The Scariest Netflix Original Movies, Ranked

In 2016, Netflix entered the world of horror with its first spine-tingling original film, "Rebirth." After debuting at 2016's Tribeca Festival, Netflix purchased the then-exclusive worldwide distribution rights to the Fran Kranz-starring project. At that time, Netflix was only a year into its decision to debut original television and film content on its streaming service. Months later, Netflix produced and distributed writer-director Osgood Perkins' Toronto Film Festival hit "I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in This House," and the company has been purchasing and producing horror films ever since.

Over the past five years, the number of movies available on Netflix in the U.S. has moved like an accordion; if it feels like there used to be more options on Netflix, you're not wrong. Since 2015, Netflix's library has shrunk by more than 35%. However, Netflix still hosts some quality horror programming. The streaming service continues to invest in horror — the company spent (a risky) $30 million per episode on season 4 of "Stranger Things" — and has produced a number of horror films that deserve a watch for their inventive premises and game casts. If you're a fan of the genre, these are the Netflix Originals you should put on when you want a good scare.

15. Choose or Die

2022's "Choose or Die" is not a perfect movie. While its central characters are intriguing, Toby Meakins' film jumps into the action before we can truly connect with Kayla or Isaac. Despite that setback, however, it's still fun to watch the unique premise unfold on-screen. Fans of Netflix's "Bandersnatch," "Squid Game," and "Alice in Borderland" will be intrigued to see what this entry adds to horror's survival game subgenre.  

"Choose or Die" follows two struggling video game programmers who stumble on a retro game that promises to give them a cash prize should they happen to beat it. Of course, winning is trickier than the game lets on — especially since each level causes the death of either the player or someone physically (or emotionally) close to them.

Unfortunately, as a result the film becomes more about the next challenge than why viewers should care about either Kayla or Isaac. Still, if you're looking for a survival horror film that consistently ups the ante with each set piece, you're in for a gruesome treat. The best part about Meakins' directorial debut is how carefully he handles the inventive kill scenes. Without spoiling too much, there's a glass-eating scene that'll haunt you for weeks after viewing. Strap in for a killer (albeit bumpy) ride that will scratch an itch for high-concept-loving horror fans.

14. There's Someone Inside Your House

2021's "There's Someone Inside Your House" is a bloody fun addition to Netflix's library of teen slashers. Directed by Patrick Brice, the film tips its hat to those who've sliced and diced before, most notably with a loving homage to Casey's death scene in 1996's "Scream." 

However, Brice wanted to steer clear of leaning too much into the Kevin Williamson-dominated era of '90s slashers. When speaking with Fangoria in 2021, Brice noted the "Scream" influences, but also shared how he wanted the film to bring new layers to the slasher subgenre. "That self-awareness was in our script [but] I felt very free in that I was able to take inspiration from that and also, ideally, have these rich, complex characters with their fears and reactions to these kills that are happening," he said. "There's this added layer of 'Is my secret going to be revealed to the entire town?'"

What stands out the most about "There's Someone Inside Your House" is how it plays with its whodunit aspect, marrying it with the idea that this person knows everyone's darkest secrets. Betrayals and hidden desires are revealed with each kill, fleshing out the killer's motive and delivering complex character beats. Most importantly, Sydney Park turns in a riveting performance as the film's lead, Makani Young, cementing her rightful place in the ever-expanding world of scream queens.

13. Blood Red Sky

Directed by Peter Thorwarth and co-written by Thorwarth and Stefan Holtz, "Blood Red Sky" answers the question, "What would it be like if you found a vampire on an airplane?" However, while the film's conceit is novel and entertaining, the bulk of the film focuses on bloody fights, which pulls it in a more action-heavy direction. Horror fans looking for a surprising story won't find one here, either. "Blood Red Sky" plays out more or less how you imagine it will. That said, it runs confidently with its premise and doesn't shy away from tragedy. Its heartfelt focus on the central mother-son relationship helps the film's gut-punch of an ending land, too.

"Blood Red Sky" follows Nadja, a grieving widow with a mysterious blood-related illness, and her young son, Elias. The two board a plane that ends up being hijacked by Dominic Purcell's Berg, forcing Nadja to unleash her vampiric might in an attempt to save the day. Those looking for a bloody cat-and-mouse game will find a lot to love in this 2021 film, which serves up some stellar vampire visuals reminiscent of 1922's grotesque "Nosferatu."

12. Gerald's Game

There may be no harder task in the horror world than adapting a sprawling Stephen King novel into a tight feature-length film. However, 2017's "Gerald's Game" stands out as one of the best (if not the best) adaptations of King's stories. Like the book it's based on, "Gerald's Game" revolves around Jessie's attempts to spice up her marriage, leading her and her husband Gerald to take an intimate weekend getaway. Of course, things don't go according to plan. What starts as some kinky fun ends with Gerald's sudden death and Jessie still handcuffed to the bed in their lakeside getaway. 

Although it'd be easy to dismiss the film as a sole survivor thriller in the spirit of 2021's "Till Death," "Gerald's Game" is so much more than that. Viewers will notice that there are more issues in Jessie's marriage than a simple lack of sexual fulfillment, an issue that's made all too clear when Gerald tries to force Jessie to play along with a rape-oriented roleplay that she doesn't want any part of.

Written and directed by Mike Flanagan, "Gerald's Game" slowly delves into Jessie's psychological state. Carla Gugino pulls out all the stops as Jessie, making her tragic journey remarkably compelling. Overall, this is a great pick for horror fans who love spending time with slower-paced stories. Not many actors can pull off being the only person on screen for the majority of a film's runtime, but Gugino makes it look easy.

11. Fear Street Part 2: 1978

Directed and co-written by Leigh Janiak, "Fear Street Part 2: 1978" stands out as the strongest of Netflix's three adaptations of R.L. Stine's teen horror novels. It's a film that simultaneously delivers a loving homage to a specific era of horror and a well-balanced story about sisterhood. Although this is the second film in a trilogy, "Fear Street Part 2: 1978" also works well as a standalone story, thanks in part to its compelling stars, Emily Rudd and Sadie Sink.

Fans of '70s-era summer camp slashers will notice several homages to classic horror flicks. Most notably, the film's central killer dons a mask, much like "Friday the 13th: Part 2," which featured a hooded, pre-hockey mask-wearing Jason Voorhees. In addition, "Fear Street Part 2: 1978" doesn't spare any of its younger characters from the bloodshed. Where other films might keep violence against children and young teens off screen, this Netflix film doesn't shy away from showing viewers the full, gory terror that unfolds.

10. Malevolent

Although critics called 2018's "Malevolent" a "depressing journey" that's "void of scares," this Netflix Original deserves a closer watch (or an open-minded rewatch). The film follows a brother-sister duo who claim to be ghost-hunters, making money in Scotland by pretending to exorcize haunted houses. However, Angela, portrayed by the ever-harrowing Florence Pugh, suspects that the home of their latest client, Mrs. Greene, contains something genuinely sinister. Unfortunately, her brother, Jackson, doesn't believe her, and needs the money to pay back loan sharks and save his life. So, they take the case. It's a bad decision. The deeper that the pair gets into the scam, the more the house unveils its chilling plans for them both, and the more Angela suffers for it.

While the film's setup feels fairly familiar, Pugh's acting elevates the movie into something that remains compelling. At its heart, "Malevolent" is still a creepy ghost tale with telegraphed twists and turns (some easy to spot, some not). However, it's also an examination of Angela's fear that she'll succumb to the same mental illness that she believes killed her mother. Delving deeper into Mrs. Greene's past awakens some of Angela's inner demons, making this film a fascinating character study. Regardless of whether or not the film's ghosts scare you, it's almost impossible not to feel for Angela's harrowing plight.

9. Texas Chainsaw Massacre

When Netflix's debuted its 2022 "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" requel, fans and critics alike were divided on whether it was a huge hit or an utter failure. The debate alone makes this one worth a watch. Despite what you end up thinking of the film, it's clear that director David Blue Garcia faced some difficult challenges during production — he had to restart the project from scratch after the original directors, Ryan and Andy Tohill, left due to "creative differences." When they did, an entire week's worth of footage was scrapped, leaving Garcia with plenty of reshoots to take care of.

The finished product is somewhere between a dramedy and a gorehound's wish-list. At one point, a bus is used as a killer object. The chase scenes are compellingly tense, but also have a bit of slapstick thrown in. While there aren't enough laughs to call "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" a true horror comedy, Garcia is clearly having a bloody ball on set. 

While some fans will be disappointed with how final girl Sally Hardesty's legacy is treated in the film, it's hard to deny how much fun it is to watch Sally battle Leatherface. Don't be surprised if you find yourself rooting for Leatherface instead of the endangered citizens of Harlow, Texas, either.

8. The Babysitter

"The Babysitter" delivers a terrifying social commentary on how young straight men view women. It also joyfully depicts the mayhem high schoolers can unintentionally cause when they delve into satanic rituals. "The Babysitter" is overflowing with blood, sexual innuendo, and pitch-perfect comedic timing, mostly thanks to its star, Samara Weaving. However, what's most notable about this Netflix Original is how it puts a unique spin on what happens when young men idealize women to the point that they don't see them as actual people.

"The Babysitter" is told from the perspective of Cole, a teen who is hopelessly in love with his babysitter, Bee. While the film starts with Cole trying to prove that he's "man enough" to not need a babysitter, it delves into how his complicated relationship with masculinity is wrapped up in his obsession with Bee. Cole wants to be seen as mature by Bee so he can be "worthy" of her. The best thing about this problematic setup is the first act reveal that Bee and her friends want to have their deepest wishes granted, which means they need to spill some of Cole's virginal blood. 

Refreshingly, "The Babysitter" upends the slasher formula by giving us a "final boy" while also challenging Cole's objectification of Bee. As an added bonus, instead of ogling women like a typical horror movie, it subverts tropes by objectifying Robbie Amell's Max at each and every turn.

7. No One Gets Out Alive

Directed by Santiago Menghini, "No One Gets Out Alive" weaves a supernatural tale around survivor's guilt and grief. Yes, it's scary, but it also explores the messy emotional places individuals visit after losing a parent and how that experience changes what the word "home" means. 

Jon Croker and Fernanda Coppel's script follows Ambar, an undocumented Mexican immigrant. Spending several years caring for her dying mother, Ambar never has the chance to go to college or receive U.S. citizenship. Following her mother's death, Ambar struggles financially, and these dire straits result in her renting a room at a haunted boarding house.

What works best about this film is its stakes. Unlike the heroes of most haunted house films, Ambar knows that things are off and tries her best to leave. However, her options are limited. She can't call the cops for help. She can't afford to move. Cristina Rodlo's performance in "No One Gets Out Alive" is stunning, and it's hard not to root for Ambar thanks to Rodlo's impressive range. Finally, the last act of "No One Gets Out Alive" takes a surprising, otherworldly turn, featuring a beautiful interpretation of the Aztec goddess Ītzpāpālōtl.

6. Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight

"Fear Street Part 2: 1978" delivered a loving homage to summer camp slashers, but "Nobody Sleeps Alone in the Woods Tonight" pays tribute while also delivering a formidable and frightening film that pushes the subgenre forward. Sadly, the Polish slasher was mostly ignored by critics — its Rotten Tomatoes page only has six reviews — but it deserves a watch for doing something most modern horror films struggle to accomplish. Yes, "Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight" features beloved horror tropes and callbacks, but it never becomes a film solely about other films.

In 2020, Director Bartosz M. Kowalski discussed his approach to the film with Cineuropa, stating, "We wanted to pen a love letter to the B movies of the 1980s, but also to wink at the viewers. So if anyone finds this extreme, exaggerated violence fun to watch, I will be very happy." Kowalski relied on practical effects for its gore, so you're in for plenty of "squirting blood" scenes.

"Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight" follows a group of technology-addicted teens who are sent to an offline summer camp. It doesn't take long for them to encounter a shady figure in the woods with homicidal tendencies. What follows is a deliciously brutal thriller in which everything, even sleeping bags, can be used as a weapon. Sure, these self-aware teens know that horror movies exist, but that narrative choice never robs the film of its terror. In fact, that the kids know they probably won't survive only heightens the tension.

5. The Ritual

Horror fans who loved "The Descent" will find many similar beats in "The Ritual." Directed by "The Night House" helmer David Bruckner, this 2017 horror film focuses on a fractured friend group who encounter a dark mystery in the woods. Hutch, Luke, Dom, Rob, and Phil have been friends since college and plan to go on a hiking trip in Sweden for Rob's upcoming birthday. Without spoiling too much, something horrible happens to Rob, and Luke blames himself for the tragedy. Six months later, the surviving friends decide to honor Rob's memory and take that hiking trip after all. However, a chain of events leads the group (who have apparently never seen "The Blair Witch Project") to wander off the beaten path through the luscious and unexplored woods.

As you might guess, unexpected horrors await them. Without giving anything away, "The Ritual" will please horror fans who enjoy mythic (especially Nordic) lore and all the monsters that come out to play in ancient legends. Like Neil Marshall's cavernous film, there's an added layer of terror that emerges when these men push each other to make dumb choices that lead to danger for all. In addition, Joe Barton's script serves up naturally tense dialogue that keeps the film moving at a suspenseful pace. While the ending of "The Ritual" might leave fans with several questions, Luke's emotional arc makes the journey worth it.

4. The Perfection

Netflix's "The Perfection" might be a perfect film. In it, director and co-writer Richard Shepard pulls off some of the most surprising tonal shifts and reveals in a horror film in recent memory. "The Perfection" is one of those films where it is best to go in without looking up anything first. Just know that what seems to be a "Black Swan"-like situation between two competing cellists has many more sinister details brewing beneath the surface. Guilt, revenge, lust, and survival are all on the table here. It's rare that a film really rewards repeat viewings, but this one does in spades.

Without spoiling any reveals, it's worth noting that the film contains depictions of sexual assault and predatory behavior. Be prepared to have many conflicting feelings about Allison Williams' Charlotte and Logan Browning's Lizzie. However, unlike other horror films that address these topics, "The Perfection" ends on a note of awe. There's no simplifying the trauma that Charlotte and Lizzie endure, and their resulting choices are treated with the same careful lens. You likely won't see what's coming for either of them.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

3. #Alive

"#Alive" arrived on Netflix during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, making its plotline eerily timely. While director and co-writer Cho Il-hyung's work stands alone as a thrilling zombie survival film, its premise resonated particularly strongly with viewers living in a time of isolation and fear of outbreaks. "#Alive" revolves around a young gamer and YouTube streamer named Joon-woo. Unfortunately, Joon-woo ends up alone in his apartment building while a zombie outbreak occurs, and the first act of "#Alive" sees him trying to stay sane amidst the uncertainty of survival, no cell reception, and the inability to speak with his family.

Joon-woo almost commits suicide, but is stopped by an unexpected source: His neighbor (and badass mountain climber) Yoo-bin spots him in the window. She flashes a light on him to let him know he's not alone, then rappels over food and a walkie-talkie to speak with him. As the film progresses, it turns into a charming character study. We watch two strangers bond through shared trauma and their quest to survive — but don't worry, there are plenty of ravenous zombies in the mix, too. Fans of Korean survival thrillers like "Train to Busan" or "All of Us Are Dead" will find a lot to love in this tight 99-minute film. While some might find it too soon to view a quarantine-based film, others will likely find it very cathartic.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

2. CAM

"CAM" asks you to imagine what you think "cam girls" do — and don't —and then subverts all of your expectations. Disturbingly, it also details the emotional pressures that come with working in the virtual world, where presentation, followers, and likability rule everything. In the words of "CAM" screenwriter Isa Mazzei, who used her professional experience as a sex worker as the basis for the film's story, to Rue Morgue, "It became important to me to tell a story where a large audience would empathize with a sex worker, and would also see that they're just normal people." She also discussed how it was essential for "CAM" to cut between "Alice performing for the webcam and Alice in her real world," as "that's really what camming is. It is this performative femininity."

"CAM" follows Madeline Brewer's Alice, who wants to earn a top ranking at under the stage name of Lola. However, once she gets incredibly close to her goal, she's locked out of her account. Some other entity — one that looks like her — has taken over her page, and Alice must stop this imposter while dealing with the fallout that occurs when her family discovers her profession.

To its credit, the film asks intriguing questions about what it means to exist on the internet, and compellingly interrogates the reality we create online for ourselves and how that does (or doesn't) warp our idea of who we are. Ultimately, "CAM" asks, "Are we ever more than how we're perceived to be?"

1. His House

Netflix's "His House" is one of the most moving haunted house films ever made. Similar to "No One Gets Out Alive," Remi Weekes' directorial feature film debut creates a compellingly harrowing reason for why its central couple would stay at a haunted home. 

Rial and Bol are refugees from South Sudan who flee their war-torn country. While the couple tragically loses their daughter in transit, they survive and are granted probational asylum in Britain. Of course, things don't get any easier for Rial or Bol, as they soon discover that their government-assigned housing contains an evil force that's toying with them both. However, the couple can't leave their home without risk of being deported. Written by Felicity Evans and Toby Venables, "His House" delves into the refugee experience by using an otherworldly force to uncover Rial and Bol's past misdeeds. Viewers discover the guilt, sorrow, and anxiety that the couple carry with them and into their new home. Through the film's taunting ghost, viewers learn what that pressure cost both them and others.

When discussing directing a film about asylum seekers to Den of Geek, Weekes said, "My perspective is about other people that cinema doesn't necessarily cater for ... My films are always going to have some connection to my experience, whether that's being a person of color or being 'othered.'" Although it debuted in 2020, "His House" still carries a 100% critic score at Rotten Tomatoes. It's time you find out why.