- Some of the worst Netflix horror movies have predictable plots, uninteresting characters, and pacing issues that detract from the viewing experience.
- Even popular source material like Stephen King stories can suffer from poor execution in Netflix adaptations, leading to disappointing horror movies.
- Some Netflix horror movies have intriguing premises but fail to deliver on their potential, with anticlimactic finales or an overuse of tropes, making them fall flat.
Horror movies tend to get a bad rap and don’t often reach critical acclaim, but some of the worst Netflix horror movies have few saving graces. Many critics initially balked at horror movies that are now considered to be classics like John Carpenter’s The Thing, so fans of the genre typically know better than to judge a film based only on its critical reception. Yet when it comes to Netflix’s original horror content, critics and viewers seem to agree that some of it is pretty unimpressive. Beauty is, of course, in the eye of the beholder, but there are some truly bad horror movies on Netflix.
It’s always fun seeing what new original horror movies Netflix is releasing, but some of the worst Netflix horror movies have plots that feel clichéd and characters that don’t feel compelling. Some of these films do venture into so-bad-it’s-good territory, as purposely watching horror films that have been critically panned has become something of a pastime for some viewers. The worst Netflix horror movies include a reboot of a popular slasher franchise and an adaptation of a short story by Stephen King, meaning no source material, no matter how renowned, can sometimes suffer under the weight of poor execution.
One of the reasons that Eli ended up being one of the worst Netflix horror movies is that it came out around the same time as Brightburn and the two are eerily similar — except Brightburn did it better. Eli follows a young boy who suffers a rare condition that makes him allergic to the very air he breathes. His parents take him to a medical facility that promises him life-changing treatment, but those who seek to help him have sinister intentions of their own. While the movie does see an early appearance from Stranger Things actress Sadie Sink, Eli suffers from pacing issues galore, making the final act of the movie rushed despite the plot being somewhat predictable.
Vampires Vs. The Bronx (2020)
Vampires vs. The Bronx may not have ended up being one of the worst Netflix horror movies if it weren’t for its anticlimactic finale. Providing a fresh twist on the vampire genre with social messages about the horrors of gentrification, Vampires vs. The Bronx sees kids Miguel, Bobby, and Luis getting ready for a block party, but the neighborhood changes rapidly as a real estate company run by vampires begins filling their neighborhood with gentrified businesses. When people in the neighborhood go missing, the kids must solve the mystery and fight the undead. Vampires vs. The Bronx fizzled out during what should’ve been a climactic battle, severely cheapening a fantastic buildup.
No One Gets Out Alive (2021)
Had No One Gets Out Alive not fallen so heavily on common haunted-house movie tropes, it wouldn’t be one of the worst Netflix horror movies, but not even its important message could save it. The film follows undocumented immigrant Ambar, who moves into a decrepit boarding house in Cleveland after the death of her mother. Ambar remains positive despite her surroundings and under-the table-job. However, she soon starts experiencing supernatural visions that link to an ancient Aztec ritual. The film got relatively average reviews and would’ve done better if the film could’ve distanced itself from other haunted house horror movies.
In The Tall Grass (2019)
An adaptation of the 2012 novella of the same name, a collaboration between Stephen King and his son Joe Hill, In The Tall Grass sees a series of characters drawn into a weedy field only to discover that a dark presence is trapping them there — but it turned out to be one of the worst Netflix horror movies. Featuring a premise reminiscent of other King works like Children of the Corn and 1922, In The Tall Grass overstays its welcome and stretches its thin plot to the point of absurdity. As critic Allan Allmacher of The MacGuffin puts it, “This was a great short film stretched out and padded to become a dull feature length flick.”
Nightbooks had all the makings of being a classic 90s-era kids horror flick, but unfortunately became one of the worst Netflix horror movies. Remaining fairly loyal to J.A. White’s book, Nightbooks sees horror fan Alex writing his own horrific tales in a notebook. However, he is soon lured and captured by a witch, making friends with fellow captive Yasmin. The kids team up to bring down the witch for good, with Alex’s stories playing an important role. Unfortunately, Nightbooks starts off strong and grows weaker throughout. By the time it gets to the ending, audiences care little for the characters’ plight, and the third act falls flat.
The Curse Of Bridge Hollow (2022)
Marlon Wayans stars in one of the worst Netflix horror movies, the horror-comedy The Curse of Bridge Hollow. The film follows father-daughter duo Howard and Sydney, with the former being more scientifically driven and the latter wholeheartedly believing in ghosts. When Sydney inadvertently releases the spirit of Stingy Jack, she and Howard must acquire a spell book to stop his curse from taking over the town. While the movie is fun for the whole family and features Stranger Things actress Priah Ferguson, the story lacks depth and many of its humorous moments fall flat.
The Whole Truth (2021)
The Whole Truth featured a promising premise, but far too many twists and subplots made it one of the worst Netflix horror movies. The Whole Truth follows siblings Pim and Putt after their single mother falls into a coma due to a car crash. The pair are sent to live with their grandparents, whom they’ve never met, and soon find themselves swamped by paranormal experiences and tales from the past. Unfortunately, the Thai horror movie becomes indigestible as the runtime labors on, and audiences begin to grow weary of the characters as less and less makes sense.
Things Heard & Seen (2021)
In one of the worst Netflix horror movies, when Catherine Claire moves with her husband to the rural town of Chosen, New York, she discovers sinister forces lurking on the old farmland the two have purchased. One part ghost story and one part domestic drama, Things Heard & Seen can’t seem to take its overused premise in any new directions. According to critics, the film’s greatest offense seems to be its banality. The mark of a great horror movie comes from its ability to scare, disturb, or otherwise provoke the viewer, and Things Heard & Seen ranks relatively low on fright factor.
Ghost Lab (2021)
2021’s Ghost Lab is a Thai horror movie that has the feel of a passion project gone awry, making it one of the worst Netflix horror movies. It begins with an interesting enough premise; two hospital employees are determined to provide scientific evidence of the paranormal after encountering something during the night shift. However, the narrative, tone, and presentation all feel far too uneven and experimental. Switching from jump-scare-laden fright-fest to weird comedy at the drop of a hat, Ghost Lab will have audiences bending over backward to keep up, and most Netflix subscribers likely aren’t willing to become that invested in the film.
The Silence (2019)
Even the presence of the esteemed Stanley Tucci couldn’t save this project from hitting on some of the worst horror movie tropes and cementing itself as one of the worst Netflix horror movies. 2019’s The Silence sees a group of survivors struggle to eke out an existence after extraterrestrial monsters with supremely adept hearing invade the Earth. If that premise sounds familiar, it’s because The Silence features the exact same premise as A Quiet Place, which debuted the year prior. Unfortunately, this film lacks the tension and terror present in the film which very likely inspired its creation.
In the aftermath of a nuclear apocalypse, a desperate couple takes their daughter to a dinner theater performance which goes horribly awry when the hosts are revealed to be sadistic cannibals. Cadaver aims to be a sort of clever allegory, but it’s bogged down by plot contrivances and odd narrative choices, making it one of the worst Netflix horror movies. One of a handful of foreign horror films on Netflix, Cadaver is interesting in parts, although it doesn’t quite deliver on its promises of social satire and delicately crafted scares, and it easily ranks among the worst horror movies of 2020.
Old People (2022)
The German horror flick Old People may never have set out to win an Academy Award, but the fact that the entire plot was made pointless thanks to its ending makes it one of the worst Netflix horror movies. Old People sees a mother traveling back home with her two children to attend her sister’s wedding. However, trouble brews as the elderly soon begin attacking those around them with ruthless brutality. In some way, Old People could’ve been commentary on society’s treatment of the elderly, but any semblance of a message is lost in its clunky narrative.
The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)
In 2016, 10 Cloverfield Lane garnered praise for its terrifying intensity generated by John Goodman in a very out-of-his-element role. Its 2018 pseudo-sequel, The Cloverfield Paradox was more or less forgotten after premiering on Netflix, and became one of the worst Netflix horror movies. While it establishes an interesting cosmic horror premise and takes the Cloverfield anthology to new places, the film spends far too much time on exposition. Attempting to replicate interstellar horror epics like Alien or Event Horizon, The Cloverfield Paradox is bogged down by its tell-don’t-show manner of storytelling.
There’s Someone Inside Your House (2021)
Slasher films are all the rage right now, and while There’s Someone Inside Your House has its smart moments it still ended up being one of the worst Netflix horror movies. The film instantly lures viewers in with an incredibly strong opening, which is what makes the rest of the tale so heavy-handed and disappointing. In There’s Someone Inside Your House, new Osbourne High student Makani and her friends Alex and Darby are hunted by a killer who wears a mask in the image of his intended victims’ faces. The story becomes increasingly misguided as it trots along, making the film unrecognizable from other entries to the slasher genre.
The Privilege (2021)
While The Privilege has important messages therein about its title, the film falls too closely in step with others of the genre, making it one of the worst Netflix horror movies. Finn, an affluent student, struggles with the traumatic death of his sister Anna and soon begins to experience increasingly disturbing nightmares. However, dreams and reality soon begin to mix as Finn questions whether or not his hallucinations are real. The Privilege should’ve sought to break new ground but instead hangs shyly back, and the entire execution feels like a retread of all-too-familiar ground.
Nobody Sleeps In The Woods Tonight (2020)
Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight is a Polish horror flick that follows the haunted “teens in the woods” trope painfully closely, making it one of the worst Netflix horror movies. The movie sees a group of teens going to a technology-free summer camp in the woods. Soon, they come across a pair of evil twins that have turned into human-ghoul hybrids after suffering the fallout from an asteroid that hit the Earth and are now bent on pure destruction. Nobody Sleeps in the Woods Tonight could’ve done well had it leaned further into campy territory since the plot clearly dictates this kind of narrative.
Not even the talent of Florence Pugh could save Malevolent, making the film one of the worst Netflix horror movies. Pugh plays paranormal investigator Angela, who with her brother Jackson makes a living exploiting grieving families. On a routine cash-grab appointment at the home of a father and daughter, a demonic presence attaches to Angela. The movie tries to deliver on themes of generational trauma and mental health, but ultimately fails to do the trick as all of its horrific elements lie in jump scares alone. The film has a few bright spots, but had anyone else been cast as Angela these likely wouldn’t exist.
The Wasteland (2021)
Period horror movies are always risky business, either producing nominal successes like The VVitch or outright flops like The Woman in Black. The Wasteland is set in 19th Century Spain and is unfortunately one of the worst Netflix horror movies. Edging into folk horror territory, The Wasteland sees young Diego being pushed into manhood on his birthday by his father while his mother wishes to maintain his innocence. A monster creeps ever closer to the door of their secluded home as Diego’s parents’ minds slowly unravel. The film’s own logic is somewhat compromised in The Wasteland and features extreme repetitiveness at some moments.
Choose Or Die (2022)
In Netflix’s 2022 horror movie Choose Or Die, friends Isaac and Kayla are both having tough times in life, and they find out that if they play a video game, it can kill people. Kayla finds out a lot about this game, and it changes everything that she has previously thought about the world. While the movie has a strong premise, it’s a bit confusing and convoluted, making it one of the worst Netflix horror movies. The film doesn’t stand on its own when compared to other slasher horror movies. Kayla and Isaac do look afraid throughout, but Choose Or Die isn’t as fun as the premise promises.
When a mother unwittingly makes a deal with the devil to save her child from a rattlesnake bite, she is forced to take the life of another to repay the debt in one of the worst Netflix horror movies. While 2019’s Rattlesnake features an interesting setup, it ultimately feels like little more than a collection of stylish shots of a desert wasteland. It isn’t one of the best horror movies of 2019. Much like In The Tall Grass, Rattlesnake‘s plot doesn’t seem robust enough to warrant a feature-length film. It’s more or less a short story tediously stretched to the hour-thirty mark, and it’s made all the worse for it.