13 best scary movies on Netflix so you never sleep again

Oh, so you want to be scared? Like…really scared?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re looking to embark on a slow-burn descent into madness or to partake of a sphincter-clenching ghost story, Netflix has tons of terrifying titles perfect for sending adrenaline through your veins and shivers down your spine.

This is a guide designed not to help you find the highest-quality horror films on Netflix (that’s over here), but instead made to steer you toward the titles most likely to chew you up and freak you out. Yes, we’re talking gore and jump scares — but we’re also talking about intangible terror. These are the movies that follow you to bed.

Ranked from least to most extreme, here are 13 of the best scary movies now on Netflix.

13. Creep (2015)

Uh…run.
Credit: the orchard

Oh, you thought you liked Mark Duplass? Because he was the love interest in all those indie rom-coms, played that doctor in The Mindy Project, and is easily the best character in The Morning Show? ?Think again! In Creep, a found-footage film that foregoes pageantry for a stark sense of panic, Duplass plays a strange loner named Josef that freelance documentarian Aaron, played by writer-director Patrick Brice, can’t quite pin down. Duplass’ performance is intoxicating, and Brice imagines a universe so compelling it absolutely merits its equally great sequel (also on Netflix.) *

Scary, if you’re scared of: Serial killers, party masks, jump scares
How to watch:
Creep is now streaming on Netflix.

12. Fear Street Part 2: 1978 (2021)

Good luck, Shadysiders.

Good luck, Shadysiders.
Credit: netflix

You can’t fully appreciate Netflix’s Fear Street without watching the entire trilogy. That said, Part 2: 1978 is without question the scariest of the three movies — taking a fresh stab at the killer summer camp trope established by flicks like Friday the 13th, Sleepaway Camp, and Cabin Fever.

Stranger Things star Sadie Sink leads opposite Emily Rudd as sisters, one a counselor and the other a camper, fighting to survive a masked ax-murderer with a tragic past. A critical chapter in Fear Street‘s mystery of the Shadyside Witch, this is a great sequel and a great stand-alone movie.

Scary, if you’re scared of: Serial killers, curses, some gore, jump scares
How to watch:
Fear Street Part 2: 1978 is now streaming on Netflix.

11. Unfriended (2014)

Ha, it's Skype.

Ha, it’s Skype.
Credit: universal pictures

I will defend director Levan Gabriadze’s oft-maligned Unfriended until my dying day. Yes, the title is stupid. Sure, some of the acting could be better. Of course, that isn’t what the average blender would really do to a human hand. (An immersion blender, maybe.) Still, I challenge you to watch this sucker on a laptop and not feel something lurking behind your browser for days to come. It’s got a good story, excellent pacing, and enough solid jokes and gore to make its comedy a high point. *

Scary, if you’re scared of: Ghosts, strong gore, jump scares
How to watch:
Unfriended is now streaming on Netflix.

10. Crimson Peak (2015)

You're both looking splendidly not haunted this evening!

You’re both looking splendidly not haunted this evening!
Credit: universal

Directed by creature connoisseur Guillermo del Toro, Crimson Peak is a dark gothic fantasy you’ll want to fall into headfirst. Mia Wasikowska leads as a 19th-century American heiress, whisked away to England by her handsome new husband, played by Tom Hiddleston. Once the young bride arrives at her groom’s family mansion, however, visions of ghosts begin to plague her. That her sister-in-law, played by Jessica Chastain, treats her with mysterious disdain isn’t helping.

An epic mystery with more exquisite scenes than you can count, this spectacular ghost story gives longtime del Toro fans the horror flick they’ve always wanted from the iconic director. *

Scary, if you’re scared of: Ghosts, some gore
How to watch: Crimson Peak is now streaming on Netflix.

9. His House (2020)

Oh, this picture is so sad once you've seen the movie.

Oh, this picture is so sad once you’ve seen the movie.
Credit: netflix

Writer-director Remi Weekes’ His House is easily my favorite scary Netflix release of 2020. Wunmi Mosaku and Sope Dirisu star as refugees from South Sudan seeking asylum in Britain who are assigned to live in an eerie neighborhood where they aren’t welcome. Spectacularly frightening and ruthlessly critical of its subject matter, His House delivers everything it must — and then some. *

Scary, if you’re scared of: Haunted houses, all-consuming guilt, jump scares
How to watch: His House is now streaming on Netflix.

8. Shutter Island (2010)

OK, fellas. Just hang on and the twist will explain everything.

OK, fellas. Just hang on and the twist will explain everything.
Credit: paramount pictures

Remarkably bad for a movie directed by Martin Scorsese but pretty good otherwise, Shutter Island follows U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) on his investigation into an institution for the criminally insane. A twist ending and tons of jump scares make this is a one-of-a-kind experience you’ll feel very strongly about.

Scary, if you’re scared of: Losing your mind, jump scares
How to watch: Shutter Island is now streaming on Netflix.

7. The Conjuring (2013)

Skeptics can say what they want, but one thing is certain: Lorraine and Ed are a v cute couple.

Skeptics can say what they want, but one thing is certain: Lorraine and Ed are a v cute couple.
Credit: warner bros. pictures

Ah, it’s the haunting that kick-started an entire universe. Join paranormal investigators Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) as they suss out what demonic presence is troubling a sweet Rhode Island couple (Lili Taylor, Ron Livingston) and their five daughters in the family’s new farmhouse. The Conjuring has a surprising amount of heart, and it’s chock-full of jump scares that’ll manage to get you even if you’ve seen the movie before.

Scary, if you’re scared of: Demons, exorcisms, jump scares
How to watch: The Conjuring is now streaming on Netflix.

6. The Perfection (2019)

Obviously, this is before everything goes to hell.

Obviously, this is before everything goes to hell.
Credit: netflix

From cellos and foreplay to hallucinations and hiking, The Perfection does absolutely whatever it wants. Featuring Allison Williams in her best role since Get Out and Dear White People‘s Logan Browning in her best part ever, this vibrant genre blend will get a reaction out of you. Not necessarily a good reaction, but a reaction nonetheless. It’s body horror meets psychological thriller meets occult drama meets classical music. With bugs. And vomit. I, for one, loved it! *

Scary, if you’re scared of: Cults, gore
How to watch: The Perfection is now streaming on Netflix.

5. Insidious (2010)

Fun fact: The dude on the left is writer Leigh Whannell.

Fun fact: The dude on the left is writer Leigh Whannell.
Credit: filmdistrict

The Insidious franchise went out with a whimper on The Last Key (2018), but the original remains an electric horror experience with some of the most memorable scares ever.

Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, and Ty Simpkins star as a family haunted by a demonic presence who won’t go down without a fight. If you’re a fan of director James Wan’s The Conjuring universe who hasn’t gotten fully obsessed with this interdimensional fright fest yet, you’re missing out on its perfectly maintained tension and killer world-building. Here’s hoping Insidious 5 helps bring this narrative back to its satisfying beginnings. *

Scary, if you’re scared of: Demons, other dimensions, jump scares
How to watch: Insidious is now streaming on Netflix.

4. Veronica (2017)

Don't f*ck with Ouija boards.

Don’t f*ck with Ouija boards.
Credit: netflix

Though Veronica doesn’t quite live up to its marketing as “the scariest” movie on Netflix, the nightmarish outing from director Paco Plaza will give you chills. Sandra Escacena stars as the titular Veronica, a young woman who finds herself plagued by a demonic presence after a fateful encounter with a Ouija board. This one is big on jump scares, so get ready to feel that adrenaline.

Scary, if you’re scared of: Ouija boards, demons, jump scares
How to watch: Veronica is now streaming on Netflix.

3. The Ring (2002)

Seven days, lady.

Seven days, lady.
Credit: dreamworks pictures

Director Gore Verbinkski’s The Ring doesn’t hold up in all of the ways we’d like (the film’s intentionally jarring narrative devices have aged more like continuity problems, tbh), but it remains a pivotal title in aughts horror history that’s scary enough to merit a rewatch. Naomi Watts stars as an investigative journalist who stumbles across a VHS tape with a deadly history. *

Scary, if you’re scared of: Cursed objects, jump scares
How to watch: The Ring is now streaming on Netflix.

2. The Green Inferno (2013)

Hold onto your reflective vests, kiddos.

Hold onto your reflective vests, kiddos.
Credit: bh tilt / high top releasing

The most extreme title on this list by a very wide margin, The Green Inferno takes a modernized approach to the cannibal genre popularized in the ’70s and ’80s by films like Cannibal Holocaust.

In it, a group of students protesting deforestation in the Amazon are kidnapped on their travels. From there, writer-director Eli Roth does what he’s known for, cranking up the intensity of that simple premise to its most outrageously gruesome. It’s a controversial and not particularly cohesive movie, but if you’re looking to feel something, The Green Inferno will get you there.

Scary, if you’re scared of: Cannibalism, kidnapping, extremely strong gore
How to watch: The Green Inferno is now streaming on Netflix.

1. The Strangers (2008)

They don't say much, but they're good...ish company.

They don’t say much, but they’re good…ish company.
Credit: universal pictures

Playing on one of humanity’s most common fears, The Strangers is a stark home invasion story that prioritizes believability above all else. Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman star as a traveling couple who receive unexpected visitors at the house where they’re staying. When the mysterious guests break into the home and refuse to leave, a slow-burn nightmare sets in.

With some of the best jump scares in the biz and the emotion to back them up, writer-director Bryan Bertino delivers a genuinely scary outing with The Strangers. This is a film best enjoyed with the lights off, the volume up, and the door locked. *

Scary, if you’re scared of: Home invasions, jump scares
How to watch: The Strangers is now streaming on Netflix.

Asterisks

indicate the entry comes from a previous Mashable list.

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