All 44 Shudder Exclusive Films Ranked – Just In Time For Halloween

(This is a refreshed version of the original ranking, which ran last year. Since then, Shudder has more than doubled the number of exclusive movies in their library.)

Any "horror fan" who isn't planted A-Clockwork-Orange-theater-style in front of AMC's shriektastic Shudder streaming service needs to change that malfunction immediately. I say this as an addicted subscriber myself. You'll finally have the opportunity to watch all those "classic" genre films your pretentious cinephile friends wax so poetically about.

I know you're here for my ranking of every Shudder original (we're only ranking the movies, not their TV shows), but hold your undead horses. We'll get to the clicky-baiting in a second. First, let me start with a preface.

Shudder deserves all the credit in the world for their current library and support of indie horror filmmakers trying to sell the obscure. From festival darlings to forgotten premieres, Shudder is building a diverse, something-for-everyone catalog of exclusivity puts other streaming platforms to shame. Genre or not. Please understand that this is less a listicle and more an appreciation for what Shudder has done and continues to do – give a voice to originality and keep fresh, ambitious storytelling from going the way of the dodo. Not everyone has the same tastes, so please do try them all. Let me make that clear.

It should also be noted that more titles are being added all the time. More were added since this list was initially published. We hope to update this list and maintain it as a living document as time goes on.

44. Kuso

It's impossible to confine Flying Lotus' Kuso to a rating (that "20" could just as easily be a "undefinable" or "floating in the cinematic ether"). It defies all critical construct and reception. One person may say (h/t Josh Lobo) "I f&^%$#@ love it as an exercise in pure torture. I've never felt more uncomfortable." Me? I'd switch the word "uncomfortable" with "violated" (cinematically, of course). Think of it as a variety show morphed into some bleak, dystopian, post-earthquake LA. One hosted by Satan, influenced by Terry Gilliam, and written by a room full of extreme beat poets tripping on psychedelics that haven't been invented yet.

I mean, what's there to say? Kuso opens on a news show that's overtaken by one random man's nihilist incantation. "Once you're dead, then you're dead, there's no coming back." Cut to a segment about autoerotic asphyxiation, love and schmear. Enter a cartoonish interlude about a rotting man calling to "dispatch." Magical, anal-dwelling creatures with healing powers. A defecating boy who grows a...uh...bulb-human-plant by smearing poo on it? Pornographic Max Headroom animations. Hannibal Buress voicing a stoner video-box-faced alien who rips a woman's fetus out, giving her an on-site abortion...that she then uses as a bong.

I'm just gonna leave things there and say it's an ambitious piece of art. Kudos, Flying Lotus. You've broken me. But never wanting to watch a film again has to mean something...

43. Can’t Take It Back

As social media continues to modify the way humans interact, cinema evolves in parallel. Unfortunately, Tim Shechmeister's Can't Take It Back is anything but a groundbreaking vision – Friend Request, anyone – as the film tries to inject paranormal perplexity into technological freakouts. "Tries," mind you, because this dead-air haunted house is like sleepwalking through a Halloween attraction with neon signs pointing to each scare. Acting drags (cast members pre-reveal jumps), tension dissipates (Morgan, the ghost of a bullied girl, only appears to scream and vanish), high school dialogue is plenty cringy ("Shouldn't have been such a dick to the goth kids," Logan Paul – *vomits* – says while clutching satanic scribblings) – all facets of filmmaking are in dire need of a CTRL+ALT+DEL reboot.

42. Last Ones Out

Howard Fyvie's South African outbreak escape is as low-budget-lacking as they come. Gore continually evades camera view, "action" translates to shaky chases, and zombies are rarely seen grouped. Expect more of a "walker drama" akin to slower episodes of The Walking Dead. Random Hospital Patient #1 – who never gets his appendix removed as instructed – teams with an attendee and two "mystery" helpers, then it's a mad dash to safety through repetitive indie horror beats. You've seen this plot a billion times over, and DIY charms are rather unfulfilling after the tenth dash behind yet another door. That "A" for effort only gets you so far.

41. Seoul Station

Train To Busan is one of my favorite zombie thrillers of the last few years, decade, or quite possibly ever. Yeon Sang-ho's animated prequel, Seoul Station? Not so much. His cell-shaded glimpse into the film's patient zero outbreak runs a recognizable gamut of zombie startup pitfalls and mythos. It's not particularly exciting as an ex-prostitute tries to reunite with her creepy "white knight" boyfriend, or artistically inclined as artwork pans around like a video game cutscene. Sang-ho basely accomplishes cinematic worldbuilding by churning out this latch-on introductory piece, so very different from its masterful live-action original. Stick with Train To Busan.

40. Don’t Grow Up

At the onset, I believed Don't Grow Up – directed by Goal Of The Dead's Thierry Poiraud – to be the violent ageist warfare Mom And Dad didn't dare attempt. It's instantly vicious, but then as children flee from rage-infected adults, tension fades. Immediate threats disappear. Kid actors take up arms while the infection curiously starts spreading to those under 18-years of age (I think). Lines blur. Marie Garel-Weiss' script ignores characters and plays favorites like a neglectful parent. There's scathing commentary about growing older, losing touch with life, and loving your family somewhere inside Don't Grow Up – it's just never nurtured to the point of exposure.

39. Another Evil

Horror comedies aren't the easiest sell, case and point Carson Mell's Another Evil. Mumblecore exorcism spoofing with the supernatural scenario always in question. Mark Proksch embodies a lonely alcohol-lovin' demon hunter who's more interested in being friends with Steve Zissis's client than cleansing his desert vacation home. Dialogue favors situational comedy – Proksch claims Lucifer gave him gonorrhea, for example – but often rambles without notable supporting action. You'll catch minimal glimpses of the ghosts being hunted; otherwise it's a lot of forcible bro-bonding, insecure breakdowns, and blind trust in a cowboy devil-fighter who uses wacky contraptions with no way of assuring results. A bit drab and unamusing for my tastes.

38. Downrange

Ryûhei Kitamura – the madman behind Versus and The Midnight Meat Train – is a talented filmmaker who's infinitely better than Downrange. Picture this: friends take cover behind their stationary SUV after a camouflaged sniper strands them on one long, obstacle-less stretch of highway. Gore blows holes through human bodies like bullets are explosively charged. Performances leave much to be desired. Scripting is simplistic and savage, but detrimental to tension as we watch victims get pumped full of lead. Don't expect a twisted thriller beyond finale standoffs, just shoot-and-reload nihilism that's neither genre fun nor makes a statement.

37. 31

I'm not of the mindset that one bad movie can spoil a filmmaker's entire career, but 31 tries. Pretty damn hard.

Rob Zombie has always been a love 'em or hate 'em kind of director, committed to sadistic pulp sideshows. His horror fare is gruesome, giddy and creative. So what happened to 31? Mean, nasty slasher schlock without an ounce of redemption in its doomsday game. Props to Shudder for housing such a vicious display of carnage. I just wish it was worth all the uncomfortable soullessness.

Serial killer clowns. Victim carnies. Malcolm McDowell as a powdery-faced, regal-wigged ringleader. In a post-screening Q&A, Zombie said he came up with the idea for 31 in about 10 seconds – and it shows. Chainsaw-slicing kills can't distract from a vast emptiness in story and an utter lack of human connect. A middle finger to safeness and sanity, without characters worth investing in or even the slightest genre appeal beyond "I like watching people die!"

36. Show Pieces

From the mind of Alan Moore comes Show Pieces, a three-part anthology whittled down from its five-part original form. We follow a man's journey into the afterlife (which is represented by a gaudy burlesque club). There's more autoerotic asphyxiation (a Shudder theme?), mouthy clowns, and gold-painted performers, but very little staying power. Maybe that's because two intended segments were left out of Shudder's release, or maybe just because each short ignores certain building blocks.

Death becomes a devilish playground for Moore and director Mitch Jenkins. Gothic noir thrills accented by velvet ropes, lacy corsets and what have you. Some Egyptian rituals make for a screamy final act ("His Heavy Heart"), but it takes a while for Show Pieces to tie itself together like an out-of-practice contortionist. The first two segments feel disjointed ("Act Of Faith" and "Jimmy's End" aren't easily connected) and skimp on continuity detailing. Maybe some will find this posthumous "thriller" a bit of showy, sexy fun, but most will be underwhelmed. An exercise in the obscure that lacks necessary story direction.

35. Primal Screen: The Wooden Boy

From documentarian Rodney Ascher comes a new assessment of fear closer to the terrors explored in The Nightmare. One has to assume we'll be getting new installments of this on Shudder since "The Wooden Boy" is a 30-minute quicky with Anthropomorphobia at its core. Three voices narrate their reactions to Richard Attenborough's 1978 thriller Magic, but not the film itself – just the trailer. Now-adults recall how one rolly-eyed dummy became their new paranoia, down to rattled psyches and abandon ventriloquism hobbies.

As someone who can tie Seed of Chucky trailers to countless sleepless nights (not even the "serious" Child's Play entry), The Wooden Boy does very little to address a much larger issue. Given another hour's worth of digging, Ascher could have dissected greater thoughts about Anthropomorphobia and a fear of humanized objects. As is? Three floating narrator heads (who we never meet) simply state that Magic marketing freaked them out, but fears were ultimately conquered. It's slight, anticlimactic and too short for discomfort.

Primal Screen could present a very keen take on the art behind a scare, but future substance needs to be meatier. Even as a short film, "The Wooden Boy" leaves you feeling hollow.

34. Spookers

You'd think a documentary on New Zealand's most successful haunted attraction would have something to say about fear and why patrons would pay to "Code Brown" themselves, but that isn't Florian Habicht's intent with Spookers. The documentarian opts to expose scare actors behind caked-on makeup or masks. Corporate workers scarred by rat-race lifestyles, dyslexic boys who find normalcy in scaring, lost souls who come together under the "Spookers" banner. More than anything, this is a documentary about newfound family and embracing individuality – possibly to a fault. Haunters: Art Of The Scare digs much deeper into attraction intrigue and fear psychology than Spookers. It's a different – important – message elongated by costumed recreations of scare actors' true-to-life tragedies. Translation: somewhat redundant at times.

33. Blind Sun

When the words "arthouse horror" are used in a film's description, pause is necessary. Sometimes this means "Oh, this is gonna get weird," but a more common translation is "Hope you like slow-burners!" Joyce A. Nashawati's Blind Sun – a temperature-scorched thriller – is an extreme case of the latter. A film that wavers under blazing rays that bake a certain type of paranoia, except with such a "sizzling" pace, the film's fiery ending does little to make up for its sluggish pace.

Nashawati's film follows Ashraf (Ziad Bakri), an immigrant who's hired to look after a wealthy family's walled-in villa. Tensions have spiked because of a devastating heat wave, making water a hot (er, cold) commodity. Ashraf has a list of chores but ends up going insane and failing very miserably to complete the tasks he was given. Things get destroyed, Ashraf believes there's an intruder, dogs roam free... Unfortunately, stakes never increase like the maddening weather conditions. Definitely worth a watch for the "slow-but-psychotic-and-steady" crowd, but a hard pass for adrenaline junkies.

32. We Go On

Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton – previously of YellowBrickRoad fame – are pushers of unique genre content. You'll get no argument from me there. We Go On features this weighty, human-fearing concept that pivots into brightness just as terror spikes – an ambitious move, no doubt. That's most likely what attracted Shudder. This soulful fearfulness of the unknown, shared by a lead character and audiences alike. It's just... Well, not everything "goes on" where tonality is concerned.

Actor Clark Freeman is anxiously charismatic in his search for afterlife proof as he solicits the general public for irrefutable evidence. Why stress about not knowing when so many have experiences to share (fake or real)? We're led on a quest that makes us wonder who is telling the truth – not before fear turns into acceptance, and darkness into light. Some audiences will love where Holland and Mitton are willing to go, but the jump won't work for all as I can unfortunately attest to.

31. The Noonday Witch

The Noonday Witch draws comparisons to Shudder Exclusive Blind Sun in that blistering heat and sunny rays stave off nightly location haunts. Gorgeous cinematography captures wheaty golden hues as crops sway in the breeze, but Czech's poetry adaptation is as sleepy as the farming town it centralizes. A woman and her daughter move to find peace, lies about where daddy's gone are told, and lonely men attempt to finagle sex as payment for chores. A few scenes feature said "Noonday Witch," yet despite striking camera work of the brightest horror presentation, HBO Europe's daytime dreadfulness only manages short bursts of spooky intrigue.

30. Let Me Make You A Martyr

In parts, Let Me Make You A Martyr feels like another gritty, meth-injected redemption insta-classic – but it's a heady high that dissipates in cloud-like form. This can be taken in two ways. The good? Filmmakers Corey Asraf and John Swab navigate an impoverished moral obstacle course with twisted, bridge-burning finality. The bad? As scenes pile atop one another, it becomes hard to decipher who – or what – actually matters in the grand scheme of underworld cleansing. Nameless characters being killed offscreen; jumpy scripting that walks a staggered narrative line.

While Marilyn Manson's face adorns the film's cover art, he's only a reaper-like hitman "piece" fit into a bigger puzzle of perversion. Drugs, adopted siblings in love, suggestions of child abuse, hard-drug habits – these are the things that push Niko Nicotera's Drew Glass to breaking. We don't witness much of the action (Asraf and Swab continually cut away just as violence is about to erupt), but some may enjoy this more cerebral breakdown between dirty family members. The others? Stick to films like My Father Die that follow through on son vs. pops vengeance.

29. Small Town Killers

Shudder's definition of horror spans all subgenres, and Small Town Killers is a perfect example of some of their most spookless fair. The Norwegian import is about two buddies (Id and Edward) who both agree to divorce their wives at the same time because their sex lives are dead. Then, after finding out how much they'd owe in alimony, a drunken night brings an even better idea – have a hitman eliminate their better halves. No money lost (from their "undisclosed" cash stash), no mess.

Things go wrong when their Russian hire-a-hitman shows up absolutely plastered, leading to a bevy of problems. Zaniness promised, zaniness delivered. Dead bodies, sweet old English women with poison bottles, regret, salsa dancing, horny construction workers pitted against their "cold," withholding lovers – Small Town Killers has it all. A funny oddball dark comedy that bleeds physical and slapstick humor, but it does try a bit hard. It's worth some snickers and sneers, but almost zero horror aspects are present. It's lighthearted gender warfare. Know what to expect.

28. Phantasm: Ravager

For fans of Don Coscarelli's long-standing Phantasm franchise, Ravager evokes the same do-it-yourself attitude that hedged the franchise's origins in 1979. While some of the special effects in the latest entry will make you wince, the heart and soul of Phantasm is still as vibrant as ever. Reggie Bannister returns to face off against more floating silver orbs, except this time they're bigger. And destroying cities. And alternating universes. Time to upgrade the firepower?

Those unfamiliar with the Phantasm franchise shouldn't start with Ravager. Constant plot jumps revisit canonical properties without explanation (Morningside Cemetery, for example) because it's assumed only fans are watching. Quality fluctuates and effects sometimes leave more to be desired, but Phantasm fans will be used to the same hijinks. Blood-squirting deaths and sphere-on-automobile chase sequences. Ravager gets the "nostalgia" pass, only suited for the most die-hard Phantasmers out there.

27. Sam Was Here

Filmmaker Christophe Deroo wants you to appreciate Sam Was Here as you would a painting, not getting "caught up" in continuity or payoff or binding logic. Watch as a forty-something door to door salesman finds himself stranded in California's desert purgatory. Ponder as a red spot of light flashes in the sky. Question why townsfolk start appearing with intent to kill said stranded businessman after being instructed by a local radio host. It's an episode of Black Mirror vaguely reminiscent of a dystopian indie titled Happy Hunting, but alas, one may struggle to appreciate artistic intent with such an ambiguous, disjointed end. Hopefully you'll honor Deroo's wishes far better than I could.

26. Ruin Me

Ruin Me is more The Houses October Built than Blood Fest regarding attraction mayhem believability – which is a good thing. Trysta A. Bissett and Preston DeFrancis toy around with horror tropes meant to lead patrons on a puzzling quest for answers, only to find "Slasher Sleepout" has been taken over by *actual* maniacs. Obvious clues drop as to who might be a plant or what might be real as a means of further ambiguity. Could the escaped mental patient who stumbles onto the players' camp be a genuine knife-wielding nutjob? Ruin Me distorts implied game rules to stay one step ahead as often as possible. Maybe not bursting with surprises – tad predictable of a finale – but the right beats tiptoe their way around an ever-shifting roleplay competition. One complete with final girls, bloody deaths, and commitment to genre appreciation by means of intentional satire.

25. Found Footage 3D

Steven DeGennaro's Found Footage 3D is subgenre satire that's three-quarters baked. Filmmakers set out to create the first three-dimensional found footage film (Spectre Of Death) but accidentally find themselves living the exact brand of movie Found Footage 3D frequently jabs. Methods are relatively predictable – Character #1 makes a joke about a specific found footage redundancy or foreshadows via snark, said subgenre norm then occurs. Spectre Of Death undergoes further and messier production problems, while Carter Roy's Hollywood-dreamin' showrunner Derek keeps everything in perspective. Shout out to Tom Saporito as director Andrew for his enraged rant against found footage flicks, as well as an untimely cameo demise. It may not be as groundbreaking as scripted dialogue suggests yet Found Footage 3D is a cheeky enough roast for veteran horror fans.

24. Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl

A.D. Calvo's Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl is a dive into supernatural-first agoraphobia with family playing a central theme. Atmosphere also plays a major role, which seems to be a constant through most Shudder exclusives. Even in acknowledging a slower beginning, Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girls still finds its bored-suburban-teen groove. Young love is so beautiful – and then the darkness descends.

Actresses Quinn Shephard and Erin Wilhelmi become friends who trade lusty gazes, as a fearful old Aunt holds one of the two back. Wilhelmi slaves away trying to make her room-locked master happy with each beckoning call, but what kind of life is that for a teenage girl? Shephard is her roguish escape. It's the kind of selfish, ill-fated coincidence that ends in an understated curse; a fabled bookend that carries the weight of previous doldrums. Always better to end on the right foot!

23. Summer Of 84

Between filmmaking collective RKSS's cult success and Summer Of 84's sinister Stranger Things remix, Shudder was smart to snag exclusive streaming rights. RKSS have nothing new to say about serial killer mysteries or nostalgia filmmaking or obsessive 80s culture references, but generics are handled with confidence (and bolstered by Rich Sommer's performance). Sometimes unnerving, sometimes funny, sometimes downright mean. All those "sometimes" moments add up to make a dark, by the books cul-de-sac thriller where children are forced to comprehend tragedy far above their maturity grade. "Even serial killers live next door to someone."

22. Mon Mon Mon Monsters!

I first watched Giddens Ko's Mon Mon Mon Monsters! at Fantastic Fest on little sleep, mid-week, and at the end of a *very* screening-heavy day. Ideals of cruel schoolyard bullying comeuppances and one sister's quest to find her lost/kidnapped sibling – the sister is also said "monster" – were buried by the film's tonally scattershot delivery. First goofy, then angry/borderline mean-spirited, next screaming bloody murder? Watched by weary eyes, Mon Mon Mon Monsters! can be a tough follow. That's why I gave the film a second chance with rejuvenated energy, which helped me pay more attention to spectacular details like an intersection bus massacre spliced with the blending of watermelon juice (pulpy, red liquid). A bit long and all over the place, but Ko's nastiness is sincere and unapologetic when reconstructing the horrors of childhood bullying. As painful that cyclical "victim turned abuser" depiction may be.

21. Sadako Vs. Kayako

While Sadako Vs. Kayako isn't my favorite Shudder exclusive, it's hard to ignore such a heavyweight bout of J-Horror muscle. Kôji Shiraishi's midnight pleasures capture a more comical showdown than expected, but girls just wanna have fun after all!. Think "haunted house" with now-famous ghouls instead of invisible ghost archetypes. You've seen Ju-On/The Grudge and you've cowered during Ringu/The Ring franchise expansion (except Rings). Now watch Sadako (Samara, to us Americans) and Kayako (you know, the one with the pale pasty son) beat the snot out of each other!

Sadako Vs. Kayako plays all the Rings beats before F. Javier Gutiérrez could even get them into mainstream theaters. You've got the spread of Sadako's curse through technology and the obsessed professor – except Shiraishi has way more fun exploiting the ridiculousness of it all. First, it's a kill competition between murderous demons, then the unexpected ups Shiraishi's greasy-haired ante. What happens when you introduce the most ancient of evils to one another? Either they'll slay alone – OR BECOME BESTIES.

20. Still/Born

Brandon Christensen's Still/Born may not rattle mommy-paranoia themes like Prevenge, but it's still packed with unsettling parental imagery worth familial spooks. As themes of postpartum depression and grief warp a mother's mind (Mary, played by Christie Burke), the reality of Mesopotamian demon Lamashtu remains wickedly in question. We behold said creature because we see through Mary's eyes. Looming over a sleeping child or creeping ever-so-slowly. Lights-out sequences produce a haunting blend of ghostly attributes and a mother's greatest fears with devilish regard. This is when Christensen is at his best, and when Still/Born executes its most horrific material. Rosemary's Baby/Shelly/Mama vibes are on point. Not exactly powder-fresh, but worth the midnight ride as far as execution is concerned.

19. Cold Hell

If Stefan Ruzowitzky's Cold Hell gets an American remake, it'll be a surefire Ronda Rousey or Gina Carano vehicle. As is, Violetta Schurawlow plays Turkish cab driver Özge – a crippler of men twice her size via kickboxer takedowns. Expect "action horror" all the way, brought upon when Özge witnesses her prostitute neighbor's murder complete with a full stare-down between killer and voyeur. It's fairly light on "horror," and isn't action-packed 100% of the time, but Ruzowitzky constructs a fairly air-tight thriller that deftly continues forward. Hits hard when needed, bares emotional scars, and goes all serial-killer crazy with brutal results. A special showcase for Schurawlow's talents.

18. Terrified

Demián Rugna's Terrified boasts a generic title but isn't altogether monotonous in its "haunted suburban street" folklore. This Spanish-language awakening of the dead pits horrified homeowners and paranormal investigators against a ghostly phenomenon that only seems to be worsening. Dead children, Javier-Botet-like contortionist roommates, night vision cameras – it's all a bit familiar, yet genuine frightening when successfully drawing out expected scares to the point of no return (that window back-and-forth jump). Plays somewhat like an anthology strung together without wrap-around filler, and gets into the spirit of spooky-scary thrills like a Halloween treat that checks necessary "BOO!" boxes. Truly, honestly, it'll getcha!

17. Revenge

Coralie Fargeat's Revenge is "rape revenge" from a female perspective that sets gender norms ablaze. Colorization is so vivid and bubblegum-pop bright, if only to highlight unfathomable quantities of blood that drain from human bodies. It's a bit on-the-nose – Phoenix beer-can-brand and all – but Fargeat's manipulation of the male gaze is what sets Revenge apart from the I Spit On Your Grave: Vengeance Is Mine grossness of our genre world. That and a gruesome, red-soaked finale like Elvira redecorated your luxurious vacation home.

16. Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel

What filmmaker Stephen Cognetti accomplishes using only some department store Halloween masks and basic ghost cosmetics should embarrass far-better budgeted found footage flicks. Hell House LLC unites the worlds of Halloween attractions and cult terror quite well, so it comes as no shock that Shudder nabbed exclusive rights to Cognetti's surprise sequel. Right back to the Abaddon Hotel we go, splicing an investigative journalist's death with on-air television panel discussions. This one dabbles a little more in paranormal happenings, but all the shapeshifter scares are there. Nothing fancy, killer atmosphere, no bullshit. I'll be here to watch Abaddon's legacy mount one horrific tragedy at a time.

15. Dearest Sister

Laotian ghost-whisperer Mattie Do weaves a sorrowful tale web with Dearest Sister, so specific in its haunting effects. There's never an attempt to hide shadowy figures. Do instead utilizes blind characters, family suffrage and long-take gazes into the soul of "evil" to disrupt simple scares. Instead of jumps, full-frontal horror is depicted with the most deliberate focus. Totally visible. Nothing to hide.

You'd think this might rob the viewer of "surprise" shocks, but Do's honesty lends to skin-crawling sequences that sustain storytelling. Non-conventional in today's jump-scare-a-minute genre state, which is why bubbling tension represents such a breath of decaying air. Grief and regret play into poverty escapism, as one girl tries to bury her past. Yeah, like Ms. Do will let that happen. Note: she doesn't.

14. Noroi: The Curse

Let's next visit 2005's Noroi: The Curse. Found footage movies are... Oh, wait. That "2005" thing? You read correctly. Kôji Shiraishi's first-person chiller was released over a decade ago in Japan, but never received a North American treatment. Singapore, Germany, and Poland only. Cue Shudder digging for not only new releases without a home, but proven terrors that never crossed international waters. This is how you do streaming services!

The movie itself takes a bit to get started, which makes sense with an almost two-hour runtime. We follow a paranormal journalist as he tackles his creepiest case. Sound familiar, genre fans? Rest easy knowing that horror lies in execution, as Shiraishi commits to demonic mythos and possession rituals. Warped masks, fetus snatching, maybe a sorcerer or two. Once the ball gets rolling, it's all downhill for our inquisitive host. Note the lack of jump scares and cheap thrills, because foreign filmmakers actually put care into story first. Such a novel idea.

13. Dead Shack

Peter Ricq's Dead Shack is a familiar zombie vacation crash you've seen before that still gushes bloody fun. Teenagers find themselves tooled up and fighting reanimated corpses despite what logic tells them. It's a woodland escape gone nuclear thanks to the undead next door. Think Zombies Ate My Neighbors with a New Zealand attitude and plenty of squirmy practical effects that may not be razor-sharp, but shoulder the film's context for comedy. Donavon Stinson as pops Roger doles out awkward and out-of-touch humor like a middle-aged champion, tickling the most eye-rolling funny bone buried deep inside us all. Dead Shack – a genre film that knows how to have fun while splattering a few heads in the process.

12. Sequence Break

Graham Skipper's Sequence Break showcases multiple things I love. Retro arcade cabinets. Freakazoid practical wiring effects that meld into human flesh. Creamy video game buttons that lead to orgasmic intertwining with players. Skipper's sci-fi excursion is one of romance, binary fuckery, and conundrum-first filmmaking that gets as gonzo as it wants. Chase Williamson tries to hold a relationship while succumbing to techno-trippy panic attacks brought on by a blackened realm reminiscent to Under The Skin and possibly possessed motherboard. Strap in, hold on, and get Cronenberg freaky.

11. Shrew’s Nest

Shudder is home to extensive shelves of unique genre films, but Juanfer Andrés and Esteban Roel's Shrew's Nest may be my favorite example of inspired curation. This is a movie that played Fantastic Fest 2014 (where I caught it), and then poof – no mention ever again (Among The Living part deux). "How!" I wondered, given that this is a gripping a story that pits agoraphobia against maddening isolation in bloody, grotesque ways. Emotional torture, family resentment, unhinged absolution – you done goofed, indie distributors.

Then comes Shudder out of nowhere, sending a tweet about their "latest acquisition" Shrew's Nest. A psychological thriller long forgotten, unearthed and unleashed on unknowing streaming audiences. Act I simmers claustrophobic atmospheres, Act II establishes conflict, and Act III pays off with reddish coats of enthusiasm. Far from perfect, but so unlike anything horror audiences are getting these days. Old-school paranoia with a healthy appetite for depravity. Give it to me!

10. Better Watch Out

Chris Peckover's Better Watch Out (formerly Safe Neighborhood) is best consumed with zero knowledge of plot or spoilers. You can expect Christmas themes, nasty Home Alone turns, and babysitter home-invasion "horror" that savors each dash of seasonal malevolence. Decked-out performances from Levi Miller and Olivia DeJonge are the bow on top of this twisted, sometimes expected master plan, appreciated in terms of what expectancies or candy-striped twists might play out. JUST TRUST ME.

9. Among The Living

Filmmakers Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury are familiar with the stench of "Distribution Hell," not exclusive to their Leatherface prequel. See: Among The Living, a 2014 SXSW premiere that toured festivals until 2015 then vanished. Shudder's 2017 rebirth is something of a miracle, as Among The Living was entering that fabled "I swear this movie exists!" phase among North American audiences. France and Turkey were lucky enough to get full rollouts, but nothing stateside. Thankfully, that's now in the past.

So the movie itself – holy shit. What else do you expect from the creators of Inside and Livide? There are some glaring story issues – antagonist motivations primarily – but interest never wavers. Bustillo and Maury are masters of the punishingly macabre, and with It/Stand By Me vibes thrown in, Among The Living becomes this pseudo-coming-of-age-slasher with a taste for blood. Men, women and children alike. Equality in beaten bodies, and some seriously tormented messages at that.

8. Therapy

Who said found footage is going out of style? Nathan Ambrosioni's Therapy features murders caught on tape, but only as supplemental recordings in a dueling criminal narrative. For too long we've wondered "Who is watching these 'found' films, and more importantly, who is editing them?!" Well, consider your questions answered. Law enforcement are forced to review snuffy evidence tapes, and it's not with pleasure. How else are you going to catch a killer?

It's such a smart deviation from subgenre norms. Play a section of video, then pull back into third-person while law enforcement makes sense of gruesome murder tapes. You get your slasher elements – a slow-moving killer with a mask – and some planted found footage thrills, but that's not all! Ambrosioni ensures an even meatier story once the televisions are shut off, questions left to be answered. How hasn't this format been exploited before? I bet that's what a ton of other horror filmmakers are thinking after they've kicked themselves black-and-blue.

7. We Are The Flesh

We Are The Flesh is one of those deduce-your-own-meaning experiences that never apologizes for walking an ambiguous line. Incest, cannibalism and blasphemous intent? It's a "WTF" movie with a capital "REPENT OR BE DAMNED" if I've ever seen one. We Are The Flesh has rewatch value like a hypnotizing orgy of hedonistic intrigue, worthy of each ever-fucked deep dive. Religion, morality, humanity, realism – it's all burned on a pyre. You can only watch and achieve your own nirvana, which becomes oddly possible.

Director Emiliano Rocha Minter smashes together the stylings of Michel Gondry and Lars Von Trier in We Are The Flesh. Imagery tells a sadistic story hinged on cultism and blind faith, deliberate in its borderline-pornographic provocation. Minter perverts humanity and we're left with so many questions. But in a good way. I think? There's plenty to revisit, and in most cases, repeat viewings will be necessary when deciphering meaning. That's the beauty of it all. "Beauty" being subjective, of course.

6. Lake Bodom

In an era where slashers have become a fad of the past (except on television with the likes of Scream and Scream Queens before the axe fell), Lake Bodom is a breath of stale Nordic air. Taneli Mustonen plays with a true crime legend by exploiting one of its rumored realities, bringing to life the whispered fears of small-town locals. Teenagers, drugs, and a vacation destination that should never be. Sounds like the recipe for so many sleepover rentals of yesteryear – and that's when everything pivots.

Just like a good foreign indie does, Mustonen swerves down a dangerous road that takes cues from such films as High Tension and The Cabin In The Woods. Each young-adult actor approaches their arc with seasoned intrigue and does well to blur motivation, playing into a story with so much worth discovering. Cinematography and tension may overshadow true "scares," but such creates lip-smacking horror appeal. Slashers are back in style with Lake Bodom. Dark and sinister, like the moonlit waters of a proper genre baptism.

5. The Witch In The Window

Filmmaker Andy Mitton steps away from frequent co-creator Jesse Holland on his individual feature debut The Witch In The Window and there's certainly no confidence lost. Alex Draper stars as a home-restoring father who brings his son to a haunted fixer-upper. Maybe he'll escape, maybe he'll be consumed by a grieving apparition. Along the way you'll experience two of 2018's most chilling haunted house scares, an exemplary display of familial horror in a year stacked with similarly themed genre efforts, and a 77-minute running length because Mr. Mitton respects your time. Terrifying, traumatizing, and to the point. A perfect streaming horror formula.

4. Always Shine

Sophia Takal's cautionary Hollywood tale is one of the more hypnotic, gender-pumped thrillers as of the last few years. Much like my number one pick below, Always Shine benefits from a free-spirited female POV. Claws fly and tempers rage. Takal's starlet subjects are used, chewed-out and exploited by male gazes, both professionally and for pleasure. Do you get pegged as the pretty bimbo, or starve as a female artist who dies on her mountain of pride? Neither a fair sentencing, but both are reality.

Caitlin FitzGerald and Mackenzie Davis sell every single quarrel, yoga pose and suppressed outlash. One struggles with jealous resentment, the other "flaunts" her moderate success. Whether it becomes a competition for attention or an argument about opportunistic regret, Always Shine does just that thanks to Takal's leading ladies. So dark a story, so delicious a setup. And you better believe that current social/political realities only make these fears/complaints/warnings ten times more relevant.

3. Mayhem

Joe Lynch's Mayhem never fails to provide angry, "Worksploitation" thrills in a white-collar office environment. It's what happens when Dante's Inferno meets 28 Days Later meets Office Space. Steven Yeun stars as Derek Cho, a driven employee of Towers & Smythe Consulting, while Samara Weaving's Melanie Cross picked the wrong day to fight her foreclosure notice. Together they battle the bullshit of corporate bureaucracy one floor at a time, murdering any desk cronies who stand in their way.

Yeun's performance is everything that eats away at a corporate stooge like myself. Someone who grinds, toils, yet harbors passions that exist outside cubicle walls (but, like, nowhere near as exaggerated as depicted). It's enough to call Mayhem rage-infection fun as coworkers expel some much-needed demons, but Lynch's societal commentary is equally loud. Nor is Weaving's star-making role as a badass genre mainstay. Mayhem is a wonderfully damaged middle finger to corporate culture, gleeful in its desire to decorate cubicles with bloody red splatters.

2. Satan’s Slaves

I've said it before, I've said it again, and I'm not shutting up until the entire world has seen Joko Anwar's Satan's Slaves. Expect parallels to Hereditary via family "curses," atmospheric control on par with James Wan, and scares that'll fill your scream tank for years. I've been writing about this movie incessantly on /Film and I apologize, but so often under-the-radar gems *still* get overlooked no matter how much content is churned out in their name. Satan's Slaves does not deserve such a fate. Satan's Slaves is designed to shock and disturb households across the world like an inescapable plague. Inarguably of the top horror films of 2018.

1. Prevenge

My favorite Shudder Exclusive thus far is Prevenge, the most sublime slasher to strike in quite some time. Alice Lowe's murderous mommy-to-be only kills because her fetus telepathically orders her to, like a pregnant Son of Sam scenario. What follows is maternal mayhem from a female perspective, empathetically tuned to single-mother fears and a general parenting paranoia. Prenatal punishment with a side of Tarantino character devotion – you better not be sleeping on this one.

The fulfilling sense of womanly creation is no novelty here. Prevenge is a horror/thriller that could only be conceived by a truly pregnant mastermind, in this case writer/director Alice Lowe. Every kill is brilliant. The bop-your-head synth soundtrack evokes a very John Carpenter feel. Carnage, while brief, is brutally practical. Lowe feverishly controls themes and has an absolute blast diving into placenta mind-control psychosis.  A single Halloween party scene shows what vision this feature-debut filmmaker possesses, from shot selection to costume approval –  no one is going to forget Disco Dan. To say Prevenge is anything short of brilliant would be a lie.