Sometimes you want a movie with laughs or action. Other times? You want one with lots of screaming and running. If you are in the mood to have the sh** scared out of you, these fright fests should do the trick.
'Silence of the Lambs' (1991)
Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter is one of the best, most haunting screen villains of all time. The movie rightly swept the 1992 Oscars.
We're still worried that we might be living on an ancient burial ground, thanks to the film. Besides the life lesson that real estate developers are evil, we've learned not to trust trees, clown dolls, and our TVs from this classic. (Let us not speak of the remake.)
'The Conjuring' (2013)
James Wan's eerie haunted house/demonic possession movie gave us some lingering chills, including that spooky "clapping" version of hide and seek. And the something in the darkness that keeps two of the girls (and possibly you) wide awake.
'Train to Busan' (2016)
Zombies take over a train in this ultra-tense South Korean thriller that smashed box-office records. Can a businessman and his daughter make it to safety at the other end of the train or are they doomed, too? Finding out is literally one of the most rewarding and terrifying experiences on Netflix.
'The Ritual' (2017)
After a tragedy, four friends go on a camping trip and are quickly plunged into an even worse nightmare. By the time they realize they should never have entered this forest, it's too late.
A deaf writer (Kate Siegel), who lives alone, is stalked by a masked psycho. This nail-biter is a bare bones, slow-burn scare fest from Mike Flanagan, who also gave us "The Haunting of Hill House."
This chilling Spanish film had people so freaked out, they stopped watching. Supposedly based on a real story, it's the best "seance gone wrong" movie you're likely to see. Plus: Creepy blind nun known as "Sister Death."
'The Sixth Sense' (1999)
This Oscar-nominated scare-fest, about a boy who sees ghosts, still gives us goosebumps -- and makes us look for a twist around every corner.
A haunted house movie where the family seems to do everything right -- including moving out of the house as soon as possible -- and yet the terror continues. And just try getting this red-faced thing (pictured) out of your head.
'Gerald's Game' (2017)
Carla Gugino stars in this disturbing psychological thriller, playing a woman who ends up tied to a bed after a sex game goes horribly wrong. Add in a mysterious figure that may or may not be stalking her -- and a stray dog that snacks on human flesh like it's a Milkbone -- and you have one of the best Stephen King adaptations ever. "Hush" director Mike Flanagan directs this very tense, very gory take on King's underrated 1992 novel.
'The Invitation' (2016)
This slow-burn exercise in paranoia from Karyn Kusama ("Girlfight") centers on a man reeling from a terrible tragedy. At a dinner party thrown by his ex-wife and her new husband, he's the only one who's suspicious when they begin talking up their new cult-like group.
'Green Room' (2015)
A punk band (fronted by the late Anton Yelchin) must survive the night when a gig at a neo-Nazi goes very, very wrong in this brutal thriller.
'The Autopsy of Jane Doe' (2016)
Bizarre things start happening as a father and son team of morticians (Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch) do an after-hours autopsy on a mysterious corpse. A terrific slow build from the director of the upcoming "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.”
'The Witch' (2016)
In this unsettling indie, a family with a sternly religious patriarch living on the edge of forest in 1630s New England is plagued by mysterious occurrences. Is a witch to blame? Not your traditional jump-scare movie. And you are not ready for that ending.
'The Devil's Candy' (2017)
A struggling painter (an unrecognizably grunged-out Ethan Embry) moves his family into a house with a dark past, which, of course, begins to seep into his paintings. Not to mention the unhinged last tenant (Pruitt Taylor Vince) is still very attached to the house.
This under-the-radar chiller was released on Netflix earlier this year without any fanfare (it wasn’t even announced prior to its release), which is a shame because it’s actually really good. There have been a few movies inspired by the “Slender Man” case, in which two young girls stabbed one of their friends as a sacrifice to a fictional creature created as an internet meme, and they’ve all been lousy. Until “Mercy Black,” which has some psychological depth and is very, very creepy.
'The Perfection' (2018)
The less you know about “The Perfection,” an outré re-teaming of Allison Williams with her frequent “Girls” director Richard Shepard, the better. (It played last year’s Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, and was released on Netflix late last month.) Just understand that you’re going to watch one of the most beautiful, profound, twisty-turning horror movies in quite some time. What a trip.
In 1905 a man (Dan Stevens from “Downton Abbey”) travels to a remote island inhabited by a pagan cult (led by Michael Sheen) to save his missing sister. Sure, that sounds fairly straightforward, a kind of “Wicker Man” for a new generation. But in writer-director Gareth Evans’ entry in the “folk horror” sub-genre is far stranger and more thrilling than you could ever imagine (that ending -- whew). It might take a little to get there, but “Apostle” is very much worth the journey.
'Velvet Buzzsaw' (2019)
“Nightcrawler” writer-director Dan Gilroy reteams with Jake Gyllenhaal for this art-world-set horror romp, which seems to take equal inspiration from Robert Altman movies and the “Final Destination” series. (How many movies can you say that about?) Zawe Ashton finds a treasure trove of paintings in her dead neighbor’s apartment and brings them to the attention of Gyllenhaal (as a critic) and various arty weirdos. The only problem is that the paintings are haunted and, well, people start dying. Campy and clever, it feels like a future midnight movie classic.