Madeline Brewer in the Netflix original horror movie 'Cam'

The Best Netflix Original Horror Movies

Are you even original?

It’s unfortunate, but the fact of the matter is that sometimes Netflix’s original content is not that great. Time and time again, people get excited about a Netflix original TV show or movie, only to be disappointed in the end. But with a little patience and a lot of dedication, you can find some pretty great stuff on there; some of my favorite modern horror films have been released by Netflix.

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Instead of browsing the app for hours on end, let us walk you through a list of some of the best Netflix original horror movies currently streaming. I can guarantee you’ll find at least one movie to watch tonight.

1. Hush (2016)

Maddie looking frightened in Hush
(Netflix)

Ah, Mike Flanagan and his little Flanaverse. Folks praise Mike Flanagan for his horror projects (even Stephen King is a fan!), and for good reason. Even with its flaws, Hush is still effective and scary. The story focuses on a deaf writer trying to survive a relentless killer. Maddie (Kate Siegel) may not be the perfect representation of hearing impaired individuals, but it’s still pretty neat to have a horror protagonist who has a disability—and survives.

2. Cam (2018)

Alice on her phone in her incredibly cute room in Cam
(Netflix)

Horror hasn’t always explored the topic of sex work delicately. Most sex workers are treated like dirt in films. Cam holds up 20 middle fingers at anyone who thinks sex workers aren’t human beings worthy of respect. The film keeps you guessing about what is happening to cam girl Alice (Madeline Brewer) when she discovers that someone is pretending to be her online. It’s also worth noting that screenwriter Isa Mazzei is a former cam girl, so there are genuine experiences woven into this intense psychological horror-thriller.

3. The Babysitter (2017)

Bee killing somebody with knives in The Babysitter
(Netflix)

The Babysitter isn’t for everyone; it’s very corny and doesn’t hide from that fact. It’s not all that deep in terms of plot, following Cole (Judah Lewis) as he’s forced to fight his babysitter and her cult. The gore is over the top, the humor doesn’t always work, and it’s not a film to watch if you’re looking for anything serious. But scream queen Samara Weaving is more than enough to stick around for. The Babysitter makes this list because of how entertaining it is. I also recommend watching the sequel, The Babysitter: Killer Queen, if you’re a fan of Jenna Ortega.

4. The Ritual (2017)

The friends standing in the woods in The Ritual
(Netflix)

If you’ve been hesitant to watch The Ritual, I suppose this is your sign to finally watch it! The premise itself isn’t particularly new: a group of friends reunite to honor their deceased friend with a trek through the woods, where endless horrors await them. Directed by David Bruckner (The Night House, 2022’s Hellraiser), The Ritual explores the complications of grief, has some really wild folklore, and is genuinely scary. It makes the woods even scarier than they already are when it’s dark.

5. Gerald’s Game (2017)

Jessie posing for her husband in Gerald's Game
(Netflix)

As far as Stephen King adaptations go, Gerald’s Game is regarded as one of the best. Funny how it’s yet another Mike Flanagan film. The premise may seem simple as protagonist Jessie (Carla Gugino) spends most of the film handcuffed to a bed. But there’s so much terror and some great emotional beats, and the performances are spectacular. Gerald’s Game also proves why it’s important to keep your handcuff keys on a nightstand or under a pillow when engaging in intimate acts with your partner.

6. The Perfection (2019)

Charlotte and Lizzie being incredibly attracted to each other in The Perfection
(Netflix)

A super queer exploitation horror film? Yes, please! The Perfection scratches the itch for queer horror in a way that’s super effective, and the ending will stick with you for a long time. The film focuses on the journeys of Charlotte (Allison Williams) and Lizzie (Logan Browning), who are both survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of the same powerful men. It’s a horror film that goes to places that you may not expect and it’s a real ride. And it’s also really, really queer!

7. His House (2020)

A close up of a character in the movie  'His House'
(Netflix)

People just don’t talk about His House and it’s not all that shocking to me. But let’s not get into why because I’d be sitting here all night. The film focuses on a couple that flee Sudan and are haunted by something evil in the UK. Aside from all that jazz, His House is a really layered film that plays around with so many topics, especially xenophobia, assimilation, and the rejection that Black folks can experience in other Black communities.

8. A Classic Horror Story (2021)

Elisa looking tired and absolutely done with everyone in A Classic Horror Story
(Netflix)

Italian horror movies don’t always get the acclaim that French horror movies do. A Classic Horror Story is a little gem that you should watch at least once. The film follows Elisa (Matilda Lutz) as she travels to get an abortion and ends up with the worst possible people. It’s very meta horror that will make your eyes widen as the twists unfold. Matilda Lutz is fabulous in the lead role, and everything is quite unsettling when the film gets going.

9. Fear Street trilogy (2021)

Ziggy Berman bleeding from her nose in Fear Street Part 2: 1978
(Netflix)

The Fear Street trilogy gave us tremendous queer horror. All three films are based on R.L. Stine’s novels of the same name and focus on Deena (Kiana Madeira)’s desperation to save her ex-girlfriend from a curse that’s plagued their town for hundreds of years. But, there’s much more to the curse than anyone realizes. The films were released over a period of three weeks and helped make the summer of 2021 very exciting. All in all, the Fear Street movies are super fun, occasionally emotional explorations of different periods of time in the same town. And they feature some fantastic young talent, including Stranger Things faves Sadie Sink and Maya Hawke.

10. Army of the Dead (2021)

The zombie queen in 'Army of the Dead'
(Netflix)

Action horror is often hit or miss because the films in this sub-genre often focus less on the horror of it all. But there’s a good balance of horror and action in Army of the Dead, much to my surprise. The film is set in a post-zombie outbreak world and follows a group of folks looking to retrieve some money from a casino vault in zombie territory. The production is great, the ensemble cast is fantastic, and the film manages to make you care about most of the characters with some great emotional beats. And that’s not an easy task given the nature of the story. Overall, Army of the Dead is a film that you should absolutely watch if you’re looking for action-packed horror.

(featured image: Netflix)


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Author
Vanessa Maki
Vanessa Maki (she/her) is a queer Blerd and contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She first started writing for digital magazines in 2018 and her articles have appeared in Pink Advocate (defunct), The Gay Gaze (defunct), Dread Central and more. She primarily writes about movies, TV, and anime. Efforts to make her stop loving complex/villainous characters or horror as a genre will be futile.