Another month, another great excuse to watch some horror movies.
Horror movies have been a long-standing occupation for us here at Polygon. Of course, we’ve got our list of the best horror movies to watch right now, or the best horror movies of 2023 ranked by scary. But each month, we also put together a smaller list of five picks that are 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 on this month’s hottest new release, John Wick: Chapter 4. Others are from creatives who have newly announced projects. Some of them are suitable for the season. Others still just rule and are always a good watch.
Let’s dive in without further ado.
Duration: 2h 6m
Director: Frank Darabont
Form: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden
The fog is one of the best semi-recent Stephen King adaptations and has one of the best endings of any horror movie of this century to date. The film follows a group of people trapped in a supermarket when a mysterious and seemingly deadly fog suddenly envelops their small town. The film leans heavily on the real-life terror of how different people deal with a crisis and sees the supermarket survivors transition into their own little lord of the flies situation before they reveal that something is lurking in the fog far more dangerous and scary than their little differences. —Austen Goslin
Duration: 1h 49m
Director: David Twohy
Form: Vin Diesel, Cole Hauser, Keith David
Pitch-black follows a group of space travelers as 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’s not happy that he was captured in the first place.
Riddick is one of the strangest franchises we’ve got, thanks in no small part to this fun little movie that introduced the character to the world. Vin Diesel’s half slasher movie monster, half space opera antihero has humble beginnings Pitch-black, where he is essentially a Xenomorph disguised as a human. The first half of the movie is about taking down the most dangerous of his captors, but the second is about surviving on the inhospitable alien planet, as it turns out there are more dangerous things on this planet than even Riddick. — AG
Duration: 1h 40m
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson
Form: Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Eric Mabius
The first Resident Evil film follows Alice, an elite soldier tasked with defending the Hive, a genetic research facility. But when the Hive is broken into and infected, and the staff inside turn into zombies, Alice and a group of special ops commandos must break in and fix things.
It’s been years since the Resident Evil movies got the reappraisal they deserve and the recognition as the fun and often excellent movies they are – no matter how closely they follow the games they’re named after. But even if the entire series is great, Paul WS Anderson’s first Resident Evil movie deserves an extra special mention for its slick style and horror-heist combo – though it’s not the only one on this list. —AG
Duration: 1h 53m
Director: JJ Perry
Form: Jamie Foxx, Dave Franco, Natasha Liu Bordizzo
Day shift is a delightful action/horror/comedy hybrid and a throwback to a bygone era of mid-budget filmmaking. In it, Jamie Foxx plays a vampire hunter who’s out with the vampire hunters’ union, and he’s looking for a big score…but gets paired with a hapless office worker (Dave Franco).
The comedy, to be fair, is hit and miss Day shift, but the action beats whip and the movie brings some new freaky moves to vampires thanks to contortionists and inventive camera tricks. Making his feature film debut, director JJ Perry is a legendary stuntman and fight choreographer. Among his many outstanding credits, he did stunts 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 nice guest star from Snoop Dogg and you’ve got yourself a good, genre-stomping time. And with the new John Wick coming out this weekend, there’s no better time for a JJ Perry action-horror mashup than right now. —Piet Volk
Army of the dead
Duration: 2h 28m
Director: Zak Snyder
Form: Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Ana de la Reguera
Yes, you get two action-horror recommendations from me, but what can I say? I like 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 movie mixed with a casino heist movie. Anchored by a great performance from Dave Bautista, Army of the dead is a fun popcorn movie with an extensive cast (including John Wick: Chapter 4 co-star Hiroyuki Sanada and Yellow jackets star Ella Purnell), exciting set pieces and a strong father-daughter relationship that gives the film an emotional core. It also spawned a spin-off, Army of thieveswhich is less good (and not horror at all) but also quite fun.
Snyder recently revealed he’s making a “ridiculous scale” video game RPG based on his upcoming Netflix sci-fi epic Rebel moon. Another reason to watch Army of the dead this weekend. —PV