Take it from someone who has watched just about every horror movie in Hollywood (and beyond).

By Hana Hong
August 18, 2020
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Anyone who knows me knows that I’m the biggest horror movie enthusiast. Like the best psychological thrillers, there’s just something about a solid scare and nightmarish situation that helps you escape the grim reality of the world around you. In fact, I’ve probably watched so many horror movies at this point that I’ve become immune to the majority of scare tactics, making it that much more impressive when I find something that actually works.

Unfortunately, horror movies on Netflix is probably the most oversaturated movie genre on the streaming platform, especially when it comes to the influx of B-rated horror movies that rely way too much on predictable jump scares and cliche plotlines. And because horror tastes are so individual, it’s hard to cut through the noise when it comes to horror movies based solely off Rotten Tomatoes scores alone. I’ve found that the best horror movie references have always come from fellow horror movie fanatics instead, so as one myself, I’m here to share some of my most frightfully memorable favorites. From mysterious corpses and strange sex curses to twisted games of gore, here is the cream of the horror movie crop, all streaming now on Netflix.

1. The Autopsy of Jane Doe

A morgue is never really a place you want to be on a late stormy night, but this one becomes even worse when police bring in a beautifully preserved woman with no wounds, markings, or identification. As the father and son coroner duo investigate the body further, they find even stranger clues inside the body as they try to piece together what caused her untimely death.

2. Sinister

One of the horror classics that actually deserve its esteemed reputation, Sinister uses typical horror elements—a haunted house, a supernatural entity, and possessed kids—and makes them effective. When a true-crime writer Ellison (Ethan Hawke) moves into a remote house to find inspiration for his writing, he discovers a cache of home videos depicting several brutal murders, all involving a family with children. When odd occurrences start happening on the property, he has to rush to find the reason why—and a way out.

3. It Follows

I believe the most terrifying moments in horror don’t come with a sudden pop-up or loud music cue—it comes with the prolonged feeling of sinking dread. That’s probably the best way to describe the emotion you’ll get while watching this movie. The story revolves around a contagious curse, but its premise is definitely a unique one: The curse, an entity that takes on different human forms to follow you slowly wherever you go, is passed on via sexual intercourse (talk about a terrible STD). I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that I can’t look at a suburban rooftop now without picturing a naked man standing on top of it (you’ll know what I mean once you watch it). 

4. In The Tall Grass

Stephen King is undoubtedly the king of horror, both in book and on screen, but this film adaptation is probably one of my all-time favorites. When two siblings hear pleas for help from a small boy lost in a field of tall grass, they enter the green abyss only to realize they can’t find a way out. This isn’t a situation that a compass or Google maps can solve; aside from the fact that there isn’t a WiFi connection, something supernatural lurks in the grass, creating an endless infinity loop and time disconnect that can’t be escaped. 

5. Eli 

As you can deduce from the title, the movie is all about Eli, a boy that is forced to live in a bubble wearing only sterilized, vacuum-packed clothing because he's allergic to the world. His parents take him to see a supposed “special cases” specialist who might offer a cure to his genetic abnormalities, but everything is not as it seems in this cold, high-tech facility.

6. As Above So Below

I’m usually not the biggest fan of films shot from the first-person perspective, especially when it comes to horror, but this one might just be the only successful horror movie that mastered just that. Every scene is shown from the perspective of Scarlett, an archeologist who films her journey into the Paris Catacombs to track down one of history's greatest treasures: Flamel's Philosopher's Stone. The catacombs are on the scarier side of tourist’s destinations for obvious reasons (I mean, it’s an underground tunnel full of corpses), but this movie might make you further reconsider trekking down there in real life.

7. Would You Rather

The classic game gets a sadistic twist, to say the least, when it’s announced that the winner will be awarded obscene amounts of money. Sounds swell, but as the game progresses, it becomes clear why there is only one winner—mainly because there is only one winner left standing.

8. Hush

The slasher-horror genre gets a refreshing take when the main protagonist is a deaf woman. As if fighting a deranged killer in the woods isn’t hard enough, this writer has to do it in complete silence. The killer is a lunatic murderer who murders for fun, but Maddie (Kate Siegel) uses her sharp writing abilities to predict his next movements and try to outsmart him. Like a lot of movies on this list, this one doesn’t resort to the jump scare tactics that mar so many slasher movies. 

9. Train to Busan

The zombie film teeters on the edge of horror since zombie movies have become an entire movie category of its own, but I just had to include it for how impeccable of a zombie horror movie it is. The premise: A man and his estranged daughter become trapped on a speeding train during a rapidly spreading zombie outbreak in South Korea. Considering how much blood it has in it, a horror movie classification could definitely be made. However, it’s also packed with a lot of heart as the family tries to mend their broken relationship whilst fighting for survival (tears will ensue).