Netflix is home to an abundance of horror films and shows. With shows such as The Haunting of Hill House, All Of Us Are Dead, and Midnight Mass finding their way into larger pop culture and creating a space for the content of their kind, horror became one of the favorite genres of Netflix's audience.
While most horror films are predictably mediocre and made to appeal only to the most passive of audiences, when well-made, they express the scope of exploring philosophical truths. After all, what defines human behavior better than our fears? This universal nature of emotion makes horror a genre that has existed forever and will continue to be part of entertainment for a long time to come.
Take a look at this list of deeply haunting and eerily insightful tales of ghosts, serial killers and everything in between.
From jump-scares to slowburn haunting plots, all the horror on Netflix
1) Things Heard And Seen (2021)
When Catherine moves to a small town with her husband and young daughter, the ghosts of their new home's past reveal some haunting secrets about her husband and the life she chose. Based on the book, All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage, Things Heard and Seen is rooted in its storytelling and makes for the most complicated cinematic subjects.
The Netflix original film comments on gender, marriage, sexuality, justice, life and death, all while being subtle and rooted in its world. The performances hardly give you any time before you start empathizing with the central characters of the film. Things Heard And Seen chooses a slow-burn approach towards horror rather than going for plain jump scares.
Give this one a watch if you're looking for some nuanced writing and thematically rich stories. You'd be in for a longer ride than you think considering how the film stays with you for a while after the end credits.
2) Hush (2016)
Almost a survival drama, Hush revolves around how a deaf writer living in the woods fights a masked killer who invades her home. There are no supernatural elements in the film. However, the touch of reality elevates the horror in the film, making it scarier than most supernatural horror films.
Unlike other films on the list, Hush doesn't overtly care about consistency in theme or character but rather focuses on keeping the viewer on the edge of the seat until the very end. A brilliant exposition allows the audience to blend into the universe of the character almost immediately.
Some great jump-scares complemented by fairly good writing makes Hush one of the better films in the genre that is available on Netflix.
3) Hereditary (2018)
A widely acclaimed cult classic, Hereditary received a lot of love from cinephiles around the world. When Annie, a wife and mum of two, loses her mother, she is left grieving while the family begins to experience some paranormal activity that reveals darker truths about the death and what led to it.
The film features engaging performances and great writing. Themes of grief, death, family and relationships elevate every scene in the film to make it engaging. Characters are so well-written that any interaction between them becomes automatically interesting. Watch out for Toni Collette's gripping performance as a grieving daughter.
Whether you're a lover of the genre or just films in general, Hereditary is a must-watch. The film is on Netflix.
4) Under The Shadow (2016)
Set during the Iran-Iraq conflict, Under The Shadow on Netflix, tells the story of a Tehran mother with her husband at war, trying to protect her daughter from the evil forces that she believes are haunting them. The film also explores post-war trauma and native mythology that influences our understanding of horror.
Under The Shadow is a rare example of a great idea turning into a good film. Despite the multiple elements it speaks of, the movie manages to stay true to itself. It does not attempt to outsmart the audience with the multiplicity of themes. Rather, it emphasizes the horror it wants to create.
This Persian-language film is available on Netflix with English subtitles.
5) Sinister (2012)
When a desperate writer moves into a house that saw the deaths of all its previous owners, he soon realizes he has put his family and his life in danger. The horror is enhanced by a blend of investigative thrill and some relationship drama.
Despite being a done-to-death trope when it comes to horror films, Sinister maintains its originality with compelling performances, convincing character arcs, and a good mix of conflicts. The plot points are not new or surprising but are executed to perfection, making this a pleasing horror film if you're looking for the usual thrill as the film does leave one in the dark zone for a while.
Watch out for Ethan Hawke's performance as a struggling writer and husband. You can find the movie on Netflix.
Horror has been revolutionized as writing has diversified and the fact that horror comes in many forms is sinking in. Nowadays, Netflix is also coming up with its original horror films and series that are widely watched, independent of the kind of criticism they are subject to. And the list above consists of some of the greatly loved and well-made horror films on the streaming giant, Netflix.