Chills and Thrills: 5 Best Horror Films to Watch on Netflix

We have your rainy day entertainment sorted.

4 min read
A still from Matt Reeves’ <i>Let Me In</i>.

For every time the question ‘what should we watch on Netflix today’ is posed, the answer is always ubiquitous: a horror movie.

Whether you’re on a date, or sitting at home alone wallowing in solitude and junk food, or even just looking for a harmless fun entertainment to pass time, a horror movie works like an all powerful elixir. It’s always an opportune moment to see a horror film.

To get you through your Netflix fix, here are five horror films that you could (and should) stream right now:

The Invitation

Dir: Karyn Kusama

The cornerstone of a good horror film is not letting the audiences know what the heck is happening. The beautifully weird The Invitation wields that card and uses it in the best possible manner.

A man (Logan Marshall) and his new girlfriend drive to a large mansion for a dinner party with long lost friends. There’s some strange history between the man and the host of the party, and there’s also something weird about two new guests – who seem to be up to no good. Director Kusama (Girlfight) keeps twisting the mystery knife as you try and figure out what awaits the protagonist.

The film uses its ultra low budget to its benefit, playing the entirety of the plot inside a house, making the atmosphere claustrophobic, so when the reveal arrives, it feels like a punch to the gut.

Let Me In

Dir: Matt Reeves

Before director Reeves went on to direct the Sci-Fi masterpiece Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, he made this little film Let Me In – a remake of Swedish film Let The Right One In. This is one of those rare instances where the remake works as a better piece of cinema than the original.

A young friendless boy (Kodi Smit McPhee) befriends a young girl in the neighborhood (Chloe Moretz) – but there’s something wrong with her – she might just be a blood-sucking vampire.

Lit beautifully by DOP Greig Fraser, Let Me In is an icy cold, fascinating horror drama that doesn’t just work as a scary movie, but also as an interesting exploration of two lonely children finding each other in an increasingly unforgiving world. It’s also an intelligent update to the tired vampire sub-genre, presenting the need for blood as a metaphor rather than a mere plot device.

The Canal

Dir: Ivan Kavanagh

One of the most fun sub-genres of horror is psychological horror, and the Brit film The Canal stands as an exciting new entry.

A man named David (Rupert Evans) is going through a nervous breakdown – he suspects that his wife is cheating on him, and at the same time is given the knowledge that his house was the scene of a brutal murder in the 18th century. To make things worse his son suspects that a public bathroom at a canal near the house is haunted, and an apparition seems to show up every now and then.

The film is incredibly shot and keeps you guessing – and even if you’re a hard-boiled horror fan who would easily figure the reveal out, the journey towards the terrific climax is worth the view. Irish filmmaker Ivan Kavanagh’s direction is also a demonstration of how a film could subvert genre clichés with visual flair.

The Collector

Dir: Marcus Dunstan

Director Dunstan is mostly known for writing the increasingly disappointing (and also gross) Saw sequels, but he managed to squeeze in The Collector – an enormously fun horror slasher that flopped during release, but went on to become a cult hit.

The film follows a home invasion-style narrative where a family is stuck in a house while an unknown masked assailant tries to hack them into pieces. The titular assailant sets up clever little traps to catch the people in the house who have no choice but to outsmart him if they want to stay alive.

The whole film plays like a cat-and-mouse chase, with enough squeamish moments and clever twists to satisfy the die hardest of horror fans.

The Collector had one sequel called The Collection which was also fun and expansive – one wishes this franchise was given a bigger lifeline than the Saw series. Ironically, the film was originally written as a Saw prequel.

Dead Silence

Dir: James Wan

A young man travels to a rural town to discover a horrific secret. For a more straightforward dosage of horror, with a haunted house, creepy dolls, weird old ladies, and misty landscapes, but with just enough newness to keep things unpredictable, Dead Silence by modern horror maestro James Wan is the film to watch.

The film didn’t get any critical or commercial love during release, but over the years has found a loyal internet following.

With excellent photography, big scale horror production design, and finely choreographed jump scares, the film is actually a better, more original story than Wan’s Insidious and The Conjuring which somehow get more love than this one.

(Mihir Fadnavis is not only a film critic and journalist but also a certified film geek who has consumed more movies than meals.)

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