Flowers are blooming, days are getting longer, and summer is just around the corner. What better time than now to watch… horror films? Typically, when the summer blockbuster season comes around, the horror genre takes a back seat. So, after you’ve finished watching The Fate of the Furious, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell no Tales, we’ve got some horror recommendations.
Netflix has a pretty solid selection of horror titles right now, from the supernatural to the super weird. It’s good to scare yourself every once and a while, and the ten films below will surely get your adrenaline pumping. If horror isn’t your speed, check out our animated recommendations.
It’s fun being a parent, until you unleash a malevolent spirit, who then wreaks havoc on your family. While The Babadook is classified as a horror film, it’s much smarter than your average ghost story. There are themes of family, trust, love, and support, all of which combine into a wonderfully crafted supernatural thriller that will leave you afraid to look under the bed.
There’s a dread that lingers throughout It Follows, unflinching and emotionless as the “it” chases its prey. The opening to the film is shocking, and that tone doesn’t subside until the end credits start to role. The premise is a little wonky, and there are some moments in It Follows that made me roll my eyes. But, overall, it’s a refreshing horror film that’s beautifully shot and includes some fantastic music.
A frightening game of cat-and-mouse plays out in Hush, about a young woman, Maddie, who is stalked by a homicidal maniac. That sounds like every other home invasion movie—only Hush introduces a unique twist. Maddie is deaf and mute, making it difficult for her to communicate with the outside world. But just because she is someone with disabilities doesn’t mean she’s unable to fight back—something her home invader does not anticipate.
I don’t need to convince you to watch Stanley Kubrick’s horror masterpiece. People are still talking about this movie, uncovering new secrets, and analyzing its finer details. There’s a deranged isolation that underpins the film, but it’s the frightening performance by Jack Nicholson, who believably descends into madness, that ties it all together. Once you see it, you’ll marvel at how truly ahead of its time The Shining was.
The Blair Witch Project
The Blair Witch Project landed before “found footage” was a thing, and people weren’t sure if the film was “real” or fiction—and it was this uncertainty that helped the movie achieve such a legendary following. At the time, the movie was inventive, clever, and created a wonderful mythology without leaning too hard on exposition. And that final shot? Man, I still get goosebumps.
This one is different from the others on the list in that it’s presented as an anthology. Each short can stand on its own, but they have a narrative link using the concept of found footage. What’s cool about V/H/S is it provides different directors the chance to tell their own story without needing to sustain the runtime of a feature-length movie. If you like V/H/S, it’s also worth checking out V/H/S 2, which uses a similar anthology approach.
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
Rarely are horror-comedies any good, which makes Tucker and Dale vs. Evil so surprising. Starring Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk, the film beautifully straddles the line between absurdity and hilarity, often harmonizing the two into a single, enjoyable tune. If you don’t mind over-the-top violence, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is the kind of movie you need to see, if only to help you appreciate the genius behind the horror-comedy genre.
The moral of any story is to never go into an attic. That goes doubly so if you find a mysterious box left over from the previous family. In Sinister, from director Scott Derrickson (Doctor Strange), a father discovers Super 8 mm footage that appears to be innocent home movies, but instead turns out to be murder footage. That’s when all hell breaks lose, and a terrible deity named Bughuul enters the fray. And, yeah, once he finds you, you’re pretty much toast.
No horror list would be complete without a film from Clive Barker. How to describe Hellraiser? Well, if you’re into supernatural beings and seeing the grotesque torture of the human body, then Hellraiser is right up your alley. Watching the trailer now, the movie looks pretty cheesy, but I assure you it’s anything but. The image of Pinhead will haunt your dreams for a long time to come.
Gremlins is another example of horror-comedy—and a wonderful example of what practical effects can bring to a movie. Gremlins is both profane and profound, and completely absurd. But it works. The film subverts expectations while turning cliches on their head. As a kid, I was both entranced and terrified by the different Gremlins, who were mischievous, hilarious, and a little naughty. If you liked E.T., well, this is not that.