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Scariest movies on Netflix (January 2022)

Paranormal Activity and Shutter Island
Paranormal Activity and Shutter Island. Pic credit: Blumhouse Productions/Paramount Pictures

If you’re craving a scary movie, there’s no shortage of options on Netflix.

Netflix has made a ton of original horror movies, and some of them match up well with even theatrical movie releases.

On top of all the original horror movies, Netflix also has a vast catalog of horror flicks from other studios, including classics regarded as some of the best ever in the genre.

From slasher movies to award-winning classics, monster mashes to spooky ghost stories, Netflix has something for everyone.

Here is a look at the best scary movies on Netflix as of this month.

Updated in January 2022: Every month, Netflix makes huge moves and deletes a lot of films from its library, replacing them with more. This means some of our choices leave, with more great films coming in to take their place.

The Strangers Prey at Night (2018)

The Strangers Prey at Night
The Strangers Prey at Night. Pic credit: Rogue Pictures

In 2008. The Strangers was a surprising addition to the home invasion movie, one of the best of its subgenre. It took 10 years, but a sequel came.

Unlike the original, which was a tense home invasion horror movie, the sequel, Prey at Night, was more stylized and went for the more retro look.

What resulted was an entertaining horror movie, another surprise entry for the franchise.

The three masked strangers are back and killing once again. While seen as a critical disappointment, horror movie critics delivered almost universal praise.

Paranormal Activity (2007)

Paranormal Activity
Paranormal Activity. Pic credit: Paramount

One of the most financially successful movies ever made was the 2007 indie horror movie, Paranormal Activity.

The first movie in this franchise was directed by Oren Peli and produced by Jason Blum, costing $15,000 and making $193 million worldwide. Since Paramount only paid $350,000 for the rights, it was the most profitable movie in history.

The movie was a ghost story, shot as a found footage movie where a camera in a home showed different scary events leading to the horrifying conclusion.

The movie spawned sequels and prequels, but remains the best of the franchise.

It Follows (2014)

Maika Monroe in It Follows
Maika Monroe in It Follows. Pic credit: RADIUS-TWC

It Follows is a 2014 horror-thriller about a supernatural entity that stalks teens after sexual encounters.

The movie takes the old horror trope of teens dying after having sex and made the actual act of sex as the trigger device for this entity, which begins following the kids until it finally either kills them or they pass it on by having sex with someone else.

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The movie was a success, making $23 million with just a budget of $1.3 million. It also has a fantastic 96% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

Dracula (1992)

Gary Oldman in Bram Stoker's Dracula
Gary Oldman in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Pic credit: Columbia Pictures

Francis Ford Coppola created his own movie in the world of the classic Universal Monster Dracula. This was Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with Gary Oldman playing the role of the vampire.

While the cast was questionable in some areas, especially with a miscast Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker, the movie was a huge success.

Dracula brought a gothic atmosphere to the story and focused more on that than the actual horror. It ended up winning three Oscars, including one for Makeup and one for Costume Design.

Crimson Peak (2015)

Crimson Peak
The cast of Crimson Peak. Pic credit: Universal

Guillermo del Toro returned to gothic horror in 2015 for the movie Crimson Peak.

The cast was top-notch, with aspiring author Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) moving to England with her new husband (Tom Hiddleston) and his sister (Jessica Chastain).

However, when the three move into the large creepy dilapidated mansion, Edith begins to see mysterious ghosts in the house and she begins to descend into madness as everything falls apart around her.

The Conjuring (2013)

Image from The Conjuring movie.
The Conjuring. Pic credit: Warner Bros

The Conjuring (and its sequel) hit Netflix in February 2021.

The movie is based on the real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren and the stories of their famed cases.

In The Conjuring, Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson star as Ed and Lorraine as they go to investigate a house that its residents believe is possessed.

However, before they can convince the Catholic Church to authorize an exorcism, they have to prove there is really an exorcism first.

Shutter Island (2010)

Shutter Island
Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo in Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island. Pic credit: Paramount

Martin Scorsese made a genre movie with Shutter Island, a horror-thriller that plays with the viewer’s expectations.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo are two special agents sent to Shutter Island to investigate a disappearance at a mental asylum for the criminally insane.

As they investigate, things begin to take a turn, and it appears that something supernatural might be to blame.

With Scorsese at the helm, the movie is a masterclass, and everyone involved leads the audience on a twisting and turning masterpiece.

Apostle (2018)

Apostle horror movie on Netflix
Dan Stevens in Apostle. Pic credit: Netflix

Released in 2018, Apostle has some powerhouse talent behind the making of this movie.

First is director Gareth Evans, best-known for one of the greatest action movies in modern history in The Raid (2011). He directs Dan Stevens, who is best known for Marvel’s Legion, in this period horror film.

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Stevens stars as a man who travels to a remote Welsh village in 1905 to rescue his sister from a mysterious cult.

If this all sounds a lot like the classic The Wicker Man, you are on the right path to understanding what this disturbing horror film is about.

Eli (2019)

Eli
The horror movie Eli. Pic credit: Netflix

Eli is a Netflix horror movie that has a very scary premise.

A young boy suffers from a rare disease that causes him to not be able to go outdoors. He is kept inside and protected, but learned of a facility that could possibly help him.

When they arrive, Eli is put into a bubble and the doctors begin to experiment on him, often in painful and horrifying ways. Soon, the boy and his parents learn that there might be more to this medical facility than they expected and their son’s life might be in danger.

This scary Netflix movie has one of the most shocking endings imaginable.

The Devil All the Time (2020)

Tom Holland as Arvin Russell
Tom Holland as Arvin Russell in The Devil All the Time. Pic credit: Glen Wilson/Netflix

Not all horror movies are about scary monsters or serial killers.

In The Devil All the Time, Tom Holland stars as Arvin, the son of a World War II vet named Willard who came home with some severe PTSD and instilled the fear of God into his family.

However, after a chance encounter between Willard and Carl, the two men set out on different paths that lead to dead bodies and broken dreams, as the sins of the father are passed down as torture on his son.

Robert Pattinson also stars as a young preacher coming to town that has a lot more in mind than just spreading the gospel.

Hell Fest (2018)

Hell Fest
The poster for Hell Fest. Pic credit: CBS Films

Hell Fest is a throwback slasher horror movie from 2018 that is currently streaming on Netflix.

Hell Fest is a traveling theme park that brings the scares to visiting towns. However, there is a masked man called “The Other” who is killing people behind the scenes.

He then leaves the dead bodies among the props that people walk past in the haunted houses. As with most slasher movies, it is up to a group of young adults to figure out what is happening and stop this killer.

The twist at the end is gut-wrenching.

Hush (2016)

Scariest movies on Netflix (July 2020)
Kate Siegel in Hush. Pic credit: Netflix

In 2016, Netflix released the original horror movie Hush, directed by Mike Flanagan (Doctor Sleep).

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The film stars Kate Siegel, who co-wrote the film, as a deaf woman named Maddie who hasn’t been able to hear or speak since she was 13.

A man shows up at Maddie’s home in the woods, kills her close friend, and then starts to stalk and torment Maddie.

The entire movie then plays out as a game of cat and mouse as Maddie tries to fight back against the man as he stalks her.

Gerald’s Game (2017)

Scariest movies on Netflix (July 2020)
Carla Gugino in Gerald’s Game. Pic credit: Netflix

Yet another Stephen King scary movie on Netflix is Gerald’s Game.

Unlike the other two on this list, this was one based on one of King’s full-length novels.

Mike Flanagan, who also directed Hush, helmed this movie, which starred Carla Gugino as a wife who takes a vacation to a remote cabin with her husband (Bruce Greenwood).

When a sex game goes wrong and her husband winds up dead, she realizes she is handcuffed to the bed with no way out and then hears something outside- something hungry that might be coming for her.

Before I Wake (2016)

Scariest movies on Netflix (July 2020)
The scary movie Before I Wake. Pic credit: Netflix

Before I Wake, released in 2016, is another Mike Flanagan movie. It’s the third from the director on this list.

The film is a dark fantasy that stars Kate Bosworth and Thomas Jane as a husband and wife who take in a foster child.

Their birth son drowned and died in the bathtub, and soon they learn that their new foster child believes in a creature haunting him called the Canker Man.

It soon turns out that the boy can control the monster, but it threatens to overwhelm him and destroy everything around him.

The Ritual (2017)

Scariest movies on Netflix (July 2020)
The cast of The Ritual. Pic credit: Netflix

One of the most underrated and underappreciated horror movies of 2017 was The Ritual.

The film has the same setup as every woodsy horror movie. It starts as a drama movie, but quickly turns to horror.

The Ritual follows four university friends heading into the woods for a hiking trip in Sweden in memory of a friend who died in a robbery.

However, when they get into the forest, they start to see and hear things and suddenly realize that something might be following them. When they end up lost, they begin to realize that something is hunting them.

This scary Netflix movie was made in the United Kingdom.

Shawn S. Lealos has been a freelance writer for 25 years, starting...read more

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