For the last year and a half, many of us have spent a lot more time stuck inside than we usually would have, and that often means there has been a substantial increase in our Netflix consumption. So we here at Arrow in the Head have decided to go through the horror options on Netflix US and put together a top 10 list of the Best Horror Movies On Netflix Right Now.
Take note of the “Right Now” part of the subject line, because some of these films are not Netflix Originals and therefore could be removed from the streaming service at any time. If you want to watch them, be sure to start streaming in a timely manner or they may be gone!
BLOOD RED SKY (2021)
The “vampire vs. airplane hijackers” horror action thriller Blood Red Sky is a project director Peter Thorwarth had been wanting to make for 16 years before it was finally released, and his dedication to the concept paid off: within a month of its Netflix debut, it had already been watched in more than 50 million households around the globe. That’s not surprising, as it’s a film that can appeal to both horror fans and action fans. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s well worth checking out. It’s fun, exciting, and at times emotional as we watch a vampire mother battle a group of dangerous criminals to keep her son (who is not a bloodsucker) safe during an international flight.
If we could somehow compile of list of anyone who has ever been wary of dipping into a large body of water simply because they have seen Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, we may find that this is the most traumatizing movie ever made. Spielberg taps into the primal fear of getting munched in a way that no other film has been able to do. There have been a lot of nature run amok horror movies, but no others have made the impact Jaws has. The way Spielberg presents the man-eating shark while John Williams’ music fills the soundtrack is deeply unnerving. When you’re not being disturbed, you get to enjoy wonderful performances from Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss.
FEAR STREET (2021)
Here’s a three-for-one special, as Netflix has released an entire trilogy of Fear Street films (inspired by the R.L. Stine book series) that director Leigh Janiak made back-to-back-to-back. Over the course of the trilogy, Janiak shows us horrific things that occurred in the cursed town of Shadyside in 1666, 1978, and 1994, allowing for the series to bring to mind films like The Witch, Friday the 13th, and Scream at different points along the way. The films tell the story of an evil entity that, every couple decades or so, possesses Shadysiders and drives them to kill. Janiak and her collaborators crafted an engaging story with some good twists and turns, and she brought it to the screen with cool style and an awesome soundtrack.
Despite being a Blumhouse production and Universal release, director J.D. Dillard’s Sweetheart seemed to fly in under the radar when it hit VOD in 2019. That’s a shame, because this is a really cool creature feature that deserves more attention than it has gotten. Most of its 83 minutes is a one-actor show, with Kiersey Clemons playing Jenn, a shipwrecked young woman who has washed ashore on a small, uninhabited island. As if being stranded in the middle of the ocean wasn’t scary enough, Jenn also discovers that there’s some kind of carnivorous monster lurking in the water around the island – and this thing comes wading up onto the beach every night, looking for something to eat. Maybe more people would have watched this by now if it weren’t called Sweetheart; there’s not much of a reason for it to have that title.
Driving home after attending a friends’ wedding, photographer Tun (Ananda Everingham) and his girlfriend Jane (Natthaweeranuch Thongmee) accidentally hit a woman, then leave the scene without checking on her. So it’s no surprise when the couple starts experiencing paranormal events and Tun starts seeing ghostly images in the pictures he takes – but as the film goes along, Shutter does turn in some very unexpected directions. Directors Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom provide the usual supernatural movie jump scares, but also managed to give their film a thick atmosphere of dread, and things get quite dark and intense. This Thai production was one of the many Asian horror films to get an American remake (the U.S. version stars Joshua Jackson), but if you’re going to pick between the two, the original is the one to go with. Shutter has also been remade in Tamil and Hindi, but I haven’t seen those takes on the concept. If they ever show up on Netflix, I’m there.
WE SUMMON THE DARKNESS (2019)
It’s 1988 and America’s heartland has been stricken by a series of murders where Satanic symbols have been drawn on the walls at the crime scenes. After meeting at a rock concert in Indiana, three girls (Alexandra Daddario, Maddie Hasson, Amy Forsyth) and three guys (Keean Johnson, Logan Miller, Austin Swift) decide to continue the party at a private residence… and by the end of the night, they’ll all know everything there is to know about those murders. Some of them won’t even live to see the morning. Director Marc Meyers’ We Summon the Darkness is a really fun movie, with more humor than the synopsis might lead you to believe, entertaining characters, twists on expectations (see Johnny Knoxville’s serious role as an evangelist), and plenty of action and violence. Plus one character chooses to use an outboard boat motor to defend themselves from their attackers, and that’s awesome.
HELL FEST (2018)
Director Gregory Plotkin’s Hell Fest is an incredibly simple film, so I’m not sure why it took six credited writers to put together the story and screenplay. For almost its entire running time, the movie focuses on a group of friends – including Amy Forsyth of We Summon the Darkness – as they wander around the titular location, a horror-themed amusement park, on Halloween night. Also making their way around this very cool-looking place is a masked slasher called The Other (Stephen Conroy), who of course ends up targeting the characters we’ve been following, knocking them off one-by-one. Lionsgate was hoping Hell Fest would be the start of a new slasher franchise, but it was sadly overlooked when it reached theatres back in 2018. We may never get a Hell Fest 2, but the film works on its own and is an entertaining way to fill 89 minutes. If you love slasher movies and haven’t given this one a chance yet, check it out while it’s on Netflix.
THE STRANGERS (2008)
There have been a whole lot of home invasion horror films released in recent years, but one of the best movies the sub-genre has to offer is still writer/director Bryan Bertino’s 2008 feature debut, The Strangers. Kristen McKay (Liv Tyler) and James Hoyt (Scott Speedman) are up late dealing with relationship issues when three masked people show up at their door with the intention of tormenting and murdering the couple simply “Because you were home.” The Strangers is a simple, well-executed film that is effectively creepy due to how relatable and realistic the scenario is. It’s very easy for the viewer to imagine themselves in this scenario. You might get frustrated by the way Kristen and James handle the situation at times, but you wouldn’t want to be in their place.
THE GUEST (2014)
Some may argue that Adam Wingard’s The Guest is a thriller rather than a horror movie, but it’s set around Halloween, is inspired by the likes of Halloween and The Terminator, and has direct visual references to the third and fourth Halloween movies, so it works as horror in my book. Dan Stevens delivers a great performance as David, a war veteran who is invited into the home of a fallen fellow soldier’s family. He seems like a positive presence at first, but soon starts exhibiting strange, creepy behavior. David is dangerous, and the sole family member to suspect there’s something off about him before everything crumbles into violent mayhem is the film’s heroine Anna, played by Maika Monroe. Not only does The Guest tell an intriguing, thrilling story, but it also has a strongly appealing ’80s throwback vibe to it (despite being set in modern day) and a terrific soundtrack.
Mike Flanagan is one of the most interesting filmmakers we have working in the horror genre today, and thankfully he has a great set-up at Netflix. Their collaboration has given us the Stephen King adaptation Gerald’s Game, The Haunting of Hill House and Bly Manor, and the upcoming series Midnight Mass – and it all started with Netflix releasing Hush. Starring Kate Siegel (who also wrote the script with Flanagan), this is a very simple and straightforward home invasion slasher, but it stands out from the pack of other films like this due to the fact that Siegel’s character Maddie is a strong, interesting, easy-to-root-for heroine who also happens to be deaf, which her attacker (John Gallagher Jr.) uses to his advantage when sneaking around in her house. Flanagan has several great entries on his filmography, and this 82 minute story of Heroine vs. Slasher in one secluded location ranks as one of his best.