It’s the one weekend a year where you are legally obligated to watch at least one horror movie, and instead of renting one, you might as well see what’s available for free on Netflix. I wouldn’t say Netflix has the best selection of horror films out there, and yet it does have some all-time classics, and there are certainly enough to get you through the weekend.
1. The Conjuring – One of the modern “new era” classic horror films, it’s the original that launched an entire cinematic horror universe, and for good reason. It’s probably still the best of the bunch, even though there are two sequels and a half dozen doll or nun-based spin-offs out there. Netflix also has The Conjuring 2 as a follow-up, if you want to watch that, and it’s solid as well.
2. Sinister – I really love this movie and am glad Netflix has landed it. It is one of the most deeply unsettling mainstream horror films I can remember seeing, and even if its sequels didn’t do it justice, the original is absolutely worth a watch. Certain scenes have stuck with me to this day, even as I write this.
3. The Strangers – The Strangers is old at this point, released all the way back in 2008, and yet it remains a staple of the genre, beautiful in its simplicity where masked killers stalk a couple for what appears to be no real reason at all. Again, it spawned some lesser follow-ups, but the original remains a true classic.
4. Till Death/Gerald’s Game – I am grouping both of these together because they have almost identical storylines. Handcuffs, dead men and women trying to escape the mess the corpses left them in. Both Megan Fox and Carla Gugino are excellent in both of these, respectively, and Gerald’s Game in particular is from genius director Mike Flanagan, who did it before his two Haunting series for Netflix and now, Midnight Mass. Till Death, for some reason, isn’t listed in the horror section, so you’ll have to search for it.
5. The Ritual – Netflix has made a number of original horror movies over the years, but only a few stand out to me, and The Ritual is one of them. It’s the movie I’ve seen that comes closest to recapturing the magic of the original Blair Witch, and has stayed with me ever since I watched it a while back. An all-time great of the “spookiness in the woods” genre.
Bonus: The Fear Street Trilogy – I don’t really even know how to classify Fear Street, Netflix’s trio of horror films that don’t really even feel like movies, but instead one really, really long miniseries. Ultimately I think that yes, they’re worth watching, but you really have to do all of them, or none of them, as they don’t quite work just standing on their own.
A few more bonuses I’d recommend offhand:
- The Babysitter (not part 2)
- Hell Fest
Alright, that should be enough to get you started. Enjoy!
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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and its audiobook, and The Earthborn Trilogy, also on audiobook.