9 Best New Horror Movies To Stream Exclusively On Netflix And Shudder
Back in the days when all good movies--and many bad ones--would be guaranteed a theatrical release, the term "direct-to-video" was very much a negative one. If a film headed straight to VHS, and subsequently DVD, without ever hitting a cinema screen, then it was largely presumed that it was a deserved fate. And while this wasn't always the case, the fact is that the vast majority of DTV movies skipped the theater for a reason.
In 2019, things are very different. The rise of streaming has meant that the different platforms are now fighting for viewers and subscribers, and one way they can do this is by offering original, exclusive content. By financing its own movies and buying acclaimed titles from festivals, services like Netflix are releasing movies that have--and never will--see in the inside of a theater on public release. The idea of judging a movie because it has gone straight-to-video no longer exists.
Horror has, in particular, benefitted from this. The genre has long thrived on home entertainment formats--in the '80s, the big franchises like Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th found many fans via VHS. It's also a genre that Netflix has embraced, exclusively releasing a number of high-profile horror movies over the past couple of years.
But when it comes to horror, Netflix is only part of the story. AMC launched the horror-focused platform Shudder in 2015, and it has become a must-subscribe service for many fans. While it started by hosting content from other distributors, it has increasingly moved into picking up movies from festivals and presenting its own exclusive content. These are genuinely great horror movies that you can only watch on Shudder.
There are new horror exclusives hitting the streaming services all the time, so we've picked some of the best from the past few months on Netflix and Shudder. All can be streamed right now, and reveal just what an exciting time it is right now to be a horror fan. Let's get scared...
9. The Ranger (Shudder)
From Stranger Things to It, the horror genre's nostalgia for the 1980s shows little sign of fading. Jenn Wexler's directorial debut The Ranger takes its influence from both stalk'n'slash movies of the era and the decade's punk-rock scene, and delivers a ragged but entertaining backwoods slasher. A group of punk-loving kids go on the run after a confrontation with police ends badly, and they decide to hide out in a forest cabin owned by one of the gang's family members. Unfortunately, the whole region is guarded by a sinister park ranger who takes a disliking to these arrogant city kids. What the movie lacks in originality and sympathetic characters, it makes up for with gory thrills, and House of Cards' Jeremy Holm has great scene-chewing fun as the psycho ranger.
8. May the Devil Take You (Netflix)
Indonesian director Timo Tjahjanto made one of 2018's best action releases--the brutal and thrilling The Night Comes For Us, which can now be found on Netflix. But that's not the only movie this talented filmmaker has delivered over the past few months. May the Devil Take You sees Tjahjanto tackle the horror genre, with a story of a man who invites a curse upon himself in exchange for success and wealth. Unfortunately for him--and more specifically his extended family--it's payback time. Tjahjanto directs horror like he does action--noisily and without much subtlety--and the film is massively indebted to the Evil Dead series. But it's a slambang, hyper-stylised ride featuring pleasingly old-school make-up effects, as Tjahjanto puts his cast through all sorts of gruesome, gore-soaked demonic mayhem.
7. Monster Party (Shudder)
A trio of would-be thieves pose as waiters at an exclusive dinner party in a lavish mansion, with the intention of ripping off the rich attendees. But it turns out that the party-goers are actually recovering serial killers who have their own ways of dealing with these intruders. Monster Party isn't quite sure if it wants to be a comedy slasher movie or more of a serious satire on class and privilege, but once you get past the the frankly ridiculous set-up, it's a whole lot of gory, limb-lopping fun. Watch out for a great performance from John Wick's Lance Reddick as the serial killer's leader.
6. The Perfection (Netflix)
This recent Netflix Original is a wild and over-the-top thriller that delivers some of the year's most memorably disturbing imagery. The unpredictable plot focuses on Charlotte (Get Out's Allison Williams), a former child cello prodigy who had to give up her dreams to take care of her ailing mother. A decade later, Charlotte reconnects with her former tutors and meets Lizzie, the latest graduate from their exclusive music school. To say any more would be to spoil the movie's many twists, but suffice to say that if dismemberment, vomiting bugs, and sinister sex cults sound like a good time, then this is the movie for you. The Perfection might deal with some serious themes, but ultimately it's a trashy, darkly funny B-movie knows exactly what its audience wants.
5. Satan's Slaves (Shudder)
Another terrific slice of terror from Indonesia, Satan's Slaves is even better than May the Devil Take You and proof that there is some seriously impressive genre filmmaking happening there. It's a remake of a 1980 movie of the same title and focuses on a family who are beset by evil forces when they have to move into an old house on the edge of a cemetery (uh-oh). Like many of the best horror movies, it's not the familiar material that makes the film so effective, but the way it delivers its frights. And make no mistake--this is a scary movie. Director Joko Anwar throws everything into the mix--from ghosts to zombies to demonic possession--and makes fascinating use of the customs and superstitions of Indonsensian society. It's the most successful Idonesian horror movie of all time and for good reason.
4. Errementari: The Blacksmith and the Devil (Netflix)
There has been a lot of great Spanish-language horror over the past couple of decades, and Errementari is one of the best recent examples. Like Guilermo Del Toro's The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth, it mixes real historical events with a supernatural tale. It's based on the old European folk tale of a demon who is being kept prisoner in the home of a reclusive blacksmith in 1840s. Director Paul Urkijo takes a fantasy-based approach to the genre, delivering movie reminiscent of the films of Terry Gilliam, with an off-beat sense of humour, and a strange, magical atmosphere. Errementari isn't scary as such, but it's an inventive and refreshing experience.
3. The Witch in the Window (Shudder)
Director Andy Mitton's previous movie, We Go On, was one of Shudder's earliest horror exclusives, and his follow-up has also found a natural home on the platform. This is a creepy haunted house tale, in which a father and his son start renovating a countryside home with the intention of flipping it for profit. Inevitably, they learn that the house has a dark past--an old woman died there years earlier but still inhabits its rooms. It's an atmospheric and spooky movie but also an affecting drama about the struggles of parenthood and a failing marriage. Strong performances and stylish directing make this a superior ghost story, and at only 75 minutes, it packs an emotional punch lacking from many films twice its length.
2. Cam (Netflix)
This gripping chiller is one of the most original horror movies of recent months. It's set in the world of adult web cams, and focuses on Alice, a cam girl who's life is changed when someone--or something--with her name, face, and live cam login starts occupying her channel. On paper, Cam's mix of sex and horror suggests that it will be an exploitative film, but while it's definitely disturbing, it also presents a sensitive, intelligent view of the live cam industry as well as some insightful observations about how we interact with modern technology. Cam is definitely a horror film, but it ultimately has more in common with the surreal work of David Lynch and the tech-satire of Black Mirror than a more conventional scary movie. There are no jump scares, and there's little violence, but for horror fans bored of the clichés and predictable scares of the genre, Cam is an ambitious, scary treat.
1. Terrified (Shudder)
This Argentinian shocker is one of the best new horror movies currently streaming on any service. Once again, it's not what Terrified is about--this tale of possession and paranormal infestation sounds fairly standard on paper--but how it's done. Director Demian Rugna throws everything at the wall; there's no time wasted in the build-up, and within ten minutes, a bloodied woman is being thrown around a room by some unseen evil. From then it's a relentless onslaught of supernatural madness, as three people--a veteran cop, a paranormal investigator, and her old colleague--are brought together when they investigate strange goings-on on a normal suburban street. Terrified features more scares per minute than anything else released in the past 12 months and is packed with bizarre and disturbing imagery, as Rugna takes a load of familiar horror tropes and delivers something truly wild.