21 scariest horror movies on Netflix (updated February 2024) (2024)

A new year is upon us and there are plenty of reasons to continue watching horror films! Luckily for Netflix subscribers, there are plenty of scary movies on Netflix to watch this time of year. Netflix has added several new titles in the past couple of months, including notable titles like X and The Babadook.

If you’re hankering to start watching scary stuff because you like watching horror all year, then there are choices for those who want to be scared out of their wits and for families looking for something nice to watch together!

  1. X (2022)
  2. The Babadook (2014)
  3. It (2017)
  4. Train to Busan (2016)
  5. Malignant (2021)
  6. Insidious (2010)
  7. Sister Death (2023)
  8. The Wailing (2016)
  9. It Follows (2014)
  10. No One Gets Out Alive (2014)
  11. Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)
  12. Lights Out (2016)
  13. Apostle (2018)
  14. His House (2020)
  15. Incantation (2022)
  16. Blood Red Sky (2021)
  17. Crimson Peak (2015)
  18. Gerald’s Game (2017)
  19. Verónica (2017)
  20. Fear Street (2021)
  21. Creep (2014)
  22. Cam (2018)
  23. The Perfection (2018)
  24. The Ritual (2017)
  25. The Babysitter (2017)
21 scariest horror movies on Netflix (updated February 2024) (1)

  • Directed by: Ti West
  • Starring: Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Martin Henderson, Brittany Snow, Owen Campbell, Stephen Ure, and Scott Mescudi

The first movie in what has become a popular slasher film franchise helmed by Ti West, X is an excellent and over-the-top horror movie following a group of filmmakers determined to break into the adult entertainment industry. Mia Goth pulls double duty here as Maxine Minx and one of the movie's primary antagonists, Pearl.

After renting an out-of-the-way spot on a rural Texas property, the friends find themselves in mortal peril after their hosts start picking them off one by one. Apart from Goth, X also stars Jenna Ortega, Brittany Snow, Martin Henderson, and more.

The Babadook (2014)

  • Directed by: Jennifer Kent
  • Starring: Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Hayley McElhinney, Daniel Henshall, Barbara West, and Ben Winspear

This Australian horror movie from writer and director Jennifer Kent is based on Kent's short film Monster and follows a widowed single mother who is forced to confront a vicious boogeyman-like monster after it takes up in her home. Over the years, The Babadook has become something of a cult classic, thanks both to the film being excellent and the many memes that have been born related to the titular creature.

  • Directed by: Andy Muschietti
  • Starring: Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgård, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, and Jackson Robert Scott

Based on Stephen King's iconic horror novel of the same name, It has become incredibly famous largely due to its terrifying villain, Pennywise the Dancing Clown. In this version of the story, he's played by Bill Skarsgard, who delivers a particularly memorable and menacing performance as the eldritch creature who preys on children in a 27-year cycle within the fictional town of Derry, Maine.

It tends to come and go from Netflix, so if you do want to revisit it, now is the best time to check it out! It: Chapter Two isn't on Netflix right now, but you can rent or buy the film digitally.

Train to Busan (2016)

  • Directed by: Yeon Sang-ho
  • Starring: Gong Yoo, Jung Yu-mi, Ma Dong-seok, Kim Su-an, Choi Woo-shik, Ahn So-hee, and Kim Eui-sung

This 2016 Korean film became a massive hit that went on to launch a franchise that includes an animated prequel and a standalone sequel. An American adaptation is also in development. Train to Busan primarily takes place on a train when a man and his young daughter find themselves trapped amid a zombie outbreak.

21 scariest horror movies on Netflix (updated February 2024) (2)

  • Directed by: James Wan
  • Starring: Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young, and Michole Briana White

Malignant is a divisive horror film from 2021 that recently got added to Netflix, which is somewhat surprising since the film was touted as a Max original when it first released, but a lot has changed in two years. Warner Bros. regularly licenses content to the streaming service now and Malignant is the most recent acquisition.

The movie comes from popular horror filmmaker James Wan and writer Akela Cooper, who also penned the screenplays for The Nun II and M3GAN. This movie is a bonkers R-rated flick starring Annabelle Wallis tormented by horrific visions of people being murdered, but she soon realizes that these "visions" are actually happening in real life.

Insidious (2010)

  • Directed by: James Wan
  • Starring: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, and Barbara Hershey

The supernatural horror film that started it all is back on Netflix. In 2023, Sony wrapped up its Insidious film franchise with Insidious: The Red Door, directed by star Patrick Wilson. For now, the saga of the Lambert family has come to a close, though I’d be surprised if that remains a permanent ending forever, especially after the fifth movie became one of the top-earning horror movies of 2023 and the highest-earning Insidious film of the entire franchise.

Nonetheless, most fans can agree that the 2010 movie is the best of the bunch. I personally haven’t liked a single Insidious film since then, though some have been more successful than others. Revisit Insidious to remember what made the series so terrifying in the first place, including the introduction of the Lipstick Demon, one of the best jump scares of modern cinema, and the meme-worthy usage of Tiny Tim’s “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” during the film’s climactic moment.

21 scariest horror movies on Netflix (updated February 2024) (3)

  • Directed by: Paco Plaza
  • Starring: Aria Bedmar, Maru Valdivielso, Luisa Merelas, Almudena Amor, Chelo Vivares, Sara Roch, Olimpia Roch, Adriana Camarena, Martina Delgado, and Claudia Fernández Arroyo

Paco Plaza directs this prequel to his 2017 Spanish horror movie Verónica. Sister Death follows the origins of the titular character, a blind nun who helps Verónica in the first film. In Sister Death, we’re introduced to Narcisa as a young woman who gets a new job teaching at a convent turned all-girls boarding school.

Set during post-war Spain in the 1940s, Narcisa must navigate the school as it becomes increasingly apparent that something bad is happening, something that sparks an investigation into the school’s dark history. Sister Death isn’t necessarily the scariest film, but it does have some very disturbing imagery and plays out like a character-driven psychological drama at times. Actress Aria Bedmar is excellent in the lead role and it’s worth watching for her alone.

The Wailing (2016)

  • Directed by: Na Hong-jin
  • Starring: Kwak Do-won, Hwang Jung-min, Chun Woo-hee, and Jun Kunimura

The Wailing is an acclaimed South Korean horror movie released in 2016 and recently added to Netflix. If you are a fan of horror then The Wailing is a must-watch. It’s not a Netflix Original film, so try to get to it as soon as you can before it’s removed. The Wailing might seem daunting at first because it is a very long movie, almost 2 1/2 hours long, but it’s worth it to get invested in this captivating saga of a small town terrorized by a demonic entity.

It has a 99% score on Rotten Tomatoes and is often considered one of the best horror movies of the past decade. Some even believe it to be a modern masterpiece and it will leave you with a lot to think about as the movie doesn’t really hold your hand. It’s truly an epic saga that unfolds slowly across its lengthy runtime.

  • Directed by: David Robert Mitchell
  • Starring: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi, Lili Sepe, Daniel Zovatto, and Jake Weary

It Follows is an acclaimed horror film from 2014 starring underrated scream queen Maika Monroe (The Watcher, Significant Other, and more). Monroe plays a teenager named Jay who sleeps with her boyfriend for the first time, only to learn that he’s transferred a deadly curse to her that is transmitted through sex.

Jay tries to get help from her friends, but they believe she’s just being paranoid until they start seeing the invisible entities after her, too. Jay must do whatever it takes to pass on the curse or try to break the deadly loop once and for all. Despite the movie’s simple premise, it’s a very uneasy viewing experience that sticks with you long after the credits roll.

No One Gets Out Alive (2014)

  • Directed by: Santiago Menghini
  • Starring: Cristina Rodlo, Marc Menchaca, David Figlioli, David Barrera, and Victoria Alco*ck

If it’s a film adaptation of an Adam Nevill novel, then you know you’re going to be in for something terrifying. Netflix previously adapted Nevill’s novel The Ritual, a folk horror film featured on this list. No One Gets Out Alive is adapted from another Nevill book about a young woman who moves into a new apartment and finds herself increasingly disturbed by how the tenants act each night. No One Gets Out Alive is a British film centered on Ambar (Cristina Rodlo).

Ambar is undocumented and strapped for cash, as she’s forced to work under the table for money until she can get a new identity and citizenship. Unable to afford much, she finds a room for rent at an old boardinghouse and quickly realizes something is very wrong at her new residence. Ambar begins experiencing eerie phenomena, and she notices signs of ritual sacrifice in the rooms of the old house.

No One Gets Out Alive is a tense film from the start, but it’s the ending that really makes this movie stand out, as it includes one of the coolest monsters and creature designs I’ve seen from a horror film on Netflix.

  • Directed by: Mike Flanagan
    Starring: Elizabeth Reaser, Lulu Wilson, Annalise Basso, and Henry Thomas

Netflix recently added the 2014 film Ouija to its catalog, but its sequel, Ouija: Origin of Evil, has been streaming on the service for longer and is the superior of the two movies. The good thing is that you can watch Origin of Evil without having seen the first, although there is a fun little easter egg/reference at the end of the film that ties back to the first one.

Directed by horror master Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House, Midnight Mass), Ouija: Origin of Evil is set in 1967 Los Angeles and follows widowed mother, Alice Zander, as she adds a new stunt to her scam scéance business and unknowingly invites an evil presence into her house that preys upon her youngest daughter.

Lights Out (2016)

  • Directed by: David F. Sandberg
  • Starring: Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Billy Burke, and Maria Bello

This 2016 supernatural horror film marked David F. Sandberg’s directorial debut. Based on Sandberg’s 2013 short film, Lights Out follows Teresa Palmer’s character Rebecca as she confronts childhood fears and strives to protect her brother (Gabriel Bateman) from a vengeful entity attached to her mother (Maria Bello).

What initially appeared to be a run-of-the-mill horror film was a surprising success thanks to excellent performances, great direction, and compelling cinematography. Lights Out made a significant profit, grossing over $148 million against a $4.9 million budget. Unsurprisingly, a sequel is in development, though it’s unclear if it is still happening since there have been no updates on its status in more than five years.

  • Directed by: Gareth Evans
  • Starring: Dan Stevens, Lucy Boynton, Mark Lewis Jones, Bill Milner, Kristine Froseth, Paul Higgins, and Michael Sheen

Apostle is a must-watch movie for folk horror fans. It starts slowly, but stick with it, and I promise you will be rewarded. If you’re into movies like Midsommar, The Ritual, The Witch, and The Wicker Man, this should be at the top of your watchlist.

Dan Stevens stars as Thomas Richardson, a London citizen who must rescue his sister from a religious cult in 1905. But as soon as Thomas infiltrates the secluded island where the cult dwells, he learns that the community has been overcome with corruption and is hiding a horrible secret.

Apostle starts off a bit slow, but if you give the movie a chance, you’ll be impressed by just how dark and disturbing it can get. I think it’s one of the most underrated movies on Netflix, maybe one of the most underrated horror movies of the past decade. It’s unfortunate that this film sort of got dumped off on Netflix without much fanfare. Don’t miss out on it! Dan Stevens and Michael Sheen especially are excellent here.

His House (2020)

  • Directed by: Remi Weekes
  • Starring: Wunmi Mosaku, Sope Dirisu and Matt Smith

His House is a very well-received horror film written and directed by Remi Weekes. The story is based on one written by Felicity Evans and Toby Venables. Premiering at the Sundance film festival in January 2020, the film make its international debut on Netflix months later in October, where it received widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike. His House even scored a rare 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a Certified Fresh seal of approval.

Despite the acclaim, His House is still relatively underrated and not as well-known as it should be, in my humble opinion. If you’ve never heard of it or haven’t had the chance to check it out yet, I suggest making time for it!

The story centers on a couple who narrowly escape war-torn South Sudan for a quiet life in an English town. But unfortunately for them, not long after arriving, they start to realize that something is very wrong in their new residence and something evil is lurking just beneath the surface.

  • Directed by: Kevin Ko
  • Starring: Tsai Hsuan-yen, Huang Sin-ting, Kao Ying-hsuan, Sean Lin, and RQ

If you’re a fan of found-footage horror movies and films like The Ring, then Incantation needs to be on your list. The film’s writer-director, Kevin Ko (who also co-wrote the screenplay Chang Che-wei), revealed that he was excited to see his movie getting an international release when it comes to Netflix in July.

Incantation is inspired by a real event involving a family of cult worshippers in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. It was shot in a mockumentary-style mixed with found-footage sequences and even moments of actors breaking the fourth wall.

Not only was this movie commercially successful in Taiwan, but critics have enjoyed it too and it has received multiple nominations at the Taipei Film Awards. An Incantation sequel has also already been announced.

Blood Red Sky (2021)

  • Directed by: Peter Thorwarth
  • Starring: Roland Møller, Peri Baumeister, Chidi Ajufo, Alexander Scheer, and Dominic Purcell

Blood Red Sky kind of came out of nowhere and immediately became a hit with horror fans. The British-German film from director Peter Thorwarth—who co-wrote the screenplay with Stefan Holtz—has a silly-sounding premise involving a plane hijacking and vampires, but it ends up being a very tense and thrilling movie, perhaps one of the best vampire movies in the genre, certainly the best I’ve seen in quite in some time.

In fact, the less you know about this movie, the better. So, if you’re reading this and thinking it sounds entertaining but you don’t know much about it, I’d advise against doing too much research because this film has a lot of surprises in store and it’s much more satisfying if you don’t anticipate what’s to come.

  • Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
  • Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam, Mia Wasikowska, and Jim Beaver

Do you like gothic stories? Guillermo del Toro? Tom Hiddleston? Then you’re in luck because Crimson Peak checks all three of those boxes! A gothic romance film directed by del Toro and written by him and Matthew Robbins, Crimson Peak stars Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain, Charlie Hunnam, Mia Wasikowska, and Jim Beaver (a.k.a. Bobby from Supernatural).

Set during the Edwardian era in England, the movie follows an aspiring author who settles down in a grand Gothic manor alongside her new husband and his sister. While there, she finds herself living far away from everyone and everything, soon becoming caught up in the strange mysteries of her new home and the terrifying specters living within.

Gerald’s Game (2017)

  • Directed by: Mike Flanagan
  • Starring: Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood

As a Mike Flanagan super-fan, you can’t blame me for adding basically all of his projects to this list! Besides Hush, Ouija: Origin of Evil, Oculus, and Doctor Sleep (plus his television shows!), Flanagan also directed Gerald’s Game, which is another adaptation of a Stephen King novel. Honestly, Netflix should really try to license all of Flanagan’s movies at this point and just become the de facto home for all of his stuff, they’re already over halfway there, but I digress.

Gerald’s Game reunited Flanagan with Carla Gugino, who also starred in The Haunting of Hill House and will star in his upcoming series The Fall of the House of Usher. Gugino is an amazing actress who I’ve been a fan of for ages, too, and she’s stellar in Gerald’s Game, especially since she has the difficult task of essentially carrying the movie herself.

The story is simple (and actually a little similar to Till Death). Gerald and Jessie Burlingame travel to an isolated lake house and start to get a little adventurous in the bedroom. But things get weird when Gerald breaks out the handcuffs and tries to act out a rape fantasy with his wife. Jessie plays along at first, before growing a little uneasy.

  • Directed by: Paco Plaza
  • Starring: Sandra Escacena, Bruna González, and Claudia Placer

Veronica is a Spanish supernatural horror film released in 2017 that is loosely based on true events, specifically the 1991 case of Estefanía Gutiérrez Lázaro, who died mysteriously after interacting with an Ouija board. Veronica is an underrated film, which is surprising since it garnered critical acclaim, and many who have watched the movie consider it to be genuinely terrifying and effective in its scares.

Taking place during a solar eclipse, Veronica follows a teenage girl who tries to summon her father using an Ouija board. She and her friends have no clue about the darkness they’ve tapped into until it’s much too late. During the session, she loses consciousness, and when she wakes up, it’s clear that some evil has arrived.

Fear Street (2021)

  • Directed by: Leigh Janiak
  • Starring: Kiana Madeira, Olivia Scott Welch, Benjamin Flores Jr., Julia Rehwald, Fred Hechinger, Ashley Zukerman, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Maya Hawke, Sadie Sink, Emily Rudd, Ryan Simpkins, McCabe Slye, Ted Sutherland, and Gillian Jacobs

The Fear Street trilogy was a big summer movie event on Netflix in 2021. Based on the popular novel series by prolific horror writer R.L. Stine, the Fear Street series consists of three films: Fear Street Part One: 1994, Fear Street Part Two: 1978, and Fear Street Part Three: 1666.

While each film has its own story, there is also an overarching plot that runs through all three movies and revolves around teenagers trying to break the curse that has infected the town of Shadyside for centuries.

Part One is set in 1994 and revolves around a group of teens trying to defeat an ancient evil. Then in Part Two, the story takes us back to 1978 at a summer camp called Camp Nightwing, where the counselors and students must band together against a possessed counselor.

Finally, in Part Three, we go all the way back to 1666 to see how the curse on Shadyside started. The third film also ties the overarching plot line together and connects back to the surviving characters in 1994.

  • Directed by: Patrick Brice
  • Starring: Mark Duplass and Patrick Brice

The Creep movies are excellent, underrated psychological horror movies starring Mark Duplass in one of his most terrifying roles yet. Released in 2014, the first Creep marked Patrick Brice’s directorial debut. The story was devised by Brice and Duplass, who collaborated on creating the movie.

Filmed as found footage, Creep follows Brice, a videographer, who has accepted a job to make a video for a strange client played by Duplass. If you enjoy the first movie, you should definitely check out Creep 2, which I actually liked even more than the original movie. Both are currently available to stream on Netflix.

In Creep 2, Duplass reprises his role from the first movie and hires yet another unsuspecting videographer to help him with a documentary. Desiree Akhavan and Karan Soni joined the cast for the follow-up film.

Cam (2018)

  • Directed by: Daniel Goldhaber
  • Starring: Madeline Brewer, Patch Darragh, Melora Walters, Devin Druid, Imani Hakim, and Michael Dempsey

Cam is, in my humble opinion, one of the most underrated horror films on Netflix. This savvy techno-thriller, written by Isa Mazzei, Daniel Goldhaber, and Isabelle Link-Levy, draws inspiration from Mazzei’s real experiences working as a camgirl.

Along with assisting in creating the story, Goldhaber also directed the movie. Before making its debut on Netflix, Cam had its world premiere at Fantasia Fest, where it was met with a fantastic reception from critics and genre fans. It went on to receive several accolades from horror and genre film festivals.

The story revolves around camgirl Alice (Madeleine Brewer), or “Lola_Lola,” as she’s known online. Alice regularly takes requests and posts promiscuous content as she tries to compete for the number one spot in the site’s rankings. But one day, Alice finds herself locked out of her account, the channel taken over by a near-exact replica of herself.

  • Directed by: Richard Shepard
  • Starring: Allison Williams, Logan Browning, Steven Weber, and Alaina Huffman

The Perfection is a genuinely terrifying and super twisted psychological thriller starring Allison Williams and Logan Browning. Williams and Browning are exceptional in this movie, playing young cellists in competition with one another.

Williams plays Charlotte Willmore, a talented musician who has to leave a prestigious music school to care for her mother. Years later, Charlotte discovers that a rising star named Lizzie Wells has replaced her at the academy as the new star pupil.

After her mother dies, Charlotte returns to the school and befriends Lizzie in the process, but are her intentions more sinister than they seem? Nothing in this movie is what it appears to be, and it’s best to go in as blind as possible if you can.

The Ritual (2017)

  • Directed by: David Bruckner
  • Starring: Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier and Sam Troughton

The Ritual is a British horror film adapted from Adam Nevill’s 2011 novel of the same name. If that name sounds familiar to you, you might have watched Netflix’s other horror film; No One Get Out Alive, also based on one of Nevill’s novels. Like No One Gets Out Alive, The Ritual has a horrifying monster and incredible creature design.

A folk horror film, The Ritual follows a group of friends who plan a hiking trip through North Sweden. But the friends overcompensate for their abilities and quickly realize that the hike is going to be more tedious than fun, especially since one of them injures his knee early on.

Rather than try to complete the trek, they decide to call it quits and try to figure out the fastest way out of the wooded area. As it’s a horror movie, you can probably guess where this is going. Instead of sticking to the map, the group tries to save time by taking an unmarked shortcut. They soon realize that they’ve stumbled into forbidden territory, and something ancient is stalking them, picking them off one by one.

  • Directed by: McG
  • Starring: Samara Weaving, Judah Lewis, Hana Mae Lee, Robbie Amell and Bella Thorne

If you consider yourself a Samara Weaving fan, then you need to watch The Babysitter as it was one of her breakout roles. Weaving has quickly made a name for herself in the horror genre, and beyond with films like Ready or Not and Mayhem, but before that, there was Netflix’s The Babysitter, where she plays the titular role.

This teen black comedy slasher film is tons of fun. It’s a little campy and ridiculous, but it’s a total blast to watch, and it was successful enough for Netflix to make a sequel, The Babysitter: Killer Queen, although that one had a more mixed reception.

The Babysitter follows Cole and his babysitter, Bee. Bee seems like the best kind of babysitter to have. She’s attractive, popular, really nice, and super funny. One night while staying at Cole’s house to watch him, Cole sneaks out of his bed after his bedtime and discovers a disturbing truth about the seemingly sweet Bee.

She’s actually a cold-blooded killer and the leader of a devil-worshipping cult. Instead of sleeping, Cole has to try to survive the night and not get murdered by Bee and her friends, who will go to any lengths to protect their dark secret.

Next. Best Netflix movies currently streaming. dark

21 scariest horror movies on Netflix (updated February 2024) (2024)

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