Another month, another great excuse to watch some horror movies.
Horror movies are a yearlong pursuit for us here at Polygon. Sure, we’ve got our list of the best horror movies you can watch now, or the best horror movies of 2023 ranked by scariness. But each month, we also pull together a smaller list of five picks perfect for that time of year.
This month, we’ve picked out five great horror movies for you to watch on Netflix. Some have cast members or people working behind the scenes of this month’s most exciting new release, John Wick: Chapter 4. Others are from creatives who have newly announced projects. Some of them are seasonally appropriate. Others still just rule, and are always a good watch.
Without further ado, let’s dig into it.
Run time: 2h 6m
Director: Frank Darabont
Cast: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden
The Mist is among the best semi-recent Stephen King adaptations and features one of the best endings of any horror movie this century so far. The film follows a group of people trapped in a supermarket when a mysterious and seemingly deadly mist suddenly envelops their small town. Leaning heavily into the real-life terror of how different people deal with a crisis, the movie lets the supermarket survivors devolve into their own little Lord of the Flies situation before revealing that something is lurking inside the mist that’s far more dangerous and scary than their petty differences. —Austen Goslin
Run time: 1h 49m
Director: David Twohy
Cast: Vin Diesel, Cole Hauser, Keith David
Pitch Black follows a group of space travelers when their ship crash-lands on an alien planet. Unfortunately for them, one of their passengers is a notorious prisoner: an extremely dangerous alien known as Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel). And he isn’t thrilled that he was captured in the first place.
Riddick is among the strangest franchises we have, due in no small part to this neat little movie that introduced the character to the world. Vin Diesel’s half slasher-movie monster, half space-opera antihero has humble beginnings in Pitch Black, where he’s essentially a Xenomorph disguised as a human. The first half of the movie involves him taking out the most dangerous of his captors, but the second is about him surviving on the inhospitable alien planet, because it turns out, there are more dangerous things on this planet than even Riddick. — AG
Run time: 1h 40m
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius
The first Resident Evil movie follows Alice, an elite soldier tasked with defending the Hive, a genetic research facility. But when the Hive is broken into and contaminated, and the staff inside turned to zombies, Alice and a group of special ops commandos have to break in and fix things.
It’s been years since the Resident Evil movies got the reevaluation they deserve and the recognition as the fun and often excellent movies they are — regardless of how closely they follow the games they’re named after. But even if the entire series is great, Paul W.S. Anderson’s first Resident Evil movie earns an extra-special mention for its slick style and horror-heist combo — though it isn’t the only one of those on this list. —AG
Run time: 1h 53m
Director: J.J. Perry
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Dave Franco, Natasha Liu Bordizzo
Day Shift is a delightful action/horror/comedy hybrid and a throwback to a bygone era of medium-budget moviemaking. In it, Jamie Foxx plays a vampire hunter on the outs with the vampire hunter union, and he’s looking for a big score… but is paired with a hapless office worker (Dave Franco).
The comedy, to be frank, is hit or miss in Day Shift, but the action beats whip and the movie brings some new freaky movements to vampires thanks to contortionists and inventive camera tricks. Director J.J. Perry, making his feature debut, is a legendary stuntman and fight choreographer. Among his many excellent credits, he did stunts on John Wick and was a supervising stunt coordinator for the sequel. He brings that skill and experience behind the camera to create one of Netflix’s best action movies to date. Throw in a fun guest role from Snoop Dogg, and you have a good, genre-mashing time. And with the new John Wick out this weekend, there’s no better time for a J.J. Perry action-horror mashup than now. —Pete Volk
Army of the Dead
Run time: 2h 28m
Director: Zack Snyder
Cast: Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Ana de la Reguera
Yeah, you’re getting two action-horror recommendations from me, but what can I say? I love action movies.
Two months after the long-awaited release of his Justice League cut, Snyder’s first post-DC Universe project came out on Netflix. The genre mashup in this one goes deeper than just “action/horror” — it’s a zombie flick mixed with a casino heist movie. Anchored by a great performance from Dave Bautista, Army of the Dead is a fun popcorn movie with a sprawling cast (including John Wick: Chapter 4 co-star Hiroyuki Sanada and Yellowjackets star Ella Purnell), thrilling set pieces, and a strong father-daughter relationship that gives the movie an emotional core. It also spawned a spinoff, Army of Thieves, which is less good (and not at all horror) but also pretty fun.
Snyder recently let slip that he’s making a “ridiculous scale” video game RPG based on his upcoming Netflix sci-fi epic Rebel Moon. Yet another reason to watch Army of the Dead this weekend. —PV