The horror genre continues to grow and thrive. Thanks to modern-day terror maestros like Ari Aster, Robert Eggers, and James Wan, there’s potent proof that there’s plenty to say and share about the wicked world we live in and the nightmares that lay just beyond the curtain of reality. If you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, and a diehard horror hound, you’ll be pleased to know that the streaming platform is home to plenty of vicious flicks from days past and the current cinematic landscape. Every month, we dive deep to bring you this rolling roundup of the best horror movies on Amazon Prime Video right now. Read on to see what grim entries you can settle down with this weekend.
Ridley Scott’s Alien has inspired countless sci-fi terror clones through the decades, but nothing really comes close to the silent scares of this hard-hitting opus. Taking place aboard the mighty Nostromo, a commercial spacecraft, a distress call from another ship awakens the crew from cryo-sleep. Gearing up, the workers enter the unknown vessel, only to discover a host of alien eggs. When one breaks forth and attaches itself to a crew member, the unconscious man is returned to Nostromo, only for the infantile extraterrestrial to rapidly age into a full-grown Xenomorph. Where its sequels and reimagined origins rely on gore and jump scares, Alien does its dirty work purely through atmosphere, where what we don’t see is often scarier than what’s lurking right around the corner.
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Stars: Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Harry Dean Stanton
Directors: Ridley Scott
Runtime: 107 minutes
Only Lovers Left Alive stars Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston as centuries-old vampires Eve and Adam. Sophisticated artisans living on separate ends of the globe, Adam’s musical aspirations are at an all-time low as he begins to ponder his worth as an immortal being. Surviving on supplier blood and his affinity for vintage instruments and technology, the vamp procures a wooden bullet to end his life in a pinch. Learning of her spouse’s suicidal plans, Eve travels to his regal apartment to attempt to break his cloud of woe. A meditative approach to the horror genre that only Jim Jarmusch could pull off, Only Lovers Left Alive knows how to play with its tropes in a way that blends comedy, horror, and existential pondering, making for a lush and realized end-product.
Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Stars: Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Anton Yelchin
Directors: Jim Jarmusch
Runtime: 122 minutes
Based on the 1954 novel D’ entre les morts by Boileau-Narcejac, Vertigo stars James Stewart as retired detective Scottie Ferguson, who is paralyzed by a fear of heights and an invasive sense of vertigo after a fellow officer’s rooftop death. When a college acquaintance hires Scottie to follow his wife, Madeleine, Scottie begins to experience horrific visions from his past that he can’t help but imbue over his current investigation — hallucinatory hindrances that compound when Madeleine begins to show her true colors. A Hitchcock classic, Vertigo relies on slow-burn thrills to propel the storyline, a narrative carried by its leading man, Stewart, who turns in a stellar performance as the conflicted detective.
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Stars: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes
Directors: Alfred Hitchcock
Runtime: 128 minutes
In the wake of a horrific car accident that killed his wife, Nolan (Mamoudou Athie) is left with crippling amnesia and a 10-year-old daughter to care for. After agreeing to undergo an experimental treatment to reclaim his lost faculties, the widowed father gets more than he bargained for when a series of disturbing hallucinations plague Nolan’s day-to-day. Hellbent on finding the cure for these manifestations, Nolan will soon discover that there’s a much darker side to his so-called recovery. A tactful and imaginative debut from director Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour, Jr., Black Box will keep you curled tight at the edge of your seat. We guarantee it.
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Stars: Mamoudou Athie, Phylicia Rashad, Amanda Christine
Directors: Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour, Jr.
Runtime: 100 minutes
In the wake of a devastating act of mutiny, Monte (Robert Pattinson) and his infant daughter are the lone survivors aboard a spacecraft heading straight for a black hole. As time stretches on and fates seem carved in stone, a series of non-linear dives reveal a deeper take on Monte’s past, the bizarre intentions of the ship’s commander, Dr. Dibs (Juliette Binoche), and the various tragedies that have led to a massive eradication of vessel personnel. An intelligent blend of horror and sci-fi, buttressed by a towering performance from Robert Pattinson, High Life is a mesmerizing ascent into the madness and isolation of our galaxy’s outer reaches.
Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Stars: Robert Pattinson, Juliette Binoche, Mia Goth
Directors: Claire Denis
Runtime: 113 minutes
16-year-old Jesse (Elle Fanning) is an aspiring model who has recently relocated to Los Angeles. When she secures work with a prolific agency, the sky appears to be the limit for the fresh face. But as Jesse faces scrutiny and a series of uncomfortable exchanges with her older peers, mixed with a cycle of visceral and disturbing dreams and hallucinations, the veil of high fashion begins to peel back, revealing a strange and sordid underbelly for the youthful talent. A hypnotic tale of horror with a mighty sucker punch of an ending, The Neon Demon is as much an homage to ’70s foreign-language horror flicks as it is a fitting entry in the canon of writer-director Nicolas Winding Refn.
Rotten Tomatoes: 59%
Stars: Elle Fanning, Keanu Reeves, Jena Malone
Directors: Nicolas Winding Refn
Runtime: 117 minutes
When four friends hit the high seas to deliver a yacht to a client in Indonesia, their voyage is quickly uprooted when their vessel capsizes in a coral reef. As the disparate foursome decides to swim to a nearby island with whatever supplies they can hang on to, a great white shark emerges from the depths and begins stalking them. While we’ve all seen our fair share of cheap shark-genre chillers, writer-director Andrew Traucki delivers his story through horrific slow burns, buttressed by the magnificent talents of the main ensemble. This is one of the better 90-minute oceanic horror films out there and a testament to the power of a good script and a director with a strong vision. Australian waters have never felt so foreboding.
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Stars: Damian Walshe-Howling, Gyton Grantley, Adrienne Pickering
Directors: Andrew Traucki
Runtime: 98 minutes
Martin Scorsese’s Bringing Out the Dead is a two-hour adrenaline thrill ride with no restraints. Nicolas Cage is Frank Pierce, a dispossessed New York City ambulance paramedic. Frank always gets third shift, and it’s brutal. Overdoses, shootings, you name it. Haunted by visions of patients he failed to save on these night runs, Frank attempts to quit his job again and again, but he just can’t bring himself to walk off. One night, Frank and his partner Marcus (Ving Rhames) respond to a 911 call for a man named Mr. Burke (Cullen O. Johnson) entering cardiac arrest. Burke’s distraught daughter Mary (Patricia Arquette) is on-site, and through conversation, Frank finds out they have a mutual acquaintance. While Frank attempts to keep in contact with Mary, his psychosis deepens, and his nights keep getting longer. On-again/off-again Scorsese scribe, Paul Schrader, wrote the screenplay, an adaptation of the Joe Connelly novel of the same name.
Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Stars: Nicolas Cage, John Goodman, Ving Rhames
Director: Martin Scorsese
Runtime: 121 minutes
A pagan cult is at the center of this horrifying film about a group of friends who travel to Sweden to attend a festival that only comes around every 90 years… but get more than they bargained for upon arrival. The tone is immediately set when they discover the tortuous and disturbing commune is involved in human sacrifice and purging evil. It’s unsettling, but if you’re into that kind of thing, it’s the perfect flick to watch. A co-production between the U.S. and Sweden, it’s offered in the English language. A hypnotic, dread-laden score by Bobby Krlic, set against Pawel Pogorzelski’s bright, ethereal visuals will be a treat for cinephiles; but anyone with a preference for disturbing-over-scary should feel a connection with Midsommar almost instantly.
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Stars: Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, William Jackson Harper
Director: Ari Aster
Runtime: 148 minutes
One of the more recent films on this list, The Lighthouse is filmed in black and white and uniquely in an almost square 1.19:1 aspect ratio to set the historical scene. The setting is the late 19th century and a storm strands two lighthouse keepers on a remote island. As they try and survive without going insane and killing one another, they experience vivid and frightening visions and reveal purported secrets. Writer Robert Eggers has said that his brother, who co-wrote the film with him, originally wanted to make the movie a contemporary take on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Light-House, but it then evolved into something completely different and utterly terrifying.
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Stars: Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe
Director: Robert Eggers
Runtime: 109 minutes
A revered cult classic, Phantasm follows the terror-plagued odyssey of teenaged Mike (A. Michael Baldwin) through a haunted but picturesque suburbia. The film opens with Mike’s brother, Tommy, being brutally murdered in a local cemetery, and from there, the horrors only grow. Turns out the killer could be a ghoul known only as the Tall Man (Angus Scrimm). As Mike and a family friend, Reggie (Reggie Bannister), begin unpacking the mysteries surrounding Tommy’s death, the Tall Man mythos becomes painfully real as a bevy of chromium murder-drones and other paranormal menaces descend on the duo. Written and directed by Don Coscarelli — who was inspired by classics such as Dario Argento’s Suspiria — the look and feel of Phantasm can be found in recent genre films like It Follows, where dreamy visuals and lush, eerie soundtracks set the stage for horrors both campy and poignant.
Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
Stars: A. Michael Baldwin, Reggie Bannister, Angus Scrimm
Director: Don Coscarelli
Runtime: 88 minutes
Hot off the success of his 2017 film, Call Me by Your Name, director Luca Guadagnino dove headfirst into the production of Suspiria, a remake of Dario Argento’s 1977 Technicolor nightmare about a prestigious German dance academy with a mysterious and sordid past. In Guadagnino’s rendition, Dakota Johnson plays Susie Bannion, the American newcomer to the foreign school, and what a wicked first day of classes she has. An expelled student, Patricia Hingle (Chloë Grace Moretz), is murdered, and not long after the ex-matriculate confessed to her therapist that the dance academy is run by evil witches.
Rotten Tomatoes: 66%
Stars: Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Runtime: 133 minutes
Ah yes, the joys of buying your first home. As if closing costs, inspections, and the pains of moving day weren’t hell enough, imagine being trapped in a neighborhood where all the houses are exactly the same — and there’s no escape. That’s where director/co-writer Lorcan Finnegan’s Vivarium gets started. After Tom and Gemma (Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots) travel to the mysterious development of Yonder with their oddball realtor, Martin (Jonathan Aris), the agent seemingly disappears. A labyrinthine nightmare, Eisenberg and Poots flourish as Tom and Gemma, an innocent young couple that slowly begins losing their minds and overall grip on reality, especially once a newborn baby arrives — appearing out of the clear blue. Is this maze of suburbia all in their head, or are their sinister forces at play? You’ll just have to watch to find out.
Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Imogen Poots, Jonathan Aris
Director: Lorcan Finnegan
Runtime: 97 minutes