Screengrab via Movieclips Film Festivals & Indie Films / YouTube

Get your popcorn ready.

We’re months away from Halloween, but there’s never a bad time to spend a night in, binging the best horror movies Netflix has to offer. The only problem is knowing where to start.

We’ve culled together a list of essential horror movies, and we’ve made sure that each film passes the Rotten Tomatoes test. Pick one or binge them all. Just be sure to leave on.

The best horror movies on Netflix

1) Hush

100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

best horror movies on netflix: hush Screengrab via Movieclips Film Festivals & Indie Films/YouTube

When a deaf writer decides to live alone in the woods, you can bet something terrifying is bound to happen. A psychological horror flick that made its debut at South by Southwest in 2016, Hush has garnered accolades from critics and horror fans alike, including ones we may consider an expert on the genre. —Jam Kotenko

2) Sinister

63 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

scary movies on netflix: Ethan Hawke in Sinister Screengrab via Movieclips Trailers/YoUTube

In this spooky ghost story, Ellison Oswalt, a true-crime author in need of a hit, moves his family into a house to work on his next book. There he discovers a box of reel-to-reel home movies, each depicting the brutal murder of a different family. As he tries to unravel the mystery behind the murders it becomes clear something supernatural is involved, and it has designs on his family. Despite the macabre subject matter, Sinister’s horrific violence is more often implied than shown, leaving you to fill in the nightmare blanks for yourself. You’ll never want to watch home movies again. —John-Michael Bond

3) The Babadook

98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

best scary movies on netflix: babdook Photo via Rotten Tomatoes

Be careful about the books that you read to your kids—you never know when you might unintentionally set a malevolent spirit free from them. In case you were wondering what it feels like to be a parent whose hyperactive child is constantly disturbed by an evil spirit, The Babadook will certainly give you a taste of the helplessness as well as the fear that’s expected from a really good supernatural story. —J.K.

4) Creep

96 on Rotten Tomatoes

best scary movies on netflix: Creep Screengrab via Horror Movie Trailers by FilmIsNow/YouTube

If you’re a fan of found-footage horror, Creep does it exceptionally well. Featuring a cash-desperate man who answers a vague Craigslist ad, this movie shows you exactly why you should be a little bit more discerning when it comes to responding to opportunities online. —J.K.

5) A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

Best movies on Netflix: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night Screengrab via VICE/YouTube (Fair Use)

Filmed entirely in black and white, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night follows the titular character around Bad City, a place teeming with crime, drugs, and prostitution. This scenario can most certainly pass off as a type of horror most of womankind faces on the regular, but what makes this Persian-language flick unique is the girl in question just happens to be a vampire. —J.K.

6) The Invitation

89 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

scary movies on netflix: The invitation Photo via Fangoria

First off, don’t watch the trailer for this movie. Just go to Netflix and watch the film. The plot follows a man as he and his girlfriend go to dinner at his ex-wife’s house for the first time since they split due to a sudden tragedy. This exercise in slow-building dread leaves you constantly questioning the motives of everyone involved up to the last jarring frame. There’s nothing else quite like The Invitation on Netflix. Take our word for it and go in blind. —J.M.B.


7) We Are Still Here

horror movies netflix: We Are Still Here Photo via We Are Still Here

95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

This horror movie—which premiered at South by Southwest in 2015—centers on a grieving couple trying to get over the tragic death of their son by moving to rural New England. There, they find an old house that seemed like the perfect place to forget… until they discover that it houses evil spirits. While the premise may seem like a common horror plot, watch for several unexpected twists. —J.K.

8) Hellraiser

63 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

This 1987 classic of British horror introduced the world to Pinhead, the sadomasochistic demon who wants to tear your soul apart. Built on a foundation of black magic, Hellraiser is a tale of human sacrifice and demonic sex with a dark sense of humor at its kinky heart. As much a fairy tale as a horror story, Hellraiser has inspired a generation of dark fantasy filmmakers. Thanks to Netflix, you get to see why. —J.M.B.

9) Under the Shadow

98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

In 1980s Tehran, during the War of the Cities, a mother and daughter stay huddled up in their apartment as their city is bombarded by missiles. The historical horror and PTSD-inducing sights of rockets cracking roofs should be terrifying enough, but then an evil spirit takes interest in the little girl and things go from bad to worse. Directed by Iranian-born Babak Anvari, Under the Shadow deals with the social issues of a woman’s place in a fundamentalist Muslim society as much as it does demonic forces. —J.M.B.

10) The Host

93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

In the mood for a monster movie? The Host provides an equal amount of scare and laughs that make another great cult horror project to add to your Netflix list. This South Korean flick was so successful the year it came out (2006) that plans for a Hollywood remake were made but little progress has been made —J.K.

11) Starry Eyes

75 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

In Starry Eyes, you see just how much a young starlet is willing to let go of to see her name in lights. Blending Cronenbergian body horror with the surrealistic nihilism of David Lynch, Starry Eyes is a classic Hollywood tale of innocence destroyed by greed. The buckets of blood are just an added bonus. —J.M.B.

12) The Nightmare

71 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

Eight percent of the population suffers from sleep paralysis, defined as “a discrete period of time during which voluntary muscle movement is inhibited, yet ocular and respiratory movements are intact.” Basically, your body is completely asleep but you can’t move. For the people who suffer from this disorder, it can be a terrifying nightmare, being trapped in a body that can’t move. The Nightmare is a documentary about these people and the night terrors that follow them. While not everyone with sleep paralysis sees the dark figures that haunt the subjects of this documentary, we promise they’ll haunt your dreams long after your viewing. —J.M.B.

13) We Are What We Are

86 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

This is the 2013 American remake of the 2010 Mexican cannibal horror film, but each film stands on its own. It just so happens, the remake is the only one on Netflix. You won’t care. Transporting the tale from busy poverty-stricken Mexican City to the rural American South, We Are What We Are shows the versatility of the original premise and the universal nature of religion’s power over desperate people. It tells the story of two young girls who struggle to keep their cannibalistic family safe while their father mourns the death of their mother. A haunting piece of slow-burning gothic horror, We Are What We Are will break your heart and chill your blood. —J.M.B.

14) It Follows

97 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

Sex will kill you. If you went to public school in a red state or have particularly overzealous parents, you’ve probably heard that idea once or twice. In It Follows, the warning is literal. Sex will kill you or, more specifically, will cause an evil spirit to follow you around, hunting you down until you have sex with someone else—like if the tape from The Ring was an STD. It Follows has brilliantly subtle direction that focuses on the characters while saving jump scares for when they’re absolutely needed. —J.M.B.

15) The Sacrament

62 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

best horror movies on netflix : The Sacrament Screengrab via Horror Addict/YouTube

When I saw the Sacrament at a festival in 2013, the friend who sat next to me wept during the final 10 minutes of the film. This deeply disturbing faux-documentary follows a group of Vice reporters who are investigating a remote religious commune called Eden Parish. Inspired by the Jonestown tragedy, The Sacrament is a slow-burning tale of corrupted faith and the horrific consequences that follow in its wake. Largely free from the gore that often drowns the third act of horror films, The Sacrament still manages to bare its teeth in vicious fashion. We highly recommend skipping the trailer as it has plenty of spoilers. Go in blind, and let The Sacrament’s dark gospel wash over you.

16) Frailty

73 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

best horror movies on netflix : Frailty Screengrab via Rotten Tomatoes

Starring and directed by the late Bill Paxton, 2001’s Frailty is an oddity in beloved actor’s career. The actor seldom dipped into the horror world, though when he did with films like Near Dark or Aliens, the results were magical. Frailty follows a family of ax murderers who kill based on the supposedly divine visions of the patriarch. Swinging back and forth between the confessions of the family’s oldest son to the FBI in the present and the killings in his childhood, the horrors on screen are coupled with a legitimately compelling family drama about the impact fathers can have on their children. Matthew McConaughey anchors the future segments with a cold sorrow that reminds you what an underrated actor he is. Paxton’s performance as Meiks is terrifying because of how mournful it is. Meiks isn’t a man who wants to kill—but one whose god is telling him to. Thankfully, by the end of the film, you’ll know if he’s actually crazy or not. The answer isn’t comforting.

17) The Wailing

99 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

netflix horror movies : The Wailing Photo via Rotten Tomatoes

When officer Jong-Goo begins to investigate a series of murders caused by oddly sick people, he’s drawn into a war between reason and folklore. As the sickness hits his home, Jong-Goo has no choice but to reach out to a mysterious force to save the ones he loves. Blending police procedurals with black magic is an odd mix, but this Korean nightmare serves up deeply upsetting horrors for our beloved hero to experience. Its gradual build lulls you into a sense of false security, but rest assured, you will never guess the path The Wailing takes. 

18) The Blair Witch Project

86 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

horror movies on netflix : Blair Witch Project Photo via Artisan Pictures

Found footage films have lost much of their luster in the 17 years since The Blair Witch Project was released, but this movie stands the test of time. Blair Witch at its heart isn’t a film about the witch. It’s a story of what happens when people are so scared they start to lose their minds. Whether the witch is real is almost secondary. It’s easy to forget how terrifying being lost in the woods is, and the whole cast is far better than they’ve ever been given credit for. Heather Donahue, in particular, turns in a heart-rending performance. With possibly the best final five minutes of any found footage film, The Blair Witch Project remains an underrated classic. Turn off the lights before watching.

19) Pontypool

83 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

best horror movies on netflix : Pontypool Photo via Rotten Tomatoes

In Pontypool, words can be deadly. In the town of Pontypool, Ontario, a radio host and his crew are at work one day when reports of riots and deaths start to come in. The government issues a warning: Don’t use terms of endearment, rhetorical arguments, or even the English language. A virus has found its way into our words, and bloodshed follows wherever it goes. Adapted from Tony Burgess’ novel Pontypool Changes Everything, the film almost takes place in a bottle: Once the characters reach the studio, they’re there until the end of the movie. Of course, a lot can happen during a day at work. What our protagonist’s experience will stick with you.

20) Honeymoon

73 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

best horror movies on netflix : Honeymoon Photo via Rotten Tomatoes

It’s impossible to describe Honeymoon in too much detail without giving away the wonderfully dark secrets of the film. Lets just say this: Honeymoon is a film about a couple that goes on their honeymoon, some weird things happen, and it’s not what you think it is. The heart of Honeymoon is a love story, an oddly romantic counterbalance to AntiChrist’s nihilism, at least until it isn’t. While not a gore fest, when things get unpleasant they get really unpleasant, so consider yourself warned.

21) Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

78 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

Freddy Krueger may have started as a horrific figure, but by the late ‘80s, he became a caricature of himself, more comical than scary. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare is an attempt by Freddy’s creator to reclaim his creature, bringing the nightmare into the real world to stalk the actors who originally made the world fear him. Starring Wes Craven and Heather Langenkamp as themselves, New Nightmare shouldn’t work. But Wes Craven delivers one of the most-terrifying films in his catalog, one with a shockingly low body count. Each death comes as a surprise, something Freddy hadn’t really delivered since 1987’s Dream Warriors. If you grew up thinkings Freddy Krueger was a joke, New Nightmare is a cruel little film that will set you straight.

22) Oldboy

80 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

best horror movies on netflix : Oldboy Photo via Tartan Films/Rotten Tomatoes

There are a few films on this list that are technically not horror films. While more traditionally a suspense film, Oldboy is a deeply upsetting movie, leaving you far more shaken than most ghost stories could ever accomplish. A man is kidnapped, locked in a room for 15 years, and then one day released. He immediately sets out to discover why he was kidnapped, leading down the path to one of the darkest revenge thrillers of all time. Oldboy will haunt you, both thanks to its staggering physical and psychological violence. Stay away from the American remake. Accept only the original. And for god’s sake don’t read any spoilers.

23) We Need To Talk About Kevin

76 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

best horror movies on netflix : We Need To Talk About Kevin Photo via Oscilloscope Pictures/Rotten Tomatoes

We Need To Talk About Kevin may not immediately seem like a horror film, but in an era of regular mass murder, it’s a sadly pertinent one. Tilda Swinton stars as Eva Khatchadourian, mother of Kevin Khatchadourian, who is in jail for committing a school shooting. Via a series of flashbacks, we learn exactly what happened, watching in slowly unveiling horror as Eva helplessly tries to warn the world about her son. Equally a psychological thriller, We Need To Talk About Kevin takes a hard look at the idea that some people are just born evil. Easily the least violent film on this list, you’d be remiss to think that means it lacks bite.  

24) Uncle John

83 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

best horror movies on netflix : Uncle John Photo via Filmbluff/Rotten Tomatoes

Uncle John is the last of our nontraditional horror recommendations, but that doesn’t mean it lacks punch. Horror master David Lynch said of the film, “Uncle John caught me up and held me for days after seeing it.” Given Lynch’s avant-garde pedigree, you won’t be surprised to learn that Uncle John is far from your standard murder picture. A subtle story about the way small towns sometimes implode, Uncle John is a terrific time bomb of dread for people who like their horror without a bucket of blood.

25) Trash Fire

70 percent on Rotten Tomatoes

horror movies netflix : Trash Fire Screengrab via Circle of Confusion/Rotten Tomatoes

How you feel about Trash Fire will depend on how dark you like your movies. Entourage’s Adrian Grenier stars as Owen, an epileptic alcoholic who is barely hanging on to his relationship with his girlfriend Isabel, played with grace by Angela Trimbur. When Isabel learns she’s pregnant, she tells Owen she’s going to leave him if he doesn’t introduce her to his family. Of course, sometimes there’s a reason you haven’t met your lover’s family. Beginning as a pitch-black comedy, Trash Fire slowly evolves into a horror film dealing with family guilt and the lasting impact of abuse. If you’ve ever wondered what it would look like if Chuck Palahniuk took a crack at a Faulkner novel, Trash Fire is your horrific answer.

Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance. 

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