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13 spooky horror films to watch on Netflix this Halloween

By Paul Hsiao 14 October 2020 | Last Updated 21 October 2021

Header image courtesy of Brooke Palmer / Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

If 2021 has not been scary enough for you, here are 13 spooky horror films on Netflix Hong Kong to make any Halloween watch party—socially distant or not—that much creepier.

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The Ritual (2017)

While we often come across horror film premises that centre around the exploits of fanatical cults and unexplainable supernatural occurrences, it’s not often that we get one focused on mythological lore, and that’s what sets The Ritual apart. A group of friends set out on a trip through the Swedish wilderness in an attempt to console each other over a recent death and inadvertently become entangled in the affairs of ancient evil beings. In order to survive, they have to face creatures from Norse legends and their corrupted followers.

It Chapter Two (2019)

It is the highest-grossing horror film of all time, making more than US$700 million on a “shoestring” budget of US$35 million, so it did not come as a surprise when Argentine director Andy Muschietti returned for a sequel two years later. It Chapter Two picks up the story almost 30 years after the events of the first film; the Losers Club have long gone their separate ways and are now grown up, but are forced to reunite in their hometown of Derry when the evil cosmic entity known as It returns to terrorise its residents. With a stacked cast that includes the likes of Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, and Bill Skarsgård, what’s not to like?

Don’t Breathe (2016) 

Following the remake of Evil Dead, another horror cinema icon, director Fede Alvarez had his pick of the litter and ended up choosing to do a relatively small-scale film about a bunch of Detroit teenagers who break into a blind man’s house after hearing that it may hold a small fortune. If we revealed any more, it would already take us into spoiler territory, but suffice it to say that Don’t Breathe is a masterclass in tension and visual storytelling. Just like the title implies, I certainly held my breath for most of the film.

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Annihilation (2018)

Here, the stacked cast alone—featuring Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaac, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, and Jennifer Jason Leigh—is worth the price of admission. When her husband goes missing, biologist and former soldier Lena (Natalie Portman) joins a mission to enter “the Shimmer,” a mysterious plot of land where the laws of biology are bent. Unsettling, tense, and with a completely bonkers ending that you will not see coming, Annihilation is one of the best examples of cosmic horror. Another fun fact: At the time of release, this film was notable for being the highest-profile direct-to-Netflix purchase the streaming giant made!

Malevolent (2018)

Florence Pugh shines in this nail-biting story that follows the misadventures of a team of con artists led by brother and sister Jackson and Angela, who run fake paranormal encounters for profit. During their recent assignments, strange and unexplainable things begin to occur to the siblings, and Angela suspects that there is more to their new clients than they are letting on. Angela looks into the history of the estate and comes across a string of unsolved murders and the malevolent spirits that are haunting the mansion.

Don’t Listen (2020)

Horror films where “a family moves into a haunted house and disturbing things ensue” is the bread and butter of the industry, but if you’re looking for a truly good scare, critics agree that Don’t Listen is a must-watch to add to your list this Halloween. Directed by Angel Gómez Hernández, this Spanish thriller follows a young family whose latest house-flipping project turns out to be more than they bargained for when Eric, their son, begins to hear strange voices from within “The House of the Voices” shortly after moving in.

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Apostle (2018)

Now for something a little different to everything else on this list. Apostle is a period horror film set in the Edwardian period, with a cast that includes British stars Dan Stevens, Lucy Boynton, and Michael Sheen. Former missionary Thomas (Stevens) makes a journey to a remote island in Wales to rescue his sister Jennifer, who is being held hostage by an infamous religious cult. As he investigates, he uncovers dark and dangerous secrets. Expect sacrificial rituals, a steady build-up of tension, violent confrontations, and a supernatural twist.

#Alive (2020)

South Korean filmmakers just seem to have that special touch for dystopian zombie flicks, and #Alive is a worthy addition to its growing repertoire. Penned by Hollywood screenwriter Matt Naylor and co-developed with director Cho Il-hyung, the film centres around Oh Joon-woo, who locks himself inside his family’s home when a mysterious and fatal disease breaks out across the city. While fighting off infected neighbours and other victims of the virus who attempt to break into his flat, he comes across another survivor of the zombie outbreak.

Gerald’s Game (2017)

Author Stephen King has long been at the top of his game in the horror genre, so when his 1992 novel of the same name was adapted into a psychological thriller, long-time fans were excited to finally see what was considered an “unfilmable” work hit the silver screens. Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood star as a married couple who go to Alabama for a vacation in order to rekindle their lacklustre sexual relationship, but things go awry when the husband suddenly passes away, leaving the wife handcuffed to the bed without a way to escape and no hope of rescue. Hallucinations soon take over as she tries to find a way to survive.

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The Host (2006)

Long before winning the Academy Award with his black comedy thriller Parasite, director Bong Joon-ho caught our attention with this horror blockbuster. Similar to his award-winning picture, The Host also touches upon themes of inequality and generational consequences, albeit with a gory twist. After a monster emerges from the Han River in Seoul and kidnaps his daughter, Gang-du, a slow-witted man, stops at nothing to get her back.

Hush (2016)

If you are in the mood for a slasher horror, critically lauded Hush comes highly recommended. Maddie, a successful deaf and mute author, retreats to a cabin in the woods to work on her next book, but ends up fighting for her life when a masked killer ambushes her in her home and cuts her off from the rest of the world. 

The Witches (1990)

Not quite horror (well, depending on who you ask), but certainly a good fit for Halloween watching, this classic dark comedy was sure to have scared the living daylights out of millennial children growing up in the 1990s. Based on the Roald Dahl book of the same name, the family horror film follows the story of Luke Eveshim, who is warned about witches who hate children. While on holiday with his grandmother, he stumbles across a gathering of witches, where a magic potion that rids the world of children is unveiled by the Grand High Witch (Angelica Huston). His attempts to stop them lead to disastrous consequences. Sorry, Anne Hathaway, but we prefer the original 1990 version for the nostalgia scare—and Huston’s elaborate prosthetics.

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Eli (2019)

From the producers of The Haunting of Hill House comes another horror sensation that’ll have you fearing creepy medical facilities more than you already do. Eli Miller is a young boy who suffers from a rare disease, causing him to live life in protective gear. His parents have almost given up on finding a cure to his illness when Dr Isabella Horn steps in, offering treatment in a large, old house that has been modernised for medical purposes. Soon after he is admitted, Eli begins to undergo excruciatingly painful procedures, causing him to see spectres, and he takes it upon himself to investigate his convictions that the house is haunted. Equipped with jump scares galore, Eli offers horror fans a truly terrifying story. In a humorous turn, Indiewire dubbed it as a meeting between Bubble Boy and The Conjuring—which is pretty accurate in our books.

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Paul Hsiao

Contributor

Paul, the founder of Movieconomist, likes to watch movies and make graphs. He also writes a monthly column on Localiiz about new Netflix releases and is a lead community director for Finimize. His writing has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, CNBC, Financial Times, Asia Investor, and the Hong Kong Economic Journal. He also spends a great deal of time playing squash.

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