6 Anthology Crime & Thriller Shows On Netflix That Will Definitely Keep You Up At Night
Do you have a big meeting in the morning? Need to get some beauty rest in anticipation of a date? Have insomnia? OK, well, this list is not for you then. These anthology crime and thriller shows on Netflix — all of which are currently available to stream on Netflix — will legitimately make it impossible to sleep at night. Consider yourself warned.
If you feel like you're comfortable with terror, though, and can easily move on from the after-show shock, then by all means — dive on in. But first, let's clarify what makes something an "anthology series."
At its core, an anthology series maintains a rotating cast of characters and/or varying plot lines in order to tell a story (or stories) within a similar, overarching style or tone. This can be done episodically — which changes things up every episode — like in Black Mirror, or seasonally — which shows a different story with different characters every season — like American Horror Story. These different from sitcoms or dramas in that you don't expect to see the same characters continue to advance the same plot episode to episode or from season one to season two, and so on.
This particular list of anthology series is dedicated to crime and horror. Creepy, scary, sometimes bloody, turn-it-off-I-can't-watch-this kinds of crime and thriller. This list is not for the faint of heart, and it's not for those with queasy stomachs. Bottom line: Watch at your own risk (and probably with the lights on).
1. 'American Horror Story'
This series is a given for anyone who loves a little horror in thier life. Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story is currently in the midst of filming its eighth season (titled Apocalypse and set 18 months from the present), but you can currently watch seasons 1 through 6 on Neflix.
Vulture ranked the existing seasons from worst to best in Dec. 2017, and ranked Asylum (Season 2) the best — because all the plot lines came together "to tell a story about how people cast out from society ... can be victimized by the institutions that try to contain them."
Honestly, though, they're all so different and done so well, you can't really go wrong. Pick your poison — be it side-show freaks, New Orleans witches, murderous clowns, or mental institutions — and prepared to be scared.
2. 'The Twilight Zone'
Before this creepy, classic anthology show gets the remake treatment from Jordan Peele, the original Twilight Zone episodes — shot entirely in black and white — are available for fright fans of all kinds.
The eerie series first premiered back in 1959, and was a cultural phenomenon at the time, mixing sci-fi, fantasy, suspense, and psychological thriller at every turn.
Of producing the reboot, Peele told Variety in Dec. 2017, "Too many times this year it’s felt we were living in a twilight zone, and I can’t think of a better moment to reintroduce it to modern audiences."
3. 'Black Mirror'
The underlying premise of Black Mirror is ... dark, mainly because every episode will have you screaming "too real!" You needn't go any further than reading the show's title to get the gist behind the entire series, though.
When it first came out back in 2014, Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker told Channel 4 (as per Digital Spy), "What I took [the title] to mean was when a screen is off – when a screen is off it looks like a black mirror." Ah, technology.
Brooker continued to explain, "Because any TV, any LCD, any iPhone, any iPad – something like that – if you just stare at it, it looks like a black mirror, and there's something cold and horrifying about that, and it was such a fitting title for the show."
If the thought of logging off of social media and getting rid of modern technology scares you, rest assured that Black Mirror will convince you to feel otherwise — and will probably scare you even more. Seasons 1 through 4 are currently streaming on Netflix.
You know it, you love it, you've read the R.L. Stine-penned books, and the corresponding '90s T.V. series probably scared the crap out of you when you were a kid. Well, guess what? Goosebumps will still scare you as an adult, and you can watch all four seasons (plus the six hour-long special episodes from Goosebumps Presents) right now ... if you dare.
5. 'American Crime'
This anthology crime series (not to be confused with Ryan Murphy's American Crime Story), isn't like, "boo! AH!" scary. It's scary in a Black Mirror kind of way, except there's no fantasy or sci-fi imaginings here.
Each season of American Crime revolves around a current, topical, politically-charged tragedy, and while Black Mirror may have you screaming, "too real," American Crime will have you screaming, "I know someone that happened to."
Despite the show's widespread critical acclaim, American Crime was cancelled in mid-May. You can still watch every existing episode on Netflix, but don't be surprised if you see these same kinds of nightmarish situations playing out on the news.
If you've never heard of Netflix's chilling Canadian series Slasher, a brief search will return reviews with headlines that include phrases like, "horror heaven," and "genuine horror," and well, you get the point. The second season ("Guilty Party") debuted on Oct. 17, and if you've ever gone camping or been a camp counselor, you may never feel safe in the woods again after you're done watching it.
Of course, this "terrible things happening in the woods" trope is nothing new for the horror genre, but as Decider pointed out:
"[It] finds strength in its character-driven storylines. Rather than just watching them get picked off one by one and wondering what gloriously demented fate awaits this -ahem- guilty party, we instead become invested in their lives, relationships, and futures. The utilization of a classic slasher setting like a summer camp and having them return in the dead of Canadian winter ensures that many of the twists and turns come as a total surprise."
BOO! Just kidding. None of these crime and thriller anthology series are actually real ... or are they? You'll be fine. Probably. Maybe just sleep with the lights on tonight.