Between climate change, the threat of nuclear war, and dwindling planetary resources, there are plenty of things to be scared of right now. And yet human beings treat horror movies as an opportunity for escapism. There’s something about exploring your own fear response within a controlled environment – snuggled up with a bowl of popcorn in the safety of your couch – that is so satisfying, especially when the jump scares are extra good.
In the weeks leading up to Halloween, we like to keep the thrills coming, especially when it comes to finding high-quality thrillers to lose ourselves in. For some reason, though, the horror genre tends to suffer for lack of good production, bad acting, and terrible plots. Navigating horror movie lists can be a minefield of explosively bad taste, which is why we’ve curated this list of movies and TV shows that are great and currently available on Netflix – and will actually scare the crap out of you.
Scream is a horror classic that still holds up, even if you’ve seen it before. The idea of being targeted relentlessly by some lurking evil – one that is clearly part of your immediate community at that – is enough to leave us gasping at even the most obvious jump scares.
Paranormal Activity 2
Although many horror sequels suffer from been-there-done-that syndrome, Paranormal Activity 2 has enough genuinely frightening moments to compete with its box office-shattering predecessor. This time, an evil spirit captured on camera footage around the house haunts the home of the Rey family with an escalating series of “gotcha!” moments. Stick around, though, because the sequence at the end will make you jump out of your skin.
If you haven’t seen this thriller by Martin Scorsese, then we certainly hope no one has spoilt it for you already. With one of the most surprising plot twists in cinematic history, this film is a shocking depiction of a descent into madness coupled with twisted visions driven by extreme paranoia – or is it?
Mark and Jay Duplass are the duo behind plenty of intriguing indie hits like The Skeleton Twins and The Overnight. However, they occasionally turn their attention toward the suspense/thriller genre, and Creep is exemplary of their ability to getting under the audience’s skin.
It follows Aaron, a young film director who responds to a Craigslist ad placed by a dying man named Josef, who simply wants to be recorded going about his day with the intention of later giving the film to his unborn son. However, Josef’s peculiar behavior quickly escalates, and Aaron begins to realize that the dying man is not at all what he seems. We won’t spoil it for you, but this eery little independent horror film will stick with you long after you’ve turned off the lights.
Okay, this isn’t a film, but the cinematic qualities and long-form storytelling of British TV series Black Mirror is on this list for a very good reason: it’s terrifying. Each standalone episode of this cult hit deals with a different dystopian future: one in which we “rate” other humans publicly with scores that follow them throughout their day, and another with a swarm of AI-equipped killer bees that attack people based on social-media votes are two of many examples. This eerily prescient show will unsettle, disturb, challenge, and provoke you. Plus, with several seasons out, you can binge-watch this series straight through to Halloween.