You’re deep into lockdown, and you’ve probably cycled through your favourite horror movies at least once, probably more, looking for something scarily cathartic to take your mind off the real-life horrors happening outside.
But, don’t worry, we’ve got your back. We’ve peeped through our fingers to find some of the best underseen scare flicks, to give you some terrific terror options to help get you through this actual nightmare.
So, wash off your Pennywise make-up, take off your brown fedora, put your machete in the tool-shed, hang up your hockey mask, and get ready for some of the best horror movies on UK streaming you probably haven’t seen.
Possum (2018) - Now TV
We didn’t expect Garth Marenghi (or at least the guy who created him) to direct one of the most disturbing horror films we’ve ever gawped at, but we guess the Dark Place episode ‘Scotch Mist’ has its moments (‘uncut, uncensored, unbelievable, unpalatable’).
But, all jokes aside, Marenghi actor / creator Matthew Holness directs Possum with stylish dread and it marks him out as a talent to watch.
Holness’ tale of one man and his puppet is packed full of eerie images that seem to have been pulled directly from our most primal fears. As such, Possum isn’t a fun watch. But it is an impactful one. Doctor Sleep director Mike Flanagan agrees, he put it on his own horror binge-list recently.
Anna and the Apocalypse (2018) - Now TV
But if you want something just a little more cheery, give Anna and the Apocalypse a go, which might be the best British zom-com since Shaun Of The Dead. It’s certainly the first musical zom-com since… Well, ever.
Yep, brain-chompers meet show tunes in this charming story of a school kid arguing with her dad about whether she should go to college - just as a zombie apocalypse lands. Think High School Musical, with more ghouls (High Ghoul Musical?), set at Christmas. Give yourself an early festive gift (probably wrapped in human skin or something) and check it out today.
In Fabric (2019) - Now TV
This arthouse horror unified the critics, with a 92% fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes, but with a 48% audience score, your taste may vary. But if you’re in the mood for a slow burn and surreal spookshow, then you should definitely try In Fabric on for size.
It sees a lonely divorcee (an astonishing Marianne Jean-Baptiste) gradually getting obsessed with a dress - a dress that may very well be haunted. To say any more would be to spoil the experience, but if you want to get carried away by a movie that requires total concentration, there’s few better.
I Trapped The Devil (2019) - Now TV
We’re not sure why the best obscure horror movies on Now TV are either Christmas films, or slow-paced weird-fests, but this one’s both.
The debut feature of exciting young talent Josh Lobo, I Trapped The Devil combines Kubrickian influences with a Fincher-esque eye-for-detail, in this story of a family home for the Christmas holidays, confronted with an extreme moral choice. Does their intense brother really have the devil trapped in his basement, or is there something more sinister going on?
I Trapped The Devil does require patience, but if you can make it to the final act, you’ll be rewarded with waves of well-earned goosebumps.
Read more: The 20 best horror movies of 2019
Odd Thomas (2013) - Amazon Prime Video
Directed by Stephen Sommers (yes, that Stephen Sommers - director of The Mummy and Van Helsing) this indie gem was one of Anton Yelchin’s last roles before his tragic early death.
Okay, so it’s tonally all over the place. But if you have fond memories of Peter Jackson’s underrated The Frighteners, welcome to your new favourite film.
It’s based on a Dean R Koontz series of books about a small-town fry cook who can see dead people, Odd Thomas was supposed to introduce a franchise, but there’s more than enough here to keep you satisfied.
It sees the titular Odd facing off against ghostly bodachs - spooks who feed on pain which are a warning sign of incoming mass destruction. Scary, moving and funny - Thomas definitely deserves more than its current cult fanbase.
Starry Eyes (2014) - Amazon Prime Video
Starry Eyes felt urgent even before the #MeToo movement: now, it’s essential. It follows a struggling actress who’s working in a dead-end job trying to make ends meet while she chases success.
When she gets called in for a dream audition, it all seems too good to be true - and it is; she discovers fame comes at a high cost. Half occult horror, half sharp satire, Starry Eyes gets more pressing with each passing year.
Antiviral (2013) - Amazon Prime Video
This one might feel a little close to the current global situation for comfort, but with the much-hyped Possessor headed for theatres whenever they re-open, you might want to do your Brandon Cronenberg homework.
And, if that surname seems familiar, that’s because Brandon is David Cronenberg’s son, and Antiviral could be a lost movie by the master.
Set in an alternate reality where people pay to be injected by bugs and viruses that were contracted by celebrities, Caleb Landry Jones’ Syd March not only sells to customers, he deliberately infects himself, to sell to the black market.
But when he becomes infected with a virus that killed an iconic starlet, he faces a race against time to find a cure - before his body becomes too valuable to survive.
As much a satire of celebrity culture (cultures?) as it is a horror movie, Antiviral is a clinical dark delight.
Eden Lake (2008) - Amazon Prime Video
Controversial on its release (with its hoodie-horror shocks considered tasteless at the time), Eden Lake is worth revisiting because of its stellar cast - featuring early (and intense) performances by Michael Fassbender, Kelly Reilly and Jack O’Connell.
It sees a middle-class city couple on holiday in a working class commuter town, where they find themselves quickly out of their depth, when they confront a gang of hooligans.
Tonally, it’s a cross between a documentary about suburban crime and a waking nightmare, with a truly unforgettable ending. If you can stomach it, Eden Lake is worth visiting (just don’t talk to the locals).
The Girl On The Third Floor (2019) - Netflix
Definitely the gloopiest film on this list, The Girl On The Third Floor is basically a feature-length version of that bit in Ghostbusters where Peter gets slimed meets that bit in Ghostbusters where Ray gets a BJ from a ghost.
Starring WWE champion CM Punk as a husband / father-to-be who’s convinced himself that renovating a haunted former brothel into a family home is a good idea, he finds himself faced by increasingly gross ghostly goings-on as he goes about his work. Creepy and current, producer turned director Travis Stevens has nailed his debut.
Under The Shadow (2016) - Netflix
A rare example of an Persian horror movie making a big impact on the west, Under The Shadow takes place in Tehran in 1988, at the height of the Iran-Iraq War. Our heroes are two women, a mother and a daughter, trapped in their home because of the conflict raging outside. But they might not be alone, with evidence of a possible ghost adding extreme stress to their situation.
As fast-paced and fear-inducing as any Conjuring movie, Under The Shadow might sound a bit like homework, but it’s actually supremely entertaining.
Creep (2015) - Netflix
Despite the fact it’s basically two blokes talking in a single location for most of the runtime, Creep is one of the most intricately plotted films on this list, with one of the best pay-offs. Shot by a camera-man who’s been hired by a weirdo to document his life, Creep, well, ‘creeps’ towards its terror slowly, starting out with a comic tone before eventually getting somewhere altogether more horrific. It’s a creepy journey definitely worth taking.
The Invitation (2015) - Netflix
With director Karyn Kusama signed on to direct Blumhouse’s Dracula reboot (and, after their brilliant Invisible Man, we can’t wait) now’s a good opportunity to check out the last time she did horror, 2015’s brilliant home invasion thriller, The Invitation.
Our hero Will (Logan Marshall-Green) has been invited to dinner with his ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard) and her friends, after a long break of not seeing each other.
During that time, he’s formed a new relationship, while she’s been on a spiritual retreat with her new husband David (Game Of Thrones’ Michiel Huisman).
It’s probably safe to say that things don’t go exactly as planned - building to one of the most haunting final images on this list.
Prevenge (2017) - Shudder
If all you want is horror on streaming, Shudder is basically the Netflix of the genre, and you can currently get it through an Amazon app at £0.99 for the first three months. And Prevenge is worth that cost alone.
The film sees another Garth Merenghi alumni making her directing debut, with the excellent Alice Lowe writing, directing and starring in this pitch-black comedy horror about a pregnant woman driven to kill (literally, it talks to her) by her unborn baby. But why? You’ll have to watch the movie to find out, but you’ll be left with another question afterwards: why hasn’t Alice directed again? She’s fantastic!
It Stains The Sands Red (2017) - Shudder
There’s a lot of weirdness on this list. If what you’re after is a pure thrillride, then It Stains The Sands Red is probably the closest to it. Most zombie movies are based on a fear of the horde, with the undead’s strengths coming in numbers. But It Stains The Sands Red pits a troubled woman against a solo zombie, when both are stranded in a desert outside Las Vegas.
It might sound easy to evade one ghoul, but only one of these two needs food and rest - and it isn’t the zombie. Gripping, smart and surprising, It Stains The Sands Red over-delivers its simple premise. Great title too!
Ruin Me (2018) - Shudder
Starting out as a Cabin In The Woods-style postmodern spoof of slasher films, before going in a radically different direction, Ruin Me sees our heroine Alexandra signing up for Slasher Sleepout, a Secret Cinema style event that’s part camping trip, and part escape room, as visitors find themselves in the middle of a fake slasher movie. Except… What if it’s all real?
Ruin Me’s central mystery will carry you through to a brilliant finale, in this indie gem that sparkles as brightly as broken glass.
Found Footage 3D (2016) - Shudder
The found footage genre has a pretty bad reputation, despite some truly incredible films in the canon (The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, Lake Mungo), which might explain why you’ve avoided Found Footage 3D (also, because of that jokey ‘3D’ in the title).
That’s a shame, this is a Scream style takedown of the genre’s tropes, which - by subverting them - makes them fresh and scary again. Ostensibly a behind the scenes documentary about the making of a cabin in the woods horror film, the crew find themselves in their own terror tale.
Great characters, big surprises, and a fantastic ending - this turns fake footage into the real deal.