The best horror movies on Netflix Australia

Having a tough week? Why not cheer yourself up by watching some bone-chilling terror? Critic Travis Johnson has combed through the Netflix archive to pick the very best horror movies.

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1922 (2017)

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Australian director Zak Hilditch adapts Stephen King’s dour novella about a farmer (Thomas Jane) whose decision to murder his wife (Molly Parker) causes him to lose his son, his farm, his sanity and his life. A sustained exercise in tone, this is a relentlessly downbeat period chiller.

Annabelle Comes Home (2019)

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The tween daughter of famed demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren (McKenna Grace) must battle not only the titular cursed doll but a whole menagerie of spirits unleashed from their collection of occult artefacts in this fun and family friendly PG-level horror romp. Between this, The Haunting of Hill House, and the recent Ghostbusters flicks, Grace has pretty much cemented her place as the tween scream queen du jour.

Annihilation (2017)

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A group of women led by Natalie Portman’s steely scientist undertake a mission into a mysterious wilderness zone where the usual laws of nature no longer apply, only to confront both unspeakable physical horrors and the complete dissolution of the self.

Loosely adapted by director Alex Garland from the novel by Jeff VanderMeer, the result is a smart, visceral updating of Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker more than anything else.

Apostle (2018)

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Action specialist Gareth Evans (The Raid) turns his hand to horror in this Wicker Man-inspired chiller. At the dawn of the 20th century a man (Dan Stevens) infiltrates a strange religious cult on a remote Welsh island in order to liberate his sister, only to uncover far stranger doings than the usual fire and brimstone. Michael Sheen turns up as a charismatic preacher, and Evans proves that his gory tastes in action aesthetics translate quite well to the horror genre.

The Babysitter (2017)

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Twelve-year-old Cole (Judah Lewis) discovers his smokin’ hot babysitter Bee (Samara Weaving) is the head of a high school Satanic cult and plans to sacrifice him in an occult ritual. This is a brisk and brutal horror comedy, wherein our plucky hero has to dodge Bee’s brat pack devil worshippers (Bella Thorne, Hana Mae Lee and Robbie Amell). Plenty of bloody kills are balanced by a witty script that never takes itself too seriously.

Blood Red Sky (2021)

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Terrorists hijacking a flight from Germany to the U.S. when their plans are disrupted not by Wesley Snipes but by Nadja (Peri Baumeister), a widowed single mother heading to New York not for cancer treatment, but to find a cure for her vampirism. Carnage ensues in this high concept German horror, which takes the “Die Hard on a X” model and drops a Nosferatu into the mix.

Cargo (2017)

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In the midst of a zombie apocalypse a man (Martin Freeman) desperately searches for a safe harbour for his infant daughter before his infected bite turns him undead. Australian filmmakers Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke smartly expand their award-winning short and find fresh soil in the well-turned fields of zombiedom.

Day of the Dead (1985)

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In the third of George A. Romero’s ‘Dead‘ series, zombies have destroyed civilisation. In perhaps the last remaining outpost of humanity, tensions run high between scientists trying to study the undead and the soldiers assigned to protect them. Eventually the zombie floodgates are opened and grub’s up for the ravening hordes. Bleak, nihilistic and ugly, but it does feature some great gore effects from Tom Savini and fan fave Bub the smart zombie.

Eli (2019)

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A young immunocompromised boy (Charlie Shotwell) begins experiencing supernatural phenomena at the remote medical facility where he’s being treated by a secretive doctor (Lili Taylor). But what starts out as a typical “bad place” haunted house flick takes some unexpected twists and turns on its way to a surprising climax. The less you know going in, the more fun you’ll have.

Get Out (2017)

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Jordan Peele’s directorial debut sees a young Black man (Daniel Kaluuya) head off for the weekend at his white girlfriend’s family home in upstate New York, only to find her ultra-liberal parents (Bradely Whitford and Catherine Keener) have designs on his body. And not in a sexy way. Steeped in metaphor but never forgetting to be genuinely unsettling, Peele’s film is one of the best horror movies of the 21st century.

Halloween (1978)

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Master of Horror John Carpenter’s genre-codifying slasher, that sees Jamie Lee Curtis’ virginal babysitter stalked by the implacable mass murderer Michael Myers (Nick Castle) on October 31. New viewers may find Halloween overly familiar, but that’s simply because it inspired every slasher that followed it. Fun fact: Carpenter’s none-more-iconic minimalist electronic score only exists because the production couldn’t afford a dedicated composer, so Carpenter did it himself.

I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016)

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A nurse (Ruth Wilson) caring for a senile writer (Paula Prentiss) begins to suspect that the writer’s house is haunted and uncovers a murder that took place in the early 19th century. Director Oz “son of Anthony” Perkins has quickly proved himself a master of the modern gothic tale, and this stands alongside his other films such as The Blackcoat’s Daughter and Gretel & Hansel as a sterling example of the subgenre.

Interview with the Vampire (1994)

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Brad Pitt’s world-weary bloodsucker narrates his life—or unlife—story to Christian Slater’s curious writer, telling the tale of seduction by—and eventual rebellion against—Tom Cruise’s amoral vampire prince, Lestat. Neil Jordan’s adaptation of Anne Rice’s hugely influential novel is a lush gothic fever dream and one of the finest vampire films ever made.

Midsommar (2019)

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Grieving after the death of her family, Florence Pugh follows her boyfriend and his mates on a getaway to rural Sweden, where they find themselves at the mercy of a pagan cult. The thing is, submitting to the cult’s strange ways may be a better option than the emotional trauma of life in the modern world. A kind of modern take on The Wicker Man, Ari Aster’s second feature is a visually striking and shockingly violent slice of folk horror.

The Mist (2007)

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Frank Darabont’s adaptation of Stephen King’s grim novella is even grimmer than its inspiration, putting artist Thomas Jane and a mixed bag of regular, small town King characters (Andre Braugher, Toby Jones, Laurie Holden, Melissa McBride, et al) in the local supermarket as a mysterious mist filled with horrifying monsters closes in around them. Contains one of the most shocking endings in 21st century horror—consider yourself warned.

The Ninth Gate (1999)

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Classical horror from director Roman Polanski that sees Johnny Depp as a rare book dealer on the trail of a rare 17th century grimoire said to be able to summon the Devil himself. As his quest takes him across Europe, others who want the book start to die in mysterious and gruesome ways, and he begins to suspect that the book’s occult history is not mere superstition. Classy, upmarket horror co-starring Frank Langella and Lena Olin.

The Old Ways (2020)

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Folk horror heads south of the border in this creepy little number, wherein Brigitte Kali Canales’ Mexican-American reporter is taken captive by villagers who are convinced she’s possessed. While she may not have a demon within, she does have a heroin addiction, and as withdrawals kick in the question must be asked: what’s a hallucination and what’s a vision of the supernatural? A tightly controlled, evocative debut from director Christopher Alender.

The Perfection (2018)

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Allison Williams’ cello prodigy travels to Shanghai to study under Steven Weber’s revered music teacher, only to be seduced and mutilated by his star pupil (Logan Browning). But a freshly amputated hand is really the least of her worries, as she discovers Weber’s music academy is covering up a horrifying secret. A wilfully perverse and transgressive work of psychological and body horror, The Perfection delights in pushing the audience’s buttons, offering up a seemingly endless smorgasbord of torture and terror as it builds to a wonderfully deranged climax.

A Quiet Place (2018)

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After the world is invaded by monsters who hunt by sound, a married couple (director John Krasinksi and his real life partner Emily Blunt) struggle to keep their two children alive, and dread the imminent birth of their third. One of the big horror hits of recent years, this transcends its gimmicky premise to deliver something genuinely powerful.

The Ritual (2017)

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Following the death of their friend, four men take a hiking trip in the forests of northern Sweden to reforge their bonds, only to fall afoul of a hidden pagan cult and the…thing…they worship. This atmospheric chiller draws its influences from a wide variety of sources but gets extra points by not skimping on the final creature reveal, giving us one of the most unique horror critters in recent memory.

The Shining (1980)

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Frustrated writer Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) takes a winter job as caretaker of the mothballed Overlook Hotel, only for the restless spirits there to batten on his psychic son Danny (Danny Lloyd). C’mon, you know this one—Stephen King doesn’t much like Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of his breakthrough novel, but the rest of us know it’s one of the finest horror movies ever made. Make it a double feature with Doctor Sleep.

Talk to Me (2023)

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Aussie YouTube stars Danny and Michael Philippou make a stunning feature debut in this suburbia-set shocker centring on a mysterious mummified hand that lets the user commune with the dead. Bereaved Mia (Sophia Wilde) naturally wants to talk to her late mother—and things get rapidly and horribly worse from there. A stone cold modern classic.

Train to Busan (2016)

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As zombie hordes overrun South Korea, civilians pile onto the titular train in the hope of reaching a place of refuge. While Gong Yoo’s single dad fights to protect his young daughter, the western world learns of the existence of Korean nation treasure Ma Dong-seok, here playing a blue-collar guy who discovers he has a talent for wrecking the undead. Still, as the bodies start to pile up—and eventually get up—the odds of survival look increasingly dire.

X (2022)

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Indie horror auteur Ti West pays tribute to ‘70s horror and ‘70s porn as a group of horny young people (Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Scott Mescudi, Brittany Snow, Martin Henderson, Owen Campbell) head off to a remote farmhouse to make a dirty movie, only for the wrong kind of body fluids to start getting spilled when they earn the wrath of their murderous host. A note perfect throwback to the heyday of exploitation cinema.


This guide is regularly updated to reflect changes in Netflix’s catalogue. For a list of capsule reviews that have been removed from this page because they are no longer available on the platform, visit here.