The highest rated Netflix original is also (probably) the least known. Cam was released in November of 2018 and didn’t receive much attention outside of the diehard horror circles. Starring Madeline Brewer, Cam concerns an internet cam girl who must contend with her online replica.
Brewer earned wide commendations for her performance, and the movie was honored with awards at various film festivals, including Brooklyn Horror, Philadelphia Film, and Fantasia International. These sorts of low-budget horror movies are what Netflix was made for.
2017 was a huge year for Stephen King, as It became the highest-grossing horror movie of all time when not adjusted for inflation. Just a couple weeks after its release, Netflix released 1922, a movie based on the novella of the same name from Full Dark, No Stars.
This one sees Thomas Jane as Wilfred Leland James, a poor farmer who murders his own wife for the money. The movie earned widespread acclaim for its tense and character-driven story, Zak Hilditch‘s direction, and the lead performance of Jane.
Gerald’s Game (2017)
Gerald’s Game was another stellar Stephen King adaptation released in 2017. Based on his 1992 novel of the same name, Gerald’s Game stars Carla Gugino and was directed by Mike Flanagan. Flanagan has proved himself a confident director of horror in recent years thanks to this, The Haunting of Hill House, and Doctor Sleep.
Despite being a relatively unknown King work (at least compared to his mega-blockbusters), Gerald’s Game earned universal acclaim – primarily for Carla Gugino‘s incredible lead performance. She was forced to carry the movie herself, and she did a commendable job.
Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)
Velvet Buzzsaw is a 2019 American satirical horror-thriller film written and directed by Dan Gilroy and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Toni Collette, Zawe Ashton, Tom Sturridge, Natalia Dyer, Daveed Diggs, Billy Magnussen, and John Malkovich.
Velvet Buzzsaw serves as a satirical horror film about the prestigious art industry, unlike Nightcrawler, the movie tended to divide critics. Some agreed that it was disappointing in some capacity, but most praised the lead performances, the striking imagery, and the satire on display.
The Babysitter (2017)
The Babysitter is a 2017 American teen comedy horror film directed by McG and written by Brian Duffield. It stars Samara Weaving, Judah Lewis, Hana Mae Lee, Robbie Amell, and Bella Thorne. The film was released by Netflix on October 13, 2017, and received mostly positive reviews from critics. A sequel, The Babysitter: Killer Queen, was released on September 10, 2020.
When Cole stays up past his bedtime, he discovers that his hot baby sitter belongs to a satanic cult that will stop at nothing to keep him quiet.
The Perfection (2018)
The Perfection is a 2018 American psychological horror-thriller film directed by Richard Shepard, from a screenplay by Shepard, Nicole Snyder and Eric C. Charmelo. It stars Allison Williams, Logan Browning, and Steven Weber.
Allison Williams plays a musical prodigy who becomes embroiled in a depraved and twisted adventure with her rival/friend, Lizzie Wells (Logan Browning).
The Ritual (2017)
Premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival, The Ritual was picked up by Netflix and released in October of 2017. The movie is based on a 2011 novel by the same name, written by Adam Nevill. It attracted comparisons to The Blair Witch Project, as it too involves a group of people being stalked by an unseen entity in the woods.
Unlike that movie, The Ritual doesn’t keep its villain hidden from sight. The movie generated positive reviews for its unique Scandinavian setting and its lead performance from Rafe Spall.
Apostle is a 2018 period horror film written, directed and edited by Gareth Evans and starring Dan Stevens, Lucy Boynton, Mark Lewis Jones, Bill Milner, Kristine Froseth, Paul Higgins and Michael Sheen. It had its world premiere at Fantastic Fest in September 2018. The film began streaming on Netflix on 12 October 2018.
The story follows a British man as he attempts to rescue his sister from an evil cult on a remote island. The film received generally positive reviews from critics.
Cargo is a 2017 Australian post-apocalyptic horror drama film directed by Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke with a screenplay by Ramke based on their 2013 short film of the same name. The film stars Martin Freeman, Simone Landers, Anthony Hayes, Susie Porter, and Caren Pistorius.
It premiered at the Adelaide Film Festival on 6 October 2017 and was released in cinemas in Australia on 17 May 2018, worldwide except for Australia on 18 May 2018 by Netflix and on Netflix in Australia on 16 November 2018.
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016)
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House is a 2016 American-Canadian gothic supernatural horror film written and directed by Osgood Perkins. It stars Ruth Wilson as a live-in nurse who suspects her elderly employer’s house may be haunted, and also features Paula Prentiss in her first major film role in 30 years.
It premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival and was released worldwide on Netflix on October 28, 2016.