February 22, 2024

February is a great month to embrace love — or at least your love of horror movies. If a spooky binge is in order, you’ll find excellent classics and (as well as freakishly good new releases) on Max. 

Whether you’re eyeballing Carrie or Evil Dead Rise, you can’t go wrong with any of the 10 creepy flicks below. All these films received generally favorable reviews or better, according to Metacritic. If you’re wondering what Max is all about, here’s more on the streaming service, which unites the HBO Max and Discovery Plus libraries. 

7-hereditary
A24

This is one you shouldn’t watch alone. The feature-length directorial debut from Ari Aster (Midsommar) is about what a family uncovers after the death of its matriarch, and it may be the scariest entry on this list. If you’re up for a disturbing flick with great performances, venture cautiously into Hereditary. 

itcothd-02-keyart2-fmhr-hires
A24

This grim horror film is about a family surviving in a secluded home in the aftermath of an unnamed cataclysm and what happens when a desperate couple with a young child enters the picture. The terrors aren’t supernatural, but this harrowing flick will haunt you.

ellen
Video screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET

Now that Universal is working on brand-new Exorcist movies, it’s time to jog your memory about the terrifying events of the original. Star Ellen Burstyn’s character, the mother of a possessed 12-year-old, enlists the help of a priest. The thoroughly scary flick won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay.

'Midsommar' (2019)
Csaba Aknay/A24

Horrors take place in broad daylight in this haunting film from Ari Aster. Set at a midsummer festival in a remote Swedish village, Midsommar has plenty of disturbing surprises in store for its guests. Prepare for some shocking scenes and a gripping performance from Florence Pugh.

evil-dead-rise
Warner Bros.

A family accidentally unearths some unimaginable evils in this gory supernatural horror story. It’s the fifth entry in the film franchise after The Evil Dead (1981), Evil Dead II (’87), Army of Darkness (’92) and Evil Dead (2013).

the witch
Video screenshot by Meara Isenberg/CNET

This historical horror movie pretty much guarantees nightmares. The disturbing flick centers on a family in 1630s New England and marks Anya Taylor-Joy’s film debut. Over the 90-minute flick, strange and shocking things happen to a farmer and family who’ve relocated to a remote area on the edge of a forest. 

The Menu
Eric Zachanowich/Searchlight Pictures

Anya Taylor-Joy shines in this horror satire about an elaborate dinner with a dark twist. It presents an assortment of guests gathering at Hawthorne, an exclusive restaurant on an island. Renowned chef Julian Slowik, played by a magnetic Ralph Fiennes, has planned every detail of the evening except for the inclusion of Taylor-Joy’s Margot. Dishing out thrills and social commentary, The Menu will have you pleading for seconds. 

carrie
Red Bank Films

It’s more Stephen King, and you have to watch Sissy Spacek’s Oscar-nominated portrayal of the prom queen at least once in your life. Why not now?

nightoflivingdead1
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 while members of the undead swarm outside. The influential flick is often regarded as the first modern zombie movie, and while it may not offer Freddy Krueger-level frights, you’ll be drawn in by the characters at the center of its story. You’re going to want to leave the door open for this one (but in the case of an actual apocalypse, keep it very, very shut).

pollhorrormovie-eraserhead
Libra Films

David Lynch’s first feature-length film will make you feel like you’re in a bizarre nightmare. The 90-minute black-and-white horror flick is packed with odd sounds and imagery, and the result is incredibly eerie. Don’t even get me started on the main character’s freakish, otherworldly looking “baby” (that’s oddly still kind of cute?). There are messages about men and parenthood here, but even setting aside the bigger picture, Eraserhead’s surreal world is absolutely worth a visit.