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Scariest movies on Netflix (January 2021)

Scary movies on Netflix
Sinister and Hush on Netflix. Pic credit: Blumhouse/Netflix

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 January 2021.

Updated on January 2: 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.

Once you finish these, here are more recent additions to check out: Elizabeth Harvest, What Keeps You Alive, We Summon the Darkness, Scary Movie 5, Fuego negro, 1BR, The Bridge Curse, Unfriended, Good Hair, Gothika, and Possession.

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.

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)

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.

Monster House (2006)

Monster House
The animated horror movie Monster House. Pic credit: Sony

Monster House was a motion-capture animated movie released by Sony in 2006.

The horror movie tells the story of a boy who lives across the street from an old house that seems to steal everything that ends up on its property. When the house begins to eat people, the boy sets out to find out why.

Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg produced the movie, which shows in both the technical design and the emotional story for the kids in the movie. One warning, though, this is a little too scary for very young kids.

Red Dragon (2002)

Red Dragon
Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter in Red Dragon. Pic credit: Universal

While Netflix has removed Silence of the Lambs from its offerings in November 2020, it still has other stories about Hannibal Lecter.

Red Dragon is the prequel to Silence of the Lambs and has the two men who the horror TV show Hannibal focuses on.

Ed Norton is Will Graham, the FBI agent who goes to Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) for help in bringing down the serial killer, Francis Dolarhyde. This same story was told in the movie Manhunter as well as in the final season of Hannibal.

In The Tall Grass (2019)

In the Tall Grass
The cast of In the Tall Grass. Pic credit: Netflix

In 2019, Vincenzo Natali (Cube) directed In the Tall Grass, a scary movie about a couple lost in the weeds on the side of the road who realize that they are not alone.

The story is based on a novella by Stephen King and his son Joe Hill (Locke & Key) and stars Patrick Wilson, Harrison Gilbertson, and Laysla De Oliveira.

The film follows a couple stranded along the side of the road. When they head into the weeds to find help, they end up coming across another couple, and none of them can find their way back.

ParaNorman (2012)

The stop-motion animated movie ParaNorman. Pic credit: Laika

You will need to wait until Oct. 18, but at that time the animated horror movie ParaNorman will hit Netflix just in time for Halloween.

ParaNorman is a stop-motion animation movie by Laika, who also made the scary Coraline.

Norman is a child who can see and talk to the dead. While no one believes him and most people treat him like a freak, Norman realizes something bad is coming to his town, it is up to him and a group of misfit friends to save everyone.

The scariest part is that, in the end, it is the humans in the town that possess the willingness to commit the vilest atrocities.

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.

1922 (2017)

Scariest movies on Netflix (July 2020)
Thomas Jane in 1922. Pic credit: @Netflix

Based on the Stephen King short story from the collection Full Dark, No Stars, 1922 is a Netflix original scary movie starring Thomas Jane.

Jane stars as Wilfred James, a farmer in Nebraska who lives with his wife and son Henry. When Wilf realizes that his wife plans to leave him and take Henry with her, he convinces his son to help him kill her so they can stay on their farm.

The two drop her body into a well and go on with their lives. As the father and son start to drift apart due to the trauma, Wilf begins to see strange things happening and realizes his wife might be coming back from the other side to seek revenge.

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).

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.

Bird Box (2018)

Scariest movies on Netflix (July 2020)
Sandra Bullock in Bird Box. Pic credit: Netflix

One of the most successful original Netflix scary movies is Bird Box, which hit in 2018.

Based on the novel by Josh Malerman, Bird Box stars Sandra Bullock as Malorie, a woman who shows up with two children, all wearing blindfolds and running from something.

The horror here is a creature that can kill anyone who sees it. While the woman and children are trying to stay alive with their blindfolds on, they also have evil people who feel the human race is getting what it deserves threatening their lives.

Sinister (2012)

Scariest movies on Netflix (July 2020)
Ethan Hawke in Sinister. Pic credit: Blumhouse

Blumhouse has become the go-to when it comes to lower budget horror movies that make a monster box office take.

In 2012, the company created Sinister, which stars Ethan Hawke as a true-crime writer who moves his family into a house that saw its previous tenants killed.

As he starts to explore the house, he realizes that there are evil spirits in the house that might have led to the previous murders and be putting his family in danger.

The movie picked up a sequel three years later.

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 Evil Dead (1981)

Scariest movies on Netflix (July 2020)
A Deaditte in The Evil Dead. Pic credit: New Line Cinema

Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell made the horror movie The Evil Dead in 1981, and it has become one of the most beloved cult classics in cinema history.

Campbell stars as Ash Williams, a student who goes to a cabin in the woods for a vacation with his friends. While there, they discover a book called the Necronomicon.

When the friends read from the book, it raises a demonic army known as Deadittes, and the friends start to die one by one, with Ash left as the sole survivor.

The Evil Dead was a low budget horror film with practical effects created by Raimi, but it is a masterclass in indie filmmaking.

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

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