12 Scary Movies On Hulu, Netflix, And Amazon (To Help Us Through The Holidays)
Looking for an excuse to get out of yet another jolly Christmas-y activity with people who do nothing but jolly Christmas-y activities? Are you in need of something to jolt you out of your bubble/comfort zone/Holiday slump? Then this is the list for you: A horror movie list that has something of everything for everyone — even people who enjoy doing jolly Holiday stuff.
We're going to start you off with some horror comedy recs and gradually work up to films with higher scare levels, with 1/10 being so boring it's not even on our list and 9/10 being those movies that may cause even an atheist to blurt out a little prayer. And sure, scare level scores will obviously differ from person to person. Ours are just to give you an idea of which of these films would probably give Grandma a heart attack. (Note: We take no responsibility for anyone's Nana having a heart attack watching any of the movies on this list. Please don't show these to Grandma.)
The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020) - Werewolves, But Like, Funny
Truly, what will the holidays be without some lycanthropes? Also, werewolves in the snow are our favorite kind of werewolves. Granted, we don't actually have many of those, but what we do have is Jim Cummings's satirical comedy horror/thriller about a cop slowly losing his mind in a town that's under attack by what looks like one giant fluffy-tailed monster.
Cummings, who you may have heard of recently following the success of his newest film, The Beta Test, writes, directs, and stars in all his movies. The man is an absolute blast to watch, especially as Snow Hollow's Officer John Marshall, a tense recovering alcoholic with some troubling anger issues who seems on the verge of losing it between everyone saying there's a werewolf murderer, being hounded himself by family responsibilities, and local reporter Ricky.
Scare Level: 4/10. It's not going to scare you much, although it does have a strong creep factor at play.
For more Werewolves In The Snow horror: The hilarious Josh Rubin movie of 2021, Werewolves Within.
We Summon the Darkness (2020) - Satan, But Like, Funny
If you're anything like us, you're probably sick of every other devil-fearing person/some media outlet trying to revive the Satanic Panic for what feels like the umpteenth time. What the hell is up with that? Get a new obsession, people.
Anyway, if you can relate, then you'll totally be into this subversive movie about a bunch of young people getting caught up in the original '80s Satanic Panic when all they wanted to do was go to a metal concert. Jeez, this is why we can't have nice things.
Yeah, that's Johnny Knoxville playing an evangelical pastor. This movie rules.
Scare Level: 4.5/10. Not scary, as it leans more into comedy horror, but it does have some gory bits that could make some squirm.
Raw (2016) - Cannibals!
From the same director whose recent horror Titane might be the best film of 2021 that also features car porn, Raw is a French coming of age horror that follows a young girl — who's a strict vegetarian — enter veterinary school and, after taking part in a hazing ritual where everyone has to eat meat, finds an insatiable craving for some fresh flesh.
Also, if (for reasons we really don't want to know) you've ever wanted to watch a movie where an actress sticks her hand up a cow's butt for real, then this one's for you.
Scare Level: 5/10. A few scenes that'll leave you squeamish. Don't watch on an empty stomach, but don't be too full, either.
Where to stream: Amazon
Other 'Let's Eat Each Other' horror movies: The fantastic 2016 South Korean zombies on a train movie, Train to Busan. The 2021 indie horror about an indie-pop singer gone bloodthirsty in, uh, Bloodthirsty.
Blood Red Sky (2021) - Vamps!
Five words: German. Vampires. On a plane.
Featuring one absolute psychotic villain, some insanely cool prosthetics and effects, and a fairly unexpected climax — this British-German action-horror might look like a Netflix original you're probably never going to watch, but you totally should because it's too delightfully bonkers to miss. It's got great pacing, stellar tension, and even some good heart to go.
Also, did we mention that it's mothereffin' vampires on a mothereffin' plane?! Like candy for your eyeballs.
Scare Level: 5/10. It's really half-action half-horror, so it's not going to give you sleepless nights or anything, but it's got enough bite to get your heart rate up.
Where to stream: Netflix
Other such movies to sink your teeth in: The 2014 Persian movie that features a vampire on a skateboard, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night. It's gnarly and incredible; watch it.
Climax (2018) - Let’s Dance, But Like, Horrifically
This A24 movie is loosely based on a real French dance troupe who had their drinks spiked with LSD at an after-party somewhere in the '90s, and do we even need to say any more?
And yes, it's another French horror movie recommendation because the French get it. Fin.
Scare Level: 6/10 for the first two acts, but it jumps to a solid 8 when the third and final act hits, and you sit there absolutely flabbergasted by what you're seeing but also unable to look away like you're that dude in that movie about clocks and oranges.
Also, don't watch this while inebriated unless you have the stomach for such things.
Sputnik (2020) - Sci-Fi
Behold this glorious specimen:
We want to show you more, but that would just be spoiling the fun of seeing probably the coolest looking sci-fi horror alien we've got in the last decade. Also, this is a Russian film about space and aliens, so you just know it's worth your time. Top that off with some pretty interesting, not-your-usual-cookie-cutter characters, and it goes from a fun and thought-provoking little sci-fi movie to a film that, in fact, deserves way more recognition and eyeballs relishing it.
It should be mentioned here that this is an IFC Midnight film, which is always a good indicator of the quality you're about to see since IFC has been killing it of late (spot all the IFC films in this article, too).
Scare Level: 6/10. Could be higher for some since there's some solid suspense in this one.
Willy’s Wonderland (2021) - Nic Cage In Chuck E. Cheese's
We actually don't even want to show you a trailer here. This is a movie best enjoyed by going in blind (as many good movies are). But for those who for some reason refuse to live on the wild side, here you go:
This movie has Nicolas Cage doing things you never even knew you wanted to see Nicolas Cage do. He throws out a sequence of dance moves that'll have you jump out of your chair in sheer delight. He has the most impressive cleaning regiment — it's alarmingly joyful to watch the man scrub a restroom. And the best of all? The man doesn't say a single word. This might sound like a jab at his acting ability or something, but it most definitely is not. It absolutely slaps how a quiet Cage who can simply throw a robot doll a look is just the best thing ever.
Scare Level: 6.5/10. If madness makes you shaky, then this one might have your heart racing a little more than some of the other entries in this article. It has a strong creep factor and some good gore, even if it's of the, uh, different kind. Maybe have an energy drink in the fridge, just in case.
Where to stream: Hulu
In the Earth (2021) - It’s All Relevant
We're all pretty much in agreement that no one really wants to watch a movie about the pandemic we've been experiencing for the past two years and counting. It's all been trying enough for literally the whole world, and we don't need screen entertainment to suddenly also be filled with characters talking about the virus, anti-vaxxers, and whether or not a sneeze means they're going to die.
But as with most everything, there are exceptions, and it should be pointed out that this American-British environmental horror gets it right.
For one, the pandemic featured in this movie is part background, part motivation for the actual plot, making it feel more organic and not like you're being bashed over the head with the whole killer virus thing like a certain Michael Bay movie. In the Earth focuses on how we humans react to extremities in the natural world and how "going back to nature" isn't always as idyllic as people might think it is.
Scare Level: 6.5/10 — for people with strong stomachs that is. While the funny offers relief from the sometimes suffocating madness that is these people in the woods, there are some proper body horror scenes and some trippy folklore stuff going down.
Where to stream: Hulu
As Above, So Below (2014) - Found Me Some Footage
We're now starting to approach what this writer likes to call the "deep horror" movies. The ones that drop down into the dark depths of our messed-up psychologies and project our real fears. Directed by John Erick Dowdle, who also brought us Devil (2010) and the U.S. REC remake Quarantine (2008), As Above, So Below is one of those horror movies that starts off playing it as a straight, run-of-the-mill found footage movie, but soon turns into a "Wait, whaaaat?" kind of ride as we follow an alchemy scholar and her posse down the catacombs of Paris in search of the mythical philosopher's stone.
Found footage films have always gotten a lot of flak and perhaps some of the harshest criticism from both fans and non-fans of the horror genre. Some people will just never like it, and that's okay. But for those who enjoy the subgenre that pretty much started with that once-banned 1980 Italian cannibal movie and, since then, has given us everything from The Blair Witch Project to Grave Encounters to even J.J. Abrams getting in on the fun with Cloverfield, this particular found footage movie — filmed in parts of Paris's catacombs that are off-limits to the public — is one of the good ones.
Scare Level: 7/10. It has both diabolical scare scenes and because it's a lot of dark tunnels, some good ol' claustrophobic triggers.
The Night House (2021) - This House Is Haunted
One of this writer's favorite horror movies of 2021, and also because what's a Horror Movie list without a few spooky houses recs?
Rebecca Hall plays a widow dealing with the grief of suddenly losing her husband but, while going through all of that, she discovers secrets about him that go from "Oh, no" to "Excuse me what now?" at a pretty respectable pace. Not only is this a clever existential horror movie that uses a simple concept and turns it into a whole lot without losing its emotional core, but it's quite possibly one of the most creative haunted houses to grace the genre, ever.
Scare Level: 7.5/10. The sound design of this film is incredible and is as much the backbone of the horror in this film as is Rebecca Hall's character work.
Where to stream: Amazon
The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015) - So Very Lonely
You might wonder why we would recommend horror movies about sad, lonely people for you to watch over the Holidays, but arguably the best thing about horror — good horror movies, that is — is that it offers a cathartic experience on a plate, as a gift.
Sometimes, it's good to tap into those emotions you've been neglecting or suppressing or have kept hidden from the world. Sometimes you have to feel them because acknowledgment is good. And sometimes, you need to feel something because you need to feel anything. This movie delivers the necessary gut punch.
Honestly, it's cheaper than therapy.
Scare Level: 7.5/10. Many might give it a solid 8, even. It's dark, people. Great, intelligent, doesn't give a damn what you think, and pretty dark.
Where to stream: SHOWTIME
Other Lonely Character movies worth your time: Saint Maud, The Vigil
The Dark and the Wicked (2020) - Come on, Cracked, Scare Me
One of the best horror movies of the 21st century and also one of the scariest. From director Bryan Bertino who gave us The Strangers movies, this film is about two siblings who go home to visit their dad on his deathbed, but when their mother tells them, they should've stayed away, well, she's right. Of course, it's too damn late now.
This film right here will keep you up at night. This horror will reach deep and twist, hard. The sound design and incredible cinematography keep the tension going throughout — seriously, it never lets up and hardly gives you time to breathe — and the jumpscares are more torturous than jumpy.
This entire movie is torture but in a brilliant, diabolical, emotional, and even spiritual way. You'll be happy you've watched it, eventually.
Scare Level: 9/10.
It's Christmas. So you all better watch the original, still so great 1974 Canadian slasher, Black Christmas. Don't make me come and find you.
For more horror recommendations, follow Zanandi on Twitter.
Top Image: A24