Hulu’s horror collection doesn’t disappoint.
Hulu’s movie library is steadily growing, but its horror section still has a way to go to catch up to Netflix and Amazon. But that doesn’t mean it’s devoid of worthwhile options. Halloween draws nearer and nearer each day, and time lumbers forward as steadily as Michael Myers (though, unfortunately, Hulu doesn’t have any of the Halloween films). Get a jump on the spooky season with these picks that will thrill and chill, enthrall and possibly appall.
We’ve scoured the shallow depths of Hulu’s catalog to find some gems, some diamonds in the rough, and some that are just plain rough. Here’s our list of the best scary movies on Hulu.
The best scary movies on Hulu
Remember, I’m an easy mark for possession movies. Even the bad ones which, if you believe Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic, and most other metrics, this one is. In this one, a mother (Virginia Madsen) does her best to save her family from the supernatural. It’s based (loosely) on a true story. It hits all the notes you expect from this kind of story. If you allow yourself to get wrapped up in the atmosphere, it might just do a number on you.
Starring and directed by the late Bill Paxton, 2001’s Frailty is an oddity in the beloved actor’s career. The actor seldom dipped into the horror world, but when he did with films like Near Dark or Aliens, the results were magical. Frailty follows a family of ax murderers who kill based on the supposedly divine visions of the patriarch. Swinging back and forth between the confessions of the family’s oldest son to the FBI in the present and the killings in his childhood, the horrors on screen are coupled with a legitimately compelling family drama about the impact fathers can have on their children. Matthew McConaughey anchors the future segments with a cold sorrow, while Paxton’s performance as Meiks is terrifying because of how mournful it is. Meiks doesn’t want to kill—but his god is telling him to. By the end of the film, you’ll know if he’s crazy or not. The answer isn’t comforting. —J.M.B.
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3) Blair Witch
This surprise sequel to The Blair Witch Project is a significant improvement on the cash-grab Book of Shadows. Director Adam Wingard delivers a bump-in-the-night spookfest that honors the original and features some nifty tie-ins. Like the first time out, this one features a group of college kids going into the woods to look for the trio from the original, with horrifying results. Blair Witch works just fine as a standalone movie, but fans of the original should find it worthwhile.
4) The Collector
Co-writers Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan (who also directs) made their bones with the Project Greenlight movie Feast and a handful of Saw sequels. This film is closer to their Saw work, but with less convoluted mythology. The Collector is a straightforward home invasion movie, and it’s as bloody and brutal as the filmmakers’ pedigree implies. This isn’t a movie with jump scares that will linger, but in the moment, it’s pretty nerve-wracking. At the very least, it’ll make you double check the locks before you go to bed.
5) High Tension
High Tension (or Haute Tension if you want to impress your friends) kicked off a short and potent run of extreme French horror films. The setup is as bare bones as it gets with two women retreating to one of their family’s home go study, only to be hunted down by a killer. Director Alexandre Aja wrings every ounce of tension out of the story that he possibly can. The movie is brutal and brutally efficient, but the third act is where it makes its bones. The story has a twist that is either going to blow your mind or have you laughing hysterically. Life is too short for movies that play it safe.
Compliance is the kind of movie meant to push buttons and provoke strong reactions. Writer-director Craig Zobel’s film is about an unlucky fast-food employee being kept on the phone by someone claiming to be a police officer. The caller (Pat Healy) asks the employee (Dreama Walker) to do increasingly disturbing things in the name of clearing herself. Despite being based on a true story, Compliance’s premise will certainly test viewers’ patience and suspension of disbelief. Much like the phone caller’s demands, Compliance puts you through the emotional ringer. —Eddie Strait
7) Let the Right One In
Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In is one of the best vampire films you’ll come across. It’s a sensitive, thoughtful, brutal story about loneliness, bullying and other real-life horrors. Oskar is the loner who strikes up a friendship with the equally isolated Eli. Together they help bring each other out of their shells. But Eli is a vampire, so things are destined to turn sour at some point. Alfredson knows how to deliver vampire scares, but he’s even more effective at capturing the day-to-day moments that will keep you up at night.
Like father, like son. Antiviral comes from the mind of Brandon Cronenberg, son of body-horror maestro David Cronenberg. It’s set in a world where celebrities can sell their viruses to their fans. As a satire, it’s not particularly subtle, but it’s effective. The same can be said for the movie’s visuals, which are horrific but beautifully shot. All in all, Antiviral is a mixed bag, but it offers more than enough to justify streaming it.
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This 1987 classic of British horror introduced the world to Pinhead, the sadomasochistic demon who wants to tear your soul apart. Built on a foundation of black magic, Hellraiser is a tale of human sacrifice and demonic sex with a dark sense of humor at its kinky heart. As much a fairy tale as a horror story, Hellraiser has inspired a generation of dark fantasy filmmakers. Thanks to Netflix, you get to see why. —J.M.B.
10) Halloween H20: 20 Years Later
Every long-running horror series has at least one or two down the line sequels that are better than expected. H20 is one of those for the Halloween series. It’s a slasher in the post-Scream mode (which is no surprise since Scream scribe Kevin Williamson wrote the script), so it’s quippy, self-aware, and full of jump scares. Twenty years after the original Halloween, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is in hiding, but that doesn’t stop Michael Myers from finding her and slicing up countless teens along the way. H20 plays all of the genre hits well enough to make it a fun watch.
Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.