The 5 best horror movies to watch on Netflix and more this May

The best horror films are available to stream again this month. We may be staring down the barrel of summer, but there’s still tons of spooky and seasonally appropriate films to watch to chill you to the bone as the weather starts to warm up. If you don’t feel like venturing out to theaters to see The Boogeyman this month (and who would blame you — that guy’s spooky as fuck), here’s what you have to choose from in terms of horror on streaming.

This month, we’ve chosen a bevy of horror titles that perfectly complement the season. This month, we’ve selected a variety of horror titles that perfectly complement the season. It’s a Lure to Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead and more, we’ve got enough frights to keep you on your toes for the rest of the month.

Let’s dive in.

It’s a Lure

a beautiful razor-toothed mermaid lays back in a tub

The Criterion Collection

Year: 2015
Run time: 1h 32m
Director: Agnieszka Smoczyńska
Cast: Kinga Preis, Michalina Olszańska, Marta Mazurek

The live-action remake of 1989’s The Little Mermaid starring Halle Bailey premieres in theaters this weekend, so what better time than now to watch the Polish musical horror film inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s original fairy tale? It’s a Lure stars Michalina Olszańska (1983Marta MazurekThe InnocentsGolden and Silver (Kinga Price) are two mermaid-sirens that are adopted by an amiable nightclub singer.

Silver falling in love with the young bassist threatens not only to cause a rift between Golden and her, but also her own existence. It is a surreal and extravagant horror movie with infectious songs, bloody gore, a tragic story, as well as a whimsical and macabre plot. It’s a Lure is the perfect choice for anyone searching for an alternative to the twee saccharine stylings of Disney’s live-action output. —Toussaint Egan

It’s a Lure The Criterion Channel streams The Criterion Channel.

Dawn of the Dead

The bloodied cast of Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead stands behind a chain-link fence

Universal Pictures

Year: 2004
Run time: 1h 40m
Director: Zack Snyder
Cast: Sarah Polley, Ty Burrell, Ving Rhames

Before he was heading up Warner’s first big stab at a DC movie universe or building an original sci-fi epic for Netflix, Zack Snyder took on a surprisingly challenging remake assignment with 2004’s Dawn of the Dead. The movie, based on zombie godfather George Romero’s film of the same name, situates a group of strangers at the center of an emerging zombie apocalypse where the only safe haven in their town is a shopping mall. Romero’s original is an all-time zombie classic and a straight-down-the-middle metaphor for the dangers of a culture obsessed with consumer capitalism; the people may be dead, but that won’t stop them from flocking to the mall.

Snyder’s update is meaner than Romero’s original, with terrifying sprinting zombies and even echoes of Romero’s later (more cynical) movie The Crazies. Snyder’s version is scarier and more harrowing, and introduces a certain brand of numbness to the survivors that feels like a natural extension of Romero’s themes brought into the then-modern world of 2004. —Austen Goslin

Dawn of the Dead Netflix is streaming.

Paranormal Activity

A couple cowers in bed, looking at an open door

Paramount Pictures

Year: 2007
Run time: 1h 26m
Director: Oren Peli
Cast: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat, Mark Fredrichs

Its reputation has been tainted by memes and poor sequels. Paranormal ActivityThe movie is a very original, and it’s a good one. This brilliant story follows a young married couple who just recently move into a brand new home. He is a video camera enthusiast and records parts of his daily life. This means all the strange events which have begun to happen to him are captured on film.

Paranormal Activity never really branches into anything truly terrifying, but the eerie quiet and lean-into-your-screen stillness gives the movie room for plenty of creepy moments and little gasps, even if it never makes it to an outright jump scare. But even without too many huge scares, it’s still a fascinating horror movie and a great reminder of where some of the most frequently used tricks of the genre today came from. —AG

Paranormal Activity Netflix is streaming.

Inland Empire

Several human sized rabbits dressed in human clothes stand in a living room in David Lynch’s Inland Empire

StudioCanal/The Criterion Channel

Year: 2006
Run time: 3h
Director: David Lynch
Cast: Laura Dern Jeremy Irons Justin Theroux

Somewhere between horror and another world entirely, David Lynch’s often hard-to-find film Inland EmpireThe Criterion Channel is now showing a restored version of this film. Laura Dern portrays an actress in the film who plays a character that is ill fated and gradually loses her distinction between real and fictional life. Of course, because it’s David Lynch, things only get weirder from there, as Dern’s character encounters stranger and stranger side characters and eventually seems to intersect with an entirely different world.

It is a fact Inland EmpireThe fact that it is at all possible is something of a wonder in itself. The original version of the film was shot on an early digital video format that’s gone functionally extinct in the years since, which meant that transferring the movie to a new format and making it available at a higher resolution was very difficult. However, last year Lynch personally oversaw a restoration of the film that keeps the eccentricities that were only possible on the film’s original format, which means a good version of the movie is now watchable again. —AG

Inland Empire The Criterion Channel streams The Criterion Channel.


hereditary - toni colette and cast

Image: A24

Year: 2018
Run time: 2h 7m
Director: Ari Aster
Cast: Gabriel Byrne and Milly Shapiro

Already emerging as a modern classic, director Ari Aster’s first major film, HereditaryIt follows a mother, Toni Collette as she slowly unravels when her family is faced with tragedy after tragic event. The film is anchored by an incredible performance from Collette, but also supporting performances from Alex Wolff and Ann Dowd that help elevate the movie’s slow and carefully considered creepiness into the realm of genuine terror.

While the movie may feel like a slow burn early on, it ramps itself up quickly, eventually transforming into a full-tilt horror show fueled by the awful will of the demon Paimon — or maybe it isn’t a demon behind the tragedies at all. No matter what the case, Hereditary It fills each moment of its running time with creeping terror before ending in a spectacular way that really helped us cement our ideas of the new era of horror. —AG


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