15 best Halloween movies 2021 for adults: scary films and where to watch them - from Netflix to Amazon Prime

These are some of the scariest horror movies to watch this Halloween - from Scream to The Descent

With Halloween right around the corner, what better way to get into the spooky spirit than by watching scary movies?

With the horror genre overflowing with options to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to begin.

Sign up to our NationalWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Here are 15 of some of the best horror movies to get you started.

Hereditary (2008)

(Photo: A24)

When Graham family matriarch Ellen passes away, her daughter and grandchildren begin to unravel the terrifying truth about their ancestry.

As the secrets begin to unfold before them, will they be able to outrun the horrifying fate they have inherited?

Where to watch: free to watch with a Netflix account, or available to rent or buy from Google Play or Amazon Prime Video.

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

(Photo: Haxan Films)

The Blair Witch Project essentially spawned the “found footage” genre that horror fans nowadays will be very familiar with.

Setting out to make a documentary about a Maryland witch, students Heather, Joshua and Michael find themselves at the heart of supernatural terror.

Where to watch: free to watch with a Netflix account, or available to rent or buy from Google Play, Amazon Prime Video or the Sky Store. 

Train to Busan (2016)

(Photo: Next Entertainment World)

A horror movie watchlist wouldn’t be complete without a great zombie apocalypse flick.

In Train to Busan, a mysterious outbreak pushes South Korea into disaster. We watch as passengers aboard a high-speed train to Busan, a city that has successfully fended off the viral outbreak, fight for their lives.

Where to watch: available to rent or buy from Google Play or Amazon Prime Video.

Saw (2004)

(Photo: Twisted Pictures)

While Saw has sparked a plethora of gory sequels to choose from this Halloween, you can’t go wrong with sticking with the original.

The low budget film takes place largely in one location - the bathroom where two chained men wake up to find themselves. Unfortunately for them, they face making some grisly decisions in order to win their freedom.

Where to watch: available to rent or buy from Google Play, Amazon Prime Video, or the Sky Store. 

It Follows (2015)

(Photo: Northern Lights Films)

After having sex with her new boyfriend for the first time, 19-year-old Jay suddenly finds herself being stalked by horrifying visions and unspeakable evil.

She and her friends must find a way to stop the monster that is only ever a few steps behind them.

Where to watch: available to rent or buy from Google Play, Amazon Prime Video or the Sky Store. 

Ring (1998)

(Photo: Ringu/Rasen Production Committee)

If you’ve seen the 2002 American remake Ring, then you need to make sure you sit down and watch the original 1998 Japanese version, based on the book of the same name by Koji Suzuki.

When a mysterious videotape is linked to the deaths of a group of teenagers, journalist Reiko sets out to investigate the strange goings ons.

Where to watch: available to buy or rent from Google Play, Amazon Prime Video or the Sky Store. 

The Babadook (2014)

(Photo: Screen Australia)

This horror from Australia follows the story of a single mother, who is plagued by the violent death of her husband, as she battles with a monster her son believes is lurking in the house.

It doesn’t take long before she realises that its sinister presence is all around her.

Where to watch: free to watch with an Amazon Prime Video account or via the BBC iPlayer, or available to buy or rent via Google Play or the Sky Store. 

Scream (1996)

(Photo: Woods Entertainment)

Following the murder of her mother a year earlier, student Sidney finds herself being stalked by killer Ghostface as it picks off her fellow students one by one.

Where to watch: free to watch (with ads) via IMDb TV, or available to buy or rent from Amazon Prime Video or the Sky Store.

Audition (1999)

(Photo: Omega Project)

This Japanese horror tells the story of Aoyama who is looking to get back into the dating scene, seven years after the death of his wife.

He joins his TV producer friend to watch a series of auditions and it’s then that he falls for Yamazaki Asami. After asking her out, Aoyama finds out that she isn’t all she seems to be.

Where to watch: free to watch with a BFI Player subscription, or available to buy or rent on Google Play or Amazon Prime Video.

The Descent (2005)

(Photo: Celador Films)

From the writer of Dog Soldiers comes claustrophobic nightmare The Descent, the story of six women on a camping trip who find themselves stuck in an underground cave after their exit gets blocked following a collapse.

Trying to find their way through the maze of tunnels, they find themselves being hunted by monsters who have adapted to live in the dark.

Where to watch: free to watch with a Netflix account, or available to buy or rent from Google Play or Amazon Prime Video.

The Exorcist (1973)

(Photo: Hoya Productions)

The Exorcist is one of the most iconic horror movies of all time, based on the book of the same name by William Peter Blatty.

When 12-year-old Regan MacNeil suddenly starts displaying some wild new personality traits, her mother is torn between science and religion on her journey to find an answer and a cure - her lost hope falls with Father Damien Karras, a troubled priest going through his own struggles with faith.

Where to watch: available to rent or buy from Google Play, Amazon Prime Video or the Sky Store. 

The Shining (1980)

(Photo: Warner Bros)

Adapted from the novel of the same name by the king of horror himself Stephen King, The Shining tells the tale of the Torrance family as father Jack takes on a caretaker job at the Overlook Hotel, which will lay empty for the winter.

Along with wife Wendy and son Danny, they live isolated from the rest of the world - however it doesn’t take long before the hotel begins to drive Jack mad.

Where to watch: free to watch with a Cinema Pass on NowTV, or available to buy or rent from Google Play, Amazon Prime Video or the Sky Store.

The Witch (2015)

(Photo: A24)

Set in 1630s New England, William and Katherine lead a strict Christian life with their five children at the edge of the wilderness. That is until they are exiled from their settlement after William defies the church.

When their newborn son mysteriously disappears and their crops begin to die, the family begin to turn on one another.

Where to watch: available to rent or buy from Google Play, Amazon Prime Video or the Sky Store. 

Evil Dead (1981)

(Photo: Renaissance Pictures)

Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead is a cult classic, and stars Bruce Campell as Ash Williams, a university student who, along with his girlfriend Linda, sister Cheryl, friend Scott and Scott’s girlfriend Shelly, decide to holiday in an isolated cabin in rural Tennessee.

The gang unwittingly unleash the undead from the surrounding forest, and they must fight to save their lives.

Where to watch: free to watch with a Cinema Pass on NowTV, or available to buy or rent via Google Play, Amazon Prime Video or the Sky Store.

Saint Maud (2020)

(Photo: Film4)

Having recently found religion herself, young nurse Maud becomes obsessed with saving the soul of her patient Amanda, a famous dancer left frail from chronic illness.

However, there is more to Maud than meets the eye - she is plagued by a violent past and believes bizarre messages are sent to her straight from God. As she begins to lose her grip on reality, she becomes determined to carry out her divine mission no matter the cost.

Where to watch: free to watch with an Amazon Prime Video account, or available to rent or buy from Google Play, Sky Store or the BFI Player. 

A message from the editor: Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.