Hollywood, MD—Leaves are falling and it’s getting cooler outside. Halloween is only a few weeks away, what better time of year is there to turn out all of the lights and curl up on the couch to watch a scary movie? Whether your holiday traditions this season include indulging in candy, carving pumpkins, or going through corn mazes, one aspect of Halloween that is ubiquitous is getting spooked.
Classic films are always an excellent recommendation (some to check out on Netflix: Children of the Corn, Hellrasier, and Jaws. Night of the Living Dead is public domain by a faux pas and can be legally streamed on YouTube), but sometimes fresh meat is just what the doctor ordered. Check out a list below of ten scary movies to stream on Netflix–each came out within the last few years and are in no particular order.
1.) Gerald’s Game (2017)
Based on the gut-wrenching novel by Stephen King, Gerald’s Game is the story of a couple in a failing marriage trying to spice things up. Gerald and Jessie go on vacation to a lake house in Maine with no neighbors for miles. Gerald decides he wants to play a rather raunchy game with Jessie that involves handcuffing her to the bed. Jessie decides she doesn’t want to do this, which turns into an argument with her aggressive husband. Suddenly, Gerald has a heart attack and keels over—dead. Jessie is now chained to the bed with no one but the corpse of her husband to keep her company. Hungry dogs and hallucinations terrorize this trapped woman. Which will she lose first, her life or her mind?
2.) Hush (2016)
Hush tells the harrowing tale of a deaf writer living alone in the woods that gets tormented by a masked assailant. A thriller with no over-the-top gore, Hush is one that will keep you anxiously on edge—especially once this sadistic villain learns that his prey cannot hear him. The film is similar to the 1967 Audrey Hepburn movie Wait Until Dark, which is about two murderous thugs that try to rob a blind woman alone at her house.
3.) The Babadook (2014)
Scary monsters and super creeps doesn’t begin to describe the sheer terror that is The Babadook. Based on a short film, this Australian psychological thriller centers around a widowed mother and her young son. Her son begins seeing visions of a monster from a pop-up book called Mister Babadook and insists to his mother that this creature is real. Sleepless nights trying to comfort her tormented son lead the mother to also seeing visions. Is this monster real, or is insomnia driving them mad? If you can get past the rather annoying child in this film, you’ll find it incredibly unnerving.
4.) Zombeavers (2014)
The title of this flick says it all. With a corny 80s vibe, Zombeavers is about a group of college kids staying at a lake house on vacation that get attacked by none other than—you guessed it—zombie beavers. With a run time of less than an hour and twenty minutes, Zombeavers is a great one to kick back and watch with your friends when you’re looking for a gory laugh.
5.) The Nightmare (2015)
The Nightmare, while actually a documentary, is just as scary as any of these fictionalized movies. This film covers the topic of sleep paralysis, and interviews eight people that experience this frightening phenomenon. Sleep paralysis is a condition in which the brain essentially wakes up before the body does, leaving the person unable to move or speak—some people see visions during this time. The filmmakers visualize what the interviewees describe, showing the viewers not only terrifying monsters, but real ones.
6.) Would You Rather (2012)
Would You Rather puts the tragic protagonist in a life or death predicament as she tries to win money to save her sick brother’s life. After her brother is diagnosed with leukemia, Iris meets a man who offers her a deal: if she wins a dinner party game, his foundation will pay for her brother’s treatment. Unbeknownst to Iris, the “game” is a sadistic one that pushes people to their limits. Joined by several other people trying to win money, they are soon trapped in a mansion, picking between two destructive choices in a twisted version of the party game “Would You Rather?” This one isn’t for those with a weak stomach, and will have you questioning what you would pick in their situation.
7.) Raw (2016)
Justine, a lifelong vegetarian and diligent student, embarks on her first week of veterinary school. Her parents both graduated from the same school and are also vegetarians. During a cruel hazing ritual, Justine is forced to consume raw meat. Initially, Justine gets a bad reaction, her body covered in hives. But soon, Justine gets a taste for meat—and not just from animals. The haunting images of this French film will capture you so intensely that you will forget you are reading subtitles. Overachiever turned cannibal, Raw is a film unlike any you’ve seen before.
8.) It Follows (2014)
It Follows is psychological in every sense of the word. Much less of a jump-scare, gory movie, It Follows instead preys on the viewer’s mind. Using hardly any special effects, this independent film turns random pedestrians into hidden monsters. A young teenaged girl, Jay, finds out that her new boyfriend is the carrier of a fatal curse that he has now passed on to her. This curse manifests itself into the appearance of everyday people, even friends and family, that creeps towards the infected person slowly. The curse forever follows the infected person until they pass it on to someone else, but if the next infected person gets killed, it falls back onto the initial carrier. It Follows is a slow-burn, but a truly eerie story.
9.) Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010)
Like Zombeavers, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is much more of a pseudo-scary comedy in disguise. Two hillbilly friends, Tucker and Dale, find themselves in a world of trouble when a group of college kids on a vacation in the woods mistake them for murderers. It gets worse when the kids actually start dying. Super gory, cringe-inducing, and yet totally hilarious, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is movie that you will not soon forget.
10.) They Look Like People (2015)
Another low budget psychological thriller, They Look Like People is an independent film that will have the viewer questioning reality and the lead character’s sanity. Wyatt and Christian are friends that have gotten out of touch over the years, until they decide to reunite in New York City. Christian invites Wyatt to stay at his apartment and the two bond and get along as if they had never been apart. Wyatt begins receiving ominous phone calls telling him about the impending demonic apocalypse. The voice on the phone calls begins to sound like acquaintances of Wyatt and Christian, and now he doesn’t know who to trust. They Look Like People relies on the actors’ voices and body movements to discomfort the viewers, and the final scene will have you on the edge of your seat.
October is undoubtedly the best month for scary movies. These are only ten of nearly countless horror movies on Netflix and other streaming services. What are some of your favorite movies to watch this time of year?