Special Report

Scariest Movies Now Available for Streaming

Watching a horror film in a packed movie theater can be a fun, communal activity. Watching a scary movie at home in the dark can offer a totally different experience — one that can be much more frightening.

Thanks to streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu, movie fans can access thousands of horror titles from home. This is even more beneficial as coronavirus concerns continue to limit social activity outside the home.

To assist readers in finding a suitably frightening flick, 24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of the scariest movies that are available to stream from home, according to streaming data site JustWatch. The movies are ranked based on user and critic ratings on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) and Rotten Tomatoes.

Many of the scariest movies are decades old. These films shocked audiences when they first came out, showing audiences terrifying sights they’d never seen before or, in some cases, utilizing new filmmaking techniques to evoke unprecedented levels of dread. These movies continue to frighten — both those watching them for the first time and many who have watched them before — thanks to the high level of craftsmanship used to make them.

But the horror genre is far from dead. Like an unstoppable masked killer, many newer movies continue to terrorize today’s audiences — just like the classics did before. Chillers from all eras can be found on our list. Those who are solely interested in new releases can find the best movies available to stream that you’ve never seen here.

Click here to see the best horror movies now available for streaming.

To determine the scariest movies available to stream, 24/7 Tempo created an index based on each film’s Rotten Tomatoes average critic rating, Rotten Tomatoes average audience rating, and Internet Movie Database average user rating. To be considered, each film needed to be categorized as “horror” by IMDb, have at least 5,000 user ratings on IMDb, and at least 10 Rotten Tomatoes critic reviews.

We averaged the user ratings from Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb and weighted by the number of votes for each. The combined user rating was then averaged with the Rotten Tomatoes critic rating. Editorial discretion was used to remove titles that were deemed insufficiently frightening.

Each film was available for streaming on at least one platform as of June 15, 2020, based on data from website JustWatch.

25. Hereditary (2018)
> Starring: Toni Collette, Milly Shapiro, Gabriel Byrne
> Directed by: Ari Aster
> Runtime: 127 min
> Available on: Vudu, Apple iTunes, YouTube, Google Play Movies, Microsoft Store, Amazon Prime Video, Kanopy, Amazon Video, Redbox, FandangoNOW, DIRECTV

Writer and director Ari Aster’s feature debut, a horror flick about one troubled family, is both shocking and disturbing. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave it a Freshness rating of 89%, with many warning viewers that the unsettling film will stick with them long after the credits roll.

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24. The Conjuring (2013)
> Starring: Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Ron Livingston
> Directed by: James Wan
> Runtime: 112 min
> Available on: Apple iTunes, Vudu, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Microsoft Store, Amazon Video, AMC on Demand, DIRECTV, FandangoNOW, Hulu, Fandango

Director James Wan — who developed his horror credentials directing films such as “Saw” and “Insidious” — helmed this movie about a pair of paranormal investigators (played by Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson) who assist a family whose property is haunted by dark forces. Fans of ghostly New England-based horror will especially appreciate the film, which received Freshness ratings of 85% from critics and 83% of users on Rotten Tomatoes.

23. Scream (1996)
> Starring: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette
> Directed by: Wes Craven
> Runtime: 111 min
> Available on: Amazon Video, Google Play Movies, Hoopla, Apple iTunes, Microsoft Store, YouTube, AMC on Demand, DIRECTV, Vudu, Redbox, FandangoNOW, Tubi TV, fuboTV

Years after having directed classics such as “The Hills Have Eyes” (1977) and “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984), master of horror Wes Craven scored another massive genre hit with “Scream.” The movie about a teenage girl who, along with her friends, is terrorized by a masked killer remains exceptionally frightening despite its self-aware usage of “slasher” movie tropes. Both critics and users delivered it a Freshness rating of 79%.

22. Manhunter (1986)
> Starring: William Petersen, Kim Greist, Joan Allen
> Directed by: Michael Mann
> Runtime: 120 min
> Available on: Apple iTunes, YouTube, Google Play Movies, Microsoft Store, Amazon Video

Five years before the release of Jonathan Demme’s “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991), director Michael Mann released “Manhunter,” which is similarly based on the work of writer Thomas Harris and features the deranged Dr. Hannibal Lecktor. Mann’s crime thriller — in which a former FBI agent tracks a serial killer called “the Tooth Fairy” — is dripping with dread, thrilling critics who gave it a Freshness rating of 92% on Rotten Tomatoes.

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21. Poltergeist (1982)
> Starring: JoBeth Williams, Heather O’Rourke, Craig T. Nelson
> Directed by: Tobe Hooper
> Runtime: 114 min
> Available on: Apple iTunes, Vudu, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Microsoft Store, Amazon Video, AMC on Demand, DIRECTV, Redbox, FandangoNOW

Described by Roger Ebert as “the movie ‘The Amityville Horror’ dreamed of being,” “Poltergeist” is an expertly crafted haunted house film from director Tobe Hooper and producer/co-writer Steven Spielberg. It was among the top ten highest grossing films of 1982 and was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Visual Effects. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes, who deemed it “consistently frightening,” gave it an 85% Freshness rating.

20. The Others (2001)
> Starring: Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Fionnula Flanagan
> Directed by: Alejandro Amenábar
> Runtime: 104 min
> Available on: Google Play Movies, YouTube, AMC on Demand, DIRECTV, HBO Now, HBO Go, Redbox, Hoopla, Microsoft Store, FandangoNOW, Vudu, HBO Max, Amazon Video, HBO Now Amazon Channel, Apple iTunes

The understated, minimalist nature of “The Others” only adds to the film’s at times overbearing creepiness. Nicole Kidman stars as a woman living with her two photosensitive children in a Victorian mansion, waiting for her husband to return from battle during World War II. When a new set of servants unexpectedly arrive, she begins to suspect something sinister is afoot. Thanks in part to Kidman’s strong performance, critics gave the film a Freshness rating of 83%.

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19. The Lighthouse (2019)
> Starring: Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe
> Directed by: Robert Eggers
> Runtime: 109 min
> Available on: Amazon Video, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Microsoft Store, Vudu, Apple iTunes, Redbox, FandangoNOW, Amazon Prime Video, DIRECTV

This offbeat film from writer-director Robert Eggers (“The Witch”) portrays two lighthouse keepers losing their grip on reality while stranded on a remote New England island near the end of the 19th century. The film was originally released to theaters in November 2019 and is now available on numerous streaming platforms, including Amazon Video. Praising the lead performances by Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie a 90% Freshness rating.

18. The Omen (1976)
> Starring: Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, Harvey Stephens
> Directed by: Richard Donner
> Runtime: 111 min
> Available on: Vudu, Google Play Movies, YouTube, DIRECTV, Microsoft Store, Starz, Starz Play Amazon Channel, Redbox, FandangoNOW, Apple iTunes, Amazon Video

An American ambassador suspects that the young child he secretly adopted may be the son of Satan in this suspenseful horror film from 1976. Anchored by Gregory Peck’s impressive lead performance, the Oscar-winning movie received positive reviews from 86% of critics and 80% of users on Rotten Tomatoes.

17. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
> Starring: Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum
> Directed by: Philip Kaufman
> Runtime: 115 min
> Available on: Microsoft Store, AMC on Demand, Redbox, Hoopla, FandangoNOW, Vudu, Apple iTunes, Amazon Video

A remake of the 1956 film, 1978’s “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” follows Donald Sutherland’s Matthew Bennell as he begins to notice frightening changes in those around him following the appearance of organic pods around town. The movie is a nerve-racking horror film, steeped in paranoia, while also exploring ideas that were only briefly touched upon in the original. A majority of critics on Rotten Tomatoes (93%) delivered positive reviews.

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16. Eraserhead (1977)
> Starring: Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph
> Directed by: David Lynch
> Runtime: 89 min
> Available on: Vudu, Apple iTunes, Amazon Video, Kanopy, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Criterion Channel, TCM, fuboTV, HBO Max

David Lynch’s industrial nightmare “Eraserhead” — one of the most famous films of the midnight movie circuit of the 1970s — remains a masterpiece more than 40 years after its original release. Filled with surreal imagery set to a grinding ambient soundtrack, the movie has historically appealed to both horror fans and the arthouse crowd. Critics were also drawn to it, delivering a 90% Freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

15. The Fly (1986)
> Starring: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, John Getz
> Directed by: David Cronenberg
> Runtime: 96 min
> Available on: Vudu, Amazon Video, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Microsoft Store, DIRECTV, Starz Play Amazon Channel, Starz, Redbox, FandangoNOW, Apple iTunes

David Cronenberg’s remake of the sometimes schlocky 1958 movie “The Fly” is frightening, funny, and, at times, grotesque. Jeff Goldblum plays scientist Seth Brundle who accidentally combines his DNA with that of a house fly, with horrifying results. The movie — made during the golden age of special effects in horror — benefits from the slow and sometimes hard-to-watch transformation of Brundle into “Brundlefly.” It won the Academy Award for Best Makeup in 1987. On Rotten Tomatoes, 92% of critics liked it.

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14. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
> Starring: Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal, Allen Danziger
> Directed by: Tobe Hooper
> Runtime: 83 min
> Available on: Apple iTunes, Amazon Video, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Shudder, Vudu, Microsoft Store, FandangoNOW

Although it wasn’t the first slasher flick, “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” set a new standard of terror for the subgenre. Despite showing very little violence on-screen, the intensity of the film’s menacing atmosphere led to it being initially banned in numerous countries. The movie’s premise is simple enough — a group of young hippies stumble upon a family of cannibals deep in the Lone Star State — yet the nightmarish execution elevates the movie to classic status. On Rotten Tomatoes 88% of critics and 82% of users liked it.

13. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
> Starring: Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, Robert Englund
> Directed by: Wes Craven
> Runtime: 91 min
> Available on: Vudu, Google Play Movies, Apple iTunes, YouTube, Microsoft Store, Amazon Video, AMC on Demand, DIRECTV, Redbox, FandangoNOW, HBO Max

Wes Craven’s movie about a relentless killer who stalks teenagers in their dreams sparked a nine-movie franchise. The original remains the best of the bunch, however. Combining its “intelligent premise” with “the horrifying visual appearance of Freddy Krueger,” as Rotten Tomatoes’ Critics Consensus states, the movie managed to excite and terrify legions of moviegoers upon its release and currently has a Freshness rating of 94%.

12. Carrie (1976)
> Starring: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving
> Directed by: Brian De Palma
> Runtime: 98 min
> Available on: Apple iTunes, Vudu, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Microsoft Store, AMC on Demand, DIRECTV, Showtime, Redbox, fuboTV, FandangoNOW, Hoopla, Amazon Video, Showtime Amazon Channel

Before her Oscar-winning Best Actress performance in “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Sissy Spacek shocked audiences as Carrie in the movie based on Stephen King’s debut novel. She played a friendless teen sheltered by her domineering, fervently religious mother (three-time Oscar nominee Piper Laurie) and ruthlessly bullied by her classmates. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave Brian De Palma’s horror flick a Freshness score of 92%.

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11. The Birds (1963)
> Starring: Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy
> Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
> Runtime: 119 min
> Available on: Google Play Movies, Apple iTunes, Vudu, Amazon Video, YouTube, DIRECTV, Microsoft Store, Redbox, FandangoNOW, Fandango

“The Birds,” based on the story by British writer Daphne du Maurier, is about our feathered friends who one day start attacking people for no reason. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave the Alfred Hitchcock horror masterpiece a 95% Freshness rating. Village Voice critic J. Hoberman said the film “is arguably the greatest of all disaster films — a triumph of special effects, as well as the fountainhead of what has become known as gross-out horror.”

10. The Thing (1982)
> Starring: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David
> Directed by: John Carpenter
> Runtime: 109 min
> Available on: Apple iTunes, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Vudu, Starz Play Amazon Channel, Amazon Video, AMC on Demand, DIRECTV, Microsoft Store, Starz, FandangoNOW

Director John Carpenter emphasized atmosphere and special effects in this remake of Christian Nyby’s “The Thing From Another World.” The movie tells the story of an isolated, Antarctica-based research team that is challenged with a horrific alien creature that can take the shape of other life forms. It received a rating of 84% from critics and 92% from users on Rotten Tomatoes.

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9. The Exorcist (1973)
> Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair
> Directed by: William Friedkin
> Runtime: 122 min
> Available on: Vudu, Apple iTunes, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Microsoft Store, Amazon Video, DIRECTV, Redbox, FandangoNOW

Nearly 50 years after its initial release, “The Exorcist” remains one of the most frightening movies of all time. The film, which won two Academy Awards, was directed by William Friedkin and written by William Peter Blatty, who was inspired by actual events. It contains some of the most horrific moments in movie history and caused some audiences to be physically ill at the time of its release. The movie tells the story of a young girl whose odd behavior defies medical solutions. A local priest, while questioning his own faith, believes she is possessed by a demonic entity and requests the help of an exorcist. The movie has an 83% Freshness score among Rotten Tomatoes critics.

8. Freaks (1932)
> Starring: Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova
> Directed by: Tod Browning
> Runtime: 64 min
> Available on: Apple iTunes, Vudu, Screambox, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Amazon Video, DIRECTV, IndieFlix, Microsoft Store, FandangoNOW, HBO Max

Filmmaker Tod Browning followed up his directorial triumph “Dracula” with this macabre tale of vengeance set against a circus sideshow. The story revolves around a trapeze artist who schemes to marry a midget and kill him for his fortune. His fellow “freaks” have other plans. The shocking film hurt Browning’s career and was banned in several countries, including the U.K., for decades because of its depiction of the sideshow characters. But the film gained a cult in the 1960s — it now holds a Freshness rating of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes — and still shocks audiences today.

7. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
> Starring: Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Victor Buono
> Directed by: Robert Aldrich
> Runtime: 134 min
> Available on: Apple iTunes, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Vudu, Amazon Video, DIRECTV, Redbox, Microsoft Store, FandangoNOW

“What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” relaunched the storied careers of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford and prompted similar melodramas in the mid-1960s such as “Hush…Hush Sweet Charlotte.” Davis plays an aging child vaudeville star living in a decrepit Hollywood mansion with her crippled sister, played by Crawford, herself a former star actress, whom Davis torments out of jealousy. Dark and highly entertaining, the film received positive reviews from 92% of both critics and users on Rotten Tomatoes.

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6. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
> Starring: Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon
> Directed by: Roman Polanski
> Runtime: 137 min
> Available on: Apple iTunes, YouTube, Google Play Movies, Vudu, Hulu, Amazon Video, AMC on Demand, Amazon Prime Video, DIRECTV, Redbox, Microsoft Store, FandangoNOW, Pluto TV, CBS All Access Amazon Channel

Oscar winner “Rosemary’s Baby” takes an unsettlingly realistic approach to its premise of a woman (played by Mia Farrow) who believes her unborn child may have demonic origins. The result is one of the ’60s most frightening films, which spawned countless occult films. Critics nearly unanimously like it, delivering a 96% Freshness rating. Rotten Tomatoes users gave it 87%.

5. Halloween (1978)
> Starring: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tony Moran
> Directed by: John Carpenter
> Runtime: 91 min
> Available on: Apple iTunes, Vudu, DIRECTV, IndieFlix, Shudder, Hoopla, Shudder Amazon Channel, The Roku Channel

“Halloween” set the standard for the American slasher film with its silent, seemingly unstoppable killer Michael Myers. The film follows teenage Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) as she’s stalked by the knife-wielding butcher throughout the normally quiet town of Haddonfield, Illinois. Despite its many imitators — and Halloween franchise sequels — the movie still feels fresh and has earned Freshness ratings of 96% from critics and 89% from users on Rotten Tomatoes.

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4. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
> Starring: Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman
> Directed by: George A. Romero
> Runtime: 96 min
> Available on: Google Play Movies, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Video, YouTube, Kanopy, Syfy, Epix, Microsoft Store, Criterion Channel, Apple iTunes, Shudder Amazon Channel, DIRECTV, IndieFlix, The Roku Channel, HBO Max

George A. Romero’s debut film “Night of the Living Dead” launched the modern zombie movie genre. The motion picture, which was independently produced with only a small budget, has grown to be considered one of the best horror movies ever because of its raw violence, bleak vision, stark black and white cinematography, and political subtext. The 1960s gorefest holds a 97% Freshness score among Rotten Tomatoes critics, and an 87% rating from audiences.

3. The Shining (1980)
> Starring: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd
> Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
> Runtime: 146 min
> Available on: Microsoft Store, Vudu, Apple iTunes, Amazon Video, AMC on Demand, Google Play Movies, YouTube, DIRECTV, Redbox, FandangoNOW, The Roku Channel

The Stephen King adaptation that deviates from its source material (famously irking the author), Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” is intriguing, with great depth hidden beneath its ostensibly simple premise. Jack Nicholson plays Jack Torrance, a writer who agrees to oversee a shuttered hotel in the dead of winter accompanied by his wife and young son, who connects with the mysterious location on a psychic level with terrifying results. “The Shining” received a lukewarm critical welcome upon its release but has since grown to be loved by critics and audiences alike. It holds a 93% approval score among almost 482,000 audience members on Rotten Tomatoes.

2. Alien (1979)
> Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt
> Directed by: Ridley Scott
> Runtime: 117 min
> Available on: Google Play Movies, Apple iTunes, Vudu, Amazon Video, Microsoft Store, YouTube, DIRECTV, HBO Go, HBO Now, Redbox, FandangoNOW, HBO Now Amazon Channel, HBO Max

Ridley Scott’s “Alien” can be likened to a haunted house movie set in space. Once the terror begins, every dark corner potentially contains a scare. Writing for The Guardian, critic Peter Bradshaw recently declared that “After 40 years, this sci-fi horror masterpiece still feels lethally contemporary.” This statement is supported by critics and viewers, who gave the movie 98% and 94% positive ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, respectively.

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1. Psycho (1960)
> Starring: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles
> Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
> Runtime: 109 min
> Available on: Vudu, Apple iTunes, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Microsoft Store, Fandango, Amazon Video, AMC on Demand, DIRECTV, Redbox, FandangoNOW

With “Psycho” — which received positive reviews from 96% critics and 95% of users on Rotten Tomatoes — Alfred Hitchcock proved that he was not only a master of suspense but one of terror as well. The movie is filled with twists and turns. In an interview with another filmmaker, François Truffaut, Hitchcock boasted, “You might say I was playing [the audience], like an organ.” “Psycho” is also known for several of its iconic elements, including the movie’s score, Anthony Perkins’ performance as the boyish Norman Bates, and the unforgettable shower scene. Despite its small budget relative to other Hitchcock films and the fact that it was shot in black and white after the advent of color, “Psycho” remains a masterwork of the horror genre and retains the power to keep audiences on the edge of their seats to this day.

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