Another October is upon us and that means it’s finally the time of the year where it’s entirely socially acceptable to spend an unhealthy amount of time watching horror movies. It’s the season where we’re no longer shying away from that weird friend on Facebook who’s posting about monsters in December; now they’re a valuable resource on what to watch.
Today, I will be that weird friend by letting you know the 15 absolute best horror movies that you, as a Canadian, can watch on Netflix this Halloween season.
One notable exception from the list is 2015’s The Witch, which was recently added to Netflix. It was a contender for the bottom parts of the list but instead of including it, I’ll recommend you check out Caroline‘s take on it instead – “The Witch Isn’t Feminist“.
15. You’re Next (2011)
Erin is invited to her boyfriend’s parents’ summer house to join in on a weekend family get-together. Things take a turn for the deadly when the home is invaded by masked intruders but they’re about to find out that Erin has a few surprises of her own.
I had the absolute pleasure of talking to Tom Stuart from Hammertime Horror about this one in “You’re Next: The Last Final Girl You Want to Mess With“.
14. Stake Land (2010)
Imagine the post-apocalyptic wasteland we normally associate with zombies… Now swap that out with vampires instead. Stake Land may not be the highest budget affair on this list but its focus on characters and emotional impact has earned the respect of fans and critics.
13. He Never Died (2015)
We’ve seen reluctant, bloodthirsty monsters before – Louis from Interview with the Vampire, Angel from Buffy, but Henry Rollins’ Jack is something different. This movie is best enjoyed with little idea of what’s to come as even the trailer gives away a major plot point.
12. Out of the Dark (1995)
Before Stephen Chow grabbed Western audiences’ attention with Shaolin Soccer, he starred in this darkly funny horror-comedy, where he plays a ghostbuster based on Jean Reno’s Léon from Léon: The Professional.
11. Resident Evil: Damnation (2012)
This animated Resident Evil movie is on a completely different level than the Paul W.S. Anderson live-action series. The story sees Leon S. Kennedy return as he investigates rumours that a former Soviet country is using Bio-Organic Weapons (read: zombies) for warfare.
10. Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Creepy and undeniably stylish, Sleepy Hollow is Tim Burton’s take on the American folktale of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. Plus, you get Christina Ricci and Christopher Walken both being spooky. You really can’t lose.
9. They Look Like People (2015)
This award-winning independent film tells the story of a man who must decide what to do when he starts to believe that humanity is being taken over by evil creatures. It aims to strike a balance between the thrills of a horror film and a respectful look at the real psychological horror of not being able to trust your own mind.
8. Dawn of the Dead (2004)
It’s one thing to remake one of the most respected horror films of all time. It’s a whole other thing to realize that in his directorial debut, Zack Snyder didn’t just do a passable job, he created a solid movie that stands just fine on its own.
7. Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead (2014)
In the second Dead Snow film, the movie leans even further into its obvious silliness as, once again, survivors find themselves face to falling-apart face with Nazi zombies.
6. Creep (2014)
Another independent film, Creep, is a found-footage thriller shot through the camera of a videographer who answers a cryptic ad on Craigslist. The listee is the titular creep, as played by Mark Duplass.
5. The Invitation (2015)
Like They Look Like People, The Invitation looks to challenge what we expect from ourselves when we aren’t sure whether the threats we see are real or imagined. At what point does self-preservation give over to paranoia and when is it time to just stop being polite? These questions are all asked when a man receives an unexpected invitation from his ex-wife and her new husband to attend a dinner party.
4. Bone Tomahawk (2015)
Part Western, part torture porn, and part dark comedy, Bone Tomahawk is a unique experience that graciously lets you know in its opening seconds if it’s going to be to your tastes or not.
3. It Follows (2014)
Cloaked as a fable about promiscuity, this modern day tale of a sexually-transmitted paranormal curse is better understood as a parable about the discovery of one’s own mortality.
I had a terrific conversation with Jason R. Gray, filmmaker from Liminal Arts, about this movie in “It Follows: SEX! … Now That We Have Your Attention, Here’s a Movie About Death“.
2. Hush (2016)
I just watched this one a few nights ago and it is a fantastically well-crafted take on the home invasion/slasher genre. This film’s particular twist is that the home invader becomes enraptured by his victim when he realizes that she is deaf, which offers him an unexpected opportunity for cruelty. Hush never bothers to ask why the killer does what he does but that doesn’t make his malicious monstrousness feel any less real.
1. Jaws (1975)
Admittedly, Jaws may not hold the same horror thrills that it once did but it’s such a perfectly constructed piece of filmmaking that I have no reservations putting it at the top of this list.
If you’re hungry for more Jaws, you can check out my podcast with Jeremy Hobbs and Victor Liorentas in “Jaws: The Quint-Essential Sea Adventure“.