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Toni Collette looking terrified in Ari Aster’s Hereditary Image: A24 per Everett Collection / Everett Collection

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The best horror movies you can watch right now

From Netflix to Hulu to Max, the eeriest, scariest, and best horror to watch at home... or else

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Whether it’s something gory and macabre, silly and irreverent, or eerie and unsettling, the genre of horror is as rich and varied as the multitude of ghosts, ghoulies, and homicidal maniacs that go bump in the night.

Looking for the best horror films available to stream on Netflix, Hulu, Max, and Paramount Plus? No worries, we’ve got the goods. We’ve combed through the libraries of each of the major streaming platforms to bring you a list of our most recommended horror movies. Here are the best horror movies you can stream right now, from old classics to new hits. Our latest update added Hereditary.


Editor’s pick

Hereditary

hereditary - toni colette and cast Image: A24

Year: 2018
Run time: 2h 7m
Director: Ari Aster
Cast: Toni Collette, Alex Wolff, Milly Shapiro
Where to watch: Max

Hereditary is a victim of its own success. The poster child for the misguided term “elevated horror,” and the subject of more than a few memes (particularly around telephone poles), the thing that often gets lost about Hereditary is that it’s actually really fucking good. And it’s damn scary too.

The movie follows Annie Graham, a difficult mother of two, who just lost her mom. During the funeral service, Annie notices quite a few people are here to mourn the mother she thought had no friends. She eventually learns this group of old people all belonged to the same bizarre semi-cult her mother did. And that’s where the witchy stuff starts.

From there everything descends into a complicated mishmash of tightly coiled family drama, supernatural plotting, and years-old resentments, and it’s absolutely excellent. Who’s to say which is scarier in this movie, the verbal immolation or the literal one?

Even if you’ve seen it already, you probably owe this movie a rewatch. You definitely remember that it’s good, but you probably don’t remember just how great it really is. Hereditary is elegantly creepy, right up until the point that it becomes terrifying. You can’t really ask any more from a horror movie than that. —Austen Goslin


Alone

Jessica (Jules Wilcox) in Alone. Image: XYZ Films/Magnet Releasing

Year: 2020
Run time: 1h 38m
Director: John Hyams
Cast: Jules Willcox, Marc Menchaca, Anthony Heald
Where to watch: Hulu, Kanopy

A taut spine-chiller from John Hyams (Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning), Alone is your classic woman-on-the-run thriller. Jessica (Jules Willcox), a recent widow, is in the midst of moving. If that wasn’t enough stress, a creepy man (Marc Menchaca) appears to be following her on the road. After he slashes her tires, she crashes and wakes up in his basement. What follows is a tightly crafted thriller with great performances, outstanding direction, and enough tension to keep your heart pounding throughout the 98-minute running time. —Pete Volk

Annihilation

The silhouette of a woman stands in front of a wild field of glowing trees on fire under a darkened sky. Image: Paramount Pictures

Year: 2018
Run time: 1h 55m
Director: Alex Garland
Cast: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez
Where to watch: Netflix

Annihilation might be the creepiest movie about plants ever made (with all due respect to The Ruins.)

Annihilation follows a group of scientists (played by a phenomenal group of actors) investigating an area struck by a meteor. The area that was hit has slowly spread and grown into what’s now known as The Shimmer, an area where nature seems to be taking over everything around it, but it’s a different kind of nature; strange, unnaturally green plants grow over everything, and creatures (animals and humans) slowly merge with the vegetation around them. At the center of all of this is a lighthouse the group must reach. Annihilation helps realize this strange Earth-but-not incredibly well, with beautiful and haunting production design and a finale as memorable as any horror movie on this list. — AG

Christine

A car engulfed in flames in Christine. Image: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Year: 1983
Run time: 1h 50m
Director: John Carpenter
Cast: Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul
Where to watch: Digital rental/purchase

A high school horror movie about a nerd who falls in love with a haunted car, Christine is an extraordinary Stephen King adaptation and a standout in John Carpenter’s consistently excellent filmography.

Arnie (Keith Gordon) is an unpopular high schooler in California who has just one friend, a popular football player named Dennis (John Stockwell, who in many ways is the emotional core of the movie, as someone who cares deeply about Arnie). When the two come across a broken-down old Plymouth Fury (a vehicle that we’ve already seen commit murder and mayhem in an opening sequence set in a 1950s car assembly plant), Arnie decides he must have it. He quickly becomes obsessed with the car, named “Christine,” and human and vehicle both become jealous of anybody who might interrupt their time together. He also starts to dress and act more like a greaser dirtbag from the 1950s. It’s a great time for everybody, except Arnie’s human loved ones.

The practical effects in Christine deserve special recognition here. The car can heal itself, an effect that is shown on camera in full, glorious display. The special effects team made rubber molds of Christine and then imploded it, running the shot in reverse in the film to evoke the effect of a self-healing vehicle. It’s astounding to behold decades later.

Filled with great high school archetypes that are subverted just enough to keep things interesting, a haunting score by Carpenter, and a brief appearance by Harry Dean Stanton, Christine is popcorn 1980s horror at its best. —PV

Climax

The troupe dancing in Climax. Image: A24

Year: 2018
Run time: 1h 37m
Director: Gaspar Noé
Cast: Sofia Boutella, Romain Guillermic, Souheila Yacoub
Where to watch: Showtime

Climax isn’t for the faint-of-heart — and we’re saying that in the context of a horror movies list. The movie is set at an all-night dance party inside a gymnasium, which turns sour after someone spikes the sangria with a little too much LSD. Climax is told in beautifully disorienting long takes that go from dozens of minutes of uninterrupted and propulsive dance sequences to hazy walks through hallways as the camera mimics the dizzy stumbling of the movie’s characters. As the psychedelics kick in, so too do some of the attendees’ long-held feuds, leading to disastrous and horrifying consequences. It’s rare that a movie truly defies description, but if you’ve got a strong stomach and a will to see something you haven’t before, Climax is the perfect movie for you. —AG

Crimes of the Future

A man with his mouth and eyes sown shut and growths shaped like ears protruding from his forehead and skull in Crimes of the Future. Image: Neon

Year: 2022
Run time: 1h 47m
Director: David Cronenberg
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Léa Seydoux, Kristen Stewart
Where to watch: Hulu

Microplastics: They’re everywhere!

They’re in our lungs, our blood, our food and drinking water; even the air we breathe. What the fuck is it doing to our bodies? We don’t really know, but David Cronenberg’s 2022 body horror drama sure has an idea of what it might mean for our children. Crimes of the Future imagines a world where humans have lost the ability to feel pain. In addition to that, several people have developed a disturbing disorder which causes their bodies to spontaneously spawn new organs.

This new reality has spawned a trend: Live surgery, wherein performance artists plagued with this condition tear into their own bodies in an effort to shape meaning out of this strange new biological fact. Viggo Mortensen stars as Saul Tenser, a world-renowned performance artist who, alongside his partner Caprice (Léa Seydoux), stands on the cutting edge — both literally and figuratively — of this cultural phenomenon. When Saul’s activities catch the attention of a mysterious group of evolutionary activists, as well as the lascivious eye of a government employee named Timlin (Kristen Stewart), he’s forced to confront what he — and everyone else around him — is changing into, and whether what that is can even be considered “human” anymore.

As macabre as it is moving, grotesque as it is sensuous; Crimes of the Future is an exquisite work of science fiction horror where surgery is the new sex and our very bodies have rebelled against us for the incalculable destruction we have inflicted on the planet. It’s a film that exists in intimate conversation with the anxieties of our present, as well as one that represents a stunning return to form for one of cinema’s most forward-thinking directors. Howard Shore’s growling, guttural score is engrossing, while the leading trio of performances by Mortensen, Seydoux, and Stewart are a virtual match made in heaven in bringing to life this speculative slice of post-human hell on Earth. In short: It’s a great film and highly recommended, but whatever you do, don’t see it on a full stomach. Trust me. —Toussaint Egan

Cure

Detective Takabe (Kôji Yakusho) claspes his hands over his face in exhaustion and horror in Cure (1997) Image: Janus Films

Year: 1997
Run time: 1h 50m
Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
Cast: Kōji Yakusho, Tsuyoshi Ujiki, Anna Nakagawa
Where to watch: Criterion Channel

Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s 1997 horror masterpiece Cure follows Kenichi Takabe (Kōji Yakusho), a Japanese detective frustrated by an inexplicable rash of seemingly unconnected murders that nevertheless all appear to be connected, despite none of the perpetrators having known each other or having any recollection as to what possessed them to do it. When Takabe’s investigation leads him to a suspect, a student of psychology and mesmerism known as Mamiya (Masato Hagiwara), he finds himself plunged into a conspiracy that threatens to engulf anyone who gets too close.

In Cure, violence is less an act of premeditation or passion as it is a virus, coursing its way through the bloodstream of society, corrupting innocent bystanders not unlike aberrant cancer cells attacking from within without ever understanding why they did so in the first place. How do you confront a horror like that, much less stop it? The answer is as simple as it is terrifying: You can’t. —TE

Eyes Without a Face

Edith Scob wears her mask and is on the phone in Eyes Without a Face. Image: Lux Compagnie Cinématographique de France

Year: 1959
Run time: 1h 24m
Director: Georges Franju
Cast: Pierre Brasseur, Édith Scob, Alida Valli
Where to watch: Max, The Criterion Channel

Georges Franju’s influential 1960 film is a master class in supernatural fantasy horror. An unsettling tale about a plastic surgeon (played by Pierre Brasseur) who kidnaps young women and performs surgery on them to try and find a face replacement for his daughter (Édith Scob), Eyes Without a Face is equal parts haunting and beautiful. Scob’s iconic face mask in the movie was later referenced in her role in the also-excellent Holy Motors many decades later. —PV

Hellraiser

The cenobite Pinhead in Hellraiser, with needles all up in his head Image: Entertainment Film Distributors

Year: 1987
Run time: 1h 33m
Director: Clive Barker
Cast: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence
Where to watch: Prime Video, AMC+, Shudder, Tubi, Pluto, Hoopla

Clive Barker’s 1987 directorial debut adapts his 1986 novella The Hellbound Heart to tell the story of Larry (Andrew Robinson) and Julia Cotton (Clare Higgins). The Cottons are a married couple who move into the home of Larry’s recently deceased brother, Frank (Sean Chapman), with whom Julia had a previous affair. After inadvertently being resurrected by a drop of blood spilled by Larry on the floor of the house’s attic, Frank seduces Julia into luring new men to the house so that he can drain their life force and fully regain his mortal form. Surrounding this core narrative is the the story of the Lament Configuration, a puzzle box Frank acquired before his untimely death. When solved, it conjures hellish beings known as Cenobites to the mortal plane of existence, which indulge in hellish exercises of sadomasochistic mutilation. Easily the best and most enduring of the Hellraiser movie series, Barker’s 1987 original is a must-watch for horror fans. —TE

The Host

Go Ah-sung and Byun Hee-bong in the shop in The Host. Image: Showbox Entertainment

Year: 2006
Run time: 1h 59m
Director: Bong Joon-ho
Cast: Song Kang-ho, Byun Hee-bong, Park Hae-il
Where to watch: Max, Roku Channel, Hoopla, Kanopy

The Host was Bong Joon-ho’s follow-up to the smash success serial killer drama Memories of Murder. A critical and commercial success, it was the highest-grossing South Korean film ever after its release and won Best Film at the Asian Film Awards and the Blue Dragon Film Awards.

Years after chemicals are dumped into the Han River, a huge mutated fish monster emerges and kidnaps a young girl. Her father (Song Kang-ho) sets out to find and rescue her, before being kidnapped by the American scientists responsible for its existence. A fun monster thriller that doubles as insightful commentary on U.S. intervention, ecological disasters, and much more, The Host is a high mark in Bong’s impressive filmography. —PV

House

A woman’s face with some of the skin replaced with a fiery video effect in 1977’s House Photo: Toho via Criterion Channel

Year: 1977
Run time: 1h 28m
Director: Nobuhiko Obayashi
Cast: Kimiko Ikegami, Miki Jinbo, Kumiko Ohba
Where to watch: Max, Criterion Channel

Few movies are as weird and excellent as Nobuhiko Obayashi’s House.

The bizarre ghost story follows a group of school girls who take a vacation to a haunted mansion in the countryside of Japan. Everything starts off well enough, but before long the kids are being attacked by demonic gates, getting eaten by pianos, or opening portals to hell — all with visually an inventive silliness few movies have ever matched. House isn’t all that scary, but it is weird in all the best ways, and nothing else looks or feels like it. — AG

In the Mouth of Madness

Sam Neill is having a very bad time in In the Mouth of Madness, with crosses sharpied on his face. Image: New Line Cinema

Year: 1994
Run time: 1h 35m
Director: John Carpenter
Cast: Sam Neill, Julie Carmen, Jurgen Prochnow
Where to watch: YouTube

Among the wildest movies John Carpenter has ever made (and that’s saying something), In the Mouth of Madness follows insurance investigator John Trent (Sam Neill), who is hired to find a missing fame horror novelist. Things become increasingly unhinged as the plots of the author’s books and the various monsters seem to invade the real world. Neill, a staple of this list, is absolutely fantastic responding to the horrors of hell, slowly becoming exactly as off-kilter as they are. By the time the movie makes it to the third act, the door to hell is halfway open and Trent is ready to dive headfirst into the void, which is honestly how every movie’s third act should go.

This is also the third in Carpenter’s apocalypse trilogy, which also includes two other stone-cold classics, The Thing and Prince of Darkness. They aren’t on this list, but you should watch them anyway. — AG

Let the Right One In

Lina Leandersson sits atop a frozen sculpture in Let the Right One In. Image: Sandrew Metronome

Year: 2008
Run time: 1h 54m
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Cast: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar
Where to watch: Hulu, Prime Video, Roku Channel, Crackle, Hoopla, Kanopy

A 12-year-old Swedish boy finds a friend in a vampire who looks roughly his age, but is actually an old vampire permanently trapped in the body of a young child. The film is kaleidoscopic, each viewing revealing something different than the last. The first time I saw the film, I was a pessimistic college student, and I read the central relationship as a warning about the parasitic nature of love. After college, the children’s bond reminded me of the impermanence of youth, and why growing up is a mixed blessing. This past year, I was far more focused on the girl’s relationship with her caretaker, an older man who sacrifices everything for her existence.

The film was adapted from John Ajvide Lindqvist’s 2004 novel of the same name, which inspired not just this Swedish film, but a 2010 American adaptation, a comic-book prequel, and two stage plays. The latter has its own legacy — it was adapted by the magnificent National Theater of Scotland, and it eventually had a run at St. Ann’s Warehouse in 2015. Few books inspire so much additional great art. So I suppose I’m recommending the book just as much as the film. —Chris Plante

Mad God

A grotesque creature peering down at a shaft of blue light with a ruined landscape in the background in Mad God. Image: Tippett Studio

Year: 2021
Run time: 1h 23m
Director: Phil Tippet
Cast: N/A
Where to watch: Shudder, AMC Plus

If Mad God could be summed up in a single word, it is gross. A feature-length descent into a Boschian hellscape of scatalogical (and eschatological) horrors stacked on top of one another like the strata of an impossible tower of Babel, each layer oozing with pus, bile, blood, ichor, and excrement. Another word to describe it would be phenomenal, an apocalyptic stop-motion horror epic over three decades in the making through the meticulous, unfettered craftsmanship of Phil Tippett, the legendary visual effects director and artist behind such films as the original Star Wars trilogy, RoboCop, and Jurassic Park.

I could tell you about the story of the film, but in truth, the story is little more than a matter of personal interpretation. What matters in Mad God, first and foremost, is the animation. Tippett’s masterpiece is a resounding testament to the power of unrestrained creativity and the intrinsic cathartic capacity of the genre of horror itself. —TE

Malignant

sideways shot of Annabelle Wallis as Madison lit in red as a mysterious shadow hovers over her bed in Malignant Image: Warner Bros.

Year: 2021
Run time: 1h 51m
Director: James Wan
Cast: Annabelle Wallis, Maddie Hasson, George Young
Where to watch: Max

There was just no way to see it coming. After the Conjuring and Insidious franchises, plus blockbuster turns with Furious 7 and Aquaman, James Wan could have cashed in chips to make another moody franchise-starter to stretch his jump-scare muscles. Instead, he made Malignant, a high-emotion giallo stuffed into dingy ’90s direct-to-video pastiche like some kind of horror-movie turducken. Wan pulls back the layers in an almost tedious fashion: The pregnant Madison (Annabelle Wallis) is first the victim of domestic abuse, then she encounters another killer, and then she starts dealing with psychotic episodes tied to her childhood imaginary friend Gabriel, and theeeeen it’s revealed… Well, please go behold it.

Strung together with a melodramatic cover of The Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind,” reveling in horror tropes to the point of parody, the final twists of Malignant are some of the most gratifying lunacy of the year, and the acrobatic actor Marina Mazepa brings it all home in a display of gruesome ballet. I won’t explain anything more out of fear of spoilers — just get on the Malignant train. Wan put his dream (nightmare?) on screen for us all to enjoy. —Matt Patches

The Mist

A giant multi-legged creature with writhing tendrils lumbering through a mist-covered landscape. Image: The Weinstein Company

Year: 2007
Run time: 2h 5m
Director: Frank Darabont
Cast: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden
Where to watch: Digital rental/purchase

Any fan of Stephen King worth their salt knows that the so-called king of horror has a lot of movie adaptations of his work. Few films have managed to eclipse, let alone successfully adapt, King’s capacity for horror storytelling, with the exception of (a) Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and (b) Frank Darabont’s The Mist.

Darabont’s third adaptation of a Stephen King story, the film stars Thomas Jane (The Expanse) as a Hollywood poster artist living in Maine who, along with his wife and son and the rest of his neighbors, takes shelter in a supermarket in the wake of a mysterious storm that covers the town in a deadly mist.

Supernatural, otherworldly horrors abound throughout The Mist, but the greatest horror of all is — you guessed it — humanity itself, as seen in the way the townspeople succumb to the temptation to scapegoat those among themselves under the influence of a local religious fanatic. The ending is a gut-punch and sincerely one of the most chilling in any mainstream horror film of its time. If you’ve managed to go unspoiled until now, I won’t ruin the surprise, but needless to say, it’s worth it. —TE

Night of the Living Dead

Duane Jones in front of a boarded-up door in Night of the Living Dead. Image: Continental Distributing

Year: 1968
Run time: 1h 36m
Director: George A. Romero
Cast: Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Marilyn Eastman
Where to watch: Max, Peacock, MGM Plus, Paramount Plus, Roku Channel

The movie that launched the modern zombie film in the United States, George A. Romero’s debut feature was written, directed, photographed, and edited by the nascent zombie film master on a shoestring budget, which only adds to the eerie atmosphere and grounded terror. In this film, a group of survivors hide out in an abandoned house in western Pennsylvania at the start of a zombie apocalypse. Led by the level-headed Ben (Duane Jones), the group not only has to deal with the conflict of zombies trying to break in, but internal conflicts stemming from disagreements on how to handle their precarious predicament.

Night of the Living Dead is the first example of Romero’s typical blend of jaw-dropping (and stomach-churning) practical effects and astute social commentary. Fun fact: This movie came out a month before the MPAA film rating system, which meant a heaping amount of controversy when children were able to see the quite graphic movie in theaters. And another fun fact: Night of the Living Dead was never copyrighted and is in the public domain because of an error by the original theatrical distributor. —PV

Possession

Isabelle Adjani with blood coming out of her mouth, and Sam Neill standing behind her, both looking distressed, in Possession. Image: Metrograph Pictures

Year: 1981
Run time: 2h 4m
Director: Andrzej Żuławski
Cast: Isabelle Adjani, Sam Neill, Heinz Bennent
Where to watch: Shudder, AMC Plus, Metrograph

Outside of the most ardent of cinephile circles, Andrzej Żuławski isn’t a name that inspires enthusiastic recognition in the United States. Known for his transgressive brand of arthouse cinema, Żuławski’s career was stymied by Communist authorities in his homeland of Poland, with many of his early films being either heavily censored, banned, or, in one instance, nearly destroyed upon release. It also doesn’t help that the few films of his that have been released in the States have since gone out of print — though that appears to be changing soon.

If you do know Żuławski’s name, it’s likely for his 1981 psychological horror film Possession, a film whose cult status among horror connoisseurs has only been amplified in the decades since its release by its difficulty to obtain on physical media or to view online. Fortunately for everyone, that’s no longer the case.

Set in Cold War-era West Berlin, Żuławski’s film stars Jurassic Park’s Sam Neill as Mark, a Russian spy who returns home to find that his wife, Anna (Isabelle Adjani), has left him and wants a divorce. When Anna refuses to divulge why, only saying that she has not left him for someone else, Mark grows suspicious and has her tailed. What he eventually discovers is a horrifying secret beyond his comprehension, one which awakens a long-dormant wellspring of anxiety, resentment, and despair between the two that threatens to tear apart not only their small family, but their very sanity as well.

Inspired by Żuławski’s own tumultuous divorce in 1976 and his subsequent struggles with suicidal ideation, Possession blurs the line between the autobiographical and the phantasmagorical, with hysterical performances by Neill and Adjani that vacillate between disturbing, comical, and disquietingly sympathetic. An inspiration for everything from Ari Aster’s Midsommar to the 2016 music video for Massive Attack’s “Voodoo in My Blood,” Possession is an essential watch for any serious horror fan. —TE

[REC]

A young woman wearing a red jacket talks into a microphone on a TV broadcast from a fire station in Rec. Image: Filmax

Year: 2007
Run time: 1h 18m
Directors: Jaume Balaguero, Paco Plaza
Cast: Manuela Velasco, Ferran Terraza, Martha Carbonell
Where to watch: Prime Video

One of the best and most disturbing found-footage movies ever, [REC] follows a TV reporter and camera person who follow emergency workers into an apartment building, only to discover the dark truth inside: Some of the residents are turning into monsters. Set squarely in the zombie-craze of the mid-2000s, [REC]’s undead creatures owe quite a bit to the raving cannibal infected of 28 Days Later, but the Spanish movie’s flesh-eaters are quite a bit creepier and more disturbed than their predecessors. While many found-footage movies obscure their scariest moments, [REC] uses the format to enhance its creeping dread and drag out the character’s slow careful exploration of the apartment building, ramping the tension up to 11 just in time for the downright terrifying finale. — AG

Saloum

Bangui’s Hyenas — three mercenaries that look impossibly cool — stand against a beautiful painted backdrop of a skyline next to their hostage in Saloum Image: Shudder

Year: 2021
Run time: 1h 24m
Director: Jean Luc Herbulot
Cast: Yahn Gael, Evelyne Ily Juhen, Roger Sallah
Where to watch: Shudder, AMC Plus

One of the most memorable new movies of the year is this genre-bending mashup of influences and styles, all combining into an unforgettable 80-minute thriller with stark characterization, remarkable set-pieces, and a whirlwind ending.

From my plea for you to watch Saloum:

From the beginning, Saloum’s evocative costuming choices clue you in to each of the three principal characters: When you first meet them, the three leads are wearing identical ponchos, but the camera focuses on their footwear (one wears Versace, one wears sneakers, one goes barefoot) to instantly tell you what you need to know about this eclectic group of friends and colleagues. [...] I will leave the rest for you to discover for yourself, but I will say there’s a reason this movie is on a horror-centric streaming service.

Guess what — there’s a reason this movie is on this list, too. —PV

Sputnik

A helmetless man in a bloodied astronaut suit scowls at a man with a flashlight in front of a downed space capsule with an eerie red light emanating from its porthole. Image: Art Pictures Studio/IFC Midnight

Year: 2020
Run time: 1h 53m
Director: Egor Abramenko
Cast: Oksana Akinshina, Fedor Bondarchuk, Pyotr Fyodorov
Where to watch: Hulu

If you’re hungry for a great piece of contemporary Russian sci-fi horror (i.e., something not directed by either Andrei Tarkovsky or Yakov Protazanov), then Egor Abramenko’s 2020 directorial debut is just the film you’re looking for.

Set during 1983 at the height of Cold War tensions, Sputnik (which for your information is Russian for “fellow traveler”) centers on Tatyana (Oskana Akinshina), an uncompromising young psychiatrist with a staunch attitude with regard to the ends justifying the means. Tatyana is recruited by the Soviet military to treat Konstantin (Pyotr Fyodorov), a wounded cosmonaut and the lone survivor of a mysterious satellite crash. Only upon arriving at the remote hospital facility housing the patient and interacting with him does Tatyana come to realize the horrifying truth: Konstantin did not in fact return from space alone; rather, his body has now become the unwitting host to an organism unlike anything seen on Earth. Caught between her duty to study the creature and her desire to save Konstantin from further harm, Tatyana must make a hard decision upon which the very survival of all humanity may rest.

What makes Abramenko’s debut so compelling is how it takes the basic premise of the “trolley problem” thought experiment and twists it repeatedly (and successfully) to dramatic emotional effect. Akinshina (The Bourne Supremacy) delivers a convincing and compelling performance as Tatyana, a woman forced to confront and overcome the uncompromising attitude that had once assured her success but now threatens to endanger not only another man’s life, but potentially the lives of everyone on the planet along with her own soul. Fyodorov, for his own part, delivers a sympathetically complex (and on occasion, implicitly sinister) performance as Konstantin, a Russian “hero” torn between his perceived duty to his country and his emotional obligation to a loved one he all but abandoned before embarking on his most recent mission. The creature design in this movie is terrific, as is the cinematography and the film’s score.

Having previously been slated for a world premiere at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival and subsequently dumped on video-on-demand in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sputnik is exactly the kind of horror movie this list was intended to spotlight: a kind of rare gem of intellectually and viscerally stimulating horror that otherwise goes unappreciated if not given the opportunity to shine. —TE

Suspiria

Jessica Harper holds a sharp object in her hand while looking scared in Suspiria. She stands next to a curtain, with red, blue, and white lighting around her. Image; Seda Spettacoli

Year: 1977
Run time: 1h 39m
Director: Dario Argento
Cast: Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci
Where to watch: Tubi, Kanopy

One of the best-looking movies of all time with one of the best soundtracks of all time. What’s better than that?

Dario Argento’s Suspiria tells the story of Suzy Bannion, an American dancer who moves to Germany to study at the prestigious Tanz Akademie. It just so happens that the academy is run by witches. As the facade of the school unravels, Suzy’s fellow students slowly start going missing or dropping dead in increasingly bizarre and horrible ways.

While the plot for Suspiria is interesting, what really makes the movie great is how it looks and how it sounds. Everything about the production design, the costumes, and the colors is eccentric in ways no other horror movie has ever matched. Couple all that with the incredible and haunting soundtrack from European rock band Goblin, and Suspiria becomes an unforgettable horror classic that everyone should see at least once. — AG

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

Leatherface is contemplative in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, with a mask on his face Image: Bryanston Distributing Company

Year: 1974
Run time: 1h 23m
Director: Tobe Hooper
Cast: Marilyn Burns, Gunnar Hansen, Allen Danziger
Where to watch: Peacock, Shudder, AMC Plus, Tubi, Freevee

Another shoestring production gone huge, Tobe Hooper’s 1974 masterpiece made over $30 million at the box office on a budget of around $140,000. The movie follows a group of friends who find themselves hunted by a family of cannibals in the middle of Texas, and is a chilling, violent fever dream that permanently lodges itself in the minds of those who watch it.

Eight films have followed, including a Netflix version in 2022, but the original stands out as an unhinged encapsulation of pure chaos and terror. At a tight 83 minutes, the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre is well worth the small time investment to catch up on one of the most influential horror movies ever made. —PV

The Unfriended movies

The teens in Unfriended start to panic on their call Image: Universal Pictures

Year: 2014 (Unfriended); 2018 (Unfriended: Dark Web)
Run time: 1h 23m (Unfriended); 1h 28m (Unfriended: Dark Web)
Director: Levan “Leo” Gabriadze (Unfriended); Stephen Susco (Unfriended: Dark Web)
Cast: Shelley Hennig, Moses Storm, Renee Olstead (Unfriended); Colin Woodell, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Betty Gabriel (Unfriended: Dark Web)
Where to watch: Netflix (Unfriended); Digital rental/purchase (Unfriended: Dark Web)

As many people have learned over the past few years, there aren’t that many things scarier than a video call you can’t leave.

A masterfully contained horror movie that makes full use of its (at the time) groundbreaking gimmick, Unfriended is a tense teen horror movie that takes place entirely on a character’s laptop screen. Definitely watch it on a laptop if you can, and check out the very good sequel Unfriended: Dark Web if you dug this one. —PV

From our list of the best horror movies on Netflix:

Levan Gabriadze’s Unfriended pulls the audiences through the screen — almost literally. Viewed entirely from the perspective of a computer desktop, 2014 supernatural horror film centers around a Skype call between a group of high school students who are joined by an unknown presence known only as “billie227.” What at first appears to be a prank swiftly morphs into something much more horrific, as the mysterious stranger begins to reveal terrifying secrets about each of the friends before killing them off one by one. Unfriended is thoroughly gripping extrapolation of our always-online world, a world where vengeful poltergeists and doxxing exist side by side and no secret or offense goes undiscovered or unpunished. —TE

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