The best horror movies of the 2000s (that you can stream right now)

[Editor’s note: An earlier verison of this article was published on Oct. 23, 2017. The list has been updated with our more recent picks.]

Back in the ‘90s, horror seemed like a genre on its way to the graveyard. But then Scream happened, and suddenly scary movies were big business all over again. In fact, next to superhero movies, horror has been Hollywood’s most reliable profit-generator since the turn of the millennium. Whether it’s studio-made fare or independent and international productions, there’s an audience out there ready and waiting to be freaked out. And it’s not just on the big screen: some of the newest and scariest movies make their debuts on streaming services like Netflix and Shudder. As we’re all counting down to Halloween, here’s Yahoo Entertainment’s countdown of the best horror movies released since 2000, all of which are available to stream before you head out for trick or treating.

Final Destination (2000)

Ali Larter in 'Final Destination' (Photo: New Line/courtesy Everett Collection)

The concept of the film that launched a dozen sequels is genius: Death is inevitable, so don’t try to cheat it. And given that this is a horror movie about a group of teens who escape an ill-fated plane crash after one has a premonition, the Grim Reaper comes in a fast and furiously gruesome fashion. Director James Wong stages some of the most inspired and elaborate death traps we’ve ever witnessed.
Available to rent or purchase on Amazon, iTunes and Vudu.

Ginger Snaps (2000)

Katharine Isabelle and Emily Perkins in 'Gingers Snaps' (Photo: Unapix Entertainment/courtesy Everett Collection)

The Canadian cult classic takes its inspiration from the terrors of adolescence — specifically, the confusing, horrifying, hairy, and occasionally blood-soaked experience of becoming a teenage girl. The plot begins with Ginger (Katharine Isabelle) getting her first period, which in her case is a literal curse: It turns her into a feral, sexually voracious werewolf. Ginger Snaps is a thoughtful coming-of-age story, but make no mistake: It’s also a deeply satisfying monster movie.
Available to stream on Tubi and Vudu.

The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

Fernando Tielve and Eduardo Noriega in Guillermo del Toro's 'The Devil's Backbone' (Photo: Sony Pictures Classics/courtesy Everett Collection)

Guillermo del Toro poured his heart into this gothic ghost story set during the Spanish Civil War, delivering one of his most effective fright flicks. The Oscar-winning filmmaker ratchets up the tension, and the mystery, as an orphan boy endures visions of a ghostly child killed in a bombing. As Del Toro himself has stated, though, “The ghost is not the scariest thing in the tale. It is human cruelty.” Be forewarned: The Devil’s Backbone definitely isn’t milk and cookies horror.
Available to rent or purchase on Amazon, iTunes and Vudu.

28 Days Later (2002)

Cillian Murphy in '28 Days Later' (Photo: Mary Evans/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection)

Before The Walking Dead infested our televisions, 28 Days Later reanimated the zombie genre. Danny Boyle’s low-budget, high-fright insta-classic checks all the zombie boxes — mystery outbreak, societal collapse, bloodthirsty masses, humans as scary as the infected—and creates a white-knuckle thrill ride that’s more terrifying than anything on TWD for one big reason: These are runners, not walkers. Be sure to watch the alternate ending.
Available to rent or purchase on Amazon, iTunes and Vudu.

Cabin Fever (2002)

Cerina Vincent in Eli Roth's 'Cabin Fever' (Photo: Lions Gate Films/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Not to be confused with Cabin in the Woods (which just missed our list), Eli Roth’s homage to the “haunted cabin” strain of horror movies is more straightforward in its scares than the Joss Whedon-Drew Goddard meta-comedy. But Cabin Fever still has plenty of laughs. It’s also gory as hell, and memorably so; that leg-shaving scene will forever change the way you look at razors.
Available to stream on HBO Now.

Saw (2004)

Shawnee Smith is one of Jigsaw's earliest victims in the original 'Saw' (Photo: Mary Evans/Entertainment Films. Evolution Entertianment/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection)

While it’s easy to make fun of the Saw franchise, the film that started it all remains an inventive, disturbing genre mind-game that isn’t tainted by the lesser sequels. Director James Wan made a no-budget indie flick that managed to transcend its limitations and deliver real scares. Sure, knowing the final twist ruins some of the fun, but watch it with somebody seeing it for the first time, and the look on their face will be worth the rental price alone.
Available to stream on Hulu.

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

It may have started as a George A. Romero homage, but Shaun of the Dead has enjoyed a long afterlife as one of the most socially relevant—and hilarious—zombie movies of all time. No less a zombie authority than Max Brooks has credited co-writers Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg with capturing the mood of post-millennial Britain in the guise of a zom-com, while Pegg himself says that he and his collaborator were “railing against the blandness of collectivism.” If you ask us, though, Shaun endures because it offers endless amounts of visual and verbal wit while also being legitimately scary at times. That it has so much thematic complexity is just the cherry on top of the bloody sundae.
Available to rent or purchase on Amazon, iTunes and Vudu.

The Descent (2005)

Shauna Macdonald in 'The Descent' (Photo: Lions Gate/courtesy Everett Collection)

Many horror films revolve around a group of friends fighting for survival against a psychotic and/or supernatural being. What sets The Descent apart from the pack are the exceptional all-female cast, the high gore factor, and writer-director Neil Marshall’s ability to make viewers feel like they’re suffocating along with the doomed sextet in a claustrophobic, humanoid-infested cave. For those who dare, check out the international version, which boasts the original ending deemed too bleak for us stateside wimps.
Available to rent or purchase on Amazon, iTunes and Vudu.

The Mist (2007)

Thomas Jane in Frank Darabont's adaptation of Stephen King's 'The Mist' (Photo: Weinstein Company/courtesy Everett Collection)

Monsters outside and monsters inside permeate this Stephen King-based apocalyptic horror film from Frank Darabont. When a strange fog rolls into town, it brings unspeakable creatures with it, trapping the squabbling locals inside a supermarket. The gut-punch twist ending has polarized audiences for a decade but has one big proponent: King himself. “I thought that was terrific,” he told Yahoo. “So anti-Hollywood … anti-everything, really! I liked that.”
Available to rent or purchase on Amazon, iTunes and Vudu.

Paranormal Activity (2007)

Katie Featherston and Micah Sloat deal with some 'Paranormal Activity' (Photo: Paramount Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)

Found-footage horror has become an established film genre, but none have used the device more effectively than Oren Peli’s original Paranormal Activity, which first screened in 2007 but didn’t open in wide release until two years later. The supernatural presence haunting a young couple’s home is never seen, but makes itself known through home-movie footage of their bedroom while they’re sleeping. Those sequences are some the most nail-biting in the history of horror, as we watch the night terrors progress from a door mysteriously opening to something much, much worse.
Available to rent or purchase on Amazon, iTunes and Vudu.

Let the Right One In (2008)

One of the many freaky moments in 'Let the Right One In' (Photo: Magnolia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection)

The Little Vampire, this is not. Tomas Alfredson’s haunting arthouse crossover follows a quiet Swedish boy who befriends a quiet young girl who just so happens to be a mercilessly powerful bloodsucker. We’re never quite sure if the boy’s in harm’s way, but his bullies in school sure are, resulting in the most stunning swimming pool-adjacent scene ever committed to film. (Yep, it even beats Cocoon.) This is also the rare case where an American remake — future Batman director Matt Reeves’s Let Me In, starring a young Chloë Grace Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee — was a worthy take on the original foreign version.
(Available to rent or purchase on Amazon, iTunes and Vudu)

Coraline (2009)

Teri Hatcher voices the Other Mother in 'Coraline' (Photo: Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Horror: It’s not just for grownups. Working from Neil Gaiman’s creepy children’s novella, Nightmare Before Christmas director Henry Selick and the stop-motion geniuses at Laika Studios crafted a gorgeous, genuinely unsettling fable about a young girl who finds a secret door that transports her directly into the clutches of her “Other Mother” and “Other Father.” The movie expertly mines childhood fears in a way that will entertain young viewers, while also giving them (and their parents) the tingles.
Available to stream on Netflix.

Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Alison Lohman and Lorna Raver in Sam Raimi's 'Drag Me to Hell' (Photo: Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection)

After a multi-decade break, Sam Raimi returned to his horror roots with Drag Me to Hell, a genuinely creepy — and funny! — film that fits right alongside the Evil Dead movies as a genre classic. Nobody directs horror like Raimi, and his anxiety-inducing camerawork, along with Alison Lohman’s terrific performance, makes for an unforgettable experience. The shockingly dark ending is particularly memorable, and was part of Raimi’s grand plan from the beginning. “We thought it would be funny to make as surprising an ending as we could,” he told Yahoo Entertainment earlier this year. “The shocking thing is that you don’t think the title of the film will tell you what you’re getting — we wanted to surprise the audience by doing it.”
Available to rent or purchase on Amazon, iTunes and Vudu.

The House of the Devil (2009)

Jocelin Donahue has a bloody night of babysitting in 'The House of the Devil' (Photo: Magnet Releasing/Courtesy Everett Collection)

The House of the Devil‘s success on the indie horror circuit established writer-director Ti West as one of the most exciting up-and-comers on the scene. It’s a slow burn that hits you with terror when you least expect it and builds to a genuinely shocking conclusion. For a horror flick that’s seemingly just about a babysitter stuck in a house, it’s got some seriously spooky tricks up its sleeve.
Available to rent or purchase on Amazon, iTunes and Vudu.

Black Swan (2010)

Natalie Portman has a fractured psyche in 'Black Swan' (Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Darren Aronofsky’s study of the brutal world of professional ballet deftly pirouettes from a modest arthouse film to a chilling psychodrama about body image, do-or-die competition, and the darkest of depressions. The filmmaker’s unsettling leaps in tone and Natalie Portman’s Oscar-winning performance combine to create a brittle barre to which rattled viewers cling as our heroine’s fate — not to mention her very sanity — rests upon her opening-night performance.
Available to stream on HBO Now.

You’re Next (2011)

Nicholas Tucci and Wendy Glenn in 'You're Next' (Photo: Taylor Glascock/©Lionsgate/Courtesy Everett Collection)

When Erin (Sharni Vinson) joins her boyfriend’s family for a weekend at their country home, the house is attacked by a gang wearing animal masks, who seem intent on killing everyone. But it turns that Erin is surprisingly good at fighting back. Over a brisk 90 minutes, secrets are revealed, irony is laid on thick, and characters die in some awfully creative ways, one of which involves a kitchen appliance. That’s really kicking it up a notch.
Available to stream on IMDb TV.

The Conjuring (2013)

James Wan launched a new cinematic universe with 'The Conjuring' (Photo: Michael Tackett/Warner Bros. Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)

In the tradition of The Amityville Horror and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, James Wan and company tapped into real-life tales of terror for this franchise-launching horror hit. Digging into the archives of renowned paranormal experts Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) results in a pulsating period piece about what went down (and up) at the home of a rural Rhode Island family in 1971. The original film has since launched an entire cinematic universe populated by killer dolls and spooky nuns instead of iron men and black widows.
Available to stream on Netflix.

Under the Skin (2013)

Scarlett Johansson in 'Under the Skin' (Photo: A24/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Jonathan Glazer’s sci-fi/horror hybrid spawns a creeping terror that’s so subtle, moviegoers won’t be able to shake certain scenes for weeks. In addition to delivering some of the most frightening deaths in contemporary cinema history, the instant cult classic features award-winning composer Mica Levi’s haunting original score, along with an out-of-this-world performance by Scarlett Johansson as a mysterious stranger in the strange land of Scotland.
Available to stream on Netflix.

The Babadook (2014)

Things go bump in the night in 'The Babadook' (Photo: IFC Midnight/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Jennifer Kent’s striking directorial debut introduces a new boogeyman guaranteed to haunt your late-night dreams and wakings. Introduced as the macabre main character of an Edward Gorey-esque children’s book, the Babadook (dook dook dook) acquires a life-sized menace over the course of the film, as an already sanity-challenged mother (the remarkable Essie Davis) slides deeper into madness. Interestingly, Kent’s creature has acquired a less-terrifying identity outside of the movie, becoming an LGBT icon.
Available for rent or purchase on Amazon, iTunes and Vudu.

It Follows (2014)

Lili Sepe and Maika Monrioe in 'It Follows' (Photo: RADiUS-TWC/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Imagine being trapped in a nightmare where you know that a zombie is going to kill you no matter how far or fast you run. That sense of lurking, dreamlike terror is the heart of writer-director David Robert Mitchell’s riff on the coming-of-age horror film. Like the characters, viewers are put on high alert looking for the killer lurking in the corner of every shot, which makes for an unnerving and unforgettable cinematic experience.
Available for rent or purchase on Amazon, iTunes and Vudu.

Don’t Breathe (2016)

Jane Levy in 'Don't Breathe' (Photo: Gordon Timpen / Screen Gems / courtesy Everett Collection)

Evil Dead reboot director Fede Alvarez re-teams with scream queen Jane Levy for a low-budget home-invasion flick that serves up a satisfying victim-villain twist and a next-level game of cat-and-mouse. In addition to earning incessant scares for all 88 minutes, Don’t Breathe went on to earn critical acclaim and more than $150M at the worldwide box office. And you don’t have to hold your breath for a sequel: One is already in the works with Alvarez holding the keys.
Available to stream on Hulu.

Green Room (2016)

Patrick Stewart gets his bad guy on in 'Green Room' (Photo: Scott Patrick Green/ © A24 /courtesy Everett Collection)

Jeremy Saulnier’s bloody thriller follows an unsuccessful punk band, led by the late Anton Yelchin, as they end up with a gig at a white supremacist bar in the middle of nowhere. The venue happens to be owned and operated by none other than Sir Patrick Stewart, in one of the most exciting (and easily the most terrifying) roles of his career. It’s definitely not for the squeamish.
Available to stream on Netflix.

I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016)

Ruth Wilson stars in 'I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House' (Photo: Albert Camicoli / Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection)

Every house has a history, and few of those histories are more chilling than the origin story behind the 19th-century home serving as the sole setting for director Oz Perkins’s superbly creepy second feature. Already dead as the movie begins, in-home nurse Lily (Ruth Wilson) revisits the events that led to her demise, unearthing the secrets that exist in the walls of what’s become her tomb. While House’s aesthetic precision and enigmatic storytelling make it more of a tone poem than a gonzo gorefest, once you’ve adjust to its wavelength it’ll have you looking nervously at every dark corner of your own home.
Available to stream on Netflix.

Train to Busan (2016)

The South Korean zombie movie 'Train to Busan' is a cult favorite (Photo: Well Go USA Entertainment /Courtesy Everett Collection)

South Korea has contributed some bonkers horror flicks to the canon this millennium, and Train to Busan might be the apotheosis. The premise: A bunch of normal folks board the titular choo-choo, among them an infected woman. Faster than you can say, “Casey Jones,” there’s a ghoul outbreak in the chillingly close confines of the passenger cars as they race down the tracks. Let’s just say zombies on a train are way more awesome, and freakout-inducing, than snakes on a plane.
Available to stream on Netflix.

Get Out (2017)

Jordan Peele’s directorial debut doesn’t rely on ghosts or demons for its scares, because the filmmaker realizes that America’s real-life monsters — including racism, police violence, and the specter of slavery — are frightening enough. While visiting his white girlfriend’s liberal parents, photographer Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) realizes that he’s the victim of a nefarious plot, one that doubles as a brilliant metaphor for how black lives are systematically exploited and destroyed by white America. Not only does Peele’s political commentary strike a nerve, but the film manages to be both genuinely chilling and darkly hilarious.
Available to stream on Hulu.

It: Chapter One (2017)

Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise in 'It: Chapter One' (Photo: Brooke Palmer/© Warner Bros. /Courtesy Everett Collection)

It’s only appropriate that America’s best-loved boogeyman can boast to having America’s highest-grossing horror movie ever. The first installment in Andy Muschietti’s two-chapter adaptation of Stephen King’s 1986 novel banked over $300 million during its theatrical run, with audiences delighting in the bloody, child-eating antics of killer clown, Pennywise, memorably played by Bill Skarsgård. It’s worth noting that It: Chapter Two didn’t reach the same creative or commercial heights, but then again, how could it? After all, the power of the story—both on the page and onscreen—lies in King’s intoxicating evocation of childhood fears and friendships. Just like the book, expect this movie to become a rite of passage for middle school-bound kids.
Available for rent or purchase on Amazon, iTunes and Vudu.

Hereditary (2018)

Toni Collette stars in 'Hereditary' (Photo: A24 /Courtesy Everett Collection)

With his very first feature, writer/director Ari Aster announced himself as a major new voice in skull-crushing terror. Toni Collette expertly channels Rosemary’s Baby-era Mia Farrow as the matriarch of a seriously dysfunctional family, which is torn apart by their own issues as much as any supernatural interference. That said, the supernatural does a number on them anyway, as host-hunting demons and creepy cults make their lives a literal hell.
Available to stream on Amazon Prime.

A Quiet Place (2018)

Nothing is more unnerving than the sound of silence. Just ask Simon & Garfunkel or, better yet, just watch John Krasinski’s ingeniously orchestrated post-apocalyptic monster movie, which takes place after alien invaders have made a meal out of most of us noisy humans. Those that survive have learned how to lead simple, silent lives, but every accidental cry or dropped plate carries the potential for a brutal death. Clocking in at a trim 90 minutes, A Quiet Place is the very model of economical horror, making room, quiet moments amidst turbo-charged tension.
Available to stream on Hulu.

Us (2019)

Jordan Peele’s sophomore scarefest takes viewers down the rabbit hole into a world filled with double meanings, double troubles and, of course, body doubles. When married couple Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke take their kids on a beachside vacation, they unwittingly walk into a deadly trap that’s been sprung by a family that’s revealed to be their spitting image. The double performances by the entire cast—particular Nyong’o—are remarkable, but Peele’s Hitchcockian staging is the real star of Us. Trust us: you’ll never hear “Good Vibrations” the same way again.
Available to rent or purchase on Amazon, iTunes and Vudu.

Ready or Not (2019)

House Frey isn’t the only clan that knows how to throw a Red Wedding. On the night that she marries into the Le Domas family, Alex (Samara Weaving) discovers that her in-laws have a very peculiar tradition: a game of hide-and-seek where they’re the hunters and the new bride is the prey. What follows is a riotously entertaining, and very bloody, game night with only person left standing. While the large cast is filled with experienced scene-stealers, including Andie MacDowell, Adam Brody and Kristian Bruun, Weaving’s ferocious performance anchors the merry carnage. She’s like the Sigourney Weaver of killer brides.
Available to pre-order on Amazon.

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