Amazon Prime features a huge selection of horror movies across more than a century of cinema history. There’s everything from influential classics to recent releases. Here are the ten best horror movies to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
Update, 9/27/22: After reviewing our guide, we found two movies had left Amazon Prime’s platform, so we’ve replaced them with two new horror picks.
With Carrie, director Brian De Palma has the distinction of making the first-ever Stephen King adaptation, and also possibly the best. De Palma brings King’s debut novel to life, telling the story of outcast teenager Carrie White (Sissy Spacek), whose telekinetic powers make her a danger to everyone around her. De Palma captures the casual cruelty of Carrie’s classmates, and Spacek makes Carrie both sympathetic and terrifying. It culminates in an intense, brutal finale that’s a marvel of cross-cutting and tension.
Although it’s not the horror classic of the first Creepshow, Creepshow 2 is a solid continuation of the anthology movies based on Stephen King stories. The segments here feature a wooden Native American statue come to life to seek vengeance; a mysterious slime creature terrorizing teens at a lake; and a woman tormented by the ghost of a man she accidentally killed with her car. “The Hitchhiker” is the strongest of those segments, but all three capture the vintage pulp-horror feel that King and George Romero established in the first movie.
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An underrated highlight of the American trend of remaking Japanese horror movies, Dark Water stars Jennifer Connelly as a mother in the process of an ugly divorce, who moves into a dilapidated apartment with her young daughter. The apartment, of course, is haunted, although Dark Water is as much about the struggle of being a single mother and the failure of municipal services as it is about the ghostly presence in the main character’s musty, creepy apartment building.
The sequel to Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, Hellbound: Hellraiser II is actually the highlight of the long-running franchise, giving more screen time to Doug Bradley’s iconic villain Pinhead while also taking on a more surreal tone. It delves deeper into the horrifying hellscape inhabited by Pinhead and his fellow Cenobites, and showcases the dark, sadistic terrors they inflict on the victims who open the puzzle box known as the Lament Configuration.
The entire zombie genre owes its existence to George Romero’s 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead, which created the modern conception of zombies as shambling, flesh-eating corpses come back to life. The small-scale production is also a marvel of tension and ingenuity, trapping a handful of characters in a house as the zombie apocalypse rages around them.
A mirror may not sound like a particularly scary object, but director Mike Flanagan makes it a source of disorienting terror in his breakout film Oculus. Karen Gillan gives an entertainingly unhinged performance as a woman who’s convinced that a cursed mirror is responsible for the tragedy that has befallen her family. She’s determined to destroy the mirror, but it draws her and her brother back in, as Flanagan thrillingly blurs the lines between past and present, and between reality and dreams.
Although it spawned a repetitive franchise and many tiresome imitators, the original Paranormal Activity is one of the strongest examples of found-footage horror. Director Oren Peli puts a new spin on a familiar haunted house story by setting it in a prefab suburban home and having his main characters document their supernatural investigations.
The mythology gets convoluted as the series goes on, but this first movie explores both domestic tension and demonic possession with equally unsparing effectiveness.
The debut feature from filmmaker Rose Glass, Saint Maud focuses on the horrors of religious devotion. The title character (Morfydd Clark) is a nurse who’s experienced a spiritual awakening, and she takes a job caring for a wealthy, terminally ill former dance star (Jennifer Ehle). Maud attempts to convert her patient via any means necessary, and Clark conveys the startling intensity of her religious fervor. That fervor eventually turns deadly, in a startling and hauntingly beautiful climax.
The 2018 remake of Italian director Dario Argento’s cult classic Suspiria takes the story in an even more impressionistic, hallucinatory direction. The movie stars Dakota Johnson as a seemingly naïve young American who comes to study at a sinister dance school in Berlin. Director Luca Guadagnino creates a haunting movie about ambition, jealousy, and bizarre cult activity.
Korean filmmaker Yeon Sang-ho puts a new spin on the zombie genre in international blockbuster Train to Busan, which takes place almost entirely on a commuter train from Seoul to Busan as a zombie outbreak overcomes the passengers. It combines the propulsive, self-contained momentum of a Hollywood action movie with the suspense and gore of a zombie thriller.
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