Halloween is a time for horror, but not every perfect Halloween movie needs to be scary. From truly terrifying tales to more gentle spooky stories, here are the best Halloween movies to watch on Netflix.
No One Gets Out Alive
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
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Guillermo del Toro lovingly channels the tone and style of vintage gothic novels in Crimson Peak. Influenced by classic books like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, as well as movies like Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca, Crimson Peak stars Mia Wasikowska as a 19th-century heiress who marries a dashing British baronet (Tom Hiddleston).
He whisks her away to his crumbling estate, where she meets his cruel sister (Jessica Chastain) and discovers horrible family secrets. The film immerses the audience in a sumptuous world of secret passageways, haunted parlors, and doomed romance.
Based on the popular teen book series by R.L. Stine, Fear Street is a connected trilogy of movies set in three different time periods, all in the horror-prone town of Shadyside. The first two movies, set in 1994 and 1978, evoke the horror styles of their respective time periods, while the final film, set in 1666, ties the entire story together. The evil entity that remains in Shadyside over the centuries takes the form of different familiar kinds of killers, and a group of town residents must band together to defeat it once and for all.
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A haunted house story with a social conscience, His House stars Wunmi Mosaku and Sope Dirisu as a pair of refugees from South Sudan who are placed in a dilapidated row house by the British government. They start experiencing strange noises and apparitions, adding to the everyday obstacles of building a new life in a sometimes hostile place.
The supernatural presence ties into secrets that the couple have carried with them from their home country, and the movie combines effective scares with a thoughtful examination of guilt and trauma.
Directed by Netflix horror mainstay Mike Flanagan, Hush stars Kate Siegel as a deaf author living alone in a remote house. She must fend for herself when an intruder shows up and tries to kill her.
Flanagan presents a familiar home-invasion story in an inventive way, showcasing the main character’s unique advantages and relying on a range of sound design in place of dialogue. Flanagan sustains tension within a single location, and Siegel gives the main character a sense of inner strength and resourcefulness.
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If you’ve ever been out trick-or-treating on Halloween and felt convinced that someone must be behind you, you understand the terrifying feeling that filmmaker David Robert Mitchell captures in It Follows. The monster in his movie doesn’t move quickly, and it doesn’t look like some sort of hideous beast. It simply wears the face of a normal person and moves at a gradual but inexorable pace toward you.
The curse of being pursued by that entity is transmitted via sexual intercourse, making it a potent metaphor for disease and trauma, as well as a twist on judgmental slasher-movie conventions.
Multiple generations have taken Halloween costume inspiration from Jim Henson’s Labyrinth. A dark fantasy adventure for family audiences, Labyrinth stars Jennifer Connelly as a teenager who inadvertently summons the Goblin King (David Bowie) to kidnap her baby brother.
She’s transported to the Goblin King’s realm, populated by various strange creatures, where she must navigate a labyrinth and rescue her brother. The creatures are all played by puppets from Henson’s Creature Shop, striking a balance between colorful and creepy.
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Although it’s adapted from a children’s book and aimed at a younger audience, Nightbooks doesn’t hold back on the scares. Horror-loving kids like main character Alex (Winslow Fegley) should be captivated by the story of a witch (Krysten Ritter) who lures kids into her mystical lair, disguised as an apartment.
She forces Alex to tell her scary stories every night, while he and fellow captive Yazmin (Lidya Jewett) look for a way to escape. The Netflix original movie is a fun throwback to 1980s kid-friendly horror, without talking down to its target audience.
No One Gets Out Alive
An undocumented Mexican immigrant takes a room in an ominous boarding house in No One Gets Out Alive. Ambar (Christina Rodlo) is trying to make a life for herself in Cleveland, but that’s difficult when she starts having disturbing visions and encountering unexplained phenomena in her new home.
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The movie is moody and atmospheric, with steadily building dread and a strong lead performance. The filmmakers bring in relevant social commentary without getting heavy-handed, staying focused on Ambar’s increasingly dire predicament.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
The Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books by Alvin Schwartz with gorgeously horrific illustrations by Stephen Gammell have been a Halloween staple for generations of kids. The movie directed by André Øvredal incorporates several of those eerie folk tales into a book of horror stories that magically come to life.
A group of teens discovers the book in an abandoned, supposedly haunted house, unwittingly becoming participants in the stories. Øvredal replicates the books’ late-night campfire vibe, setting the movie in 1968 for a fun, vintage-style spookfest.
Even as technology has changed since it was released in 2014, Unfriended remains a remarkable representation of how people interact online. Set entirely on the computer screen of its teenage main character, Unfriended follows her online activity as she chats with friends and realizes that the ghost of a bullied girl has come back to haunt them via the internet.
The movie’s sometimes mundane realism makes the scary moments even scarier, and it now functions as a perfect time capsule of a particular kind of cyberbullying. Teenage misbehavior, in all its forms, remains a Halloween hallmark.
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