The 21 Spookiest Movies & Shows On Netflix You Can Watch Right Now, Hands Down
Though spring is supposedly in the air, there are still plenty of chills to be had — like these 21 spooky things you can watch on Netflix right now, calibrated to make you curl up just a little tighter on the couch. Though most of these movies and series are slower-burning psychological thrillers, there's a touch of gore here and there. Perennial S&M-tinged favorite Hellraiser offers plenty of moody atmosphere and dream logic to go along with a healthy dose of ripping flesh, and the sudden blood splashes are all the darker in the middle of Let Me In's tale of burgeoning friendship between misfits.
Netflix has gone out of its way to program original series and movies, and many deliver the kind of creeping terror you'd only expect around Halloween, or at 3 a.m. in a dark house. 1922 is based on maestro of fright Stephen King's novella, and captures both the desperation of depression-era farming and the psychological toll of murder. Then there's I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House's mousey, nervous lead, who could be an audience stand-in for how it sets up the emotional tension of walking around an old, dark house.
Several films on this list play on the terror that you can't trust your own senses, including mystery-disease doc Unrest, indie chamber drama They Look Like People, and The Babadook's literal take on the horrors of parenting. So settle in; after watching these films it's going to feel like a long, dark night.
1'Let Me In'
A remake just as unnerving as the original, where a bullied young boy befriends a nocturnal and equally lonely friend. When bodies begin piling up, he wonders what's the right thing to do.
A straightforward "unrelenting killer" thriller, but the Final Girl is whoever the previous victim last slept with, adding an extra layer of horror to an intimacy already fraught with them.
A moody, enigmatic story of a woman's mental breakdown, and possibly her relapse, this film's mystery is best left unravelled by watching.
4'The Sixth Sense'
Before its most famous line and director became punchlines, The Sixth Sense was (and still is) a showcase for Shyamalan's genuine talents. The film's eerie atmosphere and disturbing imagery last long after the plot twist's reveal.
This time-traveling tale of several generations of small-town secrets layers and overlaps its unsettling plot lines, maintaining an atmosphere of dread and doom.
The rule of thumb for Stephen King adaptations is "novels = bad movie, novellas = great movie". Netflix must've known what they were doing when adapting this atmospheric tale of a man whose determination nothing should change leads him to destroy everything he has. Also plenty of rats.
A vet-school initiation ritual gives lifelong vegetarian sisters a disturbingly intense taste for meat. The gore level's as high as the camera artiness in this tale of carnal desires.
8'The Devil's Candy'
A Satanic-Panic throwback that asks the question whether anyone can truly know themselves, and what happens if they don't like the answers. Metal and mania merge in this story of a man obsessed with painting tortured children — is he freeing them through painting, or is something else at work?
9'I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House'
The feeling of dread before being scared so badly you jump is stretched to feature-length in this story of a nervous new caretaker suspecting she's not alone in the house with her elderly ward.
Though the zombie genre may seem completely played out even on TV, this series adds a melancholy eerieness to the proceedings that makes it stand out from the brutal violence of Walking Dead.
Mixed mutt Hagen encounters little in the way of human love or compassion, save for teenage Lili. She loses him when her father refuses to pay the "mongrel tax" required for un-purebred dogs, and Hagen begins to plan his revenge.
12'The Childhood Of A Leader'
This slow-burn film shows the roots of fascism are planted early, as a young man living under strict authoritarian parents watches France develop post-WWI.
13'Hotel Beau Séjour'
A teenager has to solve her own murder mystery in this atmospheric tale of small-town deceit and lies.
Speaking of carnal desires, Hellraiser pushes them to a level where pain and pleasure merge indistinguishably. Clive Barker's directorial debut follows a young woman caught up in her stepmother's blind lust when she attempts to raise her lover back from a hell dimension.
This documentary on sleep paralysis, with its tales of demons and dark men, will have you scared to even try and fall asleep.
16'They Look Like People'
One of the most terrifying moments is realizing you can't trust your own perception. In this thriller, a young man believes shapeshifting creatures pretending to be human are plotting an impending apocalypse, but can't determine if he needs to protect his friends from the war, or from himself.
A mysterious, debilitating disease cripples to the point of immobility, but doctors insist it doesn't exist. This is the actual, frightening struggle of sufferer and documentarian Jennifer as she seeks to discover what brought her low, and to get the medical community to believe her.
A young woman is determined to save her lover from his inevitable fate, bargaining with Death himself to save him. This silent, saturated story follows her through the ages as she struggles against the Reaper.
Parenting isn't easy, especially when you resent your own child for the death of your husband. Projected emotions may or may not become real in this creepy tale of the stresses of motherhood.
20'The Confession Tapes'
This disturbing series follows prisoners who insist the confessions that landed them in jail were coerced, false.
21'Lessons of Darkness'
The environmental and human disaster of Kuwait's burning oil fields is captured with haunting beauty in Werner Herzog's 1992 documentary.
These spooky films and shows aren't the kind of stories meant to jolt; they're haunting tales that will linger long after you've shut the screen off for the night.