Best Horror Films You Can Stream on HBO Max Right Now

From spine-chilling titles like “Evil Dead Rise” to unsettling masterpieces like “Hereditary,” HBO Max is your go-to spot for horror movies that’ll keep you up at night.

There’s nothing quite like dimming the lights, popping some corn, and letting a horror movie chill you to your core. Yet, in an era flooded with streaming platforms, finding that perfect scream-inducer can be a bit of a maze. Fear not! HBO Max offers a rich trove of horror films that span from iconic classics to fresh, pulse-pounding new releases. Whether you relish terror tinged with humor, action, the surreal, or just plain, unfiltered fright, HBO Max has something that’ll tickle—or terrify—your fancy.

In case horror’s not your jam, you can also explore top-notch thrillers, dramas, and a variety of films on HBO Max. Or broaden your options with our curated lists of the best horror films available on Netflix and Hulu.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated as of September 2023 to include “The Nun.”

Evil Dead Rise (2023)

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Run Time: 1 hr 36 min | Director: Lee Cronin

Cast: Lily Sullivan, Alyssa Sutherland, Mirabai Pease

Lee Cronin, both writer and director, breathes new life into the “Evil Dead” saga with this gripping fifth chapter. “Evil Dead Rise” pits two sisters, who’ve grown apart, against the Deadites who’ve taken control of their family. Although Cronin’s aesthetic differs from Sam Raimi’s original vision, he masterfully leverages the franchise’s existing lore and monstrous elements to carve out a fresh narrative. The end result is a relentless thrill ride filled with vivid, gruesome imagery, effectively paying homage to the series’ legacy.

The Nun (2018)

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Run Time: 1 hr 36 min | Genre: Horror, Mystery | Director: Corin Hardy

Cast: Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, Jonas Bloquet

Serving as a prequel to “The Conjuring” series, “The Nun” explores the eerie backstory of the malevolent nun character. The film takes us to Romania, where a priest and a novice nun, portrayed by Demián Bichir and Taissa Farmiga, are entrusted with banishing an evil presence haunting a monastery. More than just a side-story, “The Nun” enriches the franchise’s existing world and stands as an excellent period film, awash in gothic and religious symbolism. It both reveres and rejuvenates the exorcism niche within the horror genre.

The Forever Purge (2021)

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Run Time: 1 hr 43 min | Director: Everardo Valerio Gout

Cast: Ana de la Reguera, Tenoch Huerta, Josh Lucas, Cassidy Freeman, Leven Rambin, Will Patton

As the fifth entry in the high-octane “Purge” series, “The Forever Purge” continues the narrative from where “The Purge: Election Year” concluded. The film centers on a group trying to flee the U.S. as lawlessness persists even after the official Purge period ends. With a storyline that’s acutely relevant, it delves into hot-button issues such as racism, class struggle, immigration, and unchecked greed. If you’re in the market for a harrowing, dystopian horror movie that combines an original concept with unexpected plot twists, this film won’t disappoint.

Silence of the Lambs (1991)

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Run Time: 1 hr 58 min | Director: Jonathan Demme

Cast: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, Lawrence A. Bonney

There are few psychological thrillers as iconic as Jonathan Demme’s “Silence of the Lambs.” With spellbinding performances from Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster, this early ’90s tour de force adapted Thomas Harris’ novel into an instant classic. Hopkins’ portrayal of the chilling Dr. Hannibal Lecter is not just memorable but etched into the annals of cinematic history. The film has become a part of the cultural lexicon, inspiring everything from parodies and memes to serious academic discussion, ensuring that Lecter’s presence will continue to haunt and intrigue us for generations to come.

Doctor Sleep (2019)

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Run Time: 2 hrs 32 min | Director: Mike Flanagan

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Kyliegh Curran, Cliff Curtis, Robert Longstreet

“Doctor Sleep” is no mere sequel; it’s a meticulous expansion of the lore initiated by Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.” The film finds Dan Torrance, played by Ewan McGregor, all grown up and grappling with his psychic abilities as well as his alcoholism. When a young girl with similar talents needs his protection from a malevolent cult, the film takes a deeper dive into themes of vulnerability and redemption. Mike Flanagan does a remarkable job blending elements from both the original film and Stephen King’s novels. The film also takes a nuanced approach to topics like addiction, adding layers to McGregor’s character and the narrative as a whole.

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The Menu (2022)

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Run Time: 1 hr 47 min | Director: Mark Mylod

Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy, Nicholas Hoult, Janet McTeer

Mark Mylod serves up a deliciously twisted suspense thriller with “The Menu.” Starring Ralph Fiennes as the stern Chef Slowik, the film brings together Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult as a young couple invited to a lavish, exclusive meal on a secluded island. But as the night unfolds, it becomes clear that something is seriously amiss. Is this a mere dinner or a macabre feast? Mylod masterfully unravels the complex layers of suspense, making sure that by the time the final course is served, you’re on the edge of your seat.

Hereditary (2018)

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Run Time: 2 hrs 7 min | Director: Ari Aster

Cast: Toni Collette, Milly Shapiro, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff

Ari Aster’s directorial debut, “Hereditary,” is more than just a horror film; it’s a disturbing dive into the abyss of family trauma. Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne lead a cast portraying a family on the brink, haunted by more than just an eerie supernatural presence. Aster expertly weaves a narrative that fluctuates between mental health struggles and the genuinely paranormal, forcing you to question what’s real and what’s a manifestation of grief. The uncanny way “Hereditary” brings to light hidden family secrets, particularly those of the recently deceased grandmother, leaves audiences questioning their own beliefs and family histories.

Ghost Ship (2002)

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Run Time: 1 hr 31 min | Director: Steve Beck

Cast: Julianna Margulies, Ron Eldard, Desmond Harrington, Gabriel Byrne

Imagine if “The Shining” and “Titanic” had a cinematic offspring; the result would be “Ghost Ship.” This supernatural thriller features an ensemble cast that includes horror and sci-fi stalwarts like Karl Urban and Gabriel Byrne. It follows a salvage team as they investigate an enigmatic, derelict ship stranded in open waters. As they explore, they encounter not just an empty vessel but a ship teeming with restless spirits. With its suffocating atmosphere and top-notch visuals, “Ghost Ship” offers an edge-of-your-seat experience that navigates through a haunted maritime world.

The Hole in the Ground (2019)

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Run Time: 1 hr 30 min | Director: Lee Cronin

Cast: Seána Kerslake, James Quinn Markey, Kati Outinen

In his feature directorial debut, Lee Cronin brings a contemporary twist to the age-old Changeling legend from Irish folklore. “The Hole in the Ground” revolves around Sarah, a single mom who relocates to rural Ireland with her son Chris. After they stumble upon a bizarre sinkhole near their new home, Sarah begins to notice unsettling changes in her son’s behavior, sparking a descent into paranoia. Is Chris still her son, or has something malevolent taken his place? Cronin crafts a relentlessly eerie atmosphere where trust is a rare commodity, keeping the audience second-guessing until the final moments.

House at the End of the Street (2012)

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Run Time: 1 hr 41 min | Director: Mark Tonderai

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Elisabeth Shue, Max Thieriot

Starring Elisabeth Shue and a young Jennifer Lawrence, “House at the End of the Street” is a tension-laden psychological thriller helmed by Mark Tonderai. Shue plays Sarah, a divorced doctor who moves to an idyllic small town with her teenage daughter, Elissa. As they settle into their new life, they gradually discover the community’s dark secret—a brutal double murder occurred just down the road from them. The more they learn, the more they realize that this quaint town is far from what it appears to be. Coupled with strong performances and a dash of mystery, the film cleverly navigates the complexities of trust and perception.

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The Conjuring (2013)

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Run Time: 1 hr 52 min | Director: James Wan

Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, Joey King

An emotional rollercoaster punctuated by chilling moments, “The Conjuring” is a cornerstone in modern horror cinema. Directed by James Wan, this film digs into the real-life investigations of Ed and Lorraine Warren, played brilliantly by Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson. Their palpable chemistry lends an emotional depth to the movie, beautifully balancing the horror elements. What sets this film apart from its contemporaries is how it doesn’t merely rely on jump scares. It’s a methodical, slow-burn horror that plays mind games with you. The Warrens’ love story serves as a grounding element amidst the film’s unsettling paranormal activities. As the movie that launched a billion-dollar franchise, “The Conjuring” remains an impactful entry in horror, offering an emotionally resonant narrative laced with hair-raising sequences.

Eraserhead (1977)

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Run Time: 1 hr 29 min | Director: David Lynch

Cast: Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph

It’s not every day you come across a horror film as iconic and innovative as David Lynch’s “Eraserhead”. This nightmarish visual poem takes us deep into the subconscious of Henry Spencer, played with surreal intensity by Jack Nance. The film confronts the anxieties surrounding parenthood in the most Lynchian way possible—by distorting reality and embracing the bizarre. Despite its minimalist setting, mostly confined to a single room, the world of “Eraserhead” feels expansive and unending. Lynch crafts a cinematic experience that pushes boundaries, making it a staple in the experimental film genre. Its enigmatic narrative may require patience, but the journey is unquestionably rewarding. Whether you’re new to Lynch or an avid follower, “Eraserhead” is a must-see, offering a compelling narrative enriched with visual and emotional complexity.

What Lies Beneath (2000)

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Run Time: 2 hrs 10 min | Director: Robert Zemeckis

Cast: Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer, Katharine Towne

In a genre often criticized for its superficiality, “What Lies Beneath” provides a much-needed breath of fresh air. Under the skilled direction of Robert Zemeckis, the film delves deep into the nuances of a seemingly perfect marriage marred by hidden secrets. Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer’s chemistry is palpable, elevating the movie above a mere horror film to a study in complex relationships. Pfeiffer’s masterful transitions from her character to her possessed state adds another layer to the film, making it a genuinely unsettling experience. The traditional horror elements serve as a framework, but it’s the emotional undercurrents that leave a lasting impact.

We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (2021)

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Run Time: 1 hr 26 min | Director: Jane Schoenbrun

Cast: Anna Cobb, Theo Anthony, Holly Anne Frink

Tackling themes of loneliness and isolation within the digital realm, “We’re All Going to the World’s Fair” defies conventional horror elements to deliver an unsettling narrative. Director Jane Schoenbrun brings an entirely new perspective to the genre by utilizing internet culture as both a backdrop and a character in itself. Anna Cobb’s haunting portrayal elevates the film, making the lines between reality and the virtual world increasingly blurry. This modern horror story successfully merges found footage aesthetics with elements of classic horror, resulting in a thought-provoking cinematic experience.

Halloween Kills (2021)

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Run Time: 1 hr 45 min | Director: David Gordon Green

Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Andi Matichak

A direct sequel to the 2018 film, “Halloween Kills” offers a high-stakes, fast-paced experience that series fans will relish. While the narrative structure may occasionally falter, the movie scores high in delivering exactly what it promises—a relentless and brutal Michael Myers. The film benefits from the return of original characters, adding a nostalgic layer to the narrative. It might not reinvent the wheel in terms of the slasher genre, but it successfully adds another gruesome chapter to the enduring Halloween saga.

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The Night House (2020)

Run Time: 1 hr 47 min | Director: David Bruckner

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Cast: Rebecca Hall, Sarah Goldberg, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Evan Jonigkeit

“The Night House” is a psychological thriller that’s more than skin-deep. Directed by David Bruckner and featuring a compelling Rebecca Hall at its center, the film weaves together a haunting tapestry of grief, mystery, and pure horror. Hall’s portrayal of Beth, a widow delving into the dark secrets left behind by her late husband, showcases her remarkable range as an actress. With a screenplay by Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski, the film serves as a prelude to their future collaborations on the “Hellraiser” series. Sarah Goldberg adds another layer of enigma with her cryptic role. Overall, it’s an immersive experience for those who seek both chills and an intricate storyline.

The Witch (2015)

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Run Time: 1 hr 32 min | Director: Robert Eggers

Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie

“The Witch” is a period horror like no other. Set in the 1630s and directed by Robert Eggers, the film is a relentless portrayal of a family’s descent into despair and madness. With compelling performances from Anya Taylor-Joy and Ralph Ineson, “The Witch” captures the gloom and dread of its era without resorting to jump scares. Instead, it relies on atmospheric tension and deeply disturbing imagery to deliver its thrills. The film is an effective examination of human flaws, manifesting them through the prism of witchcraft and possession. In the end, it leaves you pondering more about human nature than the supernatural.

It (2017)

Run Time: 2 hrs 15 min | Director: Andy Muschietti

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Cast: Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Martell, Finn Wolfhard

Andy Muschietti’s 2017 adaptation of “It” is more than just a remake; it’s a masterful reimagining that amps up the fear factor. Based on the classic 1990 miniseries, this film brings fresh life to the Stephen King tale about a shape-shifting monster terrorizing the kids in a small Maine town. Bill Skarsgård’s portrayal of the menacing clown is the stuff of nightmares, while the ensemble cast, featuring the likes of Finn Wolfhard from “Stranger Things,” lends emotional depth to the narrative. It’s a film that not only scares but also explores the resilience and friendship among the misfits at its center.

The Craft (1996)

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Run Time: 1 hr 41 min | Director: Andrew Fleming

Cast: Robin Tunney, Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell, Rachel True, Skeet Ulrich

Flashback to the ’90s and the grunge era with “The Craft,” a film that perfectly captures the essence of alternative rock and women’s fashion of the time. The story revolves around four high school outcasts who dabble in witchcraft to elevate their social status, only to realize that power comes with a dark price. Fairuza Balk’s Nancy becomes increasingly unhinged, lending a menacing air to this coming-of-age tale. It’s the ultimate sleepover movie that remains as entertaining today as it was over two decades ago.

Barbarian (2022)

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Run Time: 1 hr 42 min | Director: Zach Cregger

Cast: Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgård, Justin Long

Subverting the traditional horror genre, “Barbarian” delves into a surprising variety of themes under its unsettling facade. Written and directed by Zach Cregger, the film stars Georgina Campbell as a woman who finds her rented home is not as vacant as she thought. With Bill Skarsgård and Justin Long delivering standout performances, “Barbarian” defies the genre’s conventions to question societal norms, gender roles, and expectations. It’s a film that doesn’t just scare; it provokes thought and ignites discussion, making it a unique addition to the genre.

For more mind-bending movies and series, make sure to browse HitPlay’s curated collections. Whether you’re into horror, psychological thrillers, or just a good ol’ popcorn flick, there’s something for everyone. So, what are you waiting for? Hit play!

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