Everyone likes a little drama in their life, but most of us prefer it on screen, where we can enjoy it from a pleasurable distance. But maybe you're tired of the usual romantic entanglements, lusty betrayals, or workplace backstabbings. Maybe you're seeking something a little more eerie, something with a touch of the unknown about it, while retaining that core of conflict. We've got you covered with 17 spooky dramas streaming on Netflix that'll add a soupçon of supernatural strain to your dramatic diet.
These movies strike that fine balance between eeriness and flat-out horror. The line in the sand might be best exemplified by the unfortunately not-streaming The Haunting (1963), which despite its title and premise, leans heavily on character flaws and relationships for interest. You're never sure if there even are ghosts or if it's just a fevered element of emotional instability, and the only special effects are sound design and editing.
Toeing a similar line on this list are Personal Shopper's story of reaching out for messages from beyond that might not be there, Ex Machina's emotionally manipulative Turing Test, and Under The Skin's truly alien exploration of desire. Gerald's Game also has you (and the poor protagonist) questioning whether what's seen is hallucination or real — after all, it is a Stephen King adaptation. But what you'll find in all of these films is genuine drama.
1. 'The Stranger'
Orson Welles plays a former Nazi who's managed to hide his past an integrate into a cozy Connecticut town... until one of his cohorts shows up to hide with him, bringing the attention of the law to bear.
This Stephen King adaptation's supernatural elements might be no more than manifestations of a stubborn farmer's guilt over killing his wife to avoid change — that doesn't make them any less frightening.
3. 'No Country For Old Men'
The Coen Brothers' terse, bleak take on a Cormac McCarthy novel elevates a cops-and-criminals chase for cash into meditation on fate and free will.
4. 'Ex Machina'
A sci-fi Bluebeard in a claustrophobic setting, where a lonely programmer visits his company's reclusive genius CEO (Oscar Isaac) and meets his latest creation: Ava.
5. 'Bottom Of The World'
Alex and Scarlett stop in a small town en route to a new life in L.A., but when Alex wakes, Scarlett's gone and a masked stranger lures him to the desert. When he wakes again, it's in an entirely different life... but he still remembers Scarlett.
Watching a bunch of teens hide out in a high-end department store shouldn't be so tense, especially lacking killer robots, but there's much more going on during their evening than meets the eye.
7. 'Under The Skin'
Scotland plays itself in this strange, unearthly tale of an entity (Scarlett Johansen) who preys on men amid the mist in her van.
8. 'The Invitation'
Attending an ex's dinner party would be stressful enough, but when a former beau begins to suspect something more sinister behind the gathering, distrust is magnified tenfold.
9. 'Gerald's Game'
If you think there couldn't be that much going on in a film where the protagonist is literally chained to one spot, you haven't seen this eerie adaptation of an unusually specific survival story by Stephen King.
A determined cam girl meets her match when a doppelganger takes over her website and performs herself better than she did for watching audiences.
11. 'Personal Shopper'
A young woman working for a wealthy celebrity has ulterior motives — but not the ones you'd think, in this strange tale of connection beyond life.
12. 'The Witch'
There's a touch of the supernatural, but if you want to know just how terrifying and lonely scraping by living in the early colonies was, especially when ostracized, this is the film to watch.
13. 'Silence Of The Lambs'
It's a classic for a reason. Young FBI agent Clarice Starling makes a deal with the devil to try and stop serial killer Buffalo Bill from striking again.
A lot of people went into David Fincher's movie about the Zodiac Killer investigation expecting another Se7ven. They were probably disappointed by its masterful handling of the stress and trauma a still-unsolved case heaps onto the investigators involved over decades.
This movie's unfortunately known for its most traumatic scene in the worst juvenile way, a shame when its harrowing examination of personality and masculinity clashing in unforgiving nature is so much more.
Though there's actual creepiness behind this cult, the tension comes mostly from personality clashes amid a sense of dread and inescapability.
17. 'The Wailing'
A mysterious stranger's arrival, a plague outbreak, and a policeman whose investigation gets personal when his daughter's life is put on the line... this Korean horror drama broke box office for a reason.
If you find yourself too chilled by all this eerieness, don't worry — here's a list of lighthearted films to balance out the bleak.