Whether you’re doing the quarantine thing at home, or just wanting to catch a movie in general, we at Dread Central have you horror lovers covered. The variety of streaming services available to viewers is at an all-time high and as the craziness that is 2020 comes to a close, we thought we’d give you some of our picks found on each platform. Having previously covered Hulu and Shudder, this article is going to give you my 10 picks for great horror films on Netflix. Read on!
J.D. Dillard’s Sweetheart was a film that really caught me off guard. I went into it knowing nothing and that approach worked well with this mystery/horror hybrid of a survival film.
After her boat sinks in the middle of the ocean, the film’s protagonist, Jenn (Kiersey Clemons), washes up on the shore of an island and we’re then given one hell of a horror flick. One part Lost, one part Dead Calm, Sweetheart does an excellent job of keeping you as a viewer, on your toes. Is the greatest danger to Jenn, a mysterious creature or people she thought were her greatest companions? Check this one out!
The Monster (2016)
Confession: I would watch Bryan Bertino direct traffic if need be. By far, one of my favorite directors working today, Bertino scared the living hell out of us all with 2008’s The Strangers and though his follow-up, Mockingbird was a step backwards for some, it was still a film I enjoyed. Before giving us this year’s creepy The Dark and the Wicked, Bertino helmed this gem, 2016’s The Monster.
Following a mother and her daughter (played by Zoe Kazan and Ella Ballantine), stranded on a road in the middle of a rain storm, The Monster does slow burn right, not only giving us one scary monster stalking the duo, but also telling a tale of a mother learning what it is to truly be a mother. Bertino is excellent at using dread and terror as metaphors for relationships and The Monster is just another example of just that. It’s eerie, absolutely creepy and features some of my favorite cinematography in years.
The Invitation (2016)
While I am a sucker for all things cult-y, what makes Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation so effective for me, is how it expertly tackles grief and pain in a way that very few films do. Logan Marshall-Green leads this story of a man and his girlfriend, being invited to a dinner party thrown by his ex wife and her husband, along with a group of somewhat estranged friends. Having lost his son years before, revisiting his old house, his former wife and the pain that is still front and center in his soul is already suffocating to him, but as the film goes on, the intention of the dinner party is revealed and it gives viewers a slow burn, dig beneath your soul film that is impossible to forget.
Hubie Halloween (2020)
I know, I know, “THIS IS NOT HORROR!” Will be there first thing in the comments for this one. That said, it takes a LOT for me to dig an Adam Sandler movie and there’s such a reverence for the Halloween season in Hubie Halloween, that this comedy/horror mashup is impossible not to love. Sure, there’s an unnecessary accent Sandler uses and yes, it’s pretty childish at times, but you’re lying if you say you don’t laugh your ass off with the “Rocky Balboa style” line and Hubie’s mom, never knowing what her thrift store shirts mean.
Taking tropes for slasher films, werewolf flicks and everything in between, Hubie Halloween is a blast, focusing on a city’s outcast, doing his best to celebrate and save Halloween. It’s a hilarious movie and worth a watch.
Session 9 (2001)
Brad Anderson’s Session 9 is easily one of the most uncomfortable films I’ve ever seen. A true example of psychological horror and its ability to burrow into your mind, this story of a group of workers trying to clear asbestos from a closed down mental asylum is one of the scariest movies around. Not big in the jump scare or gore field, what Session 9 relies on, is tension and dread. As the film goes on, each man’s mental health is put into question, as they begin to see and hear things that could or could not truly be there, mixed with the men listening to tapes left behind, of a former patient’s regression.
The cast is solid (David Caruso, Josh Lucas, Pete Mullan, the list goes on and on), the shooting location is terrifying and there’s an uneasy feeling found within the entire film. Session 9 also features one of the stomach churching endings as far as I’m concerned, it’s a true testament to what horror can be, when you’re left with tension and sound, as opposed to gore for gore’s sake. What a film.
Basic Instinct (1992)
Another film that might cause some readers to cry foul on me, Paul Verhoeven’s Basic Instinct might be what many consider “horror”. That said, it’s a film that involves a murdered with an ice pick and has one of the most horrifically impressive (and sexy) openings around. Somewhat of a police procedural mixed with a slasher vibe, Basic Instinct follows Nick Curran (Michael Douglas), a detective already on thin ice with internal affairs, following a past shooting where an innocent person was killed because Curran was on cocaine. When a rock star is found brutally murdered with an insane amount of ice pick wounds, Curran begins questioning the musician’s former flame, the seductive Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone in a career defining role). Tramell, a cunning novelist uses specific key points of murders in her books, so Curran is intent on proving that she’s the killer.
What we’re then given, is a cat and mouse game between Curran and Tramell, leading to one of, if not THE best erotic thrillers around. The violence is over the top, the sexuality is unbeatable and Stone commands every single scene she’s in. Sure, the police interrogation scene became notorious for a single shot, but the film itself is one of my favorite movies around and hell yes, I consider it a horror film.
I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House (2016)
Osgood Perkins helmed an all time fave of mine, The Blackcoat’s Daughter, and that’s one for the books, but it’s his follow up (filmed after Blackcoat’s but released before), I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House that is making this list of films to check out. While it didn’t resonate with many, this VERY slow burn gem hits all of the spots right for me, giving its viewer a supernatural ghost tale, that doesn’t play with jump scares at all, instead moving gracefully in a way that feels closer to reading a novel that watching your typical horror films.
I’ll watch anything Ruth Wilson is in and the actress is amazing in this one, playing a live-in nurse that begins to think the house she’s staying at is haunted. A visual treat, this ghost story moves closer to David Lowery’s A Ghost Story than an Insidious film, giving you a story that you’re transfixed with from the very beginning. Some say nothing EVER happens, but that’s untrue. We’re conditioned to expect MTV-like editing in horror from time to time and it’s films like I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House, that reminds us to let horror play out from time to time.
Sinister 2 (2015)
A rare sequel that I enjoy even more than the original, Ciaran Foy’s Sinister 2 takes a small character from the first film (James Ransone’s Deputy So and So, now “Former Deputy So and So”) and makes him front and center this time around. While I love the first Sinister film, it always bothered me how irresponsible Ethan Hawke’s character was, when it came to putting his family in jeopardy, so having Ransone lead this one as a man obsessed with saving people, was the first part of me latching onto it.
This time follow a woman hiding with her two sons from her estranged and abusive ex husband, Sinister 2 brings back Baghuul and the film canisters and provides scares that rival the first film’s terror-filled sequences. Ransone’s character finds the family and does his best to spare them from the fate of Hawke’s family in the first film, and we’re given a really heartfelt horror drama that speaks on family and abuse, bringing not only Baghuul back as a villain, but a real life horror of kids trying to survive their abusive father (Leo Coco). The familial approach works, but don’t get me wrong, Sinister 2 is a scary as hell film that creeps into your head and lives there after watching it.
The Evil Dead (1981 or 1983, depending on who you ask)
Sam Raimi’s classic, The Evil Dead is not only a film that lives up to its legend but is also the only film that adorns my knuckles for life. My love for this absolutely perfect film is massive and with good reason. Before the humor of Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness and the Ash as a comical hero people expect happened, Raimi’s first film gave viewers an ultra-serious, video nasty gem. It’s mean, lean and absolutely down and dirty, a film that scares its viewers more than making them laugh and as the series went into splatstick territory, viewers forgot how ultra-violent and SCARY the first film really is.
A group of friends take a trip to a remote cabin in the woods and accidentally unleash a demonic force, when they stumble across a book and tape that invokes the evil. Soon after, Bruce Campbell’s Ash and his friends are put through a literal hell, some possessed and all thrown through the ringer in one of the bloodiest and legendary films of all time. This one’s considered a classic for good reason and is always a blast to revisit, so grab your book of the dead and some popcorn and get groovy.
While the rest of this list isn’t in any particular order, I’d be lying if I said that David Fincher’s Zodiac isn’t a definitive number one for me. A great example of how the terror of a serial killer can affect multiple people in many different ways, this one is my favorite film by the Se7en director and has some of the most chilling sequences around.
Revolving around the never solved murders carried out by a serial killer known as Zodiac, this film is both a police procedural and a look at obsession, found in both the murderer and the men giving up marriages and jobs to try to catch him. Led by Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey, Jr., Mark Ruffalo and many others, Zodiac is an ensemble that was crafted so precisely by Fincher, that you cannot begin to wrap your head around how great it truly is. The police procedural aspects are enthralling and the scenes in which the murderer kills his victims, are downright SCARY. There’s a scene where a mother (played by Say Anything’s Ione Skye) and her baby are almost victims to the Zodiac and as a parent, that scene creeps me the hell out.
An excellent film about a killer who terrorized an entire city for years, Zodiac is a true crime drama/horror hybrid that is definitely one to catch