As Halloween approaches, we invite you to use our list as a guide for some of the spookiest horror movies on Netflix.
For many of us, Netflix allows us to be taken over by the magic of film. This Halloween, get into the spirit by enjoying some spooky horror films with these five hidden gems.
Gerald’s Game (2017)
Director Mike Flanagan’s adapted one of Stephen King’s thriller novels Gerald’s Game. The result is a tense, effective thriller that goes out of its way to highlight two strong actors in an unfettered celebration of their craft. The movie stars Bruce Greenwood and Carla Gugino. A couple headed to a romantic retreat that suddenly becomes somewhat soured when Gerald drops dead. Leaving his wife handcuffed to the bed in the middle of nowhere. With its lack of gore, the film could belong more in the adventure genre than horror. This doesn’t take away the fact that it springs some hard-hitting twists. We’ve seen from Flanagan’s previous work that he gives life to stories that reflect the struggle of women to claim independence. This time is no different. This movie along with terrifying you, makes you address some of life’s bitter realities.
The Conjuring (2013)
The Conjuring is James Wan’s scariest outing as a director. It has a way of subverting when and where you expect the scares to arrive. Carolyn (Lily Taylor), Roger Perron (Ron Livingston) and their five daughters move into a secluded Rhode Island farmhouse. Strange things start happening in and around the house at night. And it turns out it’s not just fear that’s playing hide-and-seek with their minds. The directer toys with audience’s expectations by throwing big scares, without standard Hollywood jump scare build-ups. It’s simply frightening.
It’s hard to think of a ’90s movie that can scare you twenty years later. David Fincher’s Se7en, follows the life of detectives David Mills (Brad Pitt) and almost-retired William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) on the trail of John Doe, a murderer who plans his kills around the seven deadly sins. The journey allows us to watch Somerset teach a still-naive Mills valuable life lessons around the case, which have morally charged outcomes. For all the disturbing crime scenes considered, Se7en’s never as unpredictable or emotionally draining as in its infamous finale. In which they discover “what’s in the box” after capturing their criminal. Not for the fainthearted.
The Witch (2016)
We watch as puritan patriarch William (Ralph Ineson) argues stubbornly with a small council, thereby causing his family’s banishment from their “New England” community. The wagon lurches ever-on into the wilderness, piling the frontier of this New World upon the literal frontier of an unexplored forest. To say that it’s reminiscent of the Salem Witch Trials, which take place 70 years after the events in the film, would be an understatement—the inevitable consequences of such historic mania looms heavily over The Witch. This film rarely uses jump scares or gore, instead depends on suspense through one masterful edit after another. The effect is gripping.
The Nightmare (2015)
This is one of the most frightening movies on Netflix right now, and one of the most unsettling of documentaries. Yes, it’s a documentary, from Rodney Asher, The structure of this documentary involves in-depth interviews with eight people who all suffer from some form of sleep paralysis as they describe the horrifying visions they encounter on a nightly basis. It’s equal parts tragic and chilling to hear how the condition has made their nighttime hours into a living hell. On the other hand, the documentary is frustrating at times for not asking what seem like fairly obvious questions. I.e. does medication aid with these sleep paralysis episodes? This is the kind of horror that is worse than movies. If you’re going to watch this documentary, you don’t want to do it before falling asleep.