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Best horror movies on Netflix (August 2020)

Netflix horror movies
The horror movies Hush and In the Tall Grass. Pic credit: Netflix

What are the best horror movies on Netflix?

When sitting down to find a movie on the streaming giant, there are so many great and not so great horror movies to choose from that sometimes it is hard to figure out which one to trust with your valuable time.

The good news is that there are plenty of great horror movies to choose from.

Whether you are looking for a scary slasher movie, a haunting ghost story, or something more realistic and terrifying, there is something here for everyone.

Here is a look at the best horror movies on Netflix as of August 2020.

Updated on August 4: 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.

No titles from our list disappeared this month, but there were some new additions to Netflix this month to check out: Elizabeth Harvest, What Keeps You Alive, We Summon the Darkness, Scary Movie 5, Fuego negro, 1BR, and The Bridge Curse.

The Ritual (2018)

The cast of The Ritual. Pic credit: Netflix

Released on Netflix in 2018, The Ritual was a film that took a familiar horror movie trope — a group of friends head out into the woods — and turned it into a fantastically scary horror film.

The movie starts with five friends planning a trip that never happened. When one of them dies, the other four head out together to finally fulfill the plans in honor of their friend.

However, things go wrong when they fall asleep in a cabin, and when they wake up, they realize they are lost, and a monster might be in the woods, tracking them.

In the Tall Grass (2019)

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

Joe Hill followed his father Stephen King’s footsteps and became a fantastic horror author in his own right.

In 2012, father and son worked together on a new novella, and that ended up being In the Tall Grass. The story felt a bit like Children of the Corn with a more supernatural twist.

A couple is traveling by car when they stop in an old town. When Cal hears a child yelling for help in the tall grass on the side of the road, he heads in to help. Becky, pregnant, follows him, and then they can’t find their way back out.

Netflix released this as an original horror movie in 2019 with iconic horror director Vincenzo Natali (Cube) as the director.

Child’s Play (1988)

Child's Play
Chucky in Child’s Play. Pic credit: MGM

For any Netflix subscribers who want to watch a true slasher horror classic, Child’s Play is available on the streaming giant.

Originally released in 1988, the first Child’s Play movie is about a serial killer gunned down by a police officer in a toy store in Chicago. Before he dies, the killer uses voodoo to transfer his spirit into Good Guys doll on the shelves.

When a mother buys the doll for her six-year-old son Andy, it comes to life and starts to try to hunt down and kill the people he felt betrayed him, and Andy realizes he has to protect his mother from this demonic toy.

Bird Box (2018)

Bird Box
Sandra Bullock in Bird Box. Pic credit: Netflix

The most successful original horror movie that Netflix produced hit in 2018 with Bird Box.

Based on the novel by Josh Malerman, Sandra Bullock stars as a blindfolded woman named Malorie, who is trying to get two young children to safety in a world gone mad.

A mysterious creature is killing everyone on Earth by driving them to suicide when they see it.

The only survivors are the ones who protect themselves by never using their sight, but other survivors feel this is the will of God and that humanity deserves its fate.

Candyman (1992)

Tony Todd in Candyman. Pic credit: TriStar Pictures

In 1992, Tony Todd starred as one of the most iconic slasher horror villains in history.

While not spoken of in the same light as Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th, Candyman might be the better horror story of the three.

Based loosely on the Bloody Mary legend, Candyman is a monster who shows up when someone says his name five times while looking in a mirror.

A former free black artist in slave times, he was killed by racist plantation owners and sought vengeance against anyone who dares walk the grounds where he died.

Jordan Peele is rebooting Candyman for a new generation.

The Witch (2015)

The Witch
Anna Taylor-Joy in The Witch. Pic credit: A24

The Witch is an acquired taste, to be sure, but it is also one of the creepiest and most disturbing horror films of the last decade.

Robert Eggers directed this horror movie in 2015 and then moved on to helm the Oscar-nominated The Lighthouse in 2019, proving to be a real talent on the rise.

The Witch takes place in New England in the 1630s. It is about a Puritan family in the area who discovers great evil living in the woods past their farm.

The film received rave critical reviews, sitting at 90-percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but moviegoers were taken by shock at the subversive storytelling and slow-burn horror.

1922 (2017)

Thomas Jane in 1922. Pic credit: @Netflix

Stephen King wrote the short novella 1922 in 2010 and included it in his short story collection Full Dark, No Stars.

As with many King horror tales, this story introduces a man who does the unthinkable and has to live with the consequences for the rest of his life.

Thomas Jane stars in the Netflix horror adaptation as Wilf, a farmer who lives in Nebraska with his wife and teenage son. When his wife threatens to leave and take the boy with her, Wilf convinces his son to help him kill her, and they throw her into a well.

However, as in many King stories, the dead never remain gone for long.

Sinister (2012)

Ethan Hawke in Sinister. Pic credit: Blumhouse

Blumhouse has made an art out of creating low budget horror movies and making a fortune on them. They do it without skimping on quality, and Sinister is a perfect example.

Directed by Scott Derrickson, who went on to direct Marvel’s Doctor Strange, Sinister is a haunted house story with Ethan Hawke in the lead role.

Hawke is Ellison Oswalt, a true-crime author who moves his family into a home where a man killed his entire family — but he didn’t tell his family about the reasons. When he finds a mysterious film reel that shows the deaths, something in the house sets its sights on Ellison and his family.

Gerald’s Game (2017)

Gerald's Game
Carla Gugino in Gerald’s Game. Pic credit: Netflix

Gerald’s Game is based on a Stephen King novel from 1992 about a husband and wife who go to a remote cabin for a vacation. When their sex games go wrong, the wife finds herself alone and hunted by something.

In 2017, Netflix released the original horror movie based on the novel with Carla Gugino as Jessie and Bruce Greenwood as her husband, Gerald. When Gerald ends up dead following a heart attack and Jessie is handcuffed to the bed, with no one knowing where they are, things get scary.

Something is outside the cabin and knows that Jessie is in there.

Before I Wake (2016)

Before I Wake
The scary movie Before I Wake. Pic credit: Netflix

Before I Wake is a Netflix original horror movie by Mike Flanagan (Doctor Sleep).

This film tells the story of a family who takes in a foster child after their son dies by drowning in the bathtub. However, soon Cody starts to see things and allows the couple to see their dead son once again.

As with most horror tales like this, the sights are not a present and come with an ominous and deadly threat to not only the child but the couple who took him in.

Kate Bosworth and Thomas Jane lead the cast.

The Wicker Man (1973)

The Wicker Man
Edward Woodward in The Wicker Man. Pic credit: British Lion Films

The oldest movie on this list, The Wicker Man is a British movie from 1973 that is streaming right now on Netflix.

Robin Hardy made his name with this horror movie about a pagan cult living on an island, worshipping a pagan god.

When a police detective comes to the island in search of a missing girl, he ends up stuck in the middle of this dangerous cult and realizes he might never get off the island alive.

Christopher Lee is magnetic as the cult leader while Edward Woodward stars as the police detective.

Insidious (2010)

Ty Simpkins from Insidious. Pic credit: Blumhouse

Another example of Blumhouse horror filmmaking is Insidious.

Released in 2010, and directed by Saw filmmaker James Wan, this is a haunting story that starts as a haunted house tale before morphing into something even scarier.

Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne are parents of a young boy who slips into an unexplained coma, and with the coma come horrors attacking his parents.

When they move to a new home and the haunting doesn’t end, they call in an exorcist (Barbara Hershey) and battle to save their son’s life.

Hush (2016)

Kate Siegel in Hush. Pic credit: Netflix

In 2016, Mike Flanagan was back with another Netflix original horror movie in Hush.

The idea here was simple and very, very scary. A woman lives in a remote cabin in the woods alone. When her friend is murdered as she leaves after visiting, the killer then sets his sights on the woman in the cabin.

However, she is both deaf and can’t speak, and the killer decides to torture her in a deadly game of cat and mouse, one where she is not willing to go down without a fight.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Silence of the Lambs
Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs. Pic credit: Orion

In 1991, Jonathan Demme directed the Oscar-winning thriller horror movie The Silence of the Lambs and created an iconic franchise.

Based on the novel by Thomas Harris, this wasn’t the first time Hannibal Lecter arrived on the big screen (that was Manhunter in 1986), but it was the most successful.

Jodie Foster was an FBI agent hunting a serial killer. To see further into the mind of the killer, she is sent to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a cannibalistic serial killer who is also a brilliant forensic psychologist.

Two more movies arrived after The Silence of the Lambs, and a TV horror series called Hannibal is also available to stream on Netflix. Clarice Starling is also getting her own TV series soon.

The Evil Dead (1981)

Evil Dead
A Deaditte in The Evil Dead. Pic credit: New Line Cinema

Possibly the most iconic comedy-horror movie of all-time, The Evil Dead is available on Netflix for fans to watch.

This is the first movie in the series, so be warned that this is real independent filmmaking, with no money or care to use CGI. Instead, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell did everything with traditional effects and what resulted was truly magical.

The Evil Dead sees a group of friends go to a remote cabin in the woods, read out of a forbidden book known as the Necronomicon, and release demons known as Deadittes that kill and possess them one by one.

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