Halloween is coming in quicker than new films to the Saw franchise—which by the way, there’s another called Saw: Spiral hitting screens in 2021—and given it’s been such a hell of a year, you’d be negligent not to prepare for whatever the world’s darkest pseudo-holiday is conjuring up for us.
Scare yourself stupid the best horror movies streaming on Netflix right now.
Train To Busan
Korean film is having a moment right now with the likes of Parasite and more recently, #Alive. Before those two silver screen gems, however, was Train To Busan, a full-throttle zombie thriller barreling down the tracks with that signature frenetic energy found in many a Korean horror.
You don’t have to do too much thinking with this one. You got a train travelling from Seoul en route to Busan, a protagonist attempting to save an unruly gang of desperate survivors and plenty of zombies.
While it had its heyday in the early noughties, the ‘found footage’ genre is still very much alive thanks to indie flicks like Creep. The story plays out through the lens of an amateur filmmaker, who responds to a classifieds ad for a one-off job to film the final messages of a terminally-ill man—it stars the king of independent films, Mark Duplass, who nails the terrifyingly elusive oddball schtick in almost every role he plays.
For the discerning horror buff, Red Dragon is the prequel to Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal, which will fill you with a stressful anxiety for the entirety of its 124 minutes runtime. Red Dragon tells the tale of FBI agent Will Graham (played by Edward Norton), who enlists the help of imprisoned cannibal and former psychologist Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) to assist in profiling a killer on the loose, also a cannibal, known as The Tooth Fairy.
Zombies but make it Australian. Set in the outback, Cargo follows Andy (Martin Freeman) as he attempts to protect his daughter from the evils that be in a largely desolate landscape; there’s plenty of everything you’d expect from a good zombie flick in this one—like blood, guts and rabid undead—but those willing to pay attention will spot the surprisingly nuanced Australianisms throughout the film.
Hands down one of the best horror movies to come out of our Great Southern Land in the last five years or so.
The Ring is essentially a masterclass in paranormal horror, and features noughties horror movie star Naomi Watts as the lead.
For anyone who needs a refresh, the premise is this: a cursed VHS tape will cause anyone who watches it to die a horrible death seven days following. A journalist named Rachel (played by Watts) investigates the urban legend in the hope to save her own and her son's life, while also ending the curse itself. It was one of the scariest movies of its time, and while it’s a few years old, the fright factor is still strong in this one.
Diving deep into classics territory comes Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Arguably one of the best horror movies of all time, The Shining is full of iconic moments that’ll last a lifetime—most notably the bathroom scene with Jack Nicholson.
One of the OG ‘family occupies a rural abode only to discover an evil presence’, The Shining—along with stellar performances from a young Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duval—will scare your pants right off into the next room and out the door.
The Babysitter: Killer Queen
Sometimes, you just need to throw something on that won’t take up too much brain capacity, and the follow-up to 2017’s horror comedy The Babysitter is exactly that. One of the latest horror movies to come from Netflix, The Babysitter: Killer Queen revisits teenager Cole (played by Judah Lewis) who after surviving a cult, is now haunted by the demons of his past while trying to navigate high school.
Sort of a coming-of-age-flick, sort of a comedy, and definitely a horror, chuck this on for a mindless midweek watch.
It Comes At Night
This one comes from A24 Films, who are the undisputed masters of independent cinema regardless of genre. It Comes At Night is a psych-horror that is by no means an exception to the rule.
Fans of bleak, melancholic horror films like The Road will get sucked right into this one. Hailed as one of the best horror movies of 2017, The cast is led by our own Joel Edgerton, who plays a father desperately protecting his family from unnatural forces. His strict regime ensures survival, however, things start to go awry when a young family comes knocking in the hope of seeking shelter.
Director Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Ex Machina) created something unique in Annihilation, so unique that Australian cinemas refused to pick the film up. However, it didn’t take long for Netflix to snap up this truly original horror movie.
Natalie Portman is up front, with Oscar Isaac on support duties; the pair play a biologist and a soldier respectively, who take off on a journey into an environmental disaster zone where the laws of nature don’t apply. Like all of Garland’s films, the hopeless desperation of the characters’ plights is immediately noticeable, and will induce that lump in your throat from start to finish.
Freddy vs. Jason
One for the slasher fan in us all. The dynamite duo return, this time together, to cause mayhem on Elm Street.
In Freddy vs. Jason, Freddy resurrects the machete-wielding Jason Voorhees to assist with his menacing, only to shoot himself in the foot as young Jason decides he wants top spot. What ensues is the ultimate showdown between two of the biggest names in horror.
One of the latest horror movies to be added to Netflix, Eli is a hair-raising neo-horror where a young boy, who suffers an extreme auto-immune disorder, begins to discover his evil powers. His dedicated but hapless mother is committed to overcoming her child’s demonic tendencies, but as the film unfolds, we begin to discover the grave reason little for little Eli’s issues.
The endless sub-genres of horror have churned out some cracker films in the last decade, not limited to but including 2017’s Life, a sci-fi rich in existential dread and big-name celebrities.
Life joins a team of astronaut scientists played by Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson and Ryan Reynolds who discover new life in outer space. All is well until they realise this life form has previously caused extinction on Mars—it’s a tough plot to swallow, but engrossing nonetheless.
If all else fails, take solace in the fact that you can just stare at Gyllenhaal’s beautiful face for a while.
What’s more fitting on Halloween than watching Halloween itself? This no-holds barred, unapologetic slasher reboot is one of the scariest horror films found on Netflix. In 2018’s Halloween, Jamie Lee Curtis reprises her role of Laurie Strode and faces her long-time masked foe Michael Myers who attempted to murder Strode during a Halloween killing spree almost four decades ago.
It gets creepier, a rare blue moon will hit skies this Halloween for the first time in 19 years.
Image credit: Universal Studios