The widespread appeal of horror films is simple: We love the adrenaline rush, and we feel safe knowing that a machete-wielding maniac isn’t lurking outside our window. (Probably. Feel free to go check.)
If you’re in the mood for those thrills without leaving the comfort of your sofa, there’s an easy solution: Kill the lights and check out eight of the scariest movies on Netflix right now.
1. Get Out (2017)
Jordan Peele made a major splash as a new voice in horror with this tale of a man (Daniel Kaluuya) who finds that meeting his girlfriend’s relatives can be a torturous experience. Peele has two voice cameos in the film: as a dying deer and a commercial narrator.
2. The Invitation (2022)
A wedding trip to England becomes an exercise in survival in this effective chiller starring Nathalie Emmanuel. Co-star Sean Pertwee is the son of one-time Doctor Who star Jon Pertwee.
3. Blood Red Sky (2021)
This creepy and inventive German-language chiller has become a standout hit for Netflix. When a group of terrorists hijacks a transatlantic flight, they’re surprised to discover that one woman on board will go to any lengths to protect her son—up to and including unleashing her vampire side. Director Peter Thorwarth said he got the idea during a transatlantic flight, wondering what he would do if he were a vampire flying toward the rising sun.
4. The Perfection (2019)
The dark side of musical genius is explored in this gory thriller about a cello prodigy (Allison Williams) who returns to her old private school to find her teacher (Steven Weber) taken with a new student (Logan Browning). It’s a triangle of jealousy that only gets twistier—and more twisted—from the first frame to the last. Williams and Browning did most of their own cello playing.
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5. The Ritual (2018)
Four friends on a hiking trip in the Swedish wilderness find forces both natural and unnatural could interfere with their return home. Director David Bruckner has said he was influenced by The Wicker Man, The Descent, and even Deliverance, so if those titles appeal, this might be the movie for you.
6. Gerald’s Game (2017)
A romantic weekend retreat turns into a claustrophobic struggle for survival for Carla Gugino after her husband drops dead and she’s left handcuffed to their bed. This adaptation of Stephen King’s novel is one of the rare films to do right by the author, preserving his psychological (and visceral) scares.
For Gugino, however, it came at a cost: The handcuffs she wore for weeks were so uncomfortable that director Mike Flanagan, who wanted to show solidarity with his actors, could only wear them for five minutes before quitting.
7. Lights Out (2016)
Two siblings encounter a malevolent force that kills only in the dark. Director David F. Sandberg filmed a short feature that got the attention of Hollywood and the opportunity to turn it into a feature.
8. Creep (2014)
Mark Duplass stars in this low-budget, found-footage chiller about a very strange man named Josef who solicits the help of a videographer. As the bizarre behavior mounts, Josef seems to be looking at his new hire more like a victim than an employee. Director Patrick Brice and Duplass originally envisioned it as a “dark comedy about two sad people forming a connection” under the title Peachfuzz, but feedback from friends convinced them to shoot more footage and go in a darker direction.
A version of this story ran in 2021; it has been updated for 2023.