20 Scary Movies on Netflix Canada That Will Chill You to the Bone
From pulse-pounding monster movies to spooky supernatural flicks, these scary movies on Netflix Canada are guaranteed to give you goosebumps.
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
Every once in a while, a movie comes around that’s able to show its hand within 15 minutes while still managing to be unpredictable. This delightfully bonkers—and bloody—horror-comedy is one such flick. A group of college friends travel to the boonies to spend the weekend at a lake house. Incantations, zombies and government conspiracies soon rear their ugly heads, but it’s a testament to Cabin’s giddy inventiveness that absolutely none of these items can count as spoilers.
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World War Z (2013)
Zombies are taking over the world, and it’s up to Brad Pitt as a former United Nations investigator—impeccably styled hair and all—to find a cure. As the plot moves from the United States to Korea to Israel to Wales, it becomes very easy to draw parallels to the COVID-19 pandemic, what with World War Z’s stark visions of looting, mass panic and barricaded families. But like the pandemic, there’s a light at the end of World War Z’s tunnel, and though we know what’s coming, the non-stop action is nothing short of mesmerizing.
Equal parts post-apocalyptic horror movie and family drama, the under-seen Cargo introduces viewers to an Australian Outback overrun by a zombie virus. After being bitten enroute to a remote hospital, Andy (Martin Freeman) has 48 hours to find a guardian for his newborn before he succumbs to his wounds and “turns.” Enter Vic (Anthony Hayes), a seemingly kind stranger who promises safety at his compound. The pulse-pounding Cargo will make zombie fans proud.
The Rental (2020)
Part parable about infidelity, part critique of technology, The Rental follows two hipster couples (Alison Brie, Dan Stevens, Sheila Vand and The Bear’s Jeremy Allen White) whose weekend at an Oregon Coast beach house goes from bad to worse when they suspect the property’s caretaker is spying on them. First-time director Dave Franco shows impressive command of his minimalist and claustrophobic material—like the best horror flicks, The Rental knows how to squeeze the most tension out of seemingly mundane moments.
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How could eight-year-old Victoria and six-year-old Lily survive alone in the unforgiving wilderness for five years? The answer is left for Luke and Annie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Jessica Chastain) to discover—after adopting their two young nieces, the couple learns that the newest members of their family have a spirit in tow. With Mama, Argentine writer-director Andy Muschietti (the It franchise) has crafted one of the scariest films of the 2010s—a ghost story which riffs on sources as disparate as The Exorcist and Pan’s Labyrinth.
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The Conjuring (2013)
Based on the travails of real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, The Conjuring is one of the most purely enjoyable horror movies of the last 25 years. Set in 1970s Rhode Island, this spook fest follows a family of seven (and their beloved dog) who realize that their dream fixer-upper home is anything but. What The Conjuring lacks in innovation, however, it more than makes up for in sheer terror—this is essentially a “greatest supernatural hits” collection, filled with exorcisms, demonic dolls, evil witches and two dozen jump scares. You’ll never want to play a game of “hide and clap” ever again.
A bad week gets worse for Mike Enslin (John Cusack), a has-been writer of paranormal books. Desperate to make it to the big leagues again, Enslin travels to New York City to book a night at the Dolphin Hotel’s supposedly haunted room 1408. The previously skeptical Enslin soon becomes a believer, however, when he realizes he’s unable to leave the room—and that the room is trying to drive him to suicide. Based on the 1999 Stephen King story of the same name, 1408 is so twisted it manages to make even The Carpenters sound diabolical.
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For more than four decades, Canadian auteur David Cronenberg has wowed audiences with startlingly original—and bloody—visions like Scanners, Videodrome and The Fly. With 2020’s Possessor, written and directed by his son Brandon, it becomes clear that the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. In the world of corporate contract killings, an assassin (Andrea Riseborough) takes over the minds of unsuspecting strangers, using their bodies to carry out her hits. But what happens when one host fights back? Look past the ultra-violence and psychedelic murk and be prepared to find a film that truly ponders modern technology and our relationship to it. Like father, like son, indeed.
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Escape Room (2019)
A bona fide sleeper hit (it grossed $155 million against a production budget of $9 million), this claustrophobic horror flick is one of the best scary movies on Netflix Canada. Six strangers with seemingly nothing in common (including True Blood’s Deborah Ann Woll and star-in-the-making Taylor Russell) are lured into a series of deadly games, and must rely on their wits—and a little bit of luck—to survive. Unbearably tense and deliriously fun in equal measure, Escape Room will have you trying to unlock its mysteries till the very end.
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Hovering between taut thriller and campy horror, the sophomore feature by Aneesh Chaganty (the writer-director behind 2018’s Searching) borrows from Rear Window and Misery to depict one of the most nightmarish mother-daughter relationships in recent memory. Wheelchair-bound teenager Chloe (Keira Allen, in an impressive debut) is homeschooled by her dedicated but overbearing mother, Diane (Sarah Paulson). After a quick peek at Diane’s medication, however, Chloe learns that her Mom may be harbouring a sinister secret.
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What if Superman were evil? The ultra-violent Brightburn follows Kal-El’s myth…up to a point: a spaceship crash-lands on the Kansas farm of a childless couple, Tori and Kyle (Elizabeth Banks and David Denman), carrying with it a baby. Twelve years later, the parents learn that their extraterrestrial son, Brandon, has superpowers; he isn’t interested in helping humanity, however, but destroying it. In an age where superhero movies rule the multiplex with no end in sight, Brightburn is a fascinating—and disturbing—counterpoint.
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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)
Based on Alvin Schwartz’s popular children’s book series of the same name, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark ditches the novels’ anthology format to tell its own brand of creepy folklore. In small-town Pennsylvania in 1968, a group of kids discover a book of horror stories that once belonged to Sarah Bellows, a local girl who was accused of witchcraft. Soon, the friends learn that the book has supernatural powers—and is creating new stories that highlight their greatest fears. Filled with terrifying monsters and wisely eschewing CGI and jump scares, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is an enjoyable ode to campfires of old.
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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.
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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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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.
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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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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.
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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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In the Tall Grass (2019)
In Kansas, Becky (Laysla De Oliveira) and her brother Cal hear the cries of a young boy lost in a field. They venture in to rescue him, only to become lost—soon, it becomes apparent that a supernatural force is preventing them from leaving. Based on the novella by Stephen King and Joe Hill, In the Tall Grass also stars Patrick Wilson and Rachel Wilson (Breaker High).
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