Once upon a time, horror movies regularly ran in your local multiplex. But lately, newer high-quality horror flicks can be found on our televisions. It's a blessing and a curse, there's not that much room for independently produced films to scare crowds en masse at their local theaters, but we know there's always something to find on streaming sites and VOD rental platforms.

So here are 16 solid indie horror flicks that you can watch at home with all the lights off and junk food galore -- which some would argue is even better than going to a multiplex and dealing with jerks who talk during all the scary bits.

And for more scares, read our list of The Best Horror Movies of 2016.

Black Fawn Films


This one earned mixed reviews, but please save me a seat on the "really dug it" side of the equation. This freaky Canadian import is about a young woman who slowly transforms (more like "degenerates") into a she-creature after crossing paths with an exotic insect(ish thing). Toss in a few icky kills, a decent dosage of compelling subtext, some fine acting under tough circumstances, and more icky goo than any one film probably needs, and you're looking at a nasty yet darkly amusing horror flick that my mom wouldn't be able to sit through for more than nine minutes. Seth Brundle, on the other hand, would love it.
Where to watch it: Rent on iTunes, Amazon (trailer)



The splashy horror-action movie was meant to play in theaters, but producers opted to bypass theatrical and sell the movie to Netflix. Maybe Spectral would have bombed at the box office, but this genre mash-up, about a bunch of soldiers who are sent to destroy a mysteriously otherworldly enemy (ok, ghosts) and find themselves trapped behind enemy lines with an adversary they don't understand, is pretty damn entertaining on the home screen. Spectral plays a lot like a movie version of a video game, with one big difference: there's velocity and character and enough mystery to sustain the ride.
Where to watch it: Stream on Netflix (trailer)

RLJ Entertainment

Bone Tomahawk

Sad but true: we don't get all that many horror/Western hybrids these days (or ever, really) so it's great to find a new one that not only works, but kicks butt under both genre headings. Bone Tomahawk is basically The Searchers meets The Hills Have Eyes, about a gang of well-intentioned townsfolk (led by Kurt Russell!) who head out to rescue a citizen who has been captured by a tribe of cannibalistic natives. Oddly literate for such a gruesome concoction, and that's only one of the flick's surprises.
Where to watch it: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube (trailer)



I included this Belgian film for three reasons: 1) it's a crafty, freaky, scary little movie, 2) it's available over on Shudder, a fantastic streaming service for Americans who crave nonstop horror cinema, and 3) it's a terrifying movie. Cub follows a scout troop that goes on a weekend camping trip, only to stumble across a rather unique psycho. Suffice it to say we won't be seeing an American remake of this one anytime soon.
Where to watch it: Stream on Amazon Prime, Shudder (trailer)

Oscilloscope Laboratories

The Love Witch

The Love Witch is about a pretty young witch who summons nefarious powers to find the perfect man. The steamy horror flick is also a throwback to old-fashioned movie magic, when pulpy stories came to life in eye-popping Technicolor. The femme fatale may commit all sorts of terrible deeds, yet we still can't help but love her. It took writer-director Anna Biller over six years to complete this strange, beautiful, fascinating combination of horror and comedy, and the work was worth it -- you'll fall in love with this admirably offbeat masterpiece.
Where to watch it: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube (trailer)

Entertainment One

The Hallow (2015)

Not to be confused with The Hollow, Hallow, or (God forbid) The Gallows, this low-key but eminently creepy offering from the UK focuses on a family deep in the woods who must contend with something... unnatural. It's a pretty straightforward campfire tale, so the less I divulge the better. Fine. You win. There are demons in that freaky forest. Hungry ones, too.
Where to watch it: Stream on Netflix; Rent on iTunes, Amazon (trailer)

Next Entertainment World

Train to Busan

There are so many zombie movies and TV shows, it's hard to know what's good and what's, well... crap. Take it from a hardcore zombie freak: the South Korean import Train to Busan is one of the most novel, clever, and refreshingly entertaining zombie massacres to hit the screen in quite some time. It's about nothing more than a father and his young daughter who board a train from Seoul to Busan just as a very expeditious zombie virus has hit the area. On board the train you'll find a colorful collection of amusing disaster movie archetypes, from a gruff bully and his pregnant wife to a teenage girl with a crush on a hunky baseball player, and first-time director Sang-Ho Yeon does a very nice job of ramping up the zombie insanity at frequent and regular intervals. 
Where to watch it: Stream on Netflix; rent on iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube (trailer)

108 Media

He Never Died

It's always fun when Henry Rollins pops up in a movie. The man has a natural intensity that's fascinating to watch, plus he's a lot funnier than we generally give him credit for. Rollins gives his best performance ever in the odd, fascinating He Never Died, which is sort of like a film noir-horror flick-crime story amalgam. The former Black Flag frontman plays a soft-spoken badass who simply cannot be killed (and the local criminal syndicate knows, because it's tried... more than once). Precisely how the man gained this immortality is a big reveal, and the explanation makes for one of the most interesting genre films in recent memory.
Where to watch it: Stream on Netflix; rent on iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube (trailer)

Zero Media


Like most horror anthologies, this holiday-themed collection is more or less a mixed bag. Luckily, the good stuff outweighs the weaker offerings by a decent margin. Highlights include a truly disturbing take on Mother's Day, a dark and unsettling tale about St. Patrick's Day, a dark, raunchy Halloween joke by Kevin Smith, and a broadly violent New Year's Eve date that plays a lot like a live-action Tom & Jerry cartoon.
Where to watch it: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube (trailer)

Channel 83 Films

The Mind's Eye

Fortunately director Joe Begos (Almost Human) fondly remembers an era when telekinetic terror was popular -- see The Fury, Carrie, and Scanners. His homage to old-school move-it-with-your-mind horror is about a pair of extremely "gifted" young people on the run from an evil scientist and his nefarious henchmen. Though The Mind's Eye was plainly produced on a low budget, it has a nice combined sense of humor, horror, and enthusiasm.
Where to watch it: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube (trailer)



This Netflix-exclusive is about an aurally challenged but entirely self-sufficient young woman who spends one horrific evening being stalked, chased, and terrorized by a mysterious psychopath. Refreshingly simple, cleverly efficient, and powerfully suspenseful, Hush will be certain to grace many a year-end top-10 list. (Top 10 horror movies, anyway.)
Where to watch it: Stream on Netflix (trailer)

Drafthouse Films

The Invitation

Have you ever spent an evening at a dinner party from which you couldn't wait to escape? If so, you'll probably appreciate the escalating tensions of Karyn Kusama's thriller that deals with old friends, creepy cults, and an offer that (literally) cannot be refused. A strong cast and a clever screenplay keep The Invitation interesting during the slow-burn setup. When the finish line's in sight, it's a satisfying run of thrills and scares. And don't you dare turn it off before the final shot.
Where to watch it: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, Youtube (trailer)

Jeva Films

Nina Forever

Ghosts have a habit of popping up at the most unexpected moments. Poor, deceased Nina takes the cake: she only appears when her ex-boyfriend is about to have sex with someone else. This darkly funny and cleverly disturbing British release takes its bizarre premise to some unexpected places. Thanks to an unpredictable screenplay and some fantastic performances, it also manages to make a few compelling points about the nature of love, romance, and loyalty. Plus it's pretty gross (that's a good thing).
Where to watch it: Stream on Sling TV; rent on iTunes, Amazon, YouTube (trailer)

IFC Midnight

Beyond the Gates

Remember VHS players? Remember "VHS board games," new-and-improved versions of Clue with a "now watch this video clip" component added to the equation? Life was pretty boring before the internet. But Beyond the Gates, the first horror flick (ever?) to center around the horrors unleashed by a VHS board game, is not. The movie isn't a comedy, but a slow-burn thriller about a pair of estranged brothers who stumble across the haunted old relic of a game... and quickly come to regret it. Recommended mainly to movie nerds who remember the 1980s, but it's still fun for the whole family.
Where to watch it: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube (trailer)

The Orchard


Seems like there's always a new indie horror anthology hitting the VOD pipes every other week, but Southbound is the best one we've seen in a few years. Not only are the individual stories effective on their own, but the filmmakers figured out a crafty way to tie all the scary tales together into some sort of perpetual nightmare. (It'll make more sense after you watch the movie.)
Where to watch it: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, YouTube (trailer)

Dark Sky

We Are Still Here

Take a dash of 1970s-era ghost stories, a generous helping of Lucio Fulci love, and a handful of original, winning components, and that's pretty much the laid-back yet enjoyably spooky We Are Still Here in a nutshell. The plot may feel familiar -- a troubled family returns to a long-empty and isolated house in the woods -- but it also heads in some unexpected directions, delivering a generous portion of well-crafted chills.
Where to watch it: Stream on Netflix, Shudder,; rent on iTunes, Amazon, YouTube (trailer)

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Scott Weinberg is a film writer and critic who has written for outlets such as Playboy, FEARnet, Nerdist, and many others. He tweets @scotteweinberg but ignores mean people.



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