Scariest movies on Netflix (April 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 April 2021.

Updated on April 8: 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 Possession (2012)

The Possession
The horror movie The Possession on Netflix. Pic credit: Lionsgate

The Possession is one of the “based on a true story” horror movies, released in 2012 by Ghost House Pictures. It is based on the haunted dybbuk box from legends.

The movie stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Kyra Sedgwick as a couple getting divorced and finds that a box they bought at a yard sale ends up possessing their daughter.

When the daughter has a seizure and an MRI shows the dybbuk’s face next to her heart, they have to bring in an exorcist to try to save her life.

Insidious (2010)

Ty Simpkins from Insidious. Pic credit: Blumhouse

James Wan (Saw, Aquaman) directed the horror movie Insidious, based on a script by his Saw partner Leigh Whannell.

In the movie, Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne are a couple whose son falls into a coma. After three months, the couple realizes something might be haunting their house and tormenting their son.

They move, thinking that will fix the problem, but the haunting follows them and they realize it is their son who is possessed, so they call in a psychic to try to save his life.

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.

I Am Legend (2007)

I Am Legend
Will Smith in I Am Legend. Pic credit: Warner Bros

Will Smith took a role in a classic horror story when he starred in the adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend.

In the movie, Smith is one of the few living survivors of a plague that turns most of the world into vampires. He spends his nights boarded up in his home while his undead neighbors torment him at his door.

He spends his days hunting down lairs of vampires and killing them while also hoping to one day find a cure that can save humanity.

However, the twist is who the real villain in this story is.

The Conjuring (2013)

Image from The Conjuring movie.
The Conjuring. Pic credit: Netflix

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.

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.

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.

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 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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