The 15 Best Shudder Original Movies To Watch This Halloween

People love to complain about the myriad of streaming services available to consumers. They claim that, within the next few years, the average household will be paying more than they used to for cable. To an extent, this is a valid criticism, especially when you consider the fact that so many of these streaming services offer similar content. Netflix used to house so many of the world’s best sitcoms, but today, these comedy classics are scattered across countless competitors, making it almost impossible to catch all of your favorites on one service.

While there are valid points to be made, it’s hard to complain about niche streaming services like Shudder. Since Shudder debuted in 2015, it has had one goal – cater to horror fans. It doesn’t entice potential subscribers with Emmy winning dramas from the early aughts; it simply tries to please one very particular fanbase, and it does a phenomenal job.

In less than a decade, Shudder has continued to expand and improve. What once housed a small list of previously released horror flicks now houses countless original films, and although not all of them are winners, there are plenty worth seeing.

Below, you’ll find the fifteen best original releases on Shudder. To be considered a Shudder Original, movies have to be listed under the “Exclusive & Original” category. While some of these films are available on other services, they debuted exclusively on Shudder and continue to be associated with the streaming service. With that information in mind, feel free to read on in order to seek out creative, stomach churning horror highlights.


1. One Cut of the Dead (2017)

For certain movies, it’s fine to say that a majority of the positive qualities are based around spoilers and leave it at that. It’s not that simple with One Cut of the Dead because, honestly, nearly every redeeming quality comes as a result of a completely unexpected narrative structure. Because of this, it’s advised that readers simply trust the article and go into the movie blind. However, more curious readers are welcome to read on as long as they understand that we are approaching spoiler territory.

One Cut of the Dead immediately throws viewers into the action. Within seconds, we are aware that a film crew is tasked with filming a zombie movie. We can also come to the conclusion that something will soon go awry because it is foreshadowed again and again. When things do inevitably go awry, viewers are made to think that they were haphazardly thrown into a one-take zombie movie, and while that’s technically true, things aren’t that simple.

Before the halfway mark, things shift gears. After the “credits” roll, we learn that the opening segment is actually a movie within a movie. That’s particularly important because the opening segment is, for lack of a better word, rough. The acting is inconsistent, the cinematography is shoddy, and certain story beats don’t make any sense. This is all intentional.

See, One Cut of the Dead is a movie about making movies. After the shoddy zombie flick concludes, we get to experience the fictional behind the scenes process. Basically, after we watch this bizarre movie-making process, every awkward shot and character inconsistency makes sense. It’s all on purpose, and that’s the big twist that makes the movie special.

Of course, this big twist unfortunately means that viewers have to suffer through forty minutes of sloppy filmmaking, but the payoff is beyond worth it. As one big reveal follows the next, viewers uncover just how meticulously crafted this movie is. The cheeky sense of humor only heightens the absurdity of the unconventional structure, resulting in a movie that mightily stands out among its contemporaries.


2. Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror (2021)

There are a surprising number of documentaries about horror films. Horror Noire, Room 237, Masters of Horror, and Doc of the Dead all focus on horror filmmaking in one way or another, and they all do so pretty successfully. That being said, it’s hard to find a more comprehensive horror documentary than Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror.

This documentary, which focuses on a wide array of folk horror films, goes on for three hours and fourteen minutes. Throughout that runtime, viewers learn about the most influential films, the lesser-known gems, and everything in between. It’s honestly hard to find a folk horror movie that isn’t covered to some degree.

Just like Horror Noire, Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched isn’t content with passively mentioning movies. It wants to analyze each and every little part, and it wants to do so with unabashed erudition. This is not a clip show; it’s a massive visual encyclopedia with layers upon layers of depth.

This approach can be overwhelming, especially for the viewers who don’t want to break everything down into miniscule pieces. Still, genre enthusiasts will lap this up with unbridled fervor. It’s a dense, meticulous documentary that values horror fans beyond all else.


3. Mandy (2018)

Eight years after the release of cult classic Beyond the Black Rainbow, Panos Cosmatos gave us one of the most insane action horror movies of the decade with Mandy. This Nicolas Cage-led tour de force is an ultra-stylized, neon soaked trip to hell. In other words, it’s essential viewing.

Mandy sits comfortably between arthouse and conventional horror. It doesn’t tell a neat and tidy story, but it’s not exactly a metaphor-heavy cinematic experiment. It’s more like a pulpy, ultra-violent acid trip, which is probably what makes it essential viewing.

Simply put, Mandy is just really fun. It helps that it’s also fun to look at, but beyond anything, it’s just stupidly entertaining. Maybe that’s not the right describing word for one of the best movies on an entire streaming service, but honestly, it’s an apt description.


4. Speak No Evil (2022)

Christian Tafdrup’s sinister social satire can be hard to sit through; there’s no other way around it. From the excessive violence to the massive amounts of secondhand embarrassment, Speak No Evil is a rough watch. This unfortunately means that it can’t be recommended to everyone; it’s just too unsettling. However, anyone willing to embrace the absolute chaos that is Speak No Evil should continue reading.

In Speak No Evil, we’re introduced to Bjørn and Louise, a mild-mannered Danish family who form a connection with an unusual Dutch family composed of Patrick, Karin, and their son Abel. After this spark is ignited, Bjorn and Louise decide to stay with Patrick and Karin for the weekend, and while things initially seem rather cheery, it doesn’t take long for warning signs to pop up; Patrick and Karin are clearly not what they seem.

This all leads to the social satire aspect. How far are people willing to go in order to appear polite? How many red flags can appear before people decide to run for the hills? Those are the central questions in Speak No Evil. Frankly, it would have been easy to bash viewers over the head with themes like this, but Tafdrup carefully approaches these big questions without metaphorically shouting at viewers.

On the one hand, Speak No Evil is subtle in its approach. On the other hand, it’s never boring. Snarky dialogue exchanges demand attention in the first half, and an onslaught of dramatic twists pile up in the latter half. It all adds up to one of the best horror films of 2022 and one of the best movies on Shudder.


5. Impetigore (2019)

Of the two Joko Anwar movies on this list, Impetigore tends to be favored among fans of the genre. Whereas Satan’s Slaves takes its time to get to the more creative moments, Impetigore immediately transports viewers into unfamiliar territory. By basing the script around Indonesian folklore, a majority of viewers get to sit through a story that is completely new to them. In an era with an abundance of been-there-done-that horror movies, it’s refreshing to see something based around an unorthodox concept.

As with Satan’s Slaves, Impetigore can best be described as a slow-burn. Characters take time to develop and the conflict slowly unravels, but it’s easy to surmise that this slow pacing will eventually lead somewhere, and it does. Anwar knows how to keep his viewers guessing, and thanks to an interesting premise, it’s easy to stay engaged. Once Impetigore reaches its climax, it’s hard to look away. Viewers with a little patience will no doubt be rewarded by Impetigore’s creativity and craftsmanship.


6. Host (2020)

Rob Savage’s pandemic-era found footage flick seemingly came out of nowhere. The micro budget release quietly found its way to Shudder where it slowly picked up an unfathomable amount of steam. Now, two years later, it has an approval rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. 94 certified critics gave this movie a positive review, and there wasn’t a single detractor. Considering the $35,000 budget and nearly nonexistent marketing, that’s quite a victory.

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear; the critics are correct. Host is an endlessly creative horror movie with a cast of performers who frequently find ways to elevate the material beyond generic supernatural thrills. On the surface, Host tells a story that could be considered uninspired, but the way the story is told clearly proves that Savage can spin things into uncharted territories. All in all, viewers should have no trouble assessing the merits of this critical darling.


7. Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror (2019)

Xavier Burgin’s enlightening documentary makes one thing absolutely evident; we’ve come a long way when it comes to representation in horror. We’ve still got a long way to go of course, but significant progress has been made since the days of Universal monster movies. Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror takes viewers on a hundred-year journey, outlining the evolution of black horror throughout various eras. It’s a thorough history lesson that consistently asks thought-provoking questions; it’s also incredibly entertaining.

By interviewing some of the most influential faces of black horror, Horror Noire provides significant insight into the constantly evolving genre. Over the past century, black voices have grown louder, and as such, representation has shifted to the forefront of so many horror movies. Things have changed dramatically, and by breaking down individual films, viewers can see how that has happened.

This film doesn’t just put culturally impactful films front and center; it contextualizes them as well. It analyzes their impact and breaks things down. In other words, it avoids coming off as a cinematic Wikipedia article. By the end, viewers will likely have a hefty watchlist of influential black horror movies, and they’ll firmly understand why these movies mean so much to so many people.