(Photo by Compass International Pictures/ Courtesy: Everett Collection. Thumbnail: RLJE Films / courtesy Everett Collection)
Since its launch in 2015, Shudder has staked its reputation as a safe haven for society’s misunderstood castaways: Psycho killers, mad scientists, supernatural ghouls, and some really, really cranky animals. It’s become the streaming platform of choice for self-professed horror and genre enthusiasts, and we’ve scoured the depths of its library for the movies with the highest Tomatometer scores, raising to life our guide to the 50 best movies on Shudder right now!
First off, you got the classics: The original Halloween, The Texas Chansaw Massacre, Re-Animator, Deep Red, and more. Then there’s the contemporary films that have re-defined horror in recent times, including Mandy, Tigers Are Not Afraid, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, The Wailing, and One Cut of the Dead. And lest we discount one of Shudder’s feature attractions: Originals, some that have been making a cultural splash in the form of Host, and documentary Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror.
And Shudder offers selections beyond horror, including dark comedies (Heathers), sci-fi (Turbo Kid), dramatic thrillers (Stranger by the Lake), and gangster epics (Drug War). Whatever genre box you might want to stuff these films in, the only stipulation for consideration to this guide was that each movie crossed at least 20 critics reviews.
Now say hello to some old pals, and make a bunch of new weird ones, with our list of the 50 best movies on Shudder right now.
Adjusted Score: 86.021%
Critics Consensus: Restrained but disturbing, A Tale of Two Sisters is a creepily effective, if at times confusing, horror movie.
Adjusted Score: 87.722%
Critics Consensus: Though its underlying themes are familiar, House of the Devil effectively sheds the loud and gory cliches of contemporary horror to deliver a tense, slowly building throwback to the fright flicks of decades past.
Adjusted Score: 87.095%
Critics Consensus: The Transfiguration tells a quieter, more deliberately paced tale than genre fans might expect, but for those with the patience to let it sink in, it offers its own rewards.
Adjusted Score: 88.928%
Critics Consensus: A compelling story cleverly told, We Are What We Are quenches horror buffs’ thirst for gore while serving up serious-minded filmmaking and solid acting.
Adjusted Score: 94.636%
Critics Consensus: A welcome return for director Richard Stanley, Color Out of Space mixes tart B-movie pulp with visually alluring Lovecraftian horror and a dash of gonzo Nicolas Cage.
Adjusted Score: 92.429%
Critics Consensus: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer is an effective, chilling profile of a killer that is sure to shock and disturb.
Adjusted Score: 88.847%
Critics Consensus: Led by a strong central performance from Virginia Gardner, Starfish is an intelligent, emotionally affecting, and uniquely expansive sci-fi/horror hybrid.
Adjusted Score: 88.723%
Critics Consensus: Director Tobe Hooper and a devilishly charismatic James Mason elevate this television adaptation of the Stephen King novel, injecting the vampiric tradition with fresh blood and lingering scares.
Adjusted Score: 88.392%
Critics Consensus: Deathgasm plumbs the blood-spattered depths of grindhouse gore with enough giddy glee to satisfy genre enthusiasts looking for a thrill.
Adjusted Score: 88.067%
Critics Consensus: Bliss may be too narratively and visually intense for less adventurous viewers, but should trigger the titular state in those with a taste for hard-hitting horror.
Adjusted Score: 95.736%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a smart script and documentary-style camerawork, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre achieves start-to-finish suspense, making it a classic in low-budget exploitation cinema.
Adjusted Score: 91.236%
Critics Consensus: The strong female cast and biting satire of teenage life makes Ginger Snaps far more memorable than your average werewolf movie — or teen flick.
Adjusted Score: 90.378%
Critics Consensus: Dogs Don’t Wear Pants will be too intense for many viewers, but for those who can take the punishment, there’s pleasure in this stark drama’s pain.
Adjusted Score: 90.959%
Critics Consensus: Carried by its charismatic young cast, Better Watch Out is an adorably sinister holiday horror film.
Adjusted Score: 93.308%
Critics Consensus: Blood Quantum blends bloody horror with sociopolitical subtext, taking a fresh bite out of the crowded zombie genre in the bargain.
Adjusted Score: 100.359%
Critics Consensus: Mandy’s gonzo violence is fueled by a gripping performance by Nicolas Cage — and anchored with palpable emotion conveyed between his volcanic outbursts.
Adjusted Score: 92.319%
Critics Consensus: A nostalgic ode to kids’ movies of yesteryear, Turbo Kid eyes the past through an entertaining — albeit surprisingly gory — postmodern lens.
Adjusted Score: 93.96%
Critics Consensus: As ambitious as it is daringly transgressive, Prevenge should thrill fans of pitch-black horror-comedy — and open untold opportunities for writer/director/star Alice Lowe.
Adjusted Score: 97.714%
Critics Consensus: Beast plays like bleak poetry, unfurling its psychological thrills while guided by its captivating leads and mesmerizing, visceral visuals.
Adjusted Score: 94.115%
Critics Consensus: Ambitious and beautifully shot, Demon delivers a gripping — and sadly final — testament to the singular talent possessed by director/co-writer Marcin Wrona.
Adjusted Score: 96.882%
Critics Consensus: Dark, cynical, and subversive, Heathers gently applies a chainsaw to the conventions of the high school movie — changing the game for teen comedies to follow.
Adjusted Score: 97.328%
Critics Consensus: Perfectly mixing humor and horror, the only thing more effective than Re-Animator’s gory scares are its dry, deadpan jokes.
Adjusted Score: 94.321%
Critics Consensus: It’ll be too disturbing — and meandering — for some, but Dogtooth is as disturbing and startlingly original as modern filmmaking gets.
Adjusted Score: 98.209%
Critics Consensus: Revenge slices and dices genre tropes, working within an exploitation framework while adding a timely — yet never less than viscerally thrilling — feminist spin.
Adjusted Score: 94.536%
Critics Consensus: Nina Forever tests the limits of the rom-com with a decidedly unorthodox triangle that’s as diabolically original as it is daringly dark.
Adjusted Score: 95.331%
Critics Consensus: A taut, solidly constructed action thriller with uncommon intelligence, Drug War delivers exhilarating set pieces without skimping on sophisticated filmmaking.
Adjusted Score: 97.265%
Critics Consensus: Sexy, smart, and darkly humorous, Stranger by the Lake offers rewarding viewing for adult filmgoers in search of thought-provoking drama.
Adjusted Score: 92.76%
Critics Consensus: Impetigore uses its folk horror setting as the brutally effective backdrop for a supernatural story that sinks its hooks into the viewer and refuses to let go.
Adjusted Score: 98.822%
Critics Consensus: The Love Witch offers an absorbing visual homage to a bygone era, arranged subtly in service of a thought-provoking meditation on the battle of the sexes.
Adjusted Score: 97.87%
Critics Consensus: The kinetic camerawork and brutal over-the-top gore that made Dario Argento famous is on full display, but the addition of a compelling, complex story makes Deep Red a masterpiece.
Adjusted Score: 100.347%
Critics Consensus: A deft blend of well-chosen ingredients, The Old Dark House is a delightfully scary horror comedy that benefits from James Whale’s suspenseful direction.
Adjusted Score: 93.332%
Critics Consensus: Hagazussa: A Heathen’s Curse weaves a spooky supernatural story that should satisfy horror fans with more adventurous inclinations.
Adjusted Score: 103.578%
Critics Consensus: Scary, suspenseful, and viscerally thrilling, Halloween set the standard for modern horror films.
Adjusted Score: 100.892%
Critics Consensus: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night blends conventional elements into something brilliantly original — and serves as a striking calling card for writer-director Ana Lily Amirpour.
Adjusted Score: 98.5%
Critics Consensus: Ringu combines supernatural elements with anxieties about modern technology in a truly frightening and unnerving way.
Adjusted Score: 104.333%
Critics Consensus: George A. Romero’s debut set the template for the zombie film, and features tight editing, realistic gore, and a sly political undercurrent.
Adjusted Score: 99.262%
Critics Consensus: La Llorona puts a fresh spin on the familiar legend by blending the supernatural and the political to resolutely chilling effect.
Adjusted Score: 101.235%
Critics Consensus: Tigers Are Not Afraid draws on childhood trauma for a story that deftly blends magical fantasy and hard-hitting realism – and leaves a lingering impact.
Adjusted Score: 101.542%
Critics Consensus: The Wailing delivers an atmospheric, cleverly constructed mystery whose supernatural thrills more than justify its imposing length.
Adjusted Score: 98.143%
Critics Consensus: Thrilling and relentless from start to finish, Yeon Sang-ho’s Seoul Station is a layered and vicious entry into the zombie genre.
Adjusted Score: 100.975%
Critics Consensus: Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street compassionately draws on an actor’s personal journey to offer a compelling and illuminating reexamination of the franchise’s first sequel.
Adjusted Score: 100.47%
Critics Consensus: Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror more than lives up to its title, offering a smart and entertaining overview of American film history through an overlooked lens.
Adjusted Score: 100.564%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Adjusted Score: 103.123%
Critics Consensus: Lean, suspenseful, and scary, Host uses its timely premise to deliver a nastily effective treat for horror enthusiasts.
Adjusted Score: 103.179%
Critics Consensus: Brainy and bloody in equal measure, One Cut of the Dead reanimates the moribund zombie genre with a refreshing blend of formal daring and clever satire.