In the mood to watch a scary movie? Max, the revamped streaming service that replaced HBO Max, has an attractive list of titles. The streamer’s current lineup includes all-time greats like The Shining and recently released hits like The Menu.
Here are the horror movies you should give Max time for. All of these films received generally favorable reviews or better, according to Metacritic. If you’re wondering what Max is, here’s more about the service that combines the HBO Max and Discovery Plus libraries.
This is something you should not watch alone. Ari Aster’s feature directorial debut about what a family uncovers after the death of its matriarch may be the scariest entry on this list. If you’re ready for a disturbing film with great performances, enter Hereditary carefully.
Video screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET
Now that Universal is working on not one, but three brand new Exorcist movies, it’s time to jog your memory on the terrifying events of the original. Ellen Burstyn stars as the mother of a possessed 12-year-old daughter who enlists the help of a priest. The utterly creepy film also won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Warner Bros. Pictures
If you’re still looking for a horror movie, you can’t go wrong with The Shining, the excellent film directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall. In this adaptation of a Stephen King novel, a writer (Nicholson) staying at a remote hotel with his family exhibits some disturbing changes in behavior. This one will totally satisfy your horror cravings.
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The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Jodie Foster interviews Anthony Hopkins’ evil Hannibal Lecter in this classic psychological thriller. Foster plays FBI agent Clarice Starling, who is determined to bust a killer. It is the only horror film to win an Academy Award for Best Pictureand also won for best director, screenplay, actor (Hopkins) and actress (Foster) in 1992.
A young woman travels to Detroit for a job interview and discovers that Airbnb is double booked. Perhaps that’s how this gripping horror film begins, but it soon descends into utter chaos. With story twists and superb acting throughout, Barbarian is a freaky, five-star horror.
Eric Zahanovic/Spotlight Photos
Anya Taylor-Joy shines in this horror satire about sophisticated dining with a dark twist. It features an assortment of guests congregating at Hawthorne, an exclusive restaurant on an island. Celebrity chef Julian Slovik, played by the magnetic Ralph Fiennes, planned every detail of the evening, except for the inclusion of Taylor-Joy’s Margot. Doling out thrills and social commentary, The Menu will have you begging for seconds.
The Cabin in the Woods (2011)
For surprises and plenty of nightmare fuel, The Cabin in the Woods is the way to go. The rollicking and terrifying horror comedy features a group of unsuspecting college students, including Chris Hemsworth, who head to a remote cabin for a weekend of fun. The first half hour is relatively calm, but when the horror show starts, it doesn’t let up.
When this adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel hit theaters in 2017, it made moviegoers like me look twice at rain gutters and fear red balloons. With a cast of spunky kids and plenty of heart, it makes a compelling case for more supernatural coming-of-age stories. And a strong argument against clowns.
Screenshot from CNET
This historical horror film pretty much guarantees nightmares. The disturbing film centers on a family in 1630 New England and marks the film debut of Anya Taylor-Joy. In the 90-minute film, strange and shocking things happen to a farmer, his wife and their five children who have moved to a remote area at the edge of the forest.
Video screenshot by Meara Isenberg/CNET
Love psychological horror movies? Wait for this movement to knock. The night house is home to a woman (Rebecca Hall) who is grieving after the death of her husband. As she uncovers a dark mystery, she begins to question what she thought she knew about her marriage. This haunting film is a standout in HBO Max’s horror portfolio.
Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
George Romero’s first horror film is an easy recommendation. A group of survivors take refuge in a house as members of the undead stampede outside. The impactful film is often considered the first modern zombie film, and while it may not offer Freddy Krueger-level scares, you’ll be drawn to the characters at the center of its story. You’ll want to leave the door open for this (but in the event of a true apocalypse, keep it very, very closed).
David Lynch’s first feature film will make you feel like you’re in a strange nightmare. The 90-minute black-and-white horror film is full of strange sounds and images, and the result is incredibly creepy. Don’t even get me started on the main character’s strange, otherworldly-looking “baby” (which is strangely still cute?). There are messages here about men and parenting, but bigger picture aside, the surreal world of Eraserhead is absolutely worth a visit.
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