20 Scary Movies on Netflix Canada That Will Chill You to the Bone
From pulse-pounding monster movies to gore-free supernatural flicks, these scary movies on Netflix Canada will appeal to even the staunchest non-horror fans.
When true crime writer Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) moves with his wife and two children to a nondescript house in Pennsylvania, he neglects to tell them that their new abode was once the site of a series of grisly murders—running low on inspiration, he hopes the notorious cold cases will be the subject of a new book. Sinister may check all the modern horror movie boxes (creepy kids, paganism, a helpful professor specializing in the occult), but it also features a lineup of truly terrifying moments in the form of Super 8 home movies Oswalt finds in the attic. (Think: snuff films with wonderfully literal titles like Family Hanging Out ’11, Lawn Work ’86 and Sleepy Time ’98.) It’s best to watch this flick with the lights on.
The Ring (2002)
The Ring‘s premise is horror-movie gold: a disturbing videotape leads to a phone call warning the viewer’s death in exactly seven days. After four teenagers (including her niece) die under mysterious circumstances, journalist Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) seeks answers—and comes into possession of the aforementioned tape. With its creepy atmosphere, unnerving visuals and refreshing lack of gore, The Ring is still the best J-Horror remake of the 2000s. (Its justifiably famous—and bleak as hell—twist ending is a doozy.)
The Witch (2015)
Five years before she starred in The Queen’s Gambit and became Hollywood’s most sought-after actor, Anya Taylor-Joy made her big-screen debut in this surprise box office hit. In 1630s New England, a family of English settlers, including daughter Thomasin (Taylor-Joy), is banished from a Puritan colony and forced out into the wilderness. But the clan’s nightmare truly begins when their toddler is abducted and killed by a witch—meanwhile, supernatural forces invade their farm. Boasting ferocious performances and chilling imagery, The Witch is a masterful, ambiguous work of horror.
Photo: CBS Films
The Woman in Black (2012)
Based on the 1983 gothic novel of the same name, The Woman in Black was Daniel Radcliffe’s first post-Harry Potter screen outing. Set in the Edwardian era, this atmospheric spook fest follows a lawyer (Radcliffe) who’s tasked with handling the sale of Eel Marsh House—a desolate mansion in the English countryside that houses a frightening apparition. What The Woman in Black lacks in innovation, it more than makes up for in sheer terror.
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His House (2020)
After fleeing war-torn South Sudan, husband-and-wife Bol (Sope Dirisu) and Rial (Wunmi Mosaku) are granted asylum in England and settle in a run-down council estate, where they experience racism from neighbours. Some time later, the pair discover that an apeth, or “night witch,” has followed them to their new home—Bol, as it turns out, committed an unforgivable act during their journey, and the witch has come to collect his debt. His House is a creepy new spin on the immigrant experience.
Things Heard & Seen (2021)
Meet the Claire family: art restorer Catherine (Amanda Seyfried), history professor George (James Norton) and young daughter Franny. After leaving Manhattan for a sleepy town in New York’s Hudson Valley, the trio learns that their new farmhouse has a fourth occupant: a benevolent spirit trying to warn Claire that her husband is not who he seems. In the world of Things Heard & Seen, family secrets are more terrifying than the supernatural.
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Saint Maud (2019)
In the seaside town of Scarborough in northern England, private nurse Maud (Morfydd Clark, in an astonishing performance) treats Amanda (Jennifer Ehle), a terminally ill dancer with a hedonistic side. Maud, however, is too invested in her patient’s care—a fervent Roman Catholic, she is convinced that God has tasked her with saving Amanda from eternal damnation. But is it really God that has been speaking to Maud…or something more sinister?
After finding a luxury handbag on a subway train, a New York City waitress, Frances (Chloë Grace Moretz), tracks down its owner, Greta (the always-spectacular Isabelle Huppert). The two later become good friends, but in true horror movie fashion, Frances learns that Greta might not be as emotionally stable as she lets on. Unabashedly camp and delightfully twisted, Greta is Fatal Attraction for the smartphone generation.
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Stephen King is the master of killer premises—and 1922‘s plot is a doozy. Arlette (Molly Parker) plans to sell her family’s Nebraska farm, a decision her husband, Wilfred (a wonderfully repressed Thomas Jane) strongly opposes. Realizing that his wife cannot be swayed, Wilfred conspires with their 14-year-old son to murder her. 1922 means to put viewers in a psychological wringer. And it succeeds with flying (red) colours.
From Get Out’s incisive take on anti-Black racism to The Babadook’s exploration of grief, this past decade has had no shortage of creepy flicks that are metaphors for real-life horrors. Kay (Emily Mortimer) fears that her mother’s increasingly volatile behaviour is the result of her worsening dementia, but after a series of unexplainable events, she and her daughter (Bella Heathcote) realize that a more nefarious presence may be at work.
Writer-director Ari Aster’s Hereditary is truly the kind of horror movie that is best experienced by going in blind. So, we’ll opt for just two lines. When her mother passes away, Annie (Toni Collette), her husband (Gabriel Byrne), son (Alex Wolff) and daughter (Milly Shapiro) begin to unravel their family’s disturbing ancestry. Oh, and Hereditary‘s final 30 minutes might just be the scariest movie climax of the decade—a harrowing assault on the senses.
The Platform (2019)
For many filmgoers, the Academy Award-winning Parasite was 2019’s defining work on class warfare, but a lesser-known Spanish sci-fi horror film was even more unrelenting in its vision. The Platform is set in a tower-style prison called the “Vertical Self-Management Center.” Two inmates live on each level, and each day a platform containing food descends the facility. Live on the higher floors? Eat to your heart’s content. Live on the lower floors? Eat scraps. And the sickest joke in a film full of them: none of the inmates know how many floors there actually are.
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Photo: Sony Pictures Releasing
Aboard the International Space Station, six astronauts (including Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson) make a groundbreaking discovery: evidence of alien life on Mars. While conducting their research, however, the team learns that this dormant single cell is actually a rapidly evolving life-form hell-bent on destroying everything in its path. It may be familiar horror territory, but Life is nevertheless a wildly entertaining—and surprisingly grim—monster movie.
Under the Shadow (2016)
In war-torn Tehran in the late 1980s, former medical student Shideh (Narges Rashidi) and her daughter, Dorsa, struggle to survive while her husband works as a surgeon on the front lines. Soon, the pair begin to suffer increasingly disturbing nightmares. But what at first seems to be unresolved trauma turns out to be something else entirely: Shideh and Dorsa are being haunted by a supernatural entity. Under the Shadow is a stunningly original and well-crafted horror gem.
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The Ritual (2017)
Four friends from university embark on a hiking trip in northern Sweden in honour of their late friend. After one of them is injured, the group decide on a quicker route and cut through the forest. Nothing, however, can prepare them for the horror that lurks within. Emotionally raw and brimming with creepy atmosphere, The Ritual is a clever exercise in horror filmmaking.
With Hush, writer-director Mike Flanagan (Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House) adds an irresistible twist to the home invasion genre. Author Maddie Young (Kate Siegel) lives in complete isolation in the woods while working on her novel. Her world quickly unravels, however, when she discovers that a psychopath has been stalking her home—and aims to make her his next victim. The twist? Maddie just so happens to be deaf and mute. Hush is perfect white-knuckle entertainment.
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Photo: British Film Institute
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
In 1897, English lawyer Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) travels to Transylvania to settle the affairs of his aristocratic new client, Count Dracula (Gary Oldman). Unbeknownst to him, Dracula is actually a 500-year-old vampire. Intent on seducing Harker’s fiancée (Winona Ryder), Dracula sets sail for London, while legendary vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing (Anthony Hopkins) is hot on his trail. Devilishly fun and unabashedly over-the-top, Bram Stoker’s Dracula remains an underrated work of Gothic horror.
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Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)
Troubled by the death of his mother, Swiss scientist Victor Frankenstein (Kenneth Branagh) becomes obsessed with conquering death. After exhaustive research, Frankenstein achieves the unthinkable: using spare body parts and a killer’s cadaver, he creates the Creature (Robert De Niro). Initially docile, the Creature runs away from the fearful townspeople—and later returns to his maker demanding a bride for himself.
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Photo: Courtesy TIFF
Color Out of Space (2019)
After a meteorite lands on their farm, Nathan (Nicolas Cage), his wife Theresa (Joely Richardson) and his family are forced to do battle against a seemingly unstoppable alien organism that can possess their minds and bodies—and colour the world around them. Based on a short story by H.P. Lovecraft.
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016)
Relying less on jump scares and more on creepy atmosphere, I Am the Pretty Thing… is a modern update on the haunted house story. When Lily (The Affair’s Ruth Wilson) becomes the live-in nurse for retired horror writer Iris Blum (Paula Prentiss), she begins seeing strange things throughout the house. Most alarming is the ghost of Polly (Lucy Boynton), who may have inspired Blum’s most famous character.
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