The 50 Best Horror Movies on Netflix (June 2021) – Vulture

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Crimson Peak. Photo: Universal Pictures

This article is updated frequently as movies leave and enter Netflix. *New additions are indicated with an asterisk.

As the horror genre continues through one of its most creatively robust periods, you might be asking yourself what you need to see and what you can skip. Let’s be honest, horror fans: A lot of the genre we love is garbage. But we patiently weed through the trash to find the hidden gems. What if you don’t have time for the trash? What if you just want the best horror movies on Netflix? As we have with comedies and movies in general, let us guide the way.

1BR (2020)

This effective indie thriller has been a regular on the Netflix top ten since it dropped, an honest word-of-mouth hit that likely would have disappeared into movie history without the streaming service. It’s the story of a young woman who moves into an apartment complex in Los Angeles and discovers her neighbors are not at all what they seem. It’s effective, creepy stuff.

1922 (2017)

This Stephen King adaptation is one of those that seeps into your blood and poisons it. Thomas Jane stars as Wilfred James, a provincial man who manipulates his teenage son (Dylan Schmid) into helping kill his mother (Molly Parker) so she can’t take her share of the family’s money and ship off to the big city — effectively leaving their farm to die. Wilfred and his boy struggle to cope with what they’ve done, and must try to survive their now-cursed life as killers.

#Alive (2020)

Released at the height of the pandemic, this Korean zombie flick became a surprise hit on Netflix, but the truth is that it could have worked even without the “timeliness” of the tale of a man stuck in his apartment during the apocalypse. Smart and fast-paced, this is an excellent modern zombie movie that alternates building tension with clever action scenes.

Apostle (2018)

Look, another Netflix Original! The Raid director Gareth Edwards moves from action to horror in this slow-burn period piece about a man who goes to rescue his sister from a remote cult. It starts as something dreamy and scary à la The Wicker Man but ends up being something much grosser and darker as it reaches its unforgettable climax.

*Army of the Dead (2021)

The divisive Zack Snyder returns to the world of zombie action years after his breakthrough with a remake of George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, and the result is a bit of mindless undead fun. Dave Bautista stars as the leader of a ragtag group of former soldiers who are tasked with breaking into the zombie-overrun city of Las Vegas to retrieve millions in a safe under the city.

As Above, So Below (2014)

This 2014 horror film came out right when people were just sick of found footage films but has developed a cult following in the years since for a reason. The story of a group of dumb tourists who end up getting into serious trouble when they explore the Catacombs of Paris deserved a better fate.

The Babysitter (2017)

McG’s surprise horror-comedy hit was so popular for Netflix that it produced a sequel in 2020’s The Babysitter: Killer Queen. Stay far away from that garbage, but do check out the original, a film that instantly made clear how much Samara Weaving was going to be a star. Weaving plays a babysitter who just happens to be a sociopathic cult member. Good times.

Before I Wake (2016)

Mike Flanagan’s name is going to come up a few times on this list (and would once more if we could include his incredible The Haunting of Hill House too). This is his weakest Netflix Original (watch Hush and Gerald’s Game first), but it’s better than its reputation might have you believe. Shelved for years, it tells the story of a boy, played expertly by a pre-Room Jacob Tremblay, whose dreams seem to have special powers. It’s not a perfect movie, but it’s interesting to see Flanagan exploring themes here that he would again in things like Hill House.

Berlin Syndrome (2017)

Teresa Palmer is great in this tense thriller about an Australian photographer who goes to Germany and meets an attractive young man. They have a night of passion and she wakes up to discover that she’s unable to leave his apartment, kidnapped by her one-night stand. Tense and unforgettable, it’s the kind of hidden gem that Netflix is great at bringing to a bigger audience.

Cadaver (2020)

Looking for a little foreign flavor in your horror? Check out a unique Norwegian film take on the post-apocalyptic genre as it envisions a future in which resources are so scarce that people will do anything for them, bringing a family of three to an event at a hotel that has truly sinister undertones.

Calibre (2018)

This may be more of a thriller than a horror film, but we have to get this list to 50 somehow and it ends in a brutal enough way to qualify. And we swear they won’t all be Netflix Originals (there just happens to be a lot at the top of the alphabet). Two Scotsmen go hunting and a horrible accident ensues that results in the shooting of a young boy. Instead of owning the horror, they try to cover things up. If movies have taught us anything it’s that covering up a child’s death never works.

Cam (2018)

Did you like Us? Check out this other variation on the concept of the doppelgänger, which stars Madeline Brewer as a cam girl who wakes up one day to find out that she’s still online. Well, someone who looks exactly like her is still online. How is this possible? Watch the movie and find out. It’s a fantastic horror movie with one of the best performances you’ll find on this entire list from Brewer.

Cargo (2018)

Cargo is the best of what we’re calling the emo zombie wave in horror. It stars Martin Freeman as a man who has just lost his wife to infection, and who is also staring down his own rabid turn. He’s got just 48 hours until he becomes one of the walking dead roaming the Australian landscape, and in that time he must find a suitable safe haven for his baby daughter. It’s well-acted, and adds a few wrinkles to the standard zombie mythology.

The Conjuring

Is this the biggest horror movie of the 2010s? Not only did it make James Wan into a major director, but it spawned its own multiple title franchise with spin-offs like The Nun and Annabelle. Go back to the beginning and watch the first and arguably still best film in the series, a fantastic haunted house movie that revitalized the genre.

Creep (2014)

Creep is as simple as it is effective. Mark Duplass co-stars in and produced this lean horror movie from writer, director, and fellow star Patrick Brice. Duplass plays Josef, and man with terminal cancer who recruits a videographer (Brice) to film him at a remote cabin so that he may leave behind a video diary for his young son. Well, that’s who Josef says he is, but of course Josef is lying, and over the course of a day and night, Brice becomes the unwilling plaything of a devious killer who likes to toy with his victims before he kills them. Filmed on a hand cam, Creep is tense and claustrophobic, with Duplass embodying a terrifyingly believable maniac whom you could meet in line at a coffee shop.

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