Netflix has a lot of stuff. Some good, some great, but a lot of it quite bad or never given a chance by the algorithm to really stand out. The horror genre seems to be particularly hard done by on Netflix, a tonne of underrated gems buried under a lot of bilge.
This Halloween, if you’re stuck for something to watch other than Scary Movie 2 for the fifth time and want to curl up on your couch with some hidden toe-curlers, here are all of the underrated Netflix horror movies you ought to check out. The below isn’t in any order, but we dare you to get through them all in just the one sitting.
A long but seriously worthwhile South Korean horror, The Wailing focuses on a small village suddenly being overwhelmed by a disease. The only possible culprit? A strange man who lives by himself out in the forest.
To elaborate much more would be to spoil the crazy avenues The Wailing takes itself down, but rest assured that this is not a movie you should try to second-guess — it will always try to surprise you across its two and a half hours.
2. The Monster (2016)
Director: Bryan Bertino
One of A24’s most overlooked horrors from their recent binge of quality, The Monster isn’t a very complex movie, it pitting a mother and daughter stuck in their car in the middle of nowhere against an unseen shape out in the darkness.
It’s the performances that really make The Monster an underrated gem, Zoe Kazan delivering a phenomenal performance as an unfit mother to her child whose negligence has more layers than a surface level glance might suggest. The practical effects also make it a must-see for 80s gorehounds.
3. The Invitation (2015)
Director: Karyn Kusama
Quite possibly the most underrated horror movie of recent times, Karyn Kusama’s is such a wickedly patient experience that you might end up giving yourself cramp from being so tense throughout. The end credits are almost a relief.
When a man and his new partner attend his ex’s unsettling soiree, their troubled past unravels as some new troubles emerge, one awkward dinner conversation at a time. Boasting a stellar performance from Logan Marshall-Green and a final shot that will send chills up your spine, don’t decline this invitation to watch one of Netflix’s best.
4. 1922 (2017)
Director: Zak Hilditch
Netflix’s fetish for adapting basically anything Stephen King has touched has thrown out some mixed results over the years with Zak Hilditch’s 1922 sadly being one of the most overlooked. The slow pace may have turned some away, but stick with it and you will discover a descent into madness every bit as captivating as the recent Joker.
When a father and son conspire to kill the oppressive matriarch in the family, the pair’s psyche suffers and 1922 forces you along for the messy and disquieting ride. Thomas Jane turns in a performance so southern that he might bleed corn if cut, and Mike Patton’s creeping score frames his downward spiral perfectly. Don’t miss it.
5. Head Count (2018)
Director: Elle Callahan
Perhaps the weakest overall movie on this list, the ultra-low budget Head Count from Elle Callahan still deserves your attention for its premise alone. When a young man unwittingly unleashes a spirit after reading out a creepypasta, nothing — and no-one — can be trusted.
Some of the acting is ropy and the ending may divide opinions, but Head Count’s Body Snatchers-inspired horror provides some incredible, original moments of fright all the same. Go in with low expectations and prepare to be pleasantly surprised.
6. Hush (2016)
Director: Mike Flanagan
Is Mike Flanagan the best horror director working today? Yes. Now that’s out of the way, it’s time you got around to watching the criminally underloved Hush, which pits a deaf woman against a house intruder in this inventive thriller.
As well as throwing the normal conventions of horror out of the window at every possible opportunity, Flanagan does a great job of using such a simple premise to its full potential. Kate Siegel, though not deaf herself, works wonders for deaf representation with a vulnerable yet inherently badass performance.
7. The Autopsy of Jane Doe
Director: André Øvredal
The most ingenious horror movie you could watch this Halloween, The Autopsy of Jane Done is, well, pretty much that: an autopsy spread across the course of a film. While this may sound bland on paper, the slow reveal of who’s on the coroners’ slab unravels with masterful patience, chilling throughout. Quite the accomplishment considering we’re all just staring at a corpse.
Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch give their all as the father and son who discover more lies beneath the surface (quite literally) when they have a new assignment in the dead of night. Jumpscares are sparing, the premise is genius, and, while the ending might leave some feeling a little cold, there’s no doubting that The Autopsy of Jane Doe is still something you should try a slice of if you haven’t yet. Sorry.