There’s a universal thrill in being scared – especially when there’s no actual danger involved. And what better way to indulge your taste for the pants-fillingly frightening than to dim the lights and cue up a horror movie on your favourite streaming device?
Thankfully, the days of having to venture out to the video shop or cross your fingers that something suitable is on are over: there’s a horrifying wealth of scary movies available at your fingertips on streaming services.
We’ve already run down the movies most likely to give you nightmares on Netflix. Here, you’ll find the Stuff team’s pick of the best horror films on Amazon Prime Video. There are also a few films even non-Prime subscribers can view on Freevee, Amazon’s ad-supported but free-to-watch channel. There’s sure to be something in here that’ll put the willies up you.
You can sign up here for a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime Video: so, go on: fill your boots on scary flicks.
A film that takes you one way and then spins around into something totally different, Barbarian certainly numbers among the best and most original horror movies of recent year. Opening with a menacing Airbnb mix-up in a sketchy Detroit neighbourhood before taking a 90º turn into… well, something else, the film also manages to offer a measure of political and cultural commentary without being distractingly preachy or arty. Most importantly, it’s a scary and unpredictable horror movie that sticks its landing just right.
Watch Barbarian on Prime Video
Many of the most memorable horror movies stick in the mind due to some kind of (often literally) killer gimmick, and that’s very much the case with Don’t Breathe.
When a trio of teen tearaways breaks into the home of a sightless old codger intent on robbing him blind (no pun intended), they haven’t reckoned with him being a ruthless ex-military man with near-superhuman hearing, a vicious guard dog and a burning desire to keep the contents of his basement a secret. Cue an hour and a half of toe-curling tension.
Watch Don’t Breathe on Prime Video
The Lost Boys
1980s cult classics don’t come much better than this tale of teenage vampires and the (slightly younger) teenagers hunting them. The Lost Boys is beloved by an entire generation – and even today it’s easy to see why.
Packed with Hollywood icons of the era (Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric and both Corey Feldman and Corey Haim!) and an aesthetic that screams of its California beach town setting, it’s also an involving story about the struggles of moving to a new place and starting a new life – all the more challenging when said town is plagued by a spate of mysterious murders and disappearances. A great teen horror flick that is rarely found on UK streaming services, so drink deep of its campy delights while you can.
Watch The Lost Boys on Prime Video
An American Werewolf in London
After a young American tourist is attacked by a huge, vicious and definitely non-native beast on a Yorkshire moor, he discovers that something inside him has changed – and realises that something awful is going to happen come the next full moon.
Perhaps best known for its ground-breaking transformation scene (courtesy of special effects legend Rick Baker) John Landis’ movie remains one of the most enjoyable horror-comedies ever made, largely because it succeeds in being both extremely scary and drily amusing without either trait ruining the other. Good stuff all round.
Watch An American Werewolf in London on Prime Video
30 Days of Night
Welcome to Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost city in the world – and a place where the sun disappears for a month once a year. Cue the arrival of a coterie of animalistic vampires, taking advantage of the extended period of darkness to feed on the snowbound townsfolk uninterrupted.
Grisly and disturbing (even with Danny Huston’s head vampire bearing an uncanny resemblance to Neil Tennant from the Pet Shop Boys), it’s a fine horror film with a memorable final reel.
Watch 30 Days of Night on Freevee
A team of astronauts on the ISS rendezvous with a satellite carrying soil samples from Mars, and are delighted when they discover microscopic signs of life within. Joy quickly turns to concern when the organism, dubbed “Calvin”, turns out to be intelligent, resourceful, capable of rapid growth and absolutely determined to stay alive – no matter the cost to its hosts.
It’s b-movie stuff at heart, but with a strong cast (including Ryan Reynolds, Jack Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson), superb visual effects and some disturbing twists and turns, this tense creature feature doesn’t disappoint.
Watch Life on Prime Video
This horror comedy hits the ground running with a refreshingly self-aware opening credits sequence that lays out the ground rules for survival in a post-apocalyptic zombie-infested America. Jesse Eisenberg’s lily-livered Columbus stays alive by following those rules to the letter but his travelling companion Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) is an impetuous killing machine on a quest for the last remaining Twinkie. Sharp, witty and blessed with one of the most memorable cameo appearances ever, this is a zombie movie with lots of brains.
Watch Zombieland on Prime Video
When a nerdy high schooler buys and fixes up a battered 1957 Plymouth Fury called Christine, his confidence begins to grow. But when that turns into cruel arrogance, his friends start to question the car’s influence: is Christine just a machine, or is something sinister lurking in her engine block?
Despite being one of the lesser-known Stephen King adaptations and lesser-known John Carpenter movies, Christine is well worth any horror film fan’s time. Carpenter’s trademark synth score juxtaposes cleverly with the uncharacteristically ominous 50s rock ‘n roll that wafts from Christine’s radio and, despite a lack of blood and gore or sophisticated visual effects, the demonic motor exudes a palpable sense of menace, even when parked harmlessly in a garage.
Watch Christine on Prime Video
The only English language film made by controversial Polish auteur Andrzej Zulawski, Possession stars Sam Neill and Isabelle Adjani as a young couple in the throes of divorce. Filmed and set in Cold War Berlin – the partitioned city an apt metaphor for a marriage torn asunder – it’s a film that doesn’t do anything by halves.
From the breathless, histrionic acting (Adjani in particular delivers some of the most intense performances we’ve ever seen) to the evocative score, stark cinematography and revolting visual effects, this is artistic horror turned up to 10. Some consider it a masterpiece, others a confusing mess, but one thing is for certain: once the credits roll, you’ll be feeling something.
Watch Possession on Amazon Prime Video
Don’t let this South Korean film’s 2.5-hour runtime deter you. It’s well worth your time, being an atmospheric, disturbing and often incongruously funny masterpiece of uneasiness and tension that’ll sit with you long after the final credits roll.
When a series of grisly killings occur in a quiet mountain community, suspicion and superstition begin to run rife. The spotlight quickly falls on a mysterious Japanese man who lives out in the woods, but the investigation into the murders is far from straightforward, leaving both the protagonists and the audience in an almost permanent state of discomfort and agitation. As a horror film, this really has it all, and goes to some extremely uncomfortable places, all while keeping you constantly guessing until the end. Masterful.
Watch The Wailing on Amazon Prime Video
This Brit flick, co-directed by Andy Nyman (who also stars) and The League of Gentlemen’s Jeremy Dyson, offers a triple whammy of spooky tales, each of them masterfully interlinked with the others.
This anthology of creepy shorts, all framed as investigations by Nyman’s sceptical paranormal investigator, might not be particularly gory or shocking by modern horror standards, but it succeeds in delivering the old-fashioned feeling of discomfort and impending dread you expect of a British ghost story – and even manages to squeeze in an unforeseen twist here and there. Paul Whitehouse and Martin Freeman are among the supporting cast.
Watch Ghost Stories on Freevee
The House of the Devil
Ti West’s slow-burn horror came out in 2009 but you’d barely know it: technically and aesthetically, it feels like it was made 30 years earlier, in that golden era of horror when scary movies weren’t afraid to take their time to establish characters and gradually ratchet up the tension.
Shot on grainy 16mm film and set in the 1980s, it stars the unknown Jocelin Donahue as cash-strapped college student Samantha, who takes on an unusual babysitting job in an effort to raise some extra money and ends up in a seriously creepy old house. This isn’t just an exercise in nostalgia, though: it’s a finely crafted film that builds to an unforgettable final reel. We wouldn’t want to spoil a thing.
Watch The House of the Devil on Prime Video
The movie that kicked off the late 90s Japanese horror craze, Hideo Nakata’s Ringu is a masterpiece when it comes to gradually building up tension and releasing it to maximum effect.
The story? Well, there’s an urban myth about a weird videotape doing the rounds. Pop the tape in your VCR, watch it, and you’ll receive a creepy phone call shortly thereafter with a scratchy voice uttering the words, “seven days.” Then you’ll be dead within the week. With a group of teenagers reportedly falling victim to the curse a curious and sceptical journalist decides to uncover the truth. But are some stories better left untold?
Watch Ringu on Freevee
Later remade in the US as Quarantine, this low budget, lo-fi Spanish movie offers a slightly new spin on the well-worn found footage horror yarn: it’s presented in real-time. A TV news crew, documenting the night shift of a crew of Barcelona firefighters, finds themselves trapped in an apartment building amidst an unspecified emergency. While the subject matter doesn’t tread new ground, the real-time approach brings the viewer right into the action. It’s good, simple and strong stuff that rarely gives you a chance to relax, and the climactic scene is terrifically tense.
Watch [REC] on Freevee
Dark Water (2002)
Ringu director Hideo Nakata returns with another chilling, slow-burning J-Horror. Dark Water follows a single mother, Yoshimi who, along with her young daughter Ikuko, moves into an aging, unloved apartment building following a divorce. The pair’s attempts to settle into their new life are hampered by water leaking into their flat. At first, it’s a drop here and there, then a trickle, then a torrent. With the landlord and caretaker mystified by the problem, Yoshimi begins to suspect the cause may not be related to leaky pipes. Rather, is the work of a creepy little girl she catches glimpses of in the building’s corridors?
Watch Dark Water on Freevee
Horror doesn’t have to be played dead straight to work, as evidenced by the silly, camp and somewhat tongue-in-cheek Jeepers Creepers. Jeepers Creepers is a film that’s not short on gore or scares, but steadfastly refuses to take itself too seriously. A brother and sister, driving home from college, endure a threatening encounter with an old truck. Later, they witness its driver dumping what seems to be a dead body into a sewer pipe. Choosing to investigate rather than immediately calling the police is their first mistake. Thankfully for us, the decision sparks off a life-and-death chase with the apparent killer.
Watch Jeepers Creepers on Freevee
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
The second in George Romero’s series of zombie classics this is one of the most iconic and influential horror movies of all time, despite its low budget. When an epidemic of undead starts to unravel society from within, four survivors decamp to a giant abandoned shopping mall in a bid for safety. They then discover that the shambling hordes also find themselves drawn to this palace of consumerism.
You’d have to be braindead to miss Romero’s satire (no pun intended) but there’s so much else going on here that it hardly matters. Zack Snyder’s 21st-century reimagining isn’t a patch on this for atmosphere, and the practical effects and synth score give it an eerie atmosphere you just don’t get with modern horror flicks.
Watch Dawn of the Dead on Prime Video
Genres get sliced and diced as much as the unfortunate characters in S. Craig Zahler’s brutal debut. Bone Tomahawk starts out like a Western but gradually unfolds into a nightmarish horror flick, albeit one with some great comedic dialogue and character moments.
Kurt Russell heads a killer cast as the upstanding sheriff who assembles a small posse to track down tribe of cannibalistic kidnappers. There’s an old-school nastiness about Bone Tomahawk not often seen in modern movies, not to mention a refreshing tendency to take its time, allowing you to get properly acquainted with its characters and its world.
Watch Bone Tomahawk on Amazon Prime Video
Scanners might be best known for that famous shocking scene early on (if you’ve seen it, you’ll know the one). Nevertheless, David Cronenberg’s psychological (and psychic) thriller is a great piece of early 80s cinema, all bad haircuts and doom-laden synths. A shady corporation seeks to turn “scanners” – a growing number of powerful psychics – into living weapons, but somebody appears to be murdering them just as fast as they can be found. When one particularly powerful scanner goes on a killing spree, the corporation sends its latest recruit to hunt him down – but things don’t go to plan.
Watch Scanners on Amazon Prime Video
“If it’s in a word, or it’s in a look, you can’t get rid of the Babadook.” Honestly, this Australian indie flick is going to stick with you for some time. In addition to all the thrills and chills you’d expect from a standard horror movie, The Babadook has something extra hidden in its basement under the stairs: smarts.
Yes, this film will fray your nerves like wool dragged across a barbed wire fence. But it’s also a powerful meditation on loss and trauma. Can single mother Amelia finally lay the repressed memory of her dead husband to rest and save her son Samuel in the process? You’ll simply have to watch this modern classic to find out.
Watch The Babadook on Amazon Prime Video
Made on a budget that would barely get you a Ford Focus, 2009’s Paranormal Activity will nonetheless put the willies up all but the hardiest viewer.
The story centres on a young couple, one of whom claims to have been haunted by some kind of presence since her childhood. A psychic cautions the pair against attempting to communicate with said presence. This turns out to be good advice, given that when they don’t take it the entity goes on to torment everyone throughout the remainder of the film. Cue minor creepy occurrences captured on grainy night vision video, gradually ramping up to the point that you’ll be sleeping with the lights on.
Watch Paranormal Activity on Amazon Prime Video
Let Me In
Hollywood movie remakes are often about as welcome as a set of razor-sharp fangs to the neck. While we wouldn’t say Let Me In comes close to matching the frost-bitten brilliance of Swedish horror flick Let the Right One In, it’s one of the few remakes that does stand up in its own right.
Kodi Smit-McPhee plays a boy tormented by bullies, who befriends a female vampire in 1980s New Mexico. While it lacks the same level of childlike innocence found in the original, it makes up for it with plenty of tension. If you really can’t handle subtitles (or you’re just a horror completist), Let Me In is well worth sinking your teeth into.
Watch Let Me In on Amazon Freevee
Luca Guadagnino’s stylish reimagining of the Dario Argento classic is bound to divide audiences. Ponderously paced and tottering under the weight of more themes and ideas than it knows what to do with, this is peak arthouse horror. Some might find the eventual gory payoffs too little reward for the investment, though.
Others will appreciate the movie’s strong sense of place (late 1970s Berlin, a divided city riven by political turmoil). The film builds an atmosphere of oppressive discomfort throughout with its use of sound effects, strange camera angles and Thom Yorke’s krautrock-inspired score. Dakota Johnson stars as an unworldly young dancer joining a prestigious all-female company that just might be a coven of witches, while Tilda Swinton excels in three separate roles.
Watch Suspiria on Amazon Prime