The "Horror" movie selection on Netflix is really quite impressive. It may be the site's most diverse genre. Old classics like Rosemary's Baby and Night of the Living Dead can be found amongst newer favorites like Candyman and The Host. There are plenty of wild insane killers, satanic cults, and murderous creatures to keep anyone biting their nails off on movie night.
That's why choosing five films out of Netflix's "Horror" section is a daunting task. There are so many great ones, but it's more fun to introduce people to movies they otherwise wouldn't pay any attention to. So here are some of the best horror movies I've seen in recent years. Each are very different, so hopefully, there's something for everyone with a taste for the macabre.
All of these movies can be found in the "Horror" section of Netflix's American "Browse" menu. Apologies if any aren't available outside the U.S.
For All you fans of 'The Cabin in the Woods'
Maybe it was because I saw Resolution first, but this movie beats one of the best horror movies of the past 10 years, The Cabin in the Woods (also on Netflix), at its own game on a fraction of the budget. Like Cabin, Resolution is a meta exercise on the genre. The difference is it actually takes the time to adhere us to the characters. Cabin, while very entertaining thanks to it's vault of amazing horror creatures/concepts, can't match Resolution in terms of its humanity. The kids in Cabin are simply cannon fodder while the two protagonists in Resolution are fully-formed human beings. Both movies debuted within about a month of each other in 2012 so it's unclear which came first, but Resolution is the more authentic, funnier, and better written film. (2012, 93 minutes)
For Reality Enthusiasts
A thrilling documentary about a real-life boogie man who supposedly roamed the tunnels and killed children beneath the Willowbrook State School for the mentally handicapped on Staten Island, NY in the 1970s and 80s, Cropsey isn't your traditional horror movie. It begins like The Blair Witch Project, but the directors (who grew up scared to death of the urban legend) have actual ties to the story and the deaths they investigate are very real. The film begins by presenting a suspect, Andre Rand, a convicted kidnapper who worked as an orderly at the State School and lived in the woods nearby. Cropsey, the idea, had long been a part of schoolyard tales on the East Coast and the filmmakers trace the timeline of the Rand case wondering if he's the real deal. (2009, 84 minutes)
For 'Game of Thrones' Freaks
A rare worthwhile period horror film, Black Death takes place, as you might have guessed, during the Bubonic Plague in 14th century England when a virtual zombie apocalypse nearly destroyed civilization. The story, which feels like a zombie flick, follows an envoy of knights and killers, led by Ulric (Sean Bean), who seek a guide to a remote village that has somehow remains unaffected by the Plague. A monk (Eddie Redmayne) helps them find the village in hopes of reuniting with his love, who is camped out near the area. But the village is under the control of a necromancer (Carice van Houten) who demands the pious group renounce God under the threat of torture and death. Game of Thrones fans will find the actors, mood, and weaponry familiar as Black Death lives in the same kind of violent, savage world as Westeros. (2010, 97 minutes)
For the Immature and Bloodthirsty
First, if you don't know about Bad Milo!, you're in for a treat. This was one of the funniest subversive films of last year. Its disgusting premise is delightful. Duncan (Ken Marino), under intense pressure from his boss, his obnoxious mother, and his sweet wife (Gillian Jacobs), visits a doctor (Peter Stormare) to investigate his recent stomach pains. They discover he has a gross little demon living inside him who springs forth from Duncan's guts to kill the people who make him too stressed out. In an effort to curb the violence, Duncan befriends the cuddly little hell spawn which leads to some very funny scenes. (2013, 84 minutes)
For Horror Critics
The House of the Devil
Filmed on 16mm and set during the 1980s, The House of the Devil is a throwback to the languidly-paced thrillers of that time period. If you're not an old school horror fan you should probably steer clear as the joy of this movie is soaking in all the design and technical details found throughout. On a surface level, it's frustratingly free of any real thrills until a good chunk of it is over, so fair warning. But those of you, like me, who love the old feathered bangs style and zoom-in shots of classic horror movies like Friday the 13th, will appreciate director Ti West's modern homage. The movie follows a young girl who takes a babysitting job and discovers the family is anything but normal. (2009, 95 minutes)