10 Cosmic Horror Movies To Stream On Netflix And More
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Really lean into that sense of existential dread with these must-watch cosmic horror classics.
Cosmic horror may be one of the harder-to-define subgenres out there, but that doesn't make it any less worthwhile. From Lovecraftian gods run amok to alien entities piercing the veil of space and time, the thing all cosmic horror stories have in common is a deep and pervasive sense of existential dread--the fear that comes from direct encounters with things that cannot be understood by simple mortal minds. That said, there's always some wiggle room--whether it's through clever trope subversion or fast-and-loose interpretations of source materials, cosmic horror is as ever-shifting as the madness that inspires it.
And hey, we just happen to think that's pretty neat, especially in a world experiencing as much real-life existential dread as ours is right now. Sometimes it's fun to lean into a fantasy that can be stopped and started with the push of a button.
We've compiled a list of our favorite streaming cosmic horror movies from every end of the writhing, tentacle-infested spectrum, including but not limited to trips to hell dimensions, alien invaders, and time-loop creating eldritch deities.
Stream these and more on our favorite services:
1. Event Horizon (Netflix)
When it comes to cosmic horror, it's hard to get better than Event Horizon, the 1997 sci-fi extravaganza starring Sam Neill and Laurence Fishburne. One part Hellraiser, one part Alien, Event Horizon managed to put its own spin on the genre by asking the important questions--namely, "What would happen if you opened a portal to literal hell on a spaceship?"
The answer, as you can probably imagine, isn't exactly pretty--but that just makes it better. Packed with intricate details and practical effects from top to bottom, Event Horizon is a cosmic horror staple that's not to be missed.
2. The Void (Shudder)
Hospitals aren't a fun place to be even on their best day, so it's not really surprising that they're even worse when they're surrounded by a veil-wearing cult intent on murdering anyone who tries to escape. But, wildly enough, that's not actually the scariest part of The Void--the things happening outside the hospital are bad, but the things inside are even worse. A cosmic horror bottle movie packed-full of skin-crawling gore, The Void is a cult classic in the making.
3. In The Tall Grass (Netflix)
Adapted from the Stephen King novella, In The Tall Grass dares to imagine what it would be like to be trapped inside a giant, uh, sentient field of grass--you know, just like the name implies. The "cosmic" part of the horror comes thanks to a giant, ambiguously alien artifact that just so happens to be granting the fields sentience--and may or may not be a link to a different, much darker dimension outside our own.
4. The Endless (Netflix)
A spiritual successor and tie-in to writer/director duo Benson and Moorhead's first film, Resolution, The Endless is a deliciously mind-bending exploration of a cult that exists in--well, to say any more would be a spoiler. But trust us when we say you've never seen a cult movie quite like this before, and what could easily have become your average summer-camp-flavored slasher is, in fact, much more. If you're a fan of movies that play with the fabric of time itself, The Endless is for you.
5. Cabin in the Woods (Hulu)
Initially dressed up as a horror comedy, Cabin In The Wood cleverly circumvents expectations with twists upon twists that eventually culminate in one giant, cosmic revelation that may or may not mean the end of all things--just trust us on this one. Cabin In The Woods is a must-see.
6. The Mist (Prime)
Another Stephen King adaptation, The Mist explores the worst case scenario for a sleepy little Maine town suddenly beset upon by a mysterious mist (surprise!) that brings with it even more mysterious monsters. One part bottle movie, one part gorey survival story, The Mist is as bleak as they come, but don't let that stop you from enjoying the mayhem.
7. Annihilation (Hulu)
From writer/director Alex Garland, Annihilation is the story of a strange, alien artifact corrupting and mutating everything around it behind a metaphysical barrier known as "The Shimmer." Within The Shimmer, animals and plants are absorbed into one another, cells divide and merge and change at random, and the humans who dare enter are never heard from again. As beautiful as it is gruesome, Annihilation really leans into the "cosmic" side of cosmic horror.
8. In The Mouth Of Madness (Shudder)
Sam Neill's second major entry on this list, In The Mouth Of Madness is a Stephen King-flavored early '90s extravaganza about a horror author whose work literally drives his readers insane. It's full of campy practical effects and over-the-top acting, but worthwhile all the same, especially if you're a fan of video games like Alan Wake or Silent Hill.
9. Absentia (Prime)
An early indie movie from writer/director Mike Flanagan (The Haunting Of Hill House), Absentia is essentially a story about missing people and the mysterious entity that may be behind their disappearances. It turns out they may not actually be gone after all, and somehow, that may even be worse. Be careful with this one--there's also an unrelated TV series by the same name, so make sure you're clicking the right one when you go to stream.
10. Hellbound: Hellraiser 2 (Hulu)
The nature of reality and the existence of alternate dimensions are cornerstones of cosmic horror and it's hard to exemplify that in a more literal way that actually, genuinely, sending your characters through a portal to hell. Hellbound is the second entry in the Hellraiser franchise and one of the best the series has to offer--but it is a direct sequel to the first Hellraiser movie, which is slightly less cosmic but definitely still worthwhile, so watch that one first.