Updated October 15, 2023
Army of the Dead
Army of the Dead is Zack Snyder’s return to the genre that got him started, and it’s an absolute triumph. This just might be the most fun you’ve ever had with a Netflix original movie. It’s a zombie film that puts an intriguing twist on the subgenre’s typical apocalyptic setup, and it tells a unique story that feels surprisingly fresh.
Admittedly, this movie isn’t particularly deep or intellectually stimulating, but it’s so fun that it doesn’t have to be. It features likable characters, great action, and some next-level zombies that challenge everything you think you know about the living dead. As you might’ve garnered from the trailer, these zombies are smart and organized. They present some really unique challenges to the human characters, and they make for some of the best zombie action that’s ever been put on screen.
Simply put, Army of the Dead is pretty much the ultimate fun zombie movie. If you’re looking to sit down, eat some popcorn, and enjoy some awesome undead action, then this is just what the doctor ordered.
Under the Shadow
One of the best things about streaming services like Netflix is that they give you access to movies you might never come across otherwise, and Under the Shadow is a great example of that. It’s a Persian-language film set in Iran in the 1980s, and it follows a woman and her daughter who are haunted by a djinn in the midst of the Iran-Iraq War.
This movie has two things going for it. First, it’s based on Islamic rather than Christian lore, and that adds a really refreshing twist to the evil spirit subgenre. It’s not necessarily better than Christian-based movies, but it’s different, and there’s real value in that.
Secondly, it has a really good story too. It combines the horror of the djinn with the main character’s struggle against her patriarchal society, and it works equally well on both levels. This film has some real narrative substance to go along with its scares, so if you’re looking for a horror movie that has something to say, Under the Shadow should absolutely be on your to-watch list.
Vampires vs. The Bronx
If you like a little urban flair with your horror, then Vampires vs. The Bronx just might be what you’re looking for. It’s a horror comedy about a neighborhood in the Bronx that’s set upon by vampires under the pretense of gentrification, and it’s up to three teenage boys to stop them.
This movie is pretty much the total package. It has some cool vampires who do a great job of switching back and forth between being deceptively charming and scarily menacing, and it also has some really great human characters that you’ll grow to love by the time the credits roll.
What’s more, it also has a really great message to go along with its great characters. It’s all about the value of human life, especially the lives of the poor and disadvantaged, so if you want a super fun horror movie that can speak to a pressing moral issue in our society today, Vampires vs. The Bronx will certainly fit that bill.
The Binding is an Italian film about an engaged couple named Francesco and Emma who travel to Francesco’s childhood home with Emma’s daughter Sofia. When they arrive, Francesco introduces his mother to his fiance and her daughter, but soon afterward, they realize that Emma has become the target of a nasty curse.
From there, the movie takes a bunch of twists and turns, and your eyes become glued to the screen because you want to find out what exactly is going on. The movie keeps you off balance until it wants you to know the truth behind Emma’s curse, and once it lets you in on its big secret, it throws even more surprises at you. In a nutshell, The Binding is just a captivating narrative, so if you’re in the mood for a scary story you can really get lost in, you should definitely give this movie a shot.
#Alive is a South Korean zombie film that takes a super simple premise and turns it into a surprisingly uplifting story. It’s about a young man who gets stuck in his apartment when the zombie apocalypse breaks out, and he has to find a way to survive even though his food and water supplies start to run desperately low.
A good zombie movie has to be about more than just the zombies, and this film understands that. While it does a really good job with its take on the living dead, it’s really about the human characters and their fight for survival. It tells us that human life is worth fighting for and defending, even to the point of putting ourselves at risk to protect the people we care about, and it embodies that message with some really cool zombie action. #Alive has just about everything you could want from a zombie movie, so if you’re a fan of this subgenre, we highly recommend putting this one on your list of films to watch.
Before I Wake
In recent years, writer/director Mike Flanagan has been cementing himself as one of the best in the business. Films like Oculus, Ouija: Origin of Evil, and Doctor Sleep have put him firmly on the horror map, but not all of his movies get the love they deserve. Case in point, Before I Wake is a film of his that is all too often overlooked and underseen. It’s not his best movie, but it’s still really good.
It’s about a young boy named Cody whose dreams come to life in the real world. As you might guess, he suffers from terrible nightmares, and they wreak havoc on everyone around him. On the surface, that probably sounds like a lame and predictable story, and it probably would be in the hands of a lesser filmmaker, but Flanagan handles it brilliantly. He manages to turn that cliche premise into a touching story about love, death, and the ability to hold on to our lost loved ones while still moving forward with our lives. Before I Wake has good scares, relatable characters, and a whole lot of heart, so it deserves to get a lot more love than it normally does from the horror community.
May The Devil Take You
May the Devil Take You is an Indonesian horror movie about a young woman who learns a dark secret about her father’s past, and it brings her face to face with the evil forces that have been lying in the background of his life for years.
This movie is a love letter to the Evil Dead franchise, and it totally works. Much of the film is very reminiscent of Ash’s battles with the deadites, even down to some of the details, but it never feels like just a cheap rip-off. It simply takes elements from that franchise and makes them its own in a way that feels comfortably familiar.
This movie has fun gore, effective scares, and likable characters, so there’s not a lot to dislike about it. If you’re an Evil Dead fan, you should give May the Devil Take You a watch. It’ll make you feel right at home with its style of horror while also introducing you to a whole new world of scares.
Ouija: Origin of Evil
Making a good horror movie is hard, and making a good horror prequel is even harder. Making a good horror prequel to a bad original film is quite possibly the toughest task a filmmaker can have. But man, Mike Flanagan totally knocked it out of the park with Ouija: Origin of Evil, his excellent prequel to the 2014 stinker Ouija. The film is about a family of scam artist psychics who one day decide to add a ouija board to their fake seances, and when they do, they unwittingly unleash a very real evil upon their home.
That’s a pretty cool premise, and the execution is even better. Ouija: Origin of Evil has excellent scares, a really sympathetic group of main characters, and one of the best creepy kid performances this side of The Shining. It’s one of the most effective haunted house movies of the last decade, so if you’re a fan of these films, you’re definitely going to want to check this one out.
Blood Red Sky
Blood Red Sky is a Netflix original about an airplane that’s hijacked by a group of terrorists. At first, these people seem to be in complete control of the situation, but unbeknownst to them, one of the passengers onboard is a vampire. She’s trying to control her bloodsucking impulses, but she eventually gives in and uses her powers to fight back against the hijackers.
At first glance, that premise might sound a bit corny, but Blood Red Sky executes it to perfection. It does an awesome job of making its good guys sympathetic and its bad guys totally despicable, and as the film progresses, you’ll come to love the main characters more and more. On top of that, it also tells a really engaging and well-paced story from beginning to end, so it hooks you in and keeps you invested the whole way through.
And if you’re looking for bloody vampire action, Blood Red Sky has that too. This movie combines elements of Nosferatu, 30 Days of Night, and even zombie films to create one of the best bloodsuckers we’ve ever seen. It’s a real treat for fans of the more animalistic side of the vampire subgenre, and when you combine it with the great characters and story, you get one of the best vampire movies in recent memory.
No one really wins in this pandemic, but if there were winners, they were movies like The Wretched. In this film, our protagonist and a cannibalistic witch engage in a game of cat and mouse as he tries to prevent her from feasting on anyone else. The Wretched is fun overall. It’s the entertaining type of horror movie you want in the summer. When it presents you with a series of questions in the intro, you’re excited to find the answers.
The script of The Wretched does a great job of building three-dimensional characters in a brief period, and the practical effects and makeup here really shine. The lore in The Wretched is brief but it works for the attentive viewer. Despite a muddied climax, The Wretched still works. It’s ultimately a fun movie with good characters, an excellent pace, and some great effects. If you’re a fan of horror where kids have to solve a mystery a la Stranger Things or Summer of ’84, you’ll have a good time.
If you want deep, thematically rich storytelling and complex characters who beautifully convey the highs and lows of the human condition, Troll is not the movie for you. But if you’re a fan of fun, style-over-substance giant monster flicks, you’re really going to enjoy this one. It’s about a giant troll that awakens from its millennium-long slumber and destroys everything in its path, and when the military fails to kill it with conventional weapons, it’s up to a rag-tag group of heroes to find a way to stop it.
To be fair, there’s a bit more to the story than just that, but let’s be real, nobody is going to watch this film for the plot. It’s all about the fun kaiju action, and on that front, Troll delivers in spades. It features top-notch giant monster destruction brought to life by equally great CGI, so this movie is an absolute must-watch for kaiju fans.
Lights Out was the feature directorial debut of David F. Sandberg, and it’s based on his three-minute short film of the same name. If you’ve never seen the short, do yourself a favor and check it out. It’s super creepy, and it gives you a good sense of what to expect from the full feature.
This movie is about a family that’s haunted by a malevolent supernatural entity that can only appear in the dark, and the entity is out for blood. If you turn the lights on, this thing disappears, but the second those lights go out, the creature comes back. It’s basically the incarnation of humanity’s deep-seated fear of the dark, and it’s pretty terrifying.
But don’t get the wrong idea. This film isn’t just a cheap, one-note scarefest. It also features likable characters you’ll love to root for, so it’s really a great experience all around. It’s one of the most fun horror movies of the last decade, so if you’re looking to sit back, relax, and have a scary good time, you can’t do much better than Lights Out.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, Jaws has landed on Netflix once again. It’s hands down the best shark movie ever made, but that doesn’t even begin to explain how great this film is. It’s way more than just the best entry in a rather middling subgenre. It’s even more than just one of the greatest horror movies ever made. It’s one of the best movies in any genre—horror or otherwise. Jaws is the film that put Steven Spielberg on the map, and that alone makes it an absolute must-watch for any cinephile.
But if you’re a horror fan, there’s one more reason why you need to watch this movie: it made our entire culture afraid of sharks. Sure, people feared these mysterious creatures before Jaws, but Spielberg’s film cemented that fear and brought it to the forefront of our collective consciousness in a way that nothing ever had before (or ever will again). It’s arguably the most effective horror film ever made, so if you haven’t seen Jaws, you need to put it at the very top of your to-watch list (or your to-rewatch list if you have). Trust us, you’ll be glad you did.
On the surface, It Follows seems like nothing more than a cheap cautionary tale against having sex, but if you dig even a little bit beneath the surface, you’ll find one of the most original horror concepts of the past decade. It’s about a monster that relentlessly follows its victims no matter where they go, and their only hope of survival is to pass the curse on to someone else by having sex.
However, if it kills its current target, it goes back up the line and begins to follow the last person it was attached to, so even if someone is safe for the moment, they can never be sure that it won’t set its sights upon them once again in the future. On top of all that, this monster can look like anybody, even people its victims know, so if you see someone walking slowly in one direction, you never know if it’s the creature or just another person.
From that description, it should be no surprise that this film favors creeping dread over cheap jump scares. Even when the monster is nowhere to be found, the fact that it could be just around the corner is enough to keep the tension high from beginning to end so you’ll find yourself constantly scanning the screen to see if you can catch a glimpse of the creature. This makes It Follows one of the most subtly scary movies of this century. So if you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and check it out. You’ll be glad you did.
If you’ve ever been alone at night (and, even worse, heard a knock at the door), The Strangers plays on that fear for a dread-inducing 85 minutes. Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman play a couple arriving at his family’s summer ranch in the country for an awkward evening after she turned down his marriage proposal, and once they hear a knock at the door, the harassment and terror created by three masked strangers begins…all because this couple was home.
Writer-director Bryan Bertino takes a minimalist, chamber-piece approach to this home-invasion thriller, and he sustains a fever pitch throughout. Who can forget the quietly nightmarish long shot of the burlap bag-masked stranger watching Tyler from the background? Ahead of the onslaught of so many horror movies that preyed on audiences’ fear of having their safe space invaded, The Strangers is an all-timer that never stops giving you that tense feeling in the pit of your stomach.