Looking for a dark corner of the world? Hulu’s horror-movie curation may come in handy. From supernatural intrusions to documentaries about creeper clowns for hire, there’s a sub-genre for everyone, and the library is always growing. But which films are truly worthy of your nail-biting? We’ve put together a guide to the best horror movies on Hulu right now. Pick a flick, dim the lights, and prepare for nightmares.
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A Quiet Place (2018)
The directorial debut of Office alum John Krasinski (who also co-wrote and stars in the film), A Quiet Place puts a thrilling spin on the post-apocalypse genre by keeping our focus on a tragically altered family-of-four (Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe) and their daily struggle for survival in a world torn apart. This time around, the wasteland-bringers are an invasion of monstrous, blood-hungry cryptoids with ultrasonic hearing. Void of sight, their predatory tact is simple but deadly. They hear, they kill. With A Quiet Place, Krasinski and co-creatives craft a powerful story that is equal parts wrenching family drama and heart-pounding horror. This is also a perfect thriller movie for surround sound enthusiasts, as A Quiet Place features some of the most haunting and effective sound design in recent horror history. During the dreadful moments of silence, particularly when characters are hiding from the beasts, we can hear a pin drop. On the other end of the spectrum, whenever hell breaks loose (and it does quite often), the soundscape explodes. If you like this film, there’s a sequel in the works as well.
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Stars: John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmond, Noah Jupe
Director: John Krasinski
Runtime: 90 minutes
Ghost Stories (2017)
Adapted from their 2010 play of the same name, British writer/director duo Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman deliver a faithful and fresh stage-to-screen transfer of their esteemed production. Operating in the anthology tradition, Ghost Stories places viewers in the shoes of professor and television host Philip Goodman (Andy Nyman), who has made it his life’s work to blow the whistle on psychic hoaxes. After receiving an invitation from a well-known paranormal researcher (Leonard Byrne) to investigate three proclaimed cases of the supernatural, Goodman takes us on a dread-filled journey, one where we’re treated to three wholly unique, synaptically-linked tales of terror, experienced through the eyes of each case’s respective person of interest. Featuring stellar performances from a gripping ensemble cast of British talents, including the almighty Martin Freeman, Ghost Stories moves nimbly through each of its three terrors, delivering wholly original twists and turns while paying homage to the play’s portmanteau roots.
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Stars: Andy Nyman, Paul Whitehouse, Alex Lawther, Martin Freeman
Directors: Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman
Runtime: 98 minutes
Goodnight Mommy (2014)
The writer-director duo of Severin Fiala and Veronika Franz are perhaps best known for their 2019 sophomore feature, The Lodge (which is also on this list). But it was their 2014 narrative debut, Goodnight Mommy, that introduced the world to the unflinching creative genius of the aunt-and-nephew directing team. Our story follows two adolescent brothers, Elias and Lukas (Elias and Lukas Schwarz). When their mother (Susanne Wuest) returns home from facial-reconstruction surgery, the siblings begin to suspect that the woman under the bandages is not their parent. Their defenses up, the boys are on guard at all times. Coincidentally, their mom’s emotions start to run high, frightening Elias and Lukas and providing evidence for their imposter theory. The film ventures into some disturbing dark corners, and delivers a never-ending slow burn, from the first frame to the last. A pulse-pounding story, excellent performances, and engrossing tone and visuals make Goodnight Mommy a solid bet for anyone ready to lose their mind, but have fun while doing so.
Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Stars: Susanne Wuest, Elias Schwarz, Lukas Schwarz
Director: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
Runtime: 99 minutes
After Frank Cotton (Sean Chapman) indulges in a bit of ritualistic Rubik’s-Cubing with an ancient puzzle box, the cursed artifact opens a portal into a literal hellscape of chains, pain, and torturous demons known as the Cenobites. Frank is swallowed by the beings of this mysterious nether, and his home returns to normal… or so we think. Fast forward sometime later, and we meet Frank’s brother, Larry (Andrew Robinson), his adulterous wife, Julia (Clare Higgins), and teenage daughter, Kirsty (Ashley Laurence). Larry slices his hand open while moving a mattress into the house. When the blood droplets hit the floor, the nether reopens, and a demonized Frank reemerges. He and ex-lover Julia band together to bring Frank back to his human form, a devilish pact that requires more blood. It’s up to teenage Kirsty to navigate the dark underbelly wrapped around her family to vanquish the evil within the house’s four walls. Written and directed by Clive Barker as an adaptation of his own novel, The Hellbound Heart, Hellraiser meshes a Lovecraftian narrative with some of the craziest and most enduring makeup, costuming, and visual effects the genre has ever seen. Not to mention, the franchise gave birth to one of horror cinema’s most vile and recognizable villains, Pinhead, the leader of the wretched Cenobite cult.
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Stars: Andrew Robinson, Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence
Director: Clive Barker
Runtime: 94 minutes
The Host (2006)
A couple of years before the first of many Cloverfield films, Oscar alum Bong Joon Ho’s The Host fed some much-needed life into the neglected monster genre. Our story follows a desperate family, led by patriarch Hee-bong (Byun Hee-bong) and his son, Park Gang-du (Song Kang-ho). When a vicious underwater creature emerges from the Han River, the monster snatches Gang-du’s daughter and flees, but only after unleashing a massive rampage, attacking and killing many. As both American and Korean government forces start pushing in on the monster and the family, Gang-du’s clan must defend themselves from the creature’s wrath in their quest to rescue Gang-du’s daughter. Bong Joon Ho made waves last year by winning Best Picture for his impressive social thriller Parasite. With The Host, it’s a blast to see Ho operating with white gloves off, paying homage to monster stalwarts like Godzilla while imbuing his narrative with rich characters and fun-as-hell visual effects that have stood the test of time.
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Stars: Song Kang-ho, Byun Hee-bong, Park Hae-il
Director: Bong Joon Ho
Runtime: 119 minutes
The Houses October Built (2014)
Director Bobby Roe’s 2014 The Houses October Built is a semi-fictionalized retelling of his own 2011 documentary of the same name. The story will be familiar to most: Five friends are on a road trip to scour the best-haunted attractions across America. What they didn’t sign up for is a creepy cult of scare-hounds that decide to stalk the band of buddies. The found footage genre has been done to death, but there’s something exciting and enticing about the way that Roe and his team breathe new life into this strange hybrid of faux-documentary-meets-narrative tropes. Until true evil rears its several ugly heads, it actually feels like you could be watching an authentic, if not slightly demented, low-budget doc about Halloween haunted attractions. For those left wanting more when the credits roll, the film spawned a sequel, The Houses October Built 2 (also available on Hulu), that picks up where the first film decides to strand us.
Rotten Tomatoes: 60%
Stars: Brandy Schaefer, Zack Andrews, Mikey Roe
Director: Bobby Roe
Runtime: 91 minutes
Hounds of Love (2019)
There’s something about Aussie filmmaking that is just so unsettling. For those who enjoy walking away from the likes of Wolf Creek and Lake Mungo feeling happily winded, give Hounds of Love a spin. From writer/director Ben Young, Hounds of Love follows Vicki (Ashleigh Cummings), a kidnapped suburban girl, and her captors, John and Evelyn (Stephen Curry and Emma Booth). The couple takes Vicki back to their home, where all our worst nightmares come true. But, resilient and conniving, Vicki begins to exploit the deranged couple’s emotional vulnerabilities, pitting them against each other. This is a cunning film from start to finish and a beautiful first feature from its breakout genre-auteur. Hounds of Love doesn’t want to be your friend, so if you like your horror films a bit lighter, it’s best to stray away from this one.
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Stars: Ashleigh Cummings, Emma Booth, Stephen Curry
Director: Ben Young
Runtime: 108 minutes
House of 1000 Corpses (2003)
What happens when you strand a bunch of kids in the middle of backcountry Texas? As the formula has shown before, usually nothing good, and that’s certainly the case with writer/director Rob Zombie’s mightily bizarre House of 1000 Corpses. A gang of roadside oddity enthusiasts (Rainn Wilson, Chris Hardwick, Jennifer Jostyn, and Erin Daniels) are sidestepped and kidnapped by the deranged Firefly family. As the nightmare unfolds, we spend time with each member of the maddened bloodline as the teens try desperately to escape. Yes, the Tomato rank may spin some heads on this one, but hear us out: Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses, despite a few shortcomings, is a gem of shining campiness, from its rampant gore to its larger-than-life performances. And, truly, who can deny the glory that is Sid Haig (RIP) as Captain Spaulding?
Rotten Tomatoes: 20%
Stars: Bill Moseley, Sid Haig, Sheri Moon Zombie
Director: Rob Zombie
Runtime: 88 minutes
The House That Jack Built (2018)
The films of Lars von Trier can often be polarizing, and that’s certainly no exception with The House That Jack Built. The film stars Matt Dillon as the titular character, a meticulous serial killer. The narrative is divided into five chapters, each of these flashbacks to one of Jack’s brutal crimes. This is the first film that von Trier made outside of his notable Depression Trilogy, which featured Antichrist, Melancholia, and Nymphomaniac, and his vision here feels even more demented than his divisive trifecta. If you’re after solid character work and good-old unforgiving torture-terror, then spend a night with The House That Jack Built.
Rotten Tomatoes: 58%
Stars: Matt Dillon, Bruno Ganz, Uma Thurman
Director: Lars von Trier
Runtime: 151 minutes
Pet Sematary (2019)
Sometimes, dead is better — especially for the Creed family. After a string of tragic misfortunes befalls the aforementioned clan, a local friend shows Louis Creed (Jason Clarke) an ancient burial ground, one with “life-giving” properties in its folkloric soil. What follows is nothing short of pure hell. Remakes can be pretty hit or miss, but last year’s reimagining of Pet Sematary is more than worthy. There are necessary callbacks to Stephen King’s source novel, as well as the 1989 original film, but writer/director team Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer put their own unique spin on this twisted reincarnation story. With grounded performances from Clarke, Amy Seimetz, and John Lithgow, this version of Pet Sematary feels more naturalistic than its predecessor. While the late-’80s film is hard to replace, we can’t imagine another stab at King’s text being better than this 2019 attempt.
Rotten Tomatoes: 58%
Stars: Jason Clarke, Amy Seimetz, John Lithgow
Directors: Kevin Kölsh, Dennis Widmyer
Runtime: 101 minutes
Let the Right One In (2008)
Vampires have seen their fair share of cinema, both good and bad. Over a decade ago, there was Let the Right One In (based on the Swedish novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist), an ultra-compelling, air-brushed interpretation of classic vampiric lore. Set in Stockholm in the early 80s, we follow lead boy Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) through his everyday tribulations as a bullied adolescent. When a quiet, pale-faced girl named Eli (Lina Leandersson) moves in next door to him, the two youths foster a friendship. Unbeknownst to Oskar, Eli is actually a budding vampiress living under the watchful keep of Håkan, her late-aged guardian and keeper. Foregoing tropes and easy scares, Let the Right One In instead focuses on the emotional connection between the film’s two fragile youths, an impressive character study set against the moody nighttime exteriors of a snowy Stockholm. Critics raved that Let the Right One In pumped new life into the overly-trod vampire genre. Now, you be the judge.
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Stars: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Runtime: 114 minutes
The Lodge (2019)
Nothing says “bad times for all” like a traumatized stepmom-to-be getting snowed in with her embittered and equally traumatized stepchildren — in the middle of nowhere. From the malicious minds that brought us 2014’s Goodnight Mommy, The Lodge is a discomforting blend of close-quarters madness, familial frailty, and religious insanity. Indie stalwart Riley Keough delivers a restrained but haunting performance as the rattled stepmother. As strange events begin piling up at the remote cabin, the stepchildren (played by Jaeden Martell and Lia McHugh) do a little digging and discover their new mom is the single escapee of a very dark past. Intense, lurking visuals, oppressively dim lighting, and a dooming score are the backbone to this tale of winter woe that will keep you guessing from start to finish. Think The Shining, but on a painfully microcosmic scale.
Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Stars: Riley Keough, Jaeden Martell, Lia McHugh
Directors: Severin Fiala, Veronika Franz
Runtime: 108 minutes
My Friend Dahmer (2017)
This isn’t the first origin film to explore the dark and twisted roots of Jeffrey Dahmer’s psyche, but it’s one of the most compelling explorations of the butcher that shook the world. Adapted from a 2012 graphic novel of the same name by Dahmer’s high school friend John “Derf” Backderf, writer/director Marc Meyers’s visually-stunning film gets us uncomfortably close and personal with Dahmer and Derf during their teen years. Inspired by Dahmer’s already-maudlin idiosyncrasies, Derf and his posse of friends invite Dahmer into their inner circle for a number of staged pranks and rebellious hijinks. As Dahmer’s home life starts to crumble, his behavior becomes increasingly grim and disturbed. Is it the dissolution of the nuclear household that unleashes Dahmer’s inner demons? Or would his evil ways have surfaced regardless of stimuli? Meyers’ film poses these heavy questions for the viewer, and it’s the viewer who gets to decide how much empathy Dahmer’s history truly deserves. Next to none, if you ask us.
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Stars: Ross Lynch, Anne Heche, Alex Wolff
Director: Marc Meyers
Runtime: 107 minutes
Elisabeth Moss is mesmerizing as the titular Shirley Jackson, the famed horror novelist behind such books as The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Director Josephine Decker’s film is an adaptation of Susan Scarff Merrell’s 2014 novel of the same name, about a young couple, Fred and Rose (Logan Lerman and Odessa Young), who moves in with Shirley Jackson and her husband, Stanley Hyman (Michael Stuhlbarg). As Rose starts to befriend Shirley, a series of unusual events and increasing psychological duress morphs a once-promising living situation into a perplexing nightmare for all involved. The entire cast is on fire in Decker’s film, creating a tormented stage of performances not unlike the battered and belligerent souls of Edward Albee’s famous 1962 play, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? While less an outright horror film, Shirley effectively builds its terror-laced atmosphere through a slow burn of rich little oddities and uncanny phenomena. Regardless of its exact genre pinnings, we highly recommend it.
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Stars: Elisabeth Moss, Michael Stuhlbarg, Odessa Young
Director: Josephine Decker
Runtime: 107 minutes
There are a number of words we can use to describe the hellish anthology-film-meets-road-picture mashup, Southbound. It’s unpredictable, chaotic, perplexing, and, above all, relentless. To put things into perspective, our story begins on a stretch of desolate highway. Two men, Mitch (Chad Villela) and Jack (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin), speed down a barren desert interstate, trying to outrun an onslaught of winged demon creatures. Disturbing events transpire, which eventually leads us to a motel. Just as we’re starting to piece together who these guys are, where they’ve come from, and what’s up with the demons, the film forcibly shifts perspective from Mitch and Jack’s tale to three new characters, Sadie, Ava, and Kim, all lodged in the same motel. Then, after we spend time with the girls, another three stories unfold. Players from previous stories repeat, along with the aforementioned demons of flight. With the film’s segments filmed collaboratively by the horror filmmaking trio known as Radio Silence (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett, and Chad Villella) and three other directors, Southbound is a non-stop thrill ride, with a foreboding through-line of recurring motifs, disturbing imagery, and plenty of gore.
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Stars: Chad Villela, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Fabianne Therese, Hannah Marks
Directors: Radio Silence, Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner, Patrick Horvath
Runtime: 89 minutes
Wrinkles the Clown (2019)
Is your child misbehaving? For a nominal fee, Florida residents can call in Wrinkles, a professional creeper clown, to scare the kiddies straight. Wrinkles the Clown is a multilayered documentary about the very real clown for hire, focusing on the man behind the mask, the communities he serves, the families that call upon his services, and the internet-obsessed teens who use his phone number as a thrilling rite of passage. Wrinkles the Clown is sincerely uncomfortable but also utterly fascinating. Just as we begin to get used to the film’s odd cast of characters, the doc does a complete 180, unfolding an entirely new layer to the Wrinkles mythos. What new layer, exactly? You’ll just have to see for yourself.
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Stars: Wrinkles the Clown
Director: Michael Beach Nichols
Runtime: 75 minutes
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