The darkest movies you'll find on Netflix

Netflix's catalog of movies is one of the best among the streaming services vying for your hard-earned dollars. With around 4,000 movies to keep you entertained at any hour of the day, even if they've lost a few titles to new competition in the last few years, it's still the go-to streaming service for the discerning, sitting-on-the-sofa moviegoer. And among all the comedies and dramas and action flicks, you'll find a decent showing of some of the weirdest, disturbingly dark films ever produced. You know, for when you're in the mood for a good scare or just can't handle another episode of the Roseanne reboot.

There are titles on Netflix you're not going to find anywhere else thanks to their amped-up original productions, and a great mix of older movies you may have missed the first time around or forgotten about completely. So what are the darkest movies you'll find on Netflix that are actually still good? Let's get started.

Veronica will make you afraid of Ouija boards again

When Veronica premiered on Netflix, it was widely touted as being a film so scary people couldn't even finish watching it. In addition, it had the pedigree of being based on a "true" story, something horror producers have made the most of since the days of The Amityville Horror and later The Blair Witch Project to add that extra dimension to the marketing.

Truth is, Veronica, a Spanish flick directed by Paco Plaza, is a tense little tale that quickly impressed critics and currently sits at 88 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. (This means 88 percent of critics recommended seeing it.) Few horror movies even cross into positive territory in the eyes of most critics, so clearly there's something there.

For a movie with this much hype, it's actually a surprisingly good film with some great performances by very young actors. The movie follows a teenage girl and her two younger siblings, relying on them to carry the drama with very little adult support, and they do a great job. It's at times intense and creepy, and definitely features that edge-of-your-seat build-up to dread you want in a horror movie.

The Invitation offers up a party you won't soon forget

If you've ever found yourself feeling anxious in social situations, then The Invitation just might be the film for you. With its setup of a simple dinner party invite that slowly degrades into something much more sinister, this is the perfect dark and twisted tale for everyone who'd rather stay home than deal with other people.

This critically hailed movie pushes the envelope on tension straight from the start, in which everything is just slightly off enough to give you that ominous sense of dread about what's yet to come. You know something's wrong, you're just not sure what it is yet. Then it continues until the payoff, which is just unbridled madness with a twist or two along the way. As ScreenCrush points out, the fun in the movie is found in the "increasingly bizarre and uncomfortable evening." A real claustrophobic vibe settles over the whole movie, mostly set in a single home from which escape isn't entirely an option. And hey, there's a creepy cult thing going on, too, so bonus.

Train to Busan is one ride you can't miss

Another entry from Korea, Train to Busan breathed new life into the zombie genre with a film widely lauded by critics and audiences alike. Decider called it the best zombie movie of the decade. It's hard to keep a zombie movie fresh, but Train to Busan does it and actually makes you care about the characters at the same time, instead of patiently waiting for them to be eaten by the undead. Don't worry, though. Lots of people get eaten by the undead.

The real strength in Train to Busan comes from the layered and believable performances. You're right there with these people, it's just unfortunate they're all on the brink of dying and the world seems to be ending. Plus there's an amazing performance from Kim Soo-Ahn, a little girl who proves you can have children in horror who don't make you want to rip your hair out.

There's blood and guts aplenty in Train to Busan. It never skimps on the zombie gore and actually manages to inject some crazy new ideas, which is something any good zombie movie needs to do. The fact it's sitting at 95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes is no mistake.

The Bar will make you want to stay home for breakfast

Straight from Spain comes The Bar, with a dark comedy edge to a paranoid nightmare. The Bar puts you right alongside the confused patrons of a Spanish restaurant fearing for their lives and draws from some classics of the genre that keep you guessing. Is it a zombie apocalypse? A serial killer? The breakdown of society as we know it? Hard to say, but it's clear you don't want to go outside to find out.

There's a real intensity to The Bar, potentially due to the fact that director Álex de la Iglesia is a former comic book artist with an eye for packing each frame with a frenetic energy that draws you into the next. It also makes great use of limited space — the entire movie is split between basically three locations that are all cramped and uncomfortable, if not downright gross. That and a decent dose of random violence, intense paranoia, and the odd bloated corpse should be enough to keep you interested until the end of the movie.

Creep will get under your skin

Another critical favorite –- holding strong at 96 percent on Rotten Tomatoes – Creep is a master class in making you feel uncomfortable thanks in no small part to the "unhinged" performance of actor/writer Mark Duplass, which Variety claimed was the strongest aspect of the whole film. The title of this movie isn't a metaphor or a random word pulled from a hat; it's completely on the money describing the film's antagonist.

While a lot of movies in the horror genre rely solely on trying to manipulate fear through terrifying imagery, Creep builds up its character with awkward, cringe-inducing weirdness. You feel uncomfortable watching this guy, and it just gets worse as the film progresses. You know the other shoe is going to drop, you know you're watching a horror movie and have to expect the worst, but the journey there is what sets Creep apart. This is the kind of guy you fear ever meeting in real life because, unlike a Jason or a Leatherface, this guy seems real.

The film makes use of the found-footage trope effectively, and thanks to the performance by Mark Duplass as the titular Creep, there's enough awkward humor to keep the film from getting bogged down in too much cringe.

Gerald's Game is not playing around

A Netflix original based on a book by Stephen King and directed by Mike Flanagan, who brought us Oculus and Hush, Gerald's Game is an exercise in tension and total discomfort. Alongside It, Gerald's Game made 2017 a banner year for Stephen King adaptations, which have a pretty rocky history in terms of quality. Feel free to check out Maximum Overdrive for proof.

Gerald's Game jumps into an awkward, uncomfortable scenario almost from the beginning and then ramps into overdrive and stays there for the rest of the film. King's book seemed like the sort of thing that would nearly be impossible to film given the nature of the story, but Flanagan gives it hell right out of the gates and with some clever storytelling techniques puts you right alongside star Carla Gugino for a psychological kick to the head complete with one of the most hard-to-watch scenes ever filmed. You'll know it when you see it.

The Verge called Gerald's Game one of Stephen King's worst books but acknowledged it became one of his best movies at the same time, and critics quite enjoyed the movie, too.

The Ritual leads you into a dark forest of grief and remorse

Folk horror is a subgenre that deals with the modern, civilized world clashing with its dark, pagan past. Key examples are 1973's The Wicker Man (the original one, you memelords, not the "ahhh bees" remake with Nicolas Cage), 1968's Witchfinder General, and 1971's The Blood on Satan's Claw. In addition to having completely baller titles, these movies all deal with big city outsiders encountering the dangers that come with leaving the protective walls of town and delving into a darkness modern life thought it had left behind.

2017's The Ritual is a formidable new entry into that particular subgenre, dealing with four friends who embark on a trip dreamed of by the fifth member of their squad, who had been killed in a robbery the previous year. This trip takes the four British men deep into the woods of a Swedish national park, where they face harrowing visions and inexplicable effigies, while one friend must confront the guilt he feels over his failure to prevent his murdered friend's death. It's best to go into this movie fresh, so skip to the next paragraph if you don't want even the most minor of spoilers, but if you need further selling, The Ritual also has easily the dopest creature design of the last decade of horror films, as the quartet's journeys lead them to a village that worships an ancient evil. It's a look that will really stick with you (and your dreams).

The Ritual is currently rocking a respectable 71 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but it honestly deserves better.

Apostle takes you to the last island you might ever visit

Director Gareth Evans rose to cult fame thanks to his absolute slobberknocker of an entry into the field of martial arts films, 2011's The Raid, as well as its follow-up, 2014's The Raid 2. However, he caught the eye of horror fans with "Safe Haven," his entry for 2013's V/H/S/2, which many fans have hailed as the best segment in the entire three-film anthology series. The segment deals with a film crew caught inside the compound of an Indonesian cult when things start — so to speak — popping off.

2018 saw Evans return to both horror and religious cults in the Netflix original film Apostle, though in this one he moves away from his familiar Indonesian settings in favor of a utopian cult based on a Welsh island. Set in 1905, this movie features Dan Stevens (who, depending on who you are, you might know as Cousin Matthew from Downton Abbey, the Beast from Beauty and the Beast, or the guest from The Guest) as a former missionary who is sent to infiltrate a mysterious cult who has kidnapped his sister, presumably with dark designs on her life. The further he digs into the truth of the cult while trying to keep from himself being discovered, the darker, bloodier, and more eye-opening events become.

Apostle is a solid new example of folk horror, currently holding an 80 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus that it "resists easy scares in favor of a steady, slow-building descent into dread led by a commanding central performance from Dan Stevens."

Terrifier's murder clown is actually scary

To be clear, 2017's Terrifier is not, like, a good movie. But you're here for dark movies, and Terrifier fits that bill. It's dark, and it's also grimy and bloody and gross. If you want a scary movie full of subtext and themes, you should queue up It Follows or The Babadook. If you want a straight-ahead slasher throwback about a clown who smears doodoo all over the wall and saws girls in half the hard way, put this one on.

Terrifier completely serves as a showcase for the character of Art the Clown, previously featured in the 2013 anthology All Hallows' Eve, and the success of the film kind of hinges on his presence. Fortunately, Art is a genuinely disturbing character in his appearance and demeanor, helped immensely by the able performance of David Howard Thornton. The scene early in the film where he silently harasses two girls in a pizza parlor is affecting in a way that the later parts of the movie can't make up for with gore effects and crazy cat ladies. However, there is at least one scene that will completely catch most slasher fans off guard with the way it breaks the "rules" long established by the genre.

Terrifier currently holds a score of 70 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, with the British Film Institute calling it "an unapologetically 'pure' genre entry, confronting — and amusing — us with all the sinister masked vicariousness of the Halloween spirit."

Eyes of My Mother is a haunting odyssey into a traumatized mind

If you want to traumatize yourself in the classiest way possible, 2016's The Eyes of My Mother might be the way to go. You could probably even convince a friend or loved one that this is just a straight-up art film thanks to its title and beautiful black and white photography until the murders and eyeball slicings start. (Your defense after they try to storm out is that Un Chien Andalou is one of the most famous art films of all time and definitely features eyeball slicing.) Hopefully everyone sticks around for this one, though, because it's a high-quality and beautiful if unremittingly bleak cinema experience.

The film centers on Francisca, a young woman who as a child saw her mother beaten to death in her home by a stranger, after which her father came home, knocked out the murderer, and kept him prisoner in his barn. The good news is that Francisca manages to process this trauma in a very healthy and productive way, and the rest of the movie is about her totally normal interpersonal relationships. No, that's a lie. This is a horror movie. Things get pretty dark, what with the killings, eviscerations, child abductions, and what have you.

The Eyes of My Mother has a score of 77 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, with a consensus that it "uses a shocking trauma to fuel a hauntingly hypnotic odyssey whose nightmarish chill lingers long after the closing credits." Definitely give it a shot as long as you're not looking for a fun, carefree night of streaming or unhaunted dreams.

Candyman is an urban legend come to life

The 1990s have a reputation for awful horror and, frankly, it's well-deserved. There were a handful of great ones, though, and Candyman is definitely one of those. Based on the short story "The Forbidden" by Clive Barker, the movie stars Virginia Madsen and Tony Todd. Madsen plays a graduate student who's working on a thesis about urban legends when she hears of a local tale about a man with a hook for a hand called Candyman. Before long, she discovers that the myth is true, and by that point, she has the Candyman's attention.

The movie is nearly 30-years-old now, but it's still absolutely worth a watch. Todd is extremely eerie as the titular character (seriously, his voice is so creepy) and Madsen is smart and resourceful, unlike your typical horror movie protagonist. The film does have some violence but it's not extremely gory and works far more on a psychological level. Also, it's based on a Clive Barker story, so it has that feeling of foreboding and grimness that are intrinsic to his fiction. Best of all, it's a really great examination of inner-city poverty that still holds up well today. It even has a 74 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

The movie didn't make a huge impact on release, but it has developed a cult following in the decades since — enough so that a reboot produced by Jordan Peele is on the way with Tony Todd returning as Candyman.

As Above, So Below will take you into the depths

Found footage horror is a mixed bag. There are a million trash ones, and then there are a few that are so good, they make the whole genre worth it. As Above, So Below is one of those, though it being found footage doesn't really affect the story or anything, so if you just hate the entire idea of the genre, you can watch this one without worry. Other than being shot with handheld and head-mounted cameras, it's a straightforward scary movie, so you can just ignore that aspect and enjoy.

The movie, written and directed by John Erick and Drew Dowdle, is like Indiana Jones meets the devil in the Paris Catacombs. Scarlett, an explorer/archaeologist in the vein of Indy or Lara Croft, is looking for the Philosopher's Stone, a legendary alchemical artifact that can supposedly turn any material into gold. Her quest leads her into the Paris Catacombs with a small team, where increasingly weird things, inspired by Dante's Inferno, start happening.

If you're unfamiliar with the Paris Catacombs, they're a massive series of tunnels that run under Paris and are seriously full of human bones. In fact, many of the bones seen in this movie are real, because the filmmakers actually got permission to film down there, the first Hollywood production to ever do so. While the film only managed a 26 percent Rotten Tomatoes score, it has found a small cult following in the few years since. 

Carrie is horror that still grabs you

This one is a bit older, but don't let that fool you. Nearly 45 years after its release, this high school horror story is still scary. If you've seen it before, watch it again, and if you haven't, you're in for a treat! This Brian De Palma helmed film is based on a Stephen King novel — his first, in fact — and is one of the few horror novels that actually works even better on screen. 

Sissy Spacek stars as Carrie White, a teenager with a horrifyingly overbearing mother and a school full of kids who are absolutely horribl to her. Then she finds out she has telekinetic and telepathic powers and things get real bad, real fast. Long before anti-bullying campaigns, there was Carrie, which taught us that bullying kids is wrong because they might secretly have telekinesis and will absolutely make you regret it.

The movie isn't dark just because of Carrie's revenge spree or the literal buckets of blood, but also because of its eerily realistic depiction of Carrie's abuse at the hands of her fanatically religious mother. While her classmates torment her day-to-day, it's clear that the real pain is caused by her own mother, who has been tormenting her for her whole life. The film is a classic for a reason, and it holds a Certified Fresh (a rarity for horror) rating of 92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Conjuring will conjure your fears

The Conjuring films, and their spin-offs, are based around the lives of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. They're mostly based on true stories (not all of the spin-offs are) but the key part there is "based on" because uh, while the Warrens did go to these places, the movie takes liberties, and the Warrens' stories are maybe of questionable veracity themselves. But the movies are scary, and the original is on Netflix right now. Just a heads up before you hit play, though: The movie does have a lot of jump scares, so if that's not your thing, maybe skip this one. 

In the film, the Warrens help the Perron family with their little haunting problem. You know, normal stuff. But what makes the movie great isn't just the creepy stuff — it's the chemistry between Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as Ed and Lorraine, and the Perron family. The characters feel like regular people caught in a bizarre situation, to the point where you actually care about them, as opposed to camp counselors in a slasher movie. When the characters are in danger, it feels more intense.

Upon release, The Conjuring broke box office records and scored an 85 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It also spawned a sequel and the popular Annabelle spin-off series. This is where it all began, though, and watching it on Netflix is a no-brainer, unless you're worried about how much sleep you'll lose.

Green Room sets up shocking moments

Green Room is not your typical horror movie. There are no ghosts or monsters, nothing supernatural happens at all. Instead it's a grisly, disturbing movie about a group of people caught in a hopeless situation. The Ain't Rights, a punk band, are touring the Pacific Northwest and are invited to perform at a venue in rural Oregon. Upon arriving, they discover that the venue is a neo-Nazi bar, and when they accidentally witness a murder, they're locked in the venue's green room and tormented by angry white supremacists who plan to kill the band in order to ensure their silence. It sounds a little silly, but hand on heart, it is creepy.

You also get to see Patrick Stewart in a way you typically don't — as a villain. Captain Picard himself plays the leader of the Nazis, a very nasty skinhead named Darcy. It's sad to see him so evil, but he's so good at it. Dang it, Professor X. It also features one of the final performances of Anton Yelchin, and it's easily one of his best. 

Writer and director Jeremy Saulnier is also starting to make his mark, too, even directing some episodes of True Detective. He's not a household name yet, but Green Room seems to indicate great things coming from him. Even the critics loved it, and the film sits at 90 percent approval on Rotten Tomatoes.

Hush is a thriller with a twist

One of Netflix's most intense movies is a Netflix Original — Hush, directed by Doctor Sleep and The Haunting of Hill House helmer Mike Flanagan and written by Flanagan and Kate Siegel (who also plays the protagonist), is a thriller in the rawest sense of the form. This movie is super tense, and while talking about the edges of seats is a bit cliche, Hush really will make you sit up and take notice.

Author Maddie Young, who is deaf and mute, is working on a novel in her remote cabin. And it has all the problems everyone in Hollywood has with remote cabins — a deranged murderer shows up and cuts the power, phone, and internet lines. In the world of movies, the realtor probably makes you sign a waiver for that when buying a remote cabin. Since Maddie is deaf, the murderer also has a distinct advantage over her, but she's no victim. A cat-and-mouse game ensues with Maddie locked inside and the killer roaming around outside the house. He doesn't have a motive or endgame, he's just a murderer stalking a remote cabin.

The movie is a bit violent, but not overly so, and it's free from jump scares. It's a classic home invasion movie, just with an additional layer of fear. It's such a simple premise, but it plays so well. And you don't need to take our word for it. Hush is 92 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Insidious will make you not want to sleep

From the creators of the original Saw (you know, the best one), James Wan and Leigh Whannel, comes Insidious, a ghost story about the dangers of oversleeping. Insidious was actually made as a response to Saw. The creators wanted to prove they could make a scary movie without gore and, well, they succeeded. This movie is scary as all get-out but only rated PG-13.

The Lamberts move into a new house and one of their children, Dalton, has a ghostly encounter in the attic that puts him into a coma, which is a pretty hardcore reaction to a ghost. After Dalton returns home from the hospital, the family notices that odd, spooky things happen around him. It gets so bad that they abandon their new house and literally move somewhere else, the thing that everyone says they'd do if they were in a horror movie. At the new house, though, the supernatural events don't stop, and they soon discover that their son's coma may actually be the cause of the hauntings. 

What you should take from this is that ghosts who can put people into a coma or run a family out of a new house are not to be messed with. Insidious spawned a whole franchise, with two prequels and a sequel, but they're of mixed quality. If you can watch any of them, watch the first one, as it's definitely the best (and scariest), scoring a 66 percent fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Have a fiesta with Murder Party

There's nothing like some black comedy to go with your horror, and Murder Party has plenty of both. Written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier, the creator of Green Room (which also appears in this list), Murder Party is the story of Christopher, a regular guy who lives alone with his cat. Christopher finds a flyer for a Halloween party and decides to just show up in a cardboard box knight costume rather than spending the evening at home.

What Christopher doesn't know is the Halloween party isn't an actual get-together. The art students throwing it have an ulterior motive, and the flyers were bait. They plan to murder anyone who shows up (Christopher is the only one who does so, though) and stage it as an art piece to impress a wealthy patron, Alexander, and possibly get a big fat grant out of him. But things don't go as planned and get chaotic fast. No spoilers, but it turns equal parts ridiculous and horrific from there.

While the gore and thrills are worth it on their own, this movie also ups the ante with some hilarious dialogue and a really great plot that never slows down. The characters are surprisingly deep, too, especially considering the genre. The film has a 100 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and while that is only out of five reviews, it's a seriously good and campy horror film that's worth your time.

Shutter will capture your breath

Not to be confused with the awful English-language remake starring Joshua Jackson, Shutter on Netflix is the original Thai version. At the height of Asian horror's reign in the early 2000s, movies like The Ring and The Grudge got all the attention, but there were plenty of other great ones that didn't get as much love. Shutter is one of those. It is entirely in Thai, so you'll need subtitles to watch it, but it's totally worth it for some excellent and spooky Asian horror.

Jane and her boyfriend, Tun, accidentally run over a young woman after drinking at a party. Tun convinces Jane to drive away and leave the woman in the road. That's when the trouble starts. Tun is a photographer, and odd white patches and what look like faces begin appearing in all of his pictures. Not only that, but he's having awful neck pain, and despite no physical changes, Tun's weight drastically increases.

We don't want to spoil too much, because there are some incredible twists in the film, but it's a very creepy story about guilt and failing to act when given the opportunity. While the critics didn't love the movie, giving it only a 58 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it has a cult following among Asian horror aficionados, giving it a 78 percent audience rating. It really deserved much better than the crappy remake and lukewarm reviews it got from the West, so give it a watch and see for yourself.

The Similars won't seem familiar

Sometimes the best horror is subtle and needs time to unfold all of its creepy tendrils. Okay, that sentence started to get creepy, too. Anyway, some of the greatest classic horror is about a handful of characters in a single place. Like a bottle episode in TV, the limitations can lead to incredible storytelling and plot development. It's like independent theater, where limited budgets mean few sets or effects, and the story has to take center stage (pun slightly intended).

The Similars is cut from the same cloth. Like classic Twilight Zone episodes, the film takes place with just a handful of characters trapped in an isolated space — in this case, a bus station with a hurricane raging outside. Ulises, an expectant father, becomes stranded there while his wife gives birth in a hospital nearby. After he arrives at the bus station, though, things start getting strange — everyone's faces start changing to look just like Ulises. Yeah, it's that kind of strange. The group has to unravel the mystery before they all turn into Ulises.

The film also has a unique visual look due to its desaturated color scheme, which makes it look almost, but not quite, black and white. There's no gore or jump scares, but it's a creepy, weird little movie with a 95 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It is in Spanish, so you'll need to freshen up your subtitle reading skills, but it's absolutely worth your time to watch.

Tusk will bring out the animal inside

Let's address the walruses in the room first. Yes, this is a horror movie by Kevin Smith and stars Justin Long, neither of whom are known for horror. Yes, it was inspired by a joke on Smith's podcast and it has by far the silliest premise of any movie on this list. But believe it or not, Tusk is actually a pretty capable scary movie and some great body horror as well. 

Wallace (Justin Long) and Teddy (Haley-Joel Osment) are podcasters. Wallace travels to Canada for an interview that falls through, but he ends up meeting Howard Howe (Michael Parks), a man who is advertising free rent at his house and promises lots of stories. Wallace visits Howard and listens to his tale of being rescued from a shipwreck by a walrus he dubbed Mr. Tusk. Wallace passes out from a drugged drink. Howe then imprisons Wallace and begins turning him into a human walrus through mutilation and crude surgery.

It's equal parts violent and ridiculous. Not to spoil anything, but Johnny Depp shows up as a Quebecois policeman with an outrageous accent. It's goofy B-horror, but the movie does work, primarily due to the performances of Parks and Long. The costuming, makeup, and gore effects are fantastic. It only earned a 45 percent on Rotten Tomatoes with a lot of criticism aimed at its bizarre concept, but it's really underrated and better than you might assume from the synopsis.

The Witch is spellbinding

Maybe you think witches aren't scary anymore now that you're grown up. It's true, witches are largely more for cartoony Halloween decorations than for serious horror movies these days, but The Witch is definitely an exception to that. A small, quiet movie with no real violence or jump scares, it works purely on psychological horror to deliver its scares. You might want to turn on subtitles, though, because the thick early American accents and dialogue can be hard to parse on the first (or second or tenth) watch. 

In 17th-century New England, a family of Puritans, who were kicked out of a colony of other Puritans for literally being too uptight and religious, settles into the remote wilderness with a small cabin and some livestock. Things go horribly wrong, though, when their newborn son, Samuel, mysteriously disappears under the watch of Thomasin, their oldest daughter. From there, it turns into a family drama from hell, with wild accusations of witchcraft, a creepy illness, and strange happenings. 

The tension is at an 11 for the entire movie. Writer and director Robert Eggers, also responsible for 2019's The Lighthouse, knows how to keep the story going with amazing dialogue and great performances. The Witch is certified fresh with a score of 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and should be required watching for the discerning modern horror fan.