstroke that won two Oscars, and made audiences in the ’70s sick to their stomachs with fright. To this day, with all the modern technology involved in film, there’s yet to be many candidates that surpass the visual horrors of seeing Linda Blair succumb to the advances of the devil in a variety of contorting, appalling ways.
Had this movie been made with the glossy, overabundance of techniques we see in tent pole horror today, it wouldn’t have worked. What makes The Exorcist so scary is its ability to shut down the walls around you, making you feel as if you’re a part of this family who’s watching a young girl defile herself in the name of a Satanic presence. Even decades after its release, it remains a watermark for guttural cinematic fear.