Not everyone wants to go trick-or-treating or to a Rocky Horror-style Halloween party. For some of us, a good night is staying up late, turning off all the lights, and binging on horror movies that are sure to give us nightmares, and Netflix has quite the selection of terrifying movies. Here are the best horror movies on Netflix for you to binge in Halloween 2021 and while you hide under the covers.
Director Mike Flanagan has several horror movies on Netflix that’d make for a good 2021 viewing, this film stars his wife Kate Siegel as a deaf-mute writer who lives isolated and at peace with her cat in the woods. That peace is violently interrupted when she finds herself fighting for her life from the threat of a masked killer. There are few things scarier than the very real threat of home invasion, and this film captures that terror well. Having a heroine who must survive without hearing her terrorizer steadily approaching only creates more tension, and it will have you on the edge of your seat.
A group of friends on a video chat are joined by a mysterious user who they can’t ignore. When they realize that the username belonged to their classmate who committed suicide a year prior, they think they’re being pranked. But once secrets come out involving each of their roles in her death, it is clear that they are dealing with a ghost out for bloody revenge.
As ridiculous as that plot sounds, audiences and critics bought it. Unfriended is chilling, disturbing, and full of twists. It also features a strong lesson about the evils of cyberbullying and how it has consequences, and this film’s case, those consequences are terrifying and deadly.
8) It Comes at Night
It Comes at Night tells of a family that isolates themselves in their cabin in the woods when a contagious disease ravages the planet. They open their home to a family seeking refuge and food and start off connecting strongly. But soon their lives become unraveled by paranoia and mistrust.
Tension naturally runs high in this film thanks to the isolated ambiance. But it’s only intensified when watching it now in our present real situation. While the COVID-19 pandemic is certainly not creating a situation this extreme, our world is dealing with isolation mixed with some level of paranoia and mistrust. So naturally, watching a film like this in such trying times only makes the viewing experience more eerie and tense.
If you are a fan of 1973’s The Wicker Man… because of course, the 2006 trash heap has no fans… Apostle is right up your alley. In this film, a former missionary (Dan Stevens) travels to a village on a remote island where a cult is holding his sister hostage. The cult’s prophet, menacingly portrayed by Michael Sheen, convinces the followers that true freedom comes in serving their mysterious “goddess.” However, there’s tons of deception at play, and Stevens’ character is uncovering the strange secrets moment by moment.
This film’s setting, while beautiful to look at, carries a sense of isolated desperation that only intensifies the horror aspect. And while it does effectively pull off some supernatural horror, the scariest part is witnessing the disturbing level of violence people are willing to go to under cultic manipulation and fanaticism.
Of all the horror movies on Netflix to watch in Halloween 2021, this is one of the most twisted and disturbing.
6) The Conjuring 2
While this one doesn’t live up to its original predecessor (list spoiler), it is still an impressive entry into this franchise. We see Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) travel to England to assist the Hodgson family whose daughter is seemingly possessed by the spirit of an elderly man. Or is there a deeper evil afoot?
While some found that familiarity took away the chilly sting of the original film, most agreed that it was still a chilling and superior horror film. And while the real-life Warrens are widely thought to have been charlatans, their fictional counterparts always make for heroes you are rooting for as they war against spiritual evil.
5) Crimson Peak
Mia Wasikowska stars as an aspiring author who travels to a gothic mansion with her baronet husband (Tom Hiddleston) and his sister (Jessica Chastain). But once she becomes plagued by ghostly visions, she begins to uncover that eerie secrets and sinister plots are at play.
The film is visually stunning, which is to be expected from Guillermo Del Toro. While it is billed as a gothic romance, it’s got all the terrifying features of a horror film, and it will give you chills during your Halloween marathon.
4) Gerald’s Game
Stephen King is the literary “king” of horror, so at least one adaptation had to appear on this list. It’s also Mike Flanagan’s second film on this list. Gerald and his wife Jessie head to a remote lake house to spice up their marriage in Fifty Shades of Grey fashion. But things head downhill fast when Gerald dies of a heart attack, leaving Jessie handcuffed to the bed.
While Gerald’s Game carries some gruesome moments, it is most powerful when it takes us into Jessie’s psyche. Hallucinations from dehydration plague Jessie, and there are moments where even we aren’t sure what’s real and what isn’t. Moreover, watching Jessie come to grips with and face the traumatic past that brought her into this situation adds a touch of empowerment to the film which balances out the tension quite nicely.
3) His House
A family flees war-ravaged South Sudan seeking refuge in England, where they are forced into a run-down home for their probation. The family immediately faces racism and the pressure to assimilate. And if that’s not bad enough, they soon realize that an evil presence is terrorizing their home.
While all the supernatural elements make His House effectively terrifying, most viewers agree that it’s the psychological aspects that add the greatest level of tension. As we watch this family struggle with past trauma and trying to adjust to a new life, it’s clear that their emotions are giving the evil that haunts them greater power. The film is both terrifying and emotionally intense.
2) The Conjuring
This film led to two sequels and several spin-offs, but none have quite lived up to the high bar of their 2013 predecessor. Set in 1971, The Conjuring revived the haunted house genre and introduced us to Ed and Lorraine Warren. In this movie, we see them called upon by the Perron family who has just moved into a new home only to find it haunted by an evil entity.
The Conjuring almost feels like a 70s horror film with its cinematography and camera work largely styled after the films of that era. The film manages to be scary without excessive violence, and it also manages to be emotionally gripping as we see Ed and Lorraine fight for this family and for their own. You will be terrified, and you will be moved.
This film made people afraid to get in the tub let alone jump into the ocean. When a resort town’s beach is terrorized by a great white shark killing swimmers, the local sheriff (Roy Scheider) teams up with a marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss) and a shark hunter (Robert Shaw) to hunt it down and kill it once and for all.
While shark attack deaths are quite rare, Jaws is so scary that even phobia experts were afraid to go into the water. The movie’s tension and terror remain strong 46 years after its release. And while it’s going to make you terrified to go swimming, you’ll still probably view it repeatedly in the years to come.
Note: the sequels to Jaws are also on Netflix, but don’t waste your time.
Netflix and GET Chills
So there you have it, folks. The best horror movies on Netflix for your 2021 Halloween marathon. So get some popcorn, turn off the lights, and do not watch these movies alone!