If you’re anything like me, you feel like a smartphone with a bunch of apps running in the background. Although unseen, they drain the battery slowly until the phone eventually dies. The apps are a metaphor for the hidden anxieties that we’re all dealing with, in the midst of a global pandemic. The worries are different for each of us (childcare, food, employment, older family members, etc) but the anxiety is probably mostly universal. Now, this might seem crazy, but the one thing that can take my mind out of this all-too-real world is a good scary movie.
Yes, I encourage you to scare yourself to stop feeling scared! Scary movies force you to confront a different reality. Sociologist Dr. Margee Kerr wrote a book entitled Scream: Chilling Adventures in the Science of Fear argues that thrillseekers seek the thrills found in horror movies and Halloween haunted houses to get a physiological response. When you watch a horror film, your autonomic nervous system is activated. It’s the primary system that triggers a flight-or-fight response. Your heart rate increases, your breathing gets shallow, essentially you’re getting very stressed out.
But, researchers have found that after that stress subsides, individuals are able to enjoy things that come after the movie. For instance, bonding with the person you watched the movie with or simply taking a monster-free walk becomes much more pleasurable than they were before. With that in mind, here are 7 terrifying horror movies currently streaming on Netflix that will scare you into forgetting the grim realities of this moment.
7. The Invitation
For fans of Jennifer’s Body, check out the psychological, suspense trap, The Invitation. The same director, Karyn Kusama directed both films. However, they are very different types of horror. Where Jennifer’s Body leans into camp and comedy, The Invitation leans into existential dread (just what you needed more of right now).
If social distancing is keeping you from enjoying beloved dinner parties, this film will cure that! You’ll never want to gather with close friends again!
“What’s your favorite scary movie?” Time to pop some popcorn and enjoy this classic horror movie that’s streaming for you on Netflix. I saw Scream when I was way too young and so it has a special fear-by-way-of-nostalgia quality.
Note: If you’ve ever suffered someone explaining how “meta” this movie is, I’m deeply sorry.
5. Creep & Creep 2
For an unhinged and terrifying double feature, consider Creep. Indie darling, Mark Duplass plays Josef, “the creep” who has to be one of the most unsettling characters ever created. Like The Invitation, Creep gets under your skin before you realize it exists to scare you. Generally, I hate found-footage horror movies. Creep manages to transcend the schtick and deliver something truly deranged.
Creep 2 manages to be even scarier than the first film. The suspense is baked in because you’re seeing the villain from the first film as he interacts with a new, potential victim. You know what he’s capable of and while you wait for him to get to it, you must wait for it. The tension is excruciating and one of the best reasons to watch!
Hush comes from the oft brilliant horror auteur Mike Flannigan who is behind Oculus, The Haunting of Hill House, and Gerald’s Game. Hush is a smaller movie than some of his more commercial ventures which works in its favor. It is essentially a home invasion thriller that allows viewers to imagine what that experience might be like for a deaf and mute person.
If you’re feeling trapped in your home right now, it could be so much worse! A masked murderer could be trying to come for you.
3. Green Room
Easily one of the most brutal movies I’ve ever seen, Green Room hits like a punch to the tummy! The movie involves a punk band that is unwittingly booked for a gig at a bar ran and frequented by white supremacists.
Members of the band witness a heinous crime and then become captives inside the bar. They have to fight for their lives to escape their captors and their bloodthirsty dogs. You will witness some of the most revolting practical effects involving an arm that you’ll ever see. I’m spiraling just thinking about that arm. If you’ve had the urge to go to a music venue or bar, this will absolve you of it.
2. The Witch
The Witch is the cilantro of horror movies. It will either rattle you to your core or it will seem like a boring period piece about Calvinism. The film, set in the 1630s, acts as a subversive morality play about the dangers of nature. The players in the play are a devout Christian family of homesteaders who are trying to survive in the wilderness of New England. After the youngest member of the family disappears, the family’s sins slowly begin to tear them apart. Oh, and there’s a witch!
By the end of the movie you might be unsure if she’s the villain or the hero. If you’re one of the thousands of people who adopted a pet at the start of this pandemic, you might be thinking you bit off more than you can chew. Just watch this movie and its menacing animals and you’ll feel much better about your choices.
1. Under the Shadow
Under the Shadow is a horror movie with some of the most haunting images you will ever see. It’s light on gore, but the unnerving, uncanny, weird scares in this movie really stick with you. The film is set in Tehran shortly after the Iranian Revolution.
A mother and daughter struggle to cope with life after that huge societal shift while being haunted by a mysterious evil force. Part haunted house movie, part psychological thriller, this movie was a surprising find for me. If you think your daughter driving you crazy, you’ll definitely feel a bit better after seeing what little Dorsa gets up to.
There you go! 7 scary movies on Netflix that will scare you into a better mood. I know it might seem counterintuitive to watch a horror movie to loosen up, but anxious people have been doing it for years. Join the twisted fun and get freaked out to feel better with these incredible spooky movies.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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