Netflix horror movies to watch for Halloween

Tis’ the season to get spooky, but there’s no reason for you to only watch scary Netflix horror movies in October. Horror films can be cathartic any time of year besides Halloween, and can also be fun to discuss with fellow appreciators of zombie and ghost flicks.

If you’re in the mood to watch something other than K-dramas, docuseries or other binge-worthy shows, we recommend these 20 Netflix horror movies that might give you the right amount of scare you didn’t know you needed.

Post-apocalyptic & survival horror

1. Zombieland (2009)

Zombieland (2009)
Image credit: Netflix

Main cast:

  • Jesse Eisenberg as Columbus
  • Woody Harrelson as Tallahassee
  • Emma Stone as Wichita
  • Abigail Breslin as Little Rock

Sticking to a strict set of rules – number one being the readiness to run away from zombies at any time – can be an effective way to survive the world of the movie Zombieland. It has certainly helped Jesse Eisenberg’s character Columbus, a shut-in who decides to brave the zombie apocalypse to get to his hometown, Ohio. 

In this iconic horror-comedy, Columbus’s rules get tested as he forms a ragtag team of survivors with the Twinkie-craving Tallahassee, and cunning sisters Wichita and Little Rock – all nicknamed after their respective origins. It’s a fun horror flick that will make you laugh even though the running zombies are still pretty terrifying. 

2. Les Affamés (2017)

Les Affamés:Ravenous (2017)
Image credit: Netflix

Main cast:

  • Marc-André Grondin as Bonin
  • Monia Chokri as Tania
  • Charlotte St-Martin as Zoé 

In the undead-conquered world of Les Affamés (Ravenous), the horror is a lot quieter. Set in rural Quebec, surviving residents try their best to lie low by making as little noise as possible, since the zombies in this movie are attracted to sound.

The strange thing about the zombies is that they look relatively human, and tend to slowly creep up on the living before munching on their flesh. Tensions rise as the survivors realize that the zombies are running out of food, and will eventually come in hordes to look for whatever’s left.

3. Cargo (2017)

Cargo (2017)
Image credit: Netflix

Main cast:

  • Martin Freeman as Andy
  • Simone Landers as Thoomi
  • Susie Porter as Kay 

One of the tropes of the zombie genre is it only takes a few seconds for the effects of zombie bites to kick in. In Cargo, victims have 48 hours to come to terms with their fate. 

Andy’s wife, Kay, is one of the unfortunate. In a desperate attempt to save her, Andy takes her and their infant Rosie on a road trip to a healthcare facility. Meanwhile, a young girl named Thoomi, who later runs into Andy, is struggling to deal with her family’s own brush with the sinister virus. 

Cargo is an unusually sentimental approach to the gory zombie genre, as it focuses more on the relationships between survivors and the sacrifices they are willing to make in dire situations.

4. The Invasion (2007)

The Invasion (2007)
Image credit:

Main cast:

  • Nicole Kidman as Carol Bennel
  • Jeremy Renner as Tucker Kaufman
  • Daniel Craig as Ben Driscoll
  • Jackson Bond as Oliver Bennel 

The Invasion, the fourth movie adaption of Jack Finney’s 1955 novel entitled The Body Snatchers, fuses science fiction and pandemic horror. 

It tells the story of a psychiatrist Carol Bennel, whose ex-husband Tucker Kaufman is patient zero, aka the first person to be infected by an extraterrestrial fungus brought to earth by a crashed space shuttle. 

One of the ways humans can get infected by this fungus is by simply falling asleep as the alien spore takes over the brain during REM sleep. To survive, Carol strives to stay awake and protect her immune son Oliver, who may be the key to ending the pandemic on earth.

5. #Alive (2020)

Alive (2020)
Image credit: Netflix

Main cast:

  • Yoo Ah-in as Oh Joon-woo
  • Park Shin-hye as Kim Yoo-bin

Who would’ve thought hashtags could help survivors of an undead-ridden city? In #Alive (#Saraitda), pro gamer Joon-woo, who is clearly #veryonline, turns to social media in hopes of finding other human survivors while a growing number of aggressive zombies ravage his apartment block.

He is driven to despair as his only means of subsistence are snacks and his father’s alcohol collection. With every passing day, the situation worsens and communication services dwindle – making Joon-woo feel even more cut off from the world. Just as he is about to give up, he discovers that he’s not the sole survivor on the block.

6. Quarantine (2008)

Quarantine (2008)
Image credit: Netflix

Main cast:

  • Jennifer Carpenter as Angela Vidal
  • Steve Harris as Scott Percival

Found footage horror movies are among the best genres to give you goosebumps (think the 1999 cult classic The Blair Witch Project). Quarantine, which focuses on reporter Angela Vidal and cameraman Scott Percival’s night shift, will definitely make your heart race.

This US remake of the original 2007 Spanish film called Rec makes the popular zombie genre feel much closer to reality. We follow Angela and Scott who’re chasing down a story by following firefighters responding to an emergency call from an apartment building. Things then quickly spiral into chaos as some residents begin to bite others, prompting the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to seal off the building.

7. A Quiet Place (2018)

A Quiet Place (2018)
Image credit: Netflix

Main cast:

  • Emily Blunt as Evelyn Abbott
  • John Krasinski as Lee Abbott
  • Millicent Simmonds as Regan Abbott
  • Noah Jupe as Marcuss Abbott
  • Cade Woodward as Beau Abbott 

A Quiet Place begins with a scene of the Abbott family scavenging for food and other supplies in a deserted town. At first, we don’t know why they’re so quiet, but what happens not long after they leave the area immediately establishes the fundamental rule of surviving in the post-apocalyptic world of A Quiet Place: no matter how scared you are, don’t make a sound, or you’ll attract dangerous creatures with sensitive hearing.

Following the traumatic opening, a time jump shows that the family has managed to live in silence – thanks to the fact that they are used to communicating in sign language as they have a deaf daughter. The calm doesn’t last for long, as they soon have to come face to face with what has forced them into silence.


8. Psycho (1960)

Psycho (1960)
Image credit: Netflix

Main cast:

  • Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates
  • Janet Leigh as Marion Crane
  • John Gavin as Sam Loomis 

Psycho is one of the most notable thrillers in popular cinematic history. Even if you don’t follow Alfred Hitchcock’s work, you have most likely heard of or seen the intense shower scene.

This 1960 film is based on Roberto Bloch’s 1959 novel of the same name, and it’s about a woman named Marion Crane, who steals $40,000 from a work client to help her partner Sam Loomis pay off his debts. 

As she’s driving to Sam’s home, it starts to rain heavily and she stops at Bates Motel, which is run by a man named Norman Bates. Little did she know, this chance encounter with Norman would bring about a tragedy. 

9. Se7en (1995)

Se7en (1995)
Image credit: Netflix

Main cast:

  • Morgan Freeman as William Somerset
  • Brad Pitt as David Mills
  • Gwyneth Paltrow as Tracy Mills
  • Kevin Spacey as John Doe

In Se7en (Seven), detectives William Somerset and David Mills are assigned to investigate a grisly series of murders that appear to be inspired by the seven deadly sins – gluttony, greed, sloth, lust, pride, envy, and wrath. The duo race against time as the killer grows increasingly bolder with every case.

Those who aren’t fans of zombies and ghosts but are looking for a gritty murder mystery to keep them on the edge of their seats should add this movie to their playlists – even a seemingly neutral question regarding the contents of a box asked by the detectives is guaranteed to haunt you for days. The way the murderer slowly gets under the detectives’ skin is enough to make you wonder how much pressure it takes to make a person truly snap.

10. Don’t Breathe (2016)

Don't Breathe (2016)
Image credit: Netflix

Main cast:

  • Jane Levy as Rocky
  • Dylan Minnette as Alex 
  • Daniel Zovatto as Money
  • Stephen Lang as Norman Nordstrom 

Rocky, Alex, and Money are thieves who make money from items they steal from houses in Detroit. However, they struggle to gather enough money to fulfill their respective goals. Upon learning about a blind war veteran Norman Nordstrom who is rumored to store $300,000 in his home, they quickly study his daily routine and devise a plan.

When the three thieves manage to break into Nordstrom’s home, they soon discover that the man is no easy target and is actually quite dangerous. In a way, Don’t Breathe is a reverse home invasion story, as the tables quickly turn on the intruders.

11. Ruumumeito (2013)

Ruummeito:Roommate (2013)
Image credit: Netflix

Main cast:

  • Kitagawa Keiko as Hagiwara Harumi
  • Fukada Kyoko as Nishimura Reiko

You never really know a person until you live with them, which is why looking for a roommate is never easy. Ruumumeito (Roommate) introduces us to a young woman named Hagiwara Harumi. While being treated in a hospital as a result of an accident, she forges a close friendship with nurse Nishimura Reiko, who eventually suggests that the two share an apartment.   

Things go well for the two friends at first, until Harumi starts to notice Reiko’s strange habits. It’s until Reiko begins to insist on going by the name of Mari that Harumi becomes more and more scared for her life.

Supernatural Horror

12. The Shining (1980)

The Shining (1980)
Image credit: Netflix

Main cast:

  • Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrence
  • Shelley Duvall as Wendy Torrence
  • Danny Lloyd as Danny Torrence 

What would a horror movie list be without Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining? This classic, which gets its name from Steven King’s 1977 novel, continues to color the imagination of horror enthusiasts and is a must-watch for fans of movies surrounding haunted places. 

It follows the story of writer and recovering alcoholic Jack Torrence, who becomes a caretaker of the Overlook Hotel and takes his wife Wendy and son Danny with him. During their stay, young Danny gets visions of the hotel’s bloody past due to his supernatural gift referred to as “the shining.” Eventually, the family ends up being trapped by harsh snowstorms, and the hotel’s sinister energy begins to have a damaging effect on Jack’s psyche.

As the film draws on, it is slowly revealed that the Torrences are not the first family to experience horrific events at the hotel.

13. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Image credit: Bloody Disgusting 

Main cast:

  • Mia Farrow as Rosemary Woodhouse
  • John Cassavetes as Guy Woodhouse
  • Ruth Gordon as Minnie Castevet
  • Sidney Blackmer as Roman Castevet

Like The Shining, Rosemary’s Baby is another Halloween must-watch. Based on Ira Levin’s 1967 book of the same name, it focuses on the titular character’s paranoia that develops as she and her husband Guy move into a new apartment whose previous tenant recently passed away.

Instead of being happy in their new home, Rosemary feels uncomfortable with their nosy neighbors, the Castevets. They constantly pry into her and Guy’s affairs, but only Rosemary seems to be bothered by it; in fact, Guy is undisturbed and solely focused on starting a family.

One night, Rosemary has a disturbing vision in which she sees a demonic entity, which kicks off a series of truly chilling events.

14. Sebelum Iblis Menjemput (2018)

Sebelum Iblis Menjemput (2018)
Image credit: Netflix

Main cast:

  • Chelsea Islan as Alfie Wijaya
  • Pevita Pearce as Maya Wijaya
  • Ray Sahetapy as Lesmana Wijaya

Pacts with the devil have been sprinkled in horror cinema for a long time, and Sebelum Iblis Menjemput (May the Devil Take You) is a recent Indonesian take on the theme. Alfie gets a call from her ill father Lesmana, who after a decade of not seeing each other, informs her that she will inherit his Puncak villa – despite there being other siblings.

Alfie and her step-family then go to the villa, only to be welcomed by the Devil that has come to make sure the family fulfills their end of a deal made by Lesmana many years earlier. To put an end to the evil unleashed by the pact, Alfie must find a way to defeat the Devil.

15. Shutter (2004)

Shutter (2004)
Image credit: Netflix

Main cast:

  • Ananda Everingham as Tun
  • Natthaweeranuch Thongmee as Jane

Vengeful spirits are impossible to escape from, as proven by the popular Thai horror flick Shutter. The story begins with a young couple, Jane and photographer Tun, driving home from a party. Jane, who’s driving the car, appears to have hit a woman whom she didn’t see, but Tun insists that they leave.

After the accident, Tun begins suffering from neck pains that prompt him to seek medical attention. To his own shock, he discovers that his weight has mysteriously doubled, but quickly brushes it off. In addition to the inexplicable weight gain, Tun also spots ghostly figures in his photographs whom we later find out are linked to an unforgivable mistake he’d made in the past.

16. Aterrados (2017)

Aterrados:Terrified (2007)
Image credit: Netflix

Main cast:

  • Maximiliano Ghione as Comisario Funes
  • Norberto Gonzalo as Jano
  • Elvira Onetto as Mora Albreck
  • George L. Lewis as Rosentock

If haunted houses aren’t creepy enough, imagine living on a street where there are three. The fun Argentine film Aterrados (Terrified) is set in a seemingly average neighborhood in Buenos Aires, but actually hosts a number of terrifying entities that won’t leave the residents – or anyone who visits – alone.

After affected residents report a brutal death, a suspicious disappearance, as well as a literal visit from the grave, police officers and experts of the supernatural with an unconventional approach to investigating the hauntings step in to solve the strangely interconnected spooky cases. However, the spectral forces might be too tough to combat.

17. Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)

Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)
Image credit: Netflix

Main cast:

  • Jake Gyllenhaal as Morf Vandewalt
  • Zawe Ashton as Josephina
  • Rene Russo as Rhodora Haze
  • Toni Collette as Gretchen

Part horror, part indictment of the profit-seeking world of high art, Velvet Buzzsaw shows us that when pompous players of the art industry engage in blood-sucking practices, the artwork will retaliate – and quite literally so.

Gallery employee Josephina stumbles upon the paintings of Vetril Dease, a recently deceased resident of her apartment building, who is revealed to have made explicit instructions to have his body of work destroyed. Hoping to make a jump in her career, Josephina steals the paintings instead and shows it to critic Morf, who becomes obsessed with them. Her boss Rhodora later exhibits several of the paintings while storing the rest to increase their value.

However, following Josephina’s discovery, curators, museum directors, and critics begin to die gruesome deaths. Clearly, Dease wanted his paintings destroyed for a reason.

18. Cam (2018)

Cam (2018)
Image credit: Netflix

Main cast:

  • Madeline Brewer as Alice Ackerman 
  • Patch Darragh as Arnold 
  • Melora Walters as Lynne Ackerman

Identity theft is a serious issue in our internet-dependent society, but experiencing it personally can be a whole new level of terrifying. Alice, the heroine of Cam, experiences it at its worst through her job as a camgirl on FreeGirlsLive. Determined to become one of the top girls on the site, Alice is willing to go to great lengths – such as simulating her own suicide.

Not long after her daring stint, she’s unable to log into her account despite it being active. She’s then shocked to find out that a girl who looks and acts just like her is currently streaming from her account, and that her doppelgänger appears to be unaware of their similarities.

Determined to reclaim her identity, Alice begins an investigation, which leads her to the discovery of other doppelgängers. 

19. Annihilation (2018)

Annihilation (2018)
Image credit: Netflix

Main cast:

  • Natalie Portman as Lena
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh as Dr. Ventress
  • Gina Rodriguez as Anya Thorensen
  • Tessa Thompson as Josie Radek
  • Tuva Novotny as Cassie “Cass” Sheppard
  • Oscar Isaac as Kane

Special places that defy logical explanation are often what makes Netflix horror movies compelling. In Annihilation, that special place is called “The Shimmer.” Created in the aftermath of a meteor landing, The Shimmer is a mysterious zone that people don’t return from – that is, except Kane, who is the first person to return from the area, and swiftly suffers from ill health.

The film begins with Kane’s wife, biologist and ex-soldier wife Lena, being interviewed at a US government secret facility after she, like her husband, also returns from The Shimmer as part of a risky four-person expedition that began after Kane’s return. Filled with strange creatures, The Shimmer turns out to be a dangerous place despite its otherworldly beauty, and those who do manage to survive to tell the tale will never quite be themselves again.

20. Monster House (2006)

Monster House (2006)
Image credit: Netflix

Main cast:

  • Mitchel Musso as Dustin James “D.J.” Walters
  • Sam Lerner as Charles “Chowder”
  • Spencer Locke as Jennifer “Jenny” Bennett

For those of you who want a spooky Netflix horror movie to watch with the whole family, go with Monster House. This charming but no less frightening tale feeds on the age-old fear of the haunted house. No matter where we grew up, most of us have surely heard of a story about a house that nobody dares to come near.

Monster House plays takes the idea of the neighborhood haunted house up a notch by turning it into an actual living thing that can gobble up whatever it wants. Though scared, friends D.J., Chowder, and Jenny decide to take it upon themselves to put an end to the horrors committed by the hungry house.

Netflix horror movies to watch 

Scary films are definitely not for everyone, and you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your sleep for the sake of keeping up with Netflix horror movies. However, if you’re looking to dip your toes into a new genre, horror might be one worth giving a shot.

Also read:

Cover image adapted from: Bloody Disgusting, Netflix, and Netflix

Enjoying The Smart Local Indonesia? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more stories like this.